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Friday, April 16, 2004

In the fat part of the curve

So, I thought I was having a big revelation, all by myself, when I discovered the pleasures of Random Shuffle on my iPod. How silly of me to think my experience is unique.

Wired pops my bubble:

    Napster revolutionized music distribution, but massive libraries of digital music and capacious players like the iPod are upending listening habits through something very simple but profound: random shuffle.

    When music lovers first discover the iPod, or software like Winamp or iTunes, they often rhapsodize about the joys of randomly shuffling tracks.
    "I have seen the future, and it is called Shuffle," writes Alex Ross, the New Yorker's music critic, who seems to have recently acquired an iPod.

    Stuffy old listening habits -- like listening to albums from beginning to end -- are being thrown out in favor of allowing machines to choose songs at random, which often leads to unexpected, and magical, juxtapositions of music.

Then, this guy comes along to kick me when I'm down:
    James Kellaris, a professor of marketing at the University of Cincinnati and author of a study about tunes that stick in your head, said the appeal of random shuffle is likely generational.

    Kellaris said random shuffle likely appeals to the MTV generation -- kids with short attention spans who are likely "brain damaged."

Oh great. Like I needed to hear that the same week I hear this:

    People who drink the equivalent of three large glasses of wine a night can suffer brain damage similar to that seen in chronic alcoholics, research suggests.

    Scientists found that people who consumed more than 100 drinks a month — around 130 units — suffered from loss of memory, reduced intelligence, poor balance and impaired mental agility.

While not getting too personal, let's just say I'm within striking distance of that 100/month.

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