RANDOM NOISE

image My iPod is messing with my head. It has taken a real liking to Peter Gabriel, Genesis and Pink Floyd. On the whole not bad choices but I do strive for a bit of variety in my music. Now, I would be the first to admit that I have more than my fair share of Genesis tracks on the player. It would, therefore, be reasonable to expect that in any shuffled playlist of all tracks that Genesis would appear with some regularity but Pink Floyd? I have Echoes and nothing else. To put it in some perspective I have 75 tracks by Crowded House and 26 by Floyd. Crowded House never seems to come up – why is that? And before anyone answers that with the comment that the iPod is simply acting as some arbiter of good taste remember that I moderate all comments…

Of course the real reason is that computers are absolutely hopeless at generating truly random numbers. What we get is a pseudorandom number which is more often than not based upon the internal clock and nothing like as random as I would hope. All of this leads to what appears to be a human behaviour, a passion for Steve Hackett guitar solos and a fumbling in the pocket to skip to another track. Bugger, it’s Genesis again!

This phenomenon was also observed by my mate Dirk who put it far more eloquently than me. His iPod also seems to be more sophisticated than mine in that his matches the same track by different artists – neat!