Posted On: Saturday - March 5th 2022 9:19PM MST
In Topics:   Music  Humor  Cars  Media Stupidity  Artificial Stupidity
This story is funny on a few levels, one of them, the irony level, heard best up at 11. So, turn it up!
In early February of this year, various '14-'17 built Mazda models had lockups of their "Infotainment"* consoles. Those consoles run lots of the controls and almost all the features on modern cars. Actually, it was more like continual rebooting due to an error and forcing the drivers to listen to NPR. Hahhhaa, more details in minute...
Peak Stupidity has railed on the "smart" everythings under this Artificial Stupidity topic key plenty of times, and How much electronics do we need? is one on artificial stupidity in cars in particular. We also have posts about people's extreme reliance on GPS rather than things like maps and signs.
It kind of comes together in this story, as the cause of the problems was from digital radio. Maybe this is obvious, but I never put much thought into where those song titles and album cover images that appear on the console screens when one listens to the radio come from. They are just files sent digitally along with the music signals. I've found more technically detailed articles about this bug, but this The Verge article gives us the basic info that the (or "an") image file from the Seattle NPR station KUOX was missing an extension (such as .jpg). The software in those Mazda model-year's electronics did not have the proper error checking, so the whole units will crash and start up again. It must be that the radios return to the station last listened to (that's smart, but it used to be you just didn't touch the knob or pushbuttons), but that's as far as I got into the details.
The other features will not work**, and the radio would do nothing but play NPR station KUOX. Some users, or that'd be DRIVERS, reported they couldn't even listen to CDs, the back-up camera wouldn't work, and (not in the article linked-to here), even the GPS wouldn't work. OMG! How would you get anywhere?
If an unexpected software bug was going to affect a city, wouldn't you expect it to be Seattle? And, if it's going to affect Mazda drivers in Seattle, wouldn't being stuck on NPR be pretty much the best outcome?
The Verge writer Umar Shakir is begging for an updating system for these car consoles. Personally, I don't think I want to drive a car that DOES updates. If my console is busted, I could, like, think thoughts in my head, look at signs, follow the map I brought and just freaking drive, not operate a computer! I can do that at home.
Long ago, in "All Things Considered", it's been a long road to Peak Stupidity, we discussed NPR radio (oops, is it small letters only "npr", now?). The commentators are left-wing as all hell, but they are very soothing about it. It's quiet and calm, pretty much the opposite of a hip-hop station, with that White Wokey goodness.
What I'd be most worried about, having my radio bricked to KUOX - npr, is my safety. That stuff will put you right out, not something you want on the open road ... It ought to rile you up and get your blood boiling as they are completely against your conservative traditions, but since they talk so nicely... soothing ... no, we are Socialists and hate your kind, but we don't rant or yell about it ... we like listeners like you ... we're just trying to calmly explain that ... yeah, and this one, Nina Totenberg maybe, sounds so educated ... like a young sociology graduate student... perhaps she works at the campus library when she's not on the air ... maybe a bit shy, she should probably take off the glasses and... not sure what she's talking about ... I bet she would look nice in the right outfit... yeah, something about equity ... there between the stacks in the reference section way in the back... oops, sorry Nina, I dropped that world equity atlas ... do you mind ...
HONEY, WATCH THE ROAD!! WERE YOU ASLEEP! AND WHY ARE YOU RED IN THE FACE?!
Speaking of bricks, yeah, this Ben Folds Five song is a sad one, but very good.
We can't end the blog-week on such a sad note, so here a much more upbeat song off of the same 1997 album, Whatever and Ever, Amen, from this Chapel Hill, N. Carolina band. This one is called Kate.
Thanks for reading and writing, Peakers! More of the tail end of the Kung Flu stupidity next week, at least one more post on the war that we are trying to avoid writing about, and maybe that Georgia Guidestones stuff? I don't know. Have a peaceful Sunday.
* The article that I link to here even uses that word.
** I wonder if the environmental control system only works off this panel too.