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  #1  
Old 12-15-2008, 03:59 PM
Nicole Nicole is offline
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Default Oddities with Shuffle mode? (The Werezenwolf-Workaround)

I have owned my Zen 32gb for about 6 months now. At first I thought it was just my imagination, but...

Has anyone else noticed that shuffle mode tends to play the same songs more frequently? BUT -- if you reformat the player, you start getting a different set of songs?

Purely for my own curiosity, I formatted the Zen and created a playlist with 50 songs. I then played the first 10 songs of that playlist (well, forwarded through it) every day for a couple of weeks, and there were 19 songs which were ALWAYS played in the first 10 songs. I couldn't find any common thread among the songs.

Needless to say, shuffle isn't very shuffle if it keeps playing the same stuff and this is really starting to annoy me. Is this an undocumented feature, or is my Zen possessed?
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  #2  
Old 12-15-2008, 06:02 PM
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It's been that way with all my Creative players.
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Old 12-15-2008, 06:09 PM
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Yeah, for as long as I can remember, Creative players have been known for this. The new Zen X-Fi suffers from the same, although the latest firmware release helped a bit, but not much.
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:50 AM
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How annoying. At least it isn't ME and I have company! The longer I have this Zen the less I like it. It gets a 10 for potential and about a 6 for execution... and no apparent desire on the part of Creative to fix the software flaws and limitations.

It might be in the Classifieds section soon. I need more (integrated) storage anyway. Alas, nothing seems to fit my "perfect player" wishlist.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicole View Post
and no apparent desire on the part of Creative to fix the software flaws and limitations.
Especially now that the Zen X-Fi is out.

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Originally Posted by Nicole View Post
Alas, nothing seems to fit my "perfect player" wishlist.
Ahhh, the never-ending search for the perfect player....
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  #6  
Old 12-16-2008, 10:54 AM
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Yeah, I know, grumble, grumble, grumble. Familiarity breeds contempt.

Looking at the competition, the reality is I'd probably buy the 32GB Zen again if I had to replace it today. If only they'd fix the firmware/ I am certainly not coughing up money for the X-Fi as a rather dubious upgrade.

Ah well, I'll go shopping again with the 64GB and 128GB flash players start arriving. If they ever do.
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  #7  
Old 12-16-2008, 10:57 AM
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Ah well, I'll go shopping again with the 64GB and 128GB flash players start arriving. If they ever do.
It would be nice if the 64GB devices started showing their faces.... it's been over a year that the 32GB Zen has been around. Come on 64GB... where are you????
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Old 12-16-2008, 01:03 PM
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It would be nice if the 64GB devices started showing their faces.... it's been over a year that the 32GB Zen has been around. Come on 64GB... where are you????
My guess would be that the 32GB flash players aren't selling well enough to make the execs consider a 64GB a worthy gamble to go up against the 80GB hard drive based players. I personally think that's a mistake -- the flash based players have many pros versus the hard disk ones, and I think a lot of HD MP3 buyers would cough up the extra money for the flash format if the flash storage starting getting into the sizes they needed.

I'd be surprised if the plans aren't done and on the table to waiting for 64GB flash chips to come down in price. Never mind the premium on 128GB's around the corner.

But hey, I don't run an electronics company, so what do I know? They could at least toss us a few rumors and vaporous release dates.
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  #9  
Old 12-16-2008, 01:07 PM
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My guess would be that the 32GB flash players aren't selling well enough to make the execs consider a 64GB a worthy gamble to go up against the 80GB hard drive based players.
That and the premium price for the higher capacity. It would be nice to hear something, but if it isn't correct information, I don't really care to be led on.
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  #10  
Old 12-16-2008, 09:20 PM
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If you are willing to work a little, this is how I've dealt with the shuffle problem:

Using WMP create a 5GB random auto-playlist and sync it to your player. Set your player to Random Play-All.

After you get tired of that, re-sync the random playlist.

Seems to me that I get a fresh set every time.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:52 PM
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Way to bring the thread back on topic there werezenwolf. Very nice work-around.
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  #12  
Old 12-17-2008, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by werezenwolf View Post
Using WMP create a 5GB random auto-playlist and sync it to your player. Set your player to Random Play-All.
I already use lots of auto playlists, and then shuffle through those lists.

I rarely sync, though -- WMP doesn't do a very good job of it and I end up with a lot of duplicates on the player. The only solution is to delete all the files off the player (which usually means fighting with the player locking up every 2 minutes and then biting the bullet and reformatting... which means setting up the WMP sync again.) Hours of time. So I sync about every month maybe.

Other than the player locking up with large file delete operations -- which happens no matter which method I use -- this appears to be a WMP problem, not a Zen problem.

I've played with WinAMP (hate it) and am trying to like MediaMonkey, but so far I hate it, too. I can't see a thing my little laptop screen and I can't find my stuff easily, which makes no sense of a program touted as a solution for people with big collections. For all it's other faults, WMP's fuzzy search engine rocks.

Yeah, I'm quite the complainer lately it seems. It may not sound like it, but the suggestions are welcome; they give me ideas. Perhaps I could recreate my playlists and then manually replace them on the device with Windows Explorer?

Maybe it's the software developer in me, but I HATE coming up with workarounds for poor software when all they need is a new random algorithm.
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  #13  
Old 12-17-2008, 09:14 AM
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I rarely sync, though -- WMP doesn't do a very good job of it and I end up with a lot of duplicates on the player.
If you're getting duplicates on the player, is it possible that the tracks are in the WMP library twice? That happened to me in the past, annoying me enough that I erased the whole library and all the music from my hard drive. Re-loading it all from my back-up DVD's let me see where I had dupe files. MediaMonkey , as I discovered later, will show you your files with duplicate title or content....dupe title could be from a studio and live album, but dupe content is what it is. Hopefully this is of some help to ya
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  #14  
Old 12-17-2008, 09:27 AM
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No, no duplicate files. I did a *thorough* house cleaning before even getting an PMP. I prefer the term detail oriented, although I've been accused of less friendly adjectives.

I do have songs with the same name (i.e. by different artists or just the same title or multiple albums with the same song by the same artist as a re-release, remix, live version, etc.), but the duplicates on the media player don't seem to match. And it's not the same songs re-duplicating each time.

Sometimes I suspect the file metatags get slightly modified on the computer and this causes the mis-match, but I haven't been able to pin it down. Not that it really matters -- I think if I change a tag or a rating or something WMP should update the player, not send a second copy of the file.
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  #15  
Old 12-17-2008, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicole View Post
WMP doesn't do a very good job of it and I end up with a lot of duplicates on the player. The only solution is to delete all the files off the player (which usually means fighting with the player locking up every 2 minutes and then biting the bullet and reformatting... which means setting up the WMP sync again.) Hours of time.
You could also try resetiing WMP's database. From the FAQ:

Quote:
How do you reset the WMP database for syncing?

(Make sure that you have your media files on the ZVM backed up because you will need to reformat it so you won't end up with all duplicate files.)

1. Make sure no WMP services are running.
2. Make sure no WMP programs are running (check Task Manager).
3. Close IE, Firefox, etc.; bascially anything that can have a WMP plug-in in use.
4. Follow directions from this site.

I also think that if you stop monitoring your music folder(s) in WMP, close WMP, re-open WMP, reset the monitoring of the music folder(s), it should rebuild it's database.
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Perhaps I could recreate my playlists and then manually replace them on the device with Windows Explorer?
From the FAQ:

Quote:
About Playlists:

Playlists are stored as ZPL files (Zen Playlist) on the Zen. In order to get playlists to show/play on the Zen, they either have to be created on the Zen itself (creates ZPL file), using software like the Creative Playlist Wizard (which reads and creates the playlists on the device directly; again creates ZPL file), or using sync/conversion software (initiates creation of ZPL file from compatible M3U file).

I don't think there is really a data conversion taking place, but more so a newly created database entry on the Zen that points to the corresponding data based off of what is read from the recognized playlist file. The ZPL files on the Zen are basically zero-byte files which means they really don't exist in the sense of files that contain data, but more so contain pointers for the Zen's database to the audio files already stored on the Zen. This is also why I believe if you move the ZPL file from the Zen to the computer and then back to the Zen again, it loses the necessary information for the database to correctly associate and you get an unassociated file that doesn't do anything.

I believe the only way to create a ZPL playlist file is during a sync when the database is in the "writable" state to create them itself based off of the existing compatible playlist files or using software (like the Creative Playlist Wizard) that speaks the same language and can communicate directly with the database.
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Maybe it's the software developer in me, but I HATE coming up with workarounds for poor software when all they need is a new random algorithm.
Sometimes, that is all you have are work-arounds. Better then dealing with a non-workable problem.
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  #16  
Old 12-17-2008, 10:44 AM
Nicole Nicole is offline
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Hmmm. I'll try reseting the WMP database. Can't hurt. I backed up all my files last night anway.

Interesting reading about the playlists, since the actual playlists files also get transferred to the Zen.

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Sometimes, that is all you have are work-arounds. Better then dealing with a non-workable problem.
So true!
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  #17  
Old 12-17-2008, 12:07 PM
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...since the actual playlists files also get transferred to the Zen.
The actual files themselves don't get transferred, but more so the data in them is defined within the ZPL file created by the Zen's database as a playlist pointer.
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  #18  
Old 12-17-2008, 12:19 PM
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The actual files themselves don't get transferred, but more so the data in them is defined within the ZPL file created by the Zen's database as a playlist pointer.
They get transferred on mine - I can see them when I browse the Zen in Windows Explorer. The Zen may not be using them, but they're there and after I format they get put back on.

Hmmmmmm... next time I have a few hours to kill I may need to format the Zen, set up a sync with another audio program, and see what happens. But first, I'll rebuild the WMP library to see if I can stop those duplicate files form getting created when I sync.
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  #19  
Old 12-17-2008, 12:22 PM
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They get transferred on mine - I can see them when I browse the Zen in Windows Explorer. The Zen may not be using them, but they're there and after I format they get put back on.
Yes, you should see the ZPL files, like stated above, that contain the playlist information from the compatible playlist file from the sync and not the actual M3U (or other compatible format) file.
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  #20  
Old 12-17-2008, 03:06 PM
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Nope. .pla files.
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