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It eats the pain

29 September 2007 21:50

Randomisation is a good thing for media players, but it must be done properly.

What do I mean by this? I mean randomness which only works going forwards.

As an example consider the case where you have several films/videos in a directory and you run this:

xine --loop=shuffle *.mpeg *.avi

This appears to do what you want, showing each film in a random order but it is subtly doing the wrong thing.

If you're watching film "two", having just finished film "five" you'd expect to be able to return to film "five" by pressing "previous"/Page-Up - however that doesn't happen.

Xine decides that "moving backwards" in the playlist means selecting another film at random, rather than the previously viewed film which was selected at random - the two are different - and the current behaviour is both counter-intuitive and plain wrong IMHO.

I forget the name of the media player that I used briefly which also behaved like this, but it was enough to make me abandon it almost immediately.

So, think of the children. If you have a random mode, make sure that going to previous items actually does return to previously played items and not random ones.

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