Reverse the Flow of Time on your iPod Shuffle

I’ve been enjoying a variety of podcasts on my iPod Shuffle, from knitting to Sandra Tsing Loh to Italian language lessons. One thing that’s been driving me batty is that when I drop new podcasts onto the iPod, they end up in reverse chronological order (newest first), which is almost always not the order I want them in. Any changes I make to the order (sorting by column or moving podcasts around) are mysteriously lost when I undock the iPod. To judge from the Web, I’m not the only one with this vexation.

Thankfully, Stephen Mielnicki posted the solution (buried in this thread): go into your Podcasts (not on the iPod) and click the “Release Date” column to order them in ascending order, rather than the default descending order. This order will propagate to the iPod, even for podcasts you previously copied over. Useful to know—but unintuitive; the obvious metaphor for the iPod is to treat it like another playlist, and in this case it definitely doesn’t behave like one.

Another thing I learned about the iPod Shuffle while googling is that when you put it in “random play” mode, it deliberately skips over podcasts and audio books. I’d noticed that it never played these things, but figured it was just because they were such a small fraction of the iPod’s contents and therefore had a low probability of being chosen. But this is a nice feature. (Of course, it seems to achieve it merely by looking at file extensions.)