I thought that perhaps the reason why my iPod Shuffle wouldn't shuffle was that I had created the directory structure and loaded the files using gtkpod rather than iTunes. To test this theory, I wiped everything from the iPod's filesystem, started up VMware with Windows XP, installed iTunes, and loaded about three albums of music onto my iTunes-initialized iPod. I disconnected the Shuffle, switched to shuffle mode, and pressed play. Nothing. Back in linear mode, it works fine.
As a new consumer of Apple products, I'm not terribly impressed. The end cap on my shuffle doesn't quite fit correctly. When it's on, I can feel the raised edge where the cap meets the Shuffle. It's not a big deal, but it doesn't live up to the expectation that Apple products are engineered to perfection. It definitely falls short of the excellence achieved by the Tivo Remote, for example.
I'll probably stop into an Apple store to see if they'll replace my defective Shuffle. I'm not expecting much, though. My friend, Randy, is on his second defective iPod. His current one is having a battery problem and (from what I overheard in the cubicle farm), even though it is still under warranty, Apple wants him to pay $30 to ship it to them.
The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else. - Frederic Bastiat