“Between 1/24-1/31, a radio station in the Seattle area sent image files with no extension, which caused an issue on some 2014-2017 Mazda vehicles with older software,” the Mazda statement said. “Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) has distributed service alerts advising dealers of the issue.”
The statement goes on to say that “dealers are currently experiencing parts delays due to shipping constraints” and that MNAO plans to “support impacted customers with replacement parts. These customers should contact their local Mazda dealer who can submit a goodwill request to the Mazda Warranty department on their behalf, order the parts, and schedule a free repair when the parts arrive.”
The Mazda representative did not reply to GeekWire’s follow-up questions about what actually malfunctioned in these vehicles and what parts would need to be replaced.
Ah, here you go:
(I retrofitted CarPlay support to mine via an upgrade Mazda offered a couple years after I got the car and I think that closed off access to tweaking, but I forget. I’m generally happy with the UI but I wish it booted faster. It’s a good 1-2 minutes after starting the car before it’s responsive.)
JCI sold that business to Visteon in 2014.
By the way. Thanks for reminding me. I looked at the site and they now have support for wireless Android Auto. So I might just be able to ditch the somewhat unreliable connection with the cable.
Even then it was a nearly invisible problem for the podcast itself, not something that would have been significant enough to investigate and correct for if that wasn't also content for the show.
If so, just include a payload in the title that fixes the bug by patching the code :)
HackRF + open source DAB modulation stack + <carefully chosen combination of ASCII characters> = OTA... DoS? Jailbreak? Other miscellaneous interestingness?
In an age where everything's a computer, FM radio is just just another source of unsanitised input.
The original articles issue is a HD Radio (not DAB) issue to do with images, although it might still be a string parse issue of some kind as it apparently involves "image files with no extension", so presumably filenames? So the RF side can indeed be fun on consumer electronics with modern digital standards. Another example is this claimed RCE over DVB-T: https://twitter.com/David3141593/status/1481963959532011520
I agree, this is a problem for the makers of the broken radio. But Roman Mars is just a nice guy.
I started to unsubscribe every podcast with annoying ads or hosted at megaphone.fm, but I'm in minority.
When I first loaded my music collection, it stuck in a reboot loop, so I have a script that sanitizes the metadata for exporting to my car
TLDR: The problem is the `% In`, and specifically the `%n` - when printf sees that, it tries to store data in memory. Failing to do so, it crashes.
I read  which someone linked to, and it all seems to make sense. But it doeesn't!
I tried compiling this with gcc 11.2.0:
printf("%99 Invisible", NULL);
test.c: In function ‘main’:
test.c:5:14: warning: unknown conversion type character ‘ ’ in format [-
5 | printf("%99 Invisible", NULL);
test.c:5:10: warning: too many arguments for format [-Wformat-extra-args]
5 | printf("%99 Invisible", NULL);
Removing the cruft and trying plain %In gives a warning, but I guess whoever built the car's radio UI ignores warnings.
I guess it's possible that the system doesn't use a standard-compliant enough C library, so it's printf() implementation does something ... creative with this string.
Anyway, classic case of the lovely foot-gunnery that is %n in the wild! Sorry for all the car owners, of course. :/
EDIT: A commenter pointed out that the above are "just warnings", oops. :) More oops on me for not spelling the freaking title correctly, of course it's "99%" and not "%99" .. .need more coffee, clearly. Sorry.
For people less used to C, the error here more or less seems to boil down to passing an untrusted string as the special "format string" for the printf() function. That function will interpret the contents of the string, and the percent symbol is how its special formatting directives start. Characters following a percent symbol will cause it to do stuff. The proper fix is usally to change
"99% Invisible" produces the expected result: https://godbolt.org/z/Mc9zPKWdq
Just are just warnings, it builds fine despite them.
There's an NRSC-5 encoder floating around on Github, if you want to try your hand at it. Notably, it was implemented by an infosec firm, presumably because more garbage code like this is lurking everywhere, and it never gets proper testing because HD Radio is proprietary and its creators never intended an open-source encoder to exist. (To the point of hiding all sorts of details about the codec, but some educated guesses and comparison to similar codecs seem to have paid off.)
So, in this case it just crashes the radios so they boot-loop, but how long until someone figures out a payload that can do more damage?
But, I'm honestly more surprised that it's a Mazda specific issue. I would have expected for the same bug to hit multiple infotainment systems.
The moment I switch into reverse the camera forcibly takes over the infotainment screen. You can occasionally see the signal flicker when the switch happens.
But also… a backup camera is hardly critical equipment. It’s there for situational awareness (and a good idea), but doesn’t replace the mirror. And since nobody drives in reverse at high speed, stopping is always an option if it malfunctions.
That's my cue ;)
The Netherlands used to have national championships reverse driving for many years on the official race track at Zandvoort (part of the Formula 1 circuit).
Brakes are critical, steering is critical. Reverse and everything that entails is not.
I think that take precedence over your idiosyncratic definition of what is critical.
Edit: I really don’t understand why I’m getting downvotes on this. Is it because people are so glad the federal government is in their bathroom making these “critical” decisions for you?
My point is that the federal government makes all kinds of decisions that are obviously not “critical,” and that includes in the auto industry.
The statistic is that every year, in the U.S. alone, over 2000 kids are run over by vehicles reversing. I had to read what you wrote a half-dozen times, but in hindsight the dissonance makes perfect sense.
You are correct that in general the automotive OEM's farm out the various components of the vehicle to suppliers. In that case, they probably also have some sort of support contract in place that ensures the supplier will address issues like this in a timely manner for the duration of the warranty period for the vehicles it is included in.
I sure would be pissed if I had a car with a backup camera and something like this bricked the big center screen in my car, however.
And to make it more fun, our car has an overlay on the left edge with a top down view of the sensors around the car. That one blocks the view completely in that edge. And has a black background window that slowly fades away.
By your logic we could also hand everybody heroin and an assault rifle and abolish most laws, people watch TV after all and therefore can be taught not to do bad things.
In addition, the existence of kids who are capable of naming themselves must mean that other kids should be bumper mush. This is the only way to preserve the American Way.
A bigger rear window wouldn't have let me see the toddler who'd wandered a short distance off from his parents in a car park and was standing right behind my car.
It also enables auto-parking and other enhancements while not inhibiting anyone that wants to perform those functions manually.
My hatchback has about the best you could get (and they don't sell it here anymore) and I still added a backup camera, it's very useful.
I've caught myself just backing up without thinking about it in the car with the backup camera. never done that in the old-school mirrors car.
I don't know if there are any studies that back up backup cameras.
And decided it was worth it. (If my experience told me anything: Probably under some pressure of marketing or C-level)
Cars where it can't are inferior.
Sometimes though, firmware can't be flashed by dealers (due to not booting), and then they'll swap the unit, and the old unit will be flashed and given to someone else.
Might be worth hiding an airtag taped to the circuit board!
If that's not a sign that people are making the simplest things Way More Complicated Than Necessary(tm) I don't know what is.
>Station Logos use file-naming conventions with version numbers (this is accomplished in the image client). This is useful for storing and cataloging station logo images in the receiver.
> It is critical that the station call sign be transmitted correctly. Station Logos follow a file-naming convention that includes the station call sign. This way the receiver can quickly read the call sign and determine if the Station Logo is already archived for immediate display. The filename for a Station Logo includes the station call sign, the program number, and the version number.
Sounds like they didn't sanitize their inputs. This is going to be a huge hassle for everyone involved.
Hacking digital equipment is a very creative job as many will know and the one's who have the most experience are the military, been doing to other country's before consumer electronics made it possible to hack their own population.
I cant even say follow the money because alot of countries can and do print what they like.
If this is what could happen when you omit a dot, good luck if there's a malicious payload. Infotainment systems generally won't get the safety critical audits/oversight that other car systems would get.
2016 was apparently a good year for Mazda infotainment systems.
The worst part is that the car owner was told that a firmware update would “likely” fix it but they would have to pay for it.
Just make sure to adjust your schedule so you're on the road at the appropriate half hour time slots for your tastes and I'd say "bug closed"!
NPR listener demographics disagree. http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/wnmu/files/MasterMedi...
What a cool program if you think about it. I wish more highschool was tangible skills like that.
It has nothing to do with 5G, which is a cell technology. 5G has low (600-900MHz) medium (microwave) and high ("mm wave"), and is far away from broadcast FM frequencies (USA is 88-108MHz)
I think people have even managed to side load electron apps on it.
Mazda’s CMU may be the closest thing to DD-WRT in a car that you can get, but confess I’m not too familiar with what else might compete for that title.
* You enable "LOCAL" mode, this should ignore those AFs broadcasted by stations which would switch to another station broadcasting a different program (it's actually more complicated, for brevity simplified). Not all head units HU offer this setting.
* You disable the AF-feature of your HU.
* KQRS should stop broadcasting this AF
After reading this I started to wonder if it might be something similar/related.
I even thought of removing the antenna as I never use radio anyway. Have you done anything about your issue that you can recommend?
My God, the horror.
I have done some basic fiddling with SDR but am not at all competent.
Many Seattleites would also be happy if it were stuck on KEXP.
I feel like the invisible degradation of responsiveness in TV and radio is an un-noticed contributor to their decline. Most of the time I don't bother even scannig the airwaves when I get to a new town cause it's too annoying.
More generally it seems like when industries are growing, there is competition in this kind of area, but later on this dies off. I wonder if there's a structural reason for this?
Also, one thing to remember is that FM radios have been "digital" for quite some time. I'm not talking about HD radio or DAB receivers. FM demodulation chips have existed for a long time (TDA7000 came out in 1983). They handle tuning, demodulation, and amplification all-in-one. The only slow part would be whatever microcontroller has to manage the interface in the receiver. You can even get FM transceiver chips dirt cheap like the one that is in the infamous Baofeng ham radio. It's got one chip doing all of the radio work.
The volume knob doesn't respond until about 8 seconds later.
I'm sure you can imagine situations (like in a driveway such as mine, where the neighbor's bedroom window directly overlooks it) where what was appropriate at 3pm when I got home, is not appropriate at 3am next time I start the car...
Being able to lower the volume should be immediate, and it should be obvious in their testings...
If they ever tested infotainment systems of course.
They simply never power of the Head Units, even if they go dark. And I am not talking of the constant power feature head units head since forever but the CPU actually doing stuff. Most of the time the satellite data is held fresh to give you an immediate position fix if requested.
If you completely detach it from power you would notice that there is a startup time.
The biggest thing that helped was realizing that the battery dies when the key fob was hung up with our other keys. Coincidentally, this was exactly the right distance for the car to constantly wake and sleep itself as it thought the key fob was entering and leaving its vicinity. Between adequate key fob faraday cages, making sure the interior lights are in the automatic or off position, and making sure all the doors are closed we haven't had a dead battery in a while.
What a pain in the ass.
AT1846S Single-Chip Transceiver
RDA 5802N Single-Chip Broadcast FM Radio Tuner
You’re totally correct. I just wanted to clarify the various ways that radio can decode FM digitally. Please correct me if I’m mistaken. I’m still real new to this world.
I don't think that's much of a contributor. It's just really easy now to bring your own music (or podcast, or audiobook, or...) to the car with you via your phone, and I suspect people generally prefer to listen to their own curated music (or music a streaming service has curated for them) rather than putting up with radio ads, songs they don't like, etc. Just about the only benefit to listening to the radio would be to stumble upon new music, but you can do that with streaming services too. I guess some people like to listen to talk radio (NPR and the like), but most of that stuff is also available online.
I still have a fairly old car with an analog radio, and I haven't used it in at least 5 (but probably closer to 10) years.
Ditto for TV: the on-demand experience via Netflix (etc.) is just so much better than watching regular network or cable TV. Why would I subject myself to having to be in front of the TV at a particular time on a particular day to watch what I want to watch? Honestly, it baffles me that the standard cable TV model still even exists. Obviously the Comcasts of the world still make enough money off of it to make it worthwhile to sell, but it just seems like an entirely poor experience no matter how you look at it.
Maybe your comparison of live vs streaming TV is skewed because it takes so long to start a new stream that it's hard to imagine browsing content directly, instead of trying to imagine the content from movie posters.
Some codecs do reorder frames for efficiency though (H.264 can be 10 frames out of order but realistically only goes up to 3), which means you have to decode a few before displaying the start frame.
This benefit has gone down a lot since the late 90s. There's a nice wikipedia article on it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_homogenization
That said, I recommend listening to college radio wherever you are. I truly love the station from my hometown, WHRW broadcasting from Binghamton University. What a strange and beautiful melange.
I tracked him down one time, and asked if his shows were recorded. He said nope. I had made a few recordings of his shows, and sadly the rest is surely lost to history.
I found out that listening to the radio gets you lots of excellent unknown-unknowns when it comes to music, especially if you listen to public radio (which, in my country, has almost no ads). For example, during my last trip I remember that tuning in to the arts-oriented public radio station got me the chance of listening to some great tango classical music which I would have never thought of purposefully listen to.
I'm 100% with you when it comes to TV, the cable signal broke or something (some decoding stuff, can't tell) a couple of years ago and I didn't bother calling in the TV cable guys to look at it and fix it. It is quite excellent. We do have Netflix, which we spend some time on but not that much lately, plus I do have a TV-sports station subscription which I use for major events (like the Olympics right now). For sports I have to be careful though not to visit any sports website that day in order not to have the results revealed too early (I generally do not watch the events live).
And I could never have been a Dish/DirectTV subscriber because the lag to change channels absolutely kills me.
There's a UX lesson here somewhere.
Especially in cars I vastly prefer mechanical controls for things like the stereo.
Fast forward to today, and I recently bought a streaming radio component for my stereo. I programmed in the local station URLs, turned one on, and was aghast - TSC was still running the same goddamned ads, again and again and again. For 40 years.
So much for streaming Seattle radio stations. Blech.
P.S. You people from California know what I mean. Remember Cal Worthington? He drove me away from watching late night TV. I moved to Seattle to get away from Cal Worthington. Then he opened up a dealership in Seattle. Oh, misery. The DVR kept me out of the insane asylum.
In addition to our friends in the diamond business, we also had Jack Roberts Appliance who was less offensive than the others.
But I dearly loved the old Ivar's commercials. That man knew how to advertise. I'd always go out of my way to eat at Ivar's just because. He was always "fresh" :-)
Rainier Beer also knew how to do ads right. I always picked Rainier because of their amusing commercials.
That's the trick. Everyone in the country knows them, but thinks they're local because the ads are so boring. It's a chain!
If the KGB ever needed a false confession from me, they'd know just what to do. I'd fold like a cardboard box left in the rain.
They aren't the same. Also some of the ads included his daughter too. He seems like a nice guy.
I know he sounds like a nice guy. He probably is. But overdoing anything becomes torture after a while. I'll never buy anything from his company, and I won't listen to any radio stations that incessantly run his ads.
The same thing happens when hit radio plays the same hit song 3 times an hour. It isn't long before one starts to hate the song. Decades later, I still hate those songs. I used to like the new "Rasputin" cover. Radio killed it dead for me.
Can you imagine being one of those aging rock bands on tour, and all your fans want to hear are the songs you played 50 years ago? I'd slit my throat.
Frustratingly, my Toyota Corolla will start up the radio immediately, but the on/off/volume control doesn't work for several seconds. If someone in my family left the radio blasting, I'm left mashing the button repeatedly until it kicks in. Ugh.
The Company Execs already know the product and don't need to be told about it. But a jingle and a joke might close the advert sale.
This is the natural end result of a totally free market.
Step 1: Competion, therefore consumers are looked after
Step 2: Some companies are "winning" the competition more than others, some of them buy the "losing" companies.
Repeat until there's just one big player and they can charge whatever they want for whatever they can be bothered making available to people.
You have to hope the FTC steps in and stops one company just buying all of its competition forever.
One night we were hit with some severe storms and I decided it was worth it to have an antenna and converter for emergencies. Did some research, purchased a box from a friend and a decent antenna, hooked everything up, turned it on, and 5 minutes later tore it all down again.
I'd gone too long without it and lost all tolerance for commercials.
(My experience is with Vizio's WatchFree+, but the shows are syndicated so I don't think there's much difference from one offering to the next)
"Punch a button" was only an option once you'd already saved that preset - no difference to the later digital version.
I was looking for a link to one, and it turns out that even some 1950's radios had a "wonderbar" signal seeker:
While I usually don't bother scanning for new stations when I go to a new town, that's because I'm listening to music (or podcasts) with my phone. I don't even listen to broadcast radio in my home town.
About the only time I listen to broadcast radio is in a rental car and that's only because I don't bother pairing my phone with the car unless I'm going to be in it for a few days (and I always unpair and/or reset the pairing settings when I return it).
The train slowed down in the late 90s and consolidation of syndication and station ownership picked up. Now a few companies own everything and they’ll pump every dollar until the spectrum is turned over to cellular.
Also I own a 2012 BMW and its infotainment system works just fine. If the car is coming from deep sleep it takes like 5 seconds to start but it shows the BMW logo and it's a nice touch. With a warm start it's on immediately. Channel changing is also fast, not instant but with the benefit of not hearing any static in between.
Not to say all cars are perfect, I have seen cars with terrible infotainment systems which are slow and buggy, that's just a thing to keep on your list to inspect before buying a new car.
Pity it was a complicated modulation and waste of spectrum.
In all fairness its partly because of the compression algorithms used like Forward Error Correction FEC and progressive frames vs. immediate frames which simply takes some time to construct an audible / visible representation of the digital data.
I think you're missing the part where the day to day changing conditions mean you have to switch the station then either accept the static or fine tune the station every couple of days. The switching was instant, but I still had to spend time tweaking it and count that as latency-to-ready.
Especially in the cars, without the automatic fine tuning you needed to adjust the frequency depending on where you were at the time.
I hate that more and more things are becoming software controlled. "What Andy giveth, Bill taketh away" is not a law that I want to apply to machines that can and should continue to function instantaneously.
The actual circuit to make a radio work is also tiny. Some early smartphones included a radio tuner in the hardware.
"So who, or what, is responsible for trapping these Mazda owners in a public radio echo chamber they can’t escape, even by car?"
My knowledge and following of music is spotty, so radio is key to my discovery of new songs. On long road trips I tend to find good new (to me) songs, as well as get amused by some weird ones. A few highlights from the odd but fun stuff:
- Driving through rural Ohio at midnight I randomly seeked to a station playing "Clean Up the Ghetto by the Philidelphia International All Stars.
- On a Sunday morning in southern Mississippi I heard some happy old dance music accompanied by the jolly but incomprehensible New Orleans drawl of the DJ.
- Driving through West Virginia I heard "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" 3 times on the same morning on different stations.
I don't road trip extremely often but surfing the radio is something I look forward to when I do! I usually get a taste of the local culture and a window outside of my urban tech bubble.
NRSC-5 In-band/on-channel Digital Radio Broadcasting Standard:
Not just that, it's required by federal law to announce the callsign once an hour, in both radio and OTA television. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Station_identification#United_... (If you watch sports broadcasts on OTA TV you might notice a subtle overlay pop over the content at the top of the hour)
Made more sense in the analog era, when tuning was done by twiddling a potentiometer and you never quite knew exactly what frequency you were on.
Many years back Clear Channel would simulcast hurricane coverage across most of their stations in Florida, resulting in them all identifying as "Newsradio 610 WIOD Maimi". (Though a YouTube search suggests iHeartMedia now pitch- and speed-bends to say all the legal identifiers very quickly.)
Because of course it is. Facepalm moment right there.
I guess they could have just used them the other way around, to simplify things a bit (West Coast - W, East Coast - K).
The thing is, I realized now why people care about this stuff:
> Other stations downplay their call letters, in favor of an easily remembered slogan. This is also the standard practice in most other countries.
I have NO idea what the radio call letters are for any radio in Romania. Nobody I know does. We just know them as RockFM, MagicFM, EuropaFM, RadioZu, whatever.
On the other hand, the dance station in the Miami area calls itself "Revolution 93.5". It really depends upon the station and the market.
This seems like a pretty serious issue. Not just the radio.
(HD Radio, not RDS)
Only by stopping and restarting the engine could you get out. 
But these Mazdas can't even get out that way!
 See item 8: http://blog.tyrannyofthemouse.com/2008/07/setting-sync-strai...