A.R.M. (kinkyturtle) wrote,

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New car, part 3: The CD player

I'm getting used to the new car, learning what I have to do and don't have to do (so far, the don't-have-tos are well outweighed by the have-tos). Today I tested the CD player. It came with the car, unlike in my old car (Steve), which came with a radio only and no CD player, so I went to a car audio store and had an Alpine radio/CD player installed.

Good news: the new CD player works! More good news: like the old one, it's a shuffler instead of a rouletter!

Shuffler: a CD player whose shuffle/random/mix/whateveritcallsit mode works by playing all tracks on the CD exactly once each, in random order, not repeating any tracks unless it's in repeat mode.

Rouletter: a CD player whose shuffle mode works by playing tracks totally at random, not keeping track of what it's already played, allowing the possibility of repeating a track while there are still unplayed tracks.

I prefer to listen to most albums in shuffle mode these days, because I got tired of listening to or singing a song, and then getting the next song after it from the album stuck in my head. And when I shuffle an album, I like shufflers. I do NOT like rouletters (and I had a little portable CD player that was a rouletter once).

The CD players in both cars are shufflers, although they have different names for shuffle mode. The old player calls it "M.I.X.", which is just trying too hard to be hip. The new player calls it "RAND", which sounds a bit clunky and workmanlike. Still, concern over what the player chooses to call its shuffle mode is at or near the bottom of the priority list, isn't it.

Higher up on the list is the question of how to skip tracks in shuffle mode. The old player makes this easy; just hit the >>| button and it goes to the next track in its shuffle list. The new player, however, doesn't have that convenient feature. There's a pair of buttons, collectively called SEEK/TRACK and labeled ^ (up-arrow) and v (down-arrow), for skipping tracks, but in shuffle mode they do the SAME thing as in regular play mode, which is the WRONG thing. The v button jumps back to the beginning of the current track, which may be useful, but the ^ button jumps to the numerical next track on the disc, NOT the next track in the shuffle list, EVEN if the next track on the disc has been played before. WTF!!!

There are buttons labeled << (rewind) and >> (fast-forward), and they scan through the current track. I guess I'll have to use fast-forward to skip tracks I don't want to hear. And then I guess I'll have to be careful to stop fast-forwarding before it gets to the end of the song, or else it'll go on to the next track on the disc and ignore the shuffle order, won't it. Sheesh.

Getting back to the subject of shufflers vs. rouletters, I thought of a couple of mathematical puzzles, but I've forgotten almost everything I learned back in statistics class. Anyone else wanna take a crack at these?

1. KT buys a CD player and discovers to his dismay that it is a rouletter. If he inserts a disc with n tracks, what is the expected number of tracks it will play before the first time it repeats a track?

2. KT stubbornly decides to let the CD (still with n tracks) play in roulette mode until it has played every track at least once, and then press stop. What is the expected number of tracks it will play before KT presses stop?

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