Reply All: #140 The Roman Mars Mazda Virus
April 11, 2019 2:07 PM - Subscribe

Ben loves podcasts, but he has a problem. When he tries to listen to one podcast in particular, his car stereo completely breaks. This week, Super Tech Support takes on one of its strangest cases — Roman Mars versus a 2016 Mazda sedan.
posted by dnash (16 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
(wow, formatting that post was... fun?)
posted by dnash at 2:07 PM on April 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh my god this is top 3 episodes of all time. This is totally my shit, and one of the best examples of a particular gear that Reply All has.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:38 PM on April 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

I still don't really get it. As a programmer nerd, I look at the RSS and I see no weird characters in the URL for the MP3. "% I" only appears in the <title> field. I was expecting to see some weird HTML entity escaping/URL encoding mess, and there's nothing like that.
posted by chrchr at 4:33 PM on April 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

I wasn't really expecting a lot and then they got to the podcasts, and then there were special guests on the podcasts, and I'm just imagining the planning sessions where they came up with all of these podcast ideas, and it was great.

Of course PJ likes the one where the whole point is arguing with Alex.
posted by dinty_moore at 4:44 PM on April 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

chrchr, my takeaway was that for some particular radio models in Mazdas and Nissans with outdated firmware, the radios are parsing the actual title of the podcast when preparing to display it and in parsing it are getting hung up on the %I as expecting some programming command and getting into a confused loop.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:58 PM on April 11, 2019

This was a complete delight to listen to and made me laugh out loud several times. Particularly when 88% Parentheticals came on.
posted by cholly at 7:20 PM on April 11, 2019 [5 favorites]

While I really appreciate those absurd pseudo-podcasts, it still felt like a waste of time and resources, and not that super-techy? Wouldn't have renaming any file (and its tags) achieved the same trial and error purpose?

But I admit that it was fun (which probably was the real incentive to create the podcasts) so who am I to complain!
posted by bigendian at 1:57 AM on April 12, 2019

I do non-super tech support so I spent the first 5 minutes of this episode yelling IT'S THE PERCENT SIGN!!!!!!!!!!! at my phone. This episode could have been 10 minutes long, tops, but as an excuse to produce a bunch of silly podcasts? I'll allow it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:57 AM on April 12, 2019 [3 favorites]

Yeah this is horrendously inefficient as tech support but as an excuse for Alex to say "Queen-Anne's Lace annihalates anti-Queen-Anne's Lace" over synths, which absolutely destroyed me for some reason, it was all worth it. Basically he was just Longmont Potioncastle-ing us all.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:18 AM on April 12, 2019 [4 favorites]

Huh. Well know I know why I can’t listen to that podcast in my car. I’d also assumed it was the bitrate or something. Instead they just forgot to escape the title string.
posted by Eddie Mars at 6:20 PM on April 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

I also enjoyed this as well. I think the fact that this was very circuitous was sort of the point! The Sarah Koenig mini-ep was so perfect, she was basically doing a parody of herself and it was perfect! I also appreciated that Roman Mars mic'd himself the way he does for 99PI (I have heard him on other shows and he sounds startlingly different.)
posted by radioamy at 7:16 PM on April 12, 2019

Oh my yes - this is so totally my jam. From the over engineered (but under thought out) testing schemes to the sheer joy in recognizing the word play.

I really needed this (in all it's this-ness) today.
posted by mce at 4:03 PM on April 14, 2019

I've subscribed to all the podcasts in the hopes that, someday in the future, they decide to do something with them as an easter egg. I love that they took the least obvious route to debugging this as an excuse to make a bunch of weird podcasts.
posted by borsboom at 4:28 PM on April 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is great fun. Their experimental approach is nuts, but it's nuts in a delightful way.

It's also a bit terrifying that multiple car companies don't escape or otherwise prevent interpreting the text of track titles. Here's hoping the anti-lock brake people are far more careful than the stereo people.
posted by eotvos at 8:14 AM on April 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

Samin Nosrat continues to be my favorite person ever.
posted by exceptinsects at 11:30 AM on April 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Question: Is the 99% Invisible episode that came out this week just the same thing as the Reply All episode? Or is there additional content. I started listening but Roman just played the Reply All music and then PJ and Alex came on. Should I keep listening, or have I already heard it if I listened to Reply All first?
posted by kevinbelt at 11:30 AM on April 18, 2019

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