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rio car dot org FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Category: Main -> Software and player operation questions
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·  Why do the visuals disappear every time I put it in the car? 
·  I just got my new player and I have many gigs of MP3s to install. Is there anything I need to keep in mind? 
·  Why can't I add more than one song at a time? 
·  What does the flashing LED on the faceplate mean? 
·  Do I have to put the player into standby mode before I pull the plug? 
·  Can I copy MP3 files back onto my PC from the player? 
·  Is there anything I should keep in mind when I grab files from the player? 
·  Can I back up the player's playlists and music files? 
·  What is the best way to organize and listen to my music? 
·  How can I keep my PC and my car player in perfect synch? 
·  How do I upgrade the firmware on the player, and will it erase my music files? 
·  Is it bad for the player if it gets too hot or too cold? 
·  Do I have to use the remote, or can I do everything from the front panel? 
·  What do all the buttons do? 
·  What's this I hear about a 'Stun/Kill' button on the remote control? 
·  What is a parametric EQ, and what does the 'Q' parameter do? 
·  Where can I download a list of EQ presets? 
·  How do I know what the hard disk is doing? 
·  Does disk space get wasted if I make a second copy of a song in a different playlist? 
·  What about editing/renaming multiple copies of the same song? 
·  How can I be sure that I've deleted all copies of a given song? 
·  How do I make albums play in the correct order? 
·  How do the Tweak Order functions work? 
·  How does the 'Ignore as Child' option work? 
·  What in the world is a 'Wendy Filter'? 
·  How do the Bookmarks work? 
·  Can I delete songs from the player's front panel? 
·  How can I tell which tracks I have marked with the 'Mark' key? 
·  What search terms can I use in the Advanced Search box in Emplode? 
·  What is this 'Soup View' I hear other people talking about? 
·  What do the little letters mean on the Info:Track screen? 
·  When I move the player between the car and the house, what does it do differently? 
·  Are there any 'Easter Eggs' in the player? 
·  What do the various symbols mean on the 'Aux Info' screen? 
·  Can I reset the number of plays and other statistics? 

·  Why does it play clusters of artists or albums?
 (Entry last updated on June 16th, 2003)

It doesn't. At least not on purpose, and not because of any bugs in its randomization routines.

Assuming the following...

  • You have selected "Random" as its shuffle mode instead of one of the weighted shuffles, and you're really shuffling the whole contents of the player.

  • Your collection is reasonably varied; you're not talking about an artist who takes up a majority of your collection, like all the Rush albums in my collection.

  • Your collection is large enough so that you can reasonably expect a pretty good random shuffle each time. Say, a couple thousand songs at least.

  • You're not doing something special to the playlists to cause certain artists to be weighted differently than others. Such as deactivating the "de-dupe" feature, or using the special features of the playlists to deliberately skew the weighting.

... then the shuffle is truly random and it does not cluster artists or albums any more than it should.

What we're talking about here is perception. Any time the player plays a few songs by the same artist within, say, a stretch of ten songs in one sitting, you're automatically going to complain and say, "This thing's playing nothing but Rush today, it must be a bug."

But that's just your perception based on that particular session. Maybe your "session" was ten songs while driving to and from work that day. Or maybe even a few hours' worth of songs on a long drive. For any given subsection of a large shuffle, any perceived patterns which happen to fall into that session will stand out as unusual. Like four aces coming up in a row at the blackjack table; your immediate reaction is to assume the dealer is cheating.

But what you're not seeing is the actual random distribution of the sample across the whole set. At the blackjack table, you don't see the entire shoe of all six decks at once, you only see one hand's worth of cards at a time. Likewise, you never hear the entire player's song shuffle in one sitting. So patterns that appear in that short sample aren't representative of the true distribution across the entire shuffle set.

When you look at the kinds of sample criteria that you're seeing in the car player (usually a few thousand total songs, with a few albums by each artist, and about a dozen songs in each album), then it turns out that the kinds of patterns that you'd perceive as unusual are not only possible, but they're actually statistically frequent. Even unusual patterns, like "combs" of artists (Rush song, 2 random songs, Rush song, 2 random songs, etc.) are common with this kind of sample set.

Still not convinced? Jeff Sylvester, in a discussion on the Unofficial Empeg BBS, wrote a program to graph this very phenomenon. With this program, you can clearly see how a truly random distribution will produce exactly these kinds of perceived "patterns".

·  How do I cancel out of a synch? 
·  How do I skip to the next album or the next playlist? 
·  What is a FID? 
·  What happens during a synch, and what do the stage numbers mean? 
·  Can I use a USB-to-serial converter dongle with the player? 
·  What are some other good tricks for using the player? 

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