Re: SD Card
I hate to confuse the issue...but just keep in mind that you cannot currently use "shuffle" mode within a folder. It's either a bug or a glaring oversight, depending up how you view it. You can select "browse", then "artist" or "genre" or "playlist" or any of the other choices and use shuffle within the resulting set of tracks, but not so for "folder." You can even do multiple level queries, such as "genre", then "artist", and shuffle mode will work within the resulting set. But, again, not within a simple, user defined folder. So, to me it's a bug. This was not addressed in the most recent update.
By way of example, let's say you drag 250 songs into a "rock" folder on your SD card, but let's say there are 1500 songs on your SD card. If you select "browse", then "folder", then "rock", it will play whichever song you select initially, then continue on in order if you do nothing else. Song count will show "x of 1500" and "x" will depend upon where that specific track is located relative to the other 1499 on the SD card. Skip to the next track and you'll get the next track in the "rock" folder, but in reality, you are just getting the next track on the SD card as a whole. Song count will show "(x+1) of 1500". But, hit "shuffle" and it shuffles the entire 1500 songs, and the song playing will show as 1 of 1500. Skip to the next track and it will be a random choice from the other 1499, not just "rock." Might be "rock", but the odds are 5 out of 6 (1250 of 1500 songs are not rock) that it will not. I hope this is clear enough.
Once this bug gets fixed, NONE of what follows will be necessary. BUT, until then, you must either scrub and consolidate your music's TAG data, or you need a workaround. Or, you just need to be prepared to have "Y.M.C.A" come up at random right after "Back in Black".....If you have a large collection and it is anything like mine, you will have countless different genres listed on different albums that you might all consider to be "rock." "Classic Rock", "Acid Rock", "Hard Rock", "Rock", "Metal", etc. I personally have found it to be too time consuming to try and consolidate the number of genre's used in my music collection, as it is a very tedious process using a TAG editor.
Others might just use smaller SD cards and have a "rock" SD card and a separate "jazz" SD card and so on. It certainly works and is easy enough, but I don't like swapping them in/out.
I use playlists as my workaround. I have a 16GB SD card with approx. 2000 songs on it, set up in 9 different folders that correspond to different playlists. For each of those 9 folders, there is also a corresponding playlist file (.m3u) on the SD card. To continue from the previous example, I have a folder, such as "01-Rock" on my SD card, and it contains everything I consider to be "rock" (in my case about 450 songs, selected without regard for the actual "genre" tag). I can then select "browse", and instead of selecting "folder" and "01-Rock", I select the "playlist" and "01-Rock". I then select an individual track to begin. If I initially select the 10th track on the resulting list, the song count will show "10 of 450". But, if I then hit "shuffle", the song count will change to "1 of 450". Skip to the next track and I get another one of the songs from my rock playlist at random. Works as it should. No danger of my daughter's music getting mixed in with my AC/DC.
I use iTunes and an iTunes script that I downloaded to accomplish this. Once you set it up, it will export the music files and associated playlist file directly to any destination you specify, such as the SD card. Works like a champ.