How Hard Can It Possibly Be?

I really should have known better. In last week’s piece on random music player algorithms, I made the rather blasé statement "I can live with it for a while and I can probably resolve the issue by downloading another music player app". Yeah, sure.

Now we all know that assumptions are dangerous. One boss of mine was inordinately fond of the quote "assumptions are the mother of all f*** ups", and he wasn’t wrong. However I really did expect that music players were a relatively mature and stable component of the Android app space.

So how did I get on with trying to download a better random music player? So far, I have downloaded somewhere between 10 and 20 apps. I have discovered:

  • Apps which just don’t start, or which crash immediately
  • Apps which can’t see the SD card on which my music is stored, and insist on randomly playing 3 ringtones
  • Apps which can’t play a lot of my music. Come on guys, WMV format is not exactly "edge".
  • Apps which don’t have a random function, despite the words "random" or "shuffle" in the description
  • Apps which don’t display properly on my phone’s screen
  • Apps which display nicely and seem to have all the functions I need, but where the random function is to start with one song chosen at random, and then just play all the other songs on my device in alphabetic order of title (at least 3 instances of this!)
  • Apps which display nicely and have a decent random function, but then 60% of the time no sound comes out of the headphones when you press "play"
  • Apps which display OK, and appear to have a decent random function, but most of the other advertised functions don’t work

Worse case, I can probably live with the last – I can always use the Sony app for other purposes – and late last night I spent another 5 minutes and maybe, just maybe, I have found one app which will work, albeit with a slightly odd user interface.

But honestly, how hard can it possibly be?


Addendum – Two Months Later

Back to square one after upgrading to Android 8, which actively suppresses WMA files from the shared media index… (See "That Was Too Easy…") I’ve found some more ways you can make this not work. No Jemima, it doesn’t count playing Atomic Kitten, then CCS, then Led Zeppelin,  then AC/DC, if the songs are "Whole Again", "Whole Lotta Love", "Whole Lotta Love" and "Whole Lotta Rosie"!

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