i(Tunes | Pod) deficiency or Deserves a Pizza #2

July 31st, 2009 by e-thang Leave a reply »

Apple, the reigning champion of “intuitive” design, strikes again has another winner.

“Podcast” is a useless, branded neologism for audio files that come out on a regular basis.  Nevertheless, audio files that come out on a regular basis are enjoyable.  I “subscribe” to the Dave Ramseypodcast.”  I also bike to work.  Those may seem unrelated, but in fact the latter is the cause of the former.

Biking to work falls into the high-risk class of activities, but is closer to the moderate-risk class than, say, sky diving without a parachute.  Folks who don’t bike to work don’t much notice those who do. I’m all for live and let live, but this lack of attention can sometimes break that pattern for bikers.  The point is that just how a pregnant woman has to eat for 2, I have to pay attention for 2, or 3, or 4, depending on how many motorized vehicles cross my path during my commute.  That payment of attention only requires a visual debit, leaving many spare brain cycles during which my mind sits idle.  I like to fill that with sound.  Sound where I learn something is even better.

Enter audio files that come out regularly.  But sometimes I don’t listen to the Dave Ramsey audio files that come out on a regular basis, giving me a backlog.  This means that there’s more than that I haven’t heard.  Now, the genius of mp3 players is that they hold more than 1 song, and mp3 players can, generally, play all their contents without user attention between each track.

Enter the iPod.

Audio files that come out regularly are a magical class of audio file for the iPod.  The iPod, by default, cannot play 1 such audio file and then go on to the next without user interaction.  In fact, at the end of 1 such track, it repeats the same track, even though the menu is showing a list of all availabe Dave Ramsey audio files that come out on a regular basis.  Now, I realize that desiring this feature just means I’m using the iPod wrong, because only holiness emanates from Cupertino.  Nonetheless, academic freedom dictates that I must challenge such dogmas and question all authority.

Assuming all cows are perfect spheres, this as a default behavior makes perfect sense.  And it gets better!  If we define “intuitive” as “difficult” or “requires somewhere-above-average-but-less-than-expert knowledge of system to use,” then Apple has provided an intuitive way to overcome this problem.  This blog post describes the solution.  I mean, who wouldn’t have thought to create a “Smart Playlist” to do something so basic complicated as playing the next track?  Who actually uses their mp3 player that way anyway?

However, if not all cows are, in fact, perfect spheres and we define “intuitive” the same way that Merriam-Webster does, then to get the next track to play, one should just have the next track on the device.  Ergo, this is an Apple fail.


  1. danandchoka deserve a pizza.
  2. The fact that goole has just over 400k hits for “ipod podcast play next” seems to indicate that I’m not alone in this problem.

Besides venting another Apple-related spleen, I wrote this post to bump up danandchoka’s post.  I really did appreciate finding the answer to this problem.


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