Sunday, August 23, 2009
Hello fellow critics/hecklers/horse-beaters, I'm thomas (lowercase in blogger!) and I'll be bashing xkcd for your entertainment this week, starting with this flow chart.
Lord knows Randall loves his flowcharts, but this reminds me of his Mario Kart pie more than anything, in that it's largely true, in this case among "computer experts" of the house or workplace. Once a computers amateur gets over the fear of misclicking and deleting everything, simple logic and a touch of intuition can solve most problems. I have slotted neatly into a niche, Randall -- well done.
However, as applicable as I find this chart, I have two issues with it. First, it advocates taping an xkcd comic near a computer area, spreading the horrible trend of printed xkcd's to the relatives of its intended audience. Nonsensical ties and science lab fanboys were bad enough; now people who don't even know what xkcd is will associate it with some fictional "in crowd" of tech geniuses.
Second, despite humility of the narration, this chart only strengthens the superiority complex xkcd's fans will have. Not only would linking this to your grandmother say, "I'm done helping you anymore, now go away," it doesn't suggest anything people wouldn't think to do now. Look for a button related to your problem? Google? The chart includes an "ask for help" option -- what do you think the xkcd reader on the answering end is going to do? Link you to the damn chart! As a member of the Half-Assed Tech Support Squad, I sincerely hope that this image doesn't clog help forums everywhere.
Lastly, there's the mention of Megan getting prompted for printer help from her dad. I smell a snarky in-joke towards the real-life Megan who is dating a man old enough to be her father, but I'm terrible with Megan humor, so why don't you tell me what's cooking?