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Is JSON hacking safe?


ibalashov
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Just discovered the possibility to free up some blocks with JSON hacking, but noticed a weird hardware display issue for the modified presets (in the image, only modified presets are affected).

The preset seems to be working fine except the display glitch, but it gives me a bit of uneasy feeling about the whole thing.

The glitch appears even if I remove only one block (not the maximum four).

Also, when toying around with this I managed to reach a preset state where PG becomes completely unresponsive upon selecting the preset and you need to hard reboot it. 

That and the display glitch gives me the feeling that the whole process is rather not safe. Not sure if I should continue experimenting with it, don't want to brick the unit. Just wanted to share. 

ps. 1.40

 

IMG_5187.thumb.jpg.dde2132dae93d9bdca149db8a0dd7901.jpg

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Hi. Firstly, a change in the JSON Patch script change is not a hack.  This has nothing whatsoever to do with the firmware and it cannot in any way damage Pod Go. The worst that can happen is you might get some odd behaviour in the modified patch.   Provided you don't try changing/ removing the amp, cab and EQ blocks the modified patch should work just fine. If these blocks are modified the patch may act quirky. 

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On 8/5/2022 at 12:52 AM, voxman55 said:

Hi. Firstly, a change in the JSON Patch script change is not a hack.  This has nothing whatsoever to do with the firmware and it cannot in any way damage Pod Go. The worst that can happen is you might get some odd behaviour in the modified patch.   Provided you don't try changing/ removing the amp, cab and EQ blocks the modified patch should work just fine. If these blocks are modified the patch may act quirky. 

 

Ok, thanks!

 

Your confidence is reassuring, but 'it cannot in any way damage Pod Go` is a very bold statement, and unless you're very deeply involved into the development of the unit (both software and hardware) I wouldn't declare anything like that.

 

My concern is that I can easily get to unit freezes, erratic navigation jumps, the display glitch that I mentioned above etc..

 

The only thing that comforts me a bit is that if everything goes bad then I can do a factory reset.

 

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On 8/6/2022 at 8:48 AM, ibalashov said:

 

....

The only thing that comforts me a bit is that if everything goes bad then I can do a factory reset.

 

Yes, which means that your POD Go has not been harmed. I expect that was the meaning of what voxmann55 said. Freezes, glitches, erratic navigation…. none of those things harm the device itself. Annoying perhaps but not harmful.

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JSON is a formatted sort of coding language, as is HTML formatting. Helix preset files (*.hlx) use JSON formattting which is interpreted by the Helix device. If you open a .hlx file using a text editor you can see and edit the formatting. But manual editing is prone to error and the resulting file may not be able to be interpreted correctly, leading to the freezes, glitches, etc.

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On 8/6/2022 at 2:02 PM, silverhead said:

Yes, which means that your POD Go has not been harmed. I expect that was the meaning of what voxmann55 said. Freezes, glitches, erratic navigation…. none of those things harm the device itself. Annoying perhaps but not harmful.

 

Yup, exactly this! 

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Quote

Freezes, glitches, erratic navigation…. none of those things harm the device itself.

 

Ok, let's hope for this in case of Pod GO. But generally this is not true at all. Bad software can easily damage hardware, unless it is 100% bullet proof and bug free (which rarely happens in real life).

 

But if everybody is optimistic, let's assume it is indeed safe :)

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On 8/7/2022 at 8:29 AM, ibalashov said:

 

Ok, let's hope for this in case of Pod GO. But generally this is not true at all. Bad software can easily damage hardware, unless it is 100% bullet proof and bug free (which rarely happens in real life).

 

But if everybody is optimistic, let's assume it is indeed safe :)

It's not software; its simply an external independent script file that is patch specific. It therefore can't alter or corrupt the Pod Go firmware.

 

Further, Line 6 is not only fully aware of JSON file manipulation but it has quite openly expressed surprise that this wasn't 'discovered' by Pod Go customers earlier.  If there was any risk to Pod Go or that this might invalidate warranties, I'm pretty sure Line 6 would have said something and issued a warning before now! 

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On 8/6/2022 at 10:29 AM, silverhead said:

…. Helix preset files (*.hlx) use JSON formattting…..

My mistake in referencing Helix. I meant to say POD Go.
 

On 8/7/2022 at 3:29 AM, ibalashov said:

 

Ok, let's hope for this in case of Pod GO. …

Yes. POD Go also uses JSON.

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On 8/7/2022 at 6:13 AM, voxman55 said:

It's not software; its simply an external independent script file that is patch specific. It therefore can't alter or corrupt the Pod Go firmware.

 

 

This is not entirely true.  The JSON files are just input files, and yes, cannot alter or corrupt the firmware.  However, something in those files could cause the firmware to crash or in some way stop working.  And it's possible that it could cause this to happen every time the unit starts, making a factory reset impossible.  (I'm an embedded software engineer with over 30 years of experience and have seen this happen in systems).

 

Since the JSON editing trick has been around for several months now and used by a lot of people, it's unlikely that the unit will stop working (what we call in the industry, a "bricked" unit).  But it's not impossible.

 

With all of the above said, I've used the JSON trick several times with very little concern that the POD GO will be damaged/bricked.

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On 8/7/2022 at 8:39 PM, JimKalin said:

it's unlikely that the unit will stop working (what we call in the industry, a "bricked" unit).  But it's not impossible.

 

Pretty sure it would be nearly impossible to brick a unit with the patch.  The patches are very likely one of the last things which are loaded in the Go, so in the worse possible case, as you said, you would have to reset your unit to factory settings, which resets the patches to patches that don't contain the 'hack', and as it's done via buttons while booting the Go, would happen before loading any patch.

 

At worse, still very unlikely, it could cause some unforeseen glitches; maybe affect effects, other patches, visual GUI glitches as you've shown, etc.  Bugs are part of the nature of software design, and you're using it in a way which was not foreseen by the devs, and not tested by L6 QA...  But yeah, that doesn't seem to be the case; as you'd likely have seen warnings about it.  But you never know, maybe one day, when L6 updates its software, it might cause new glitches.

 

FWIW, I'm running out of DSP far more often than blocks, so in my case, haven't bothered yet playing with it.  If you want more blocks though, the new 'feature' should over weigh the risks by miles IMHO, as the risks are very minimal IMHO.  Risk of bricking the unit is almost null, and any bricked unit after the 'hack' would likely be coincidence rather than the patch, again imho.

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