Shuffle Album : Album Shuffle advice for 1.0.3 ipod firmware updaters

This is an informational post for ipod classic owners out there. The recent firmware update 1.0.3 changed the functionality of the shuffle songs feature. Until you follow the following steps, the menu setting for “Shuffle” will have no effect.

To change the ipod from shuffling songs to shuffling albums follow these steps:

1) Go ahead and shuffle your songs
2) Press the center button three times
3) select the shuffle setting you want (“songs”, “albums”, or “off”)

Once you have done this you will once again be able to change the shuffle setting via the ipod classic Settings.

For regular readers of this blog curious whatever happened to my 100gb Archos Jukebox/Rockbox player (blogged of here) a short note. The Archos is ok but (since soon after the periodic completion of this spaceling’s ambient solar orbit) the Archos took to rocking it with the Junkions on Planet Junk (at the bottom of my junk pile).

But looking back all nostalgia like for my tech-Gomi, the Archos Jukebox was an energy whore, that required me to lug around an AC adapter to service it’s unquenchable thirst for electrons. And it couldn’t shuffle albums.

“Shuffle Albums” was the killer feature I pined for in an mp3 player so when I discovered the ipods were capable of that (and the newer archos’ and cowons still could not) I shelled out for my little slice of Apple. (iTunes free thanks to Ubuntu Linux + Floola, I should add).

Why is shuffle albums so important? For the same reason that “Album List 2” is an essential plugin for winamp — it provides for the ability to listen to a random album (just like those old giant 100 CD jukeboxes could). Industry folks talk about how the revolution of the mp3 was that it liberated tracks from the medium of “Albums.” Tracks could be listened to individually, mixed and shuffled at random, and most importantly, sold individually. But the medium of albums is still important for much of the music I listen to, whether it be Beethoven’s 9th Symphony or Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians: I want to listen to my tracks sequentially in the order suggested by the composer artist’s imagination. Or said differently: context matters, provenance matters, and please don’t use tech to manipulate art as a commodity.

The Archos is still accessible and usable and I’ll find a place for it in some future project. But aside from random firmware scares (see above shuffle surprise), I’m pretty damn pleased with this little apple unit. Wish Apple’d be more open with their firmware though and less jerky about opening up their tech to 3rd party itunes alternative ipod managers.

About Aharon N. Varady

Aharon's Omphalos is the hobbit hole of Aharon Varady, founding director of the Open Siddur Project. He is a community planner and environmental educator working to improve stewardship of the Public Domain, be it the physical and natural commons of urban park systems or the creative and cultural commons of libraries and museums. His advocacy for open-source strategies in the Jewish community has been written about in the Atlantic Magazine, the Yiddish Forverts, Tablet, and Haaretz. He is particularly interested in pedagogies for advancing ecological wisdom, developing creative and emotional intelligence, and realizing effective theurgical praxes . He welcomes your comments, personal messages, and kind words. If you find his work helpful to your own or you'd simply like to support him, please consider donating via his Patreon account.

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