Sore, And Draining


Stayed home from work today to rest up. I’ve been fighting off a sore throat (well, let’s call it what it is: drainage) and, figured today was as good as any to batten down the hatches and hole up for 24, doing nothing but wearing pajamas, drinking hot tea, and taking naps. Naturally I got immediately side-tracked on a technology issue.

I’ve got an iRiver iHP-120, one of the older 3rd party MP3 players and while I like it a great deal (acts like a HD, has a line in, int. microphone and FM receiver), it totally sucks in the shuffle department. I get a majority of my writing done on the train and I use this little fellow as my insulating shield — good solid in-the-ear headphones + rockin’ tunes = lack of conversational overflow from the three people squatting in close proximity of me and my fingers. But I don’t work well if I hear the exact same song over and over. Variety is required. So I make up a playlist of about 200 songs and figure that should do me for some time. Right? Not so much. iRiver’s shuffle is exactly the same every time. Every fuckin’ time.

So, left to my own devices this morning, I abscond with the wife’s iPod and do some testing to see how the iPod deals with shuffling playlists. Answer: not much better. In fact, not at all as far as I can tell. You can shuffle your entire library but you can’t engage a randomizing feature on an existing playlist. Then I remembered that was true of iTunes as well; where you can get the random feature is the Party Shuffle feature which lets you filter an existing playlist down to a level of playing less recently played tracks first. Which is exactly what I want, and which is functionality is not available on the iPod. (If I’m wrong, someone — please! — correct me.)

A despairing google search later, I find revision 1.66K (for Korean release) of the iHP-120 firmware. One of the updates? Shuffle. It shuffles so damn well now that if I jump forward several songs in the randomized playlist, I can’t even go “back” to where I started. It shuffles in every direction.

Thus satisfied that technology does still have some functional useful, I’m off for a nap.

Oh? You wanted interesting content. Sorry. How about a review of Jon Courtenay Grimwood’s 9Tail Fox (over at Strange Horizons)? Where you can see that I didn’t get the same memo as everyone else; the one where we were told to lavish effusive praise on the book and slap it into our recommended reading lists for the year. And there should be a lengthy 6-pack review of Ad Noiseam records over at Igloo later (when I get done napping and can be bothered to put together cover images for Pietro). Beyond that, it’s novel bashing around here.

After the nap and some tea, of course. I’m under the weather, after all.