Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Comic 805: Randall Tries Busking

musical boxes
[Alt: Take me down to the paradise municipality / where the grass is mauve and the girls aren't fromthisreality]

I have a confession to make. After reading this comic I experienced, not a GOOMHR moment, but a moment of bonding with Randall. I wanted to go home and visit paradise cities, also! There I could forget that there was ever such a thing as XKCD. There I could finally know peace. As I slept last night, I dreamt of this land. I cannot describe it to you here in a way which will do it justice, but it was a place where I was happy. I awoke to a bright cold Seattle morning and reality dawned. I had still read this comic. I had not escaped to a better place. I will never be free.

The narrative structure of this comic is a little confusing. The man is sitting on a box and singing, that much is clear. I'm assuming he's busking or something, but there's no real indication of that. A bench at a park or subway station would make it pretty clear, and it might even allow for some of that patented "it's better than the shit I usually put out" art that makes the ladies go crazy for Randall-brand loving. You could draw a whole scene if you wanted! And context might help the joke here. God knows it needs the help.

The joke itself--well, here I want to be careful, because it's one of those jokes that doesn't lend itself to summarizing nicely. Obviously it's a play on the song. It tries to create a narrative structure of a spree of violent crime being quelled by the Mounties, who I guess send the criminals off to Orwellian rehabilitation camps? All while keeping to the structure of "Take me down to X region where Y rhyming thing happens."

It's not the worst thing in the world. He manages to keep the meter moderately well. The rhymes mostly work, and only feel slightly forced. It is, however, pretty fucking terrible.

It's just--what is the point? It's not doing anything interesting. It's old enough that I'm not even going to bother complaining that it's not timely, but come on, Randy. Parodies should do something insightful, or at least interesting, with the source material. It should do more than draw a poorly cobbled together narrative using all the words you can think of that mean roughly the same thing as "city" that have rhymes. Or at least do something more than draw five panels of a stick man sitting on a box with badly drawn musical notes surrounding him.

Who else thinks Randy first thought of "counties" and "mounties" rhyming and just went from there?

EDIT: Oh yes, I'd like to thank everyone for their submissions on this one! Keep them coming. The hate has made you powerful.

129 comments:

  1. I am SO DAMN GLAD this blog is continuing.


    Websites work best when they're single-purpose. webcomics.me is too general of a purpose for me to ever be interested in it. Maybe every fifth post might actually be relevant to something I'm reading.

    Besides, what's the point in attacking other comics that don't have a rabid following? Nay; the fun?

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  2. Dammit, stupid HTML tags!

    The 2nd and 3rd paragraph were supposed to be in "pretentious, ill-informed opinion" tags but, well, I Did It Wrong.

    Go me.

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  3. A much better rhyming comic: http://www.toothpastefordinner.com/092910/should-rhyme-but-doesnt.gif

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  4. TAKE ME DOWN TO THE XKCD CITY
    WHERE THE MEMES ARE ABUNDANT
    AND THE JOKES ARE SHITTY
    OH RANDALL PLEASE GET A JOBBBBBB

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  5. take me down to the xkcd city
    where megan will finally love me :((((((((((((

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  6. Nobody in particularOctober 13, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    Take me down to....aw forget it.

    What an incredibly lame excuse for a comic. That was the worst.

    Here are a few things where I rhyme words. If I try too hard, I can make it seem as if I am telling the world's most awful story.

    By the way, I didn't know XKCD sucks was still going on until right now. THANK you. I am so excited to tell people I don't know how much I didn't like a comic they don't care about.

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  7. Rob lives in seattle? Me too!!!

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  8. This would have been funnier if each panel had a different XKCD recurring character for each panel. What hilarious parody lyrics would the classhole use? I guess we'll never know!

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  9. Oh, or maybe Singing Guy is a new XKCD character! We'll recognise him because he will carry a guitar and maybe have a massive box (although that latter feature has already been claimed by Megan).

    Captcha: readair. Why not? It's more compelling reading material than XKCD.

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  10. What did Megan say when she woke up unexpectedly?

    "Get out of my bed, Randall!"

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  11. Anon@9:24: Not the first thing I would've thought about your captcha. Add one letter and see this

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  12. @Gryffilion: excellent. Wanna take bets on whether Randall will ever use the phrase "Get out of my bed"?

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  13. I didn't even realise the panels were related (ie that it is supposed to form a continuous narrative).

    Also I'd like to reiterate that backwards quavers are fucking ridiculous.

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  14. it took me two or three reads to figure out it was supposed to be a continuous narrative

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  15. Though not one of the reasons this comic is shitty, a thought occurs to me. All these panels are supposed to be parodies of the original lyrics, right? So why the fuck are the notes different in all the panels? They should all be sung to the same tune, so the notes should all be exactly the same.

    I'm assuming the reason this isn't the case is because having the exact same notes every panel would be visually boring, but the fact is having a guy sitting on a box in every panel is ALREADY visually boring and having the notes be different in every panel makes it visually boring AND nonsensical.

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  16. Randall figures that if he tells the same joke in 4 or 5 different ways, eventually one of them will be funny.

    He is brute forcing humor.

    What a little computer scientist.

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  17. I never realised those panels formed a continuous narrative because I only read it once.

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  18. "Take me down
    To xkcd City
    Where the art's worth crap
    And the jokes are shitty."
    -Fernie Canto

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  19. Professor WangsnifferOctober 14, 2010 at 1:10 AM

    aloria i want to sex you but i cant because my girlfirend would get mad at me and also the law may frown on it.

    by girlfirend I mean "Right hand with lipstick on"

    anyway i didn't realise this was a continour narritive either.

    because it#s pretty fucking strained, you know cute girls just pllage for no reason then mounties turn up and they get lobotomised?

    that sounds like an extremely boring version of axe cop where a pseudo-intallectual 12 year old an ranynd fan writes instead of an add riddled five year old.

    it makes me hate randall because it follows STRAIGHT ON from another comic where the panels are not a coninual narritive and there's NO INDICATION this is a) the same person (because like all stick men he is naked and bald and is not worthy of hair, which in randall's reality marks out the women as the superor gender, who direct the huddled masses of men to meniel and undemanding tasks)
    and b) the links between panels are so fucking tenuous that it doesn't make much sense to consider it as a story at first glance.

    aloria's cat makes me horny,
    rob's a plus-size male escort

    I wish I die painlessley in my sleep

    when I'm old

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  20. Take me down
    To Mole city
    Where the comments are long
    And they try to be witty. :P

    So, comic is shitty, it's a series of shitty takes on the same joke, and I didn't even realize they were a continuous set, because the goddamn Canadian Mounties come out of nowhere! What.

    Also... It's time for "Show Don't Tell Moment", when I berate Randall Munroe for his shitty job as a storyteller! :D

    So, Randall is telling this story about Paradise (whatever), where the girls are pretty, then they pillage, then the Mounties come, then Orwellian dictature comes(because Randall read 1984, doesn't that make him so cool?) and lobotomizes them into being... thorough. What a word... anyway. Could this be made any good? Well, of course.

    HE COULD HAVE SHOWED THE STORY HAPPENING INSTEAD OF THE STICK MAN SINGING IT!

    It's so goddamn simple... show us the pretty girls(erm... okay, this one is hard with the stick figure thing and all), the pillaging, the mounties coming to rescue and all that bullshit I'm not gonna list again! Just... that!

    But I guess Randall is working on a new poster, so he has not time for quality, no, siree! He has to keep his money coming!

    Also, the heck? I thought this blog was dead? Well, now I have TWO sources of XKCD hate. Awesomes! :D

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  21. Take me down to XKCD City
    Where I can smash a fucking keyboard over Randall's head
    And tell him how much his fucking stupid stick-figure shit-art comicstrip sucks
    And cut the brake lines of his car
    And ...

    Ah... too early in the morning to be unleashing all my hate... back soon, you talentless fuck (Randall)

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  22. Take me down to xkcdsucks City
    Where people hate Randall Munroe but hurry up and transform into a meme any joke he makes while saying it is shitty
    Which is a bit contradictory

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  23. Zino: Uh, don't lot of memes originate from things that are considered shitty?

    Case in point: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/f-cking-magnets-how-do-they-work

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  24. Yep, although It's possible be that the ICP were aware (ICP was aware?) of the shittiness of their song. In that case, you don't laugh at them, but with them. Same thing for xkcd: I don't really see the difference between repeating the joke "take me down to x City where y and z (rhyming)" because you think it is a funny joke, or using it because you think it is a shitty joke.

    There's a fine line between "it is funny" and "it is so unfunny that it becomes funny." To me, the fact that xkcd-haters feel the urge to play around with Randall's joke means it appeals to them.

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  25. I don't know any other song by ICP. But seeing the video, there is no way it is not intentionally stupid.

    "Music is magic pure and clean, you can feel it and hear it, but it can't be seen. Music is just magic. You can't even hold it."

    Anyway, thank you for the link Aloria! (I'm not very well read on internet memes.)

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  26. Oh, if only I was paid to make shitty jokes...

    Besides, playing with things don't mean it appeals to us. "Do me without a condom" was played with in this blog lots of times, but it's still a damn shitty line that doesn't appeal to anyone with a human brain.

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  27. If you think that there is no way Miracles could not be intentionally stupid, then you know nothing about ICP.

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  28. "ICP were aware (ICP was aware?)"

    The first one is correct by Commonwealth English, which considers a noun referring to a group of people plural, regardless of whether or not the word is grammatically plural. The second is correct in American English, which considers a collective noun to be singular if it has a singular form.

    grammarpostin on a hate blog

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  29. Fucking grammar, how does it work?

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  30. Grammar is just magic. You can't even hold it.

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  31. Grammar is a lot like love, it's all a feeling.
    And it fills the room, from the floor to the ceiling.

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  32. "It's possible be that the ICP were aware (ICP was aware?) of the shittiness of their song."

    ICP hails from SE Michigan and they are that stupid. People from this area have to deal with lots of bullshit everyday, growing up alongside dumbass juggalos besmirching the good name of Faygo is just a another part of living in the D...

    "I don't know any other song by ICP."

    Consider this a blessing, your ignorance is bliss for you ... but making assumptions about (or laughing at) things that you are ignorant of is par for the Cuddlefish course.

    "the fact that xkcd-haters feel the urge to play around with Randall's joke means it appeals to them."

    No. It doesn't have to at all, unless you consider mocking and sarcasm a high form of flattery. In which case, you're welcome.

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  33. Pretty much what Professor Mole said.

    However, I think it'd be cool to have the stickfigure at a bench, and starting to sing. Then each panel continues the story with the lyrics at the top. Or something like that.

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  34. An alternative interpretation, submitted for your approval:

    The story, such as it is, is about the singer trying out various interpretations of 'paradise' until he lights upon one he likes. And having discovered a Nerd Paradise in which the pretty girls care about obsessively categorizing things as much as he does (unlike those pillaging Bad Girls who were probably English majors anyway), he continues the song at last.

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  35. Re: Insane Clown Posse not being aware of the stupidness of their song. Here's a relevant quote from the article in Guardian:

    "Did you anticipate this kind of reaction?" I ask them.

    "No," sighs Violent J. "I figured most people would say, 'Wow, I didn't know Insane Clown Posse could be deep like that.' But instead it's, 'ICP said a giraffe is a miracle. Ha ha ha! What a bunch of idiots.'" He pauses, then adds defiantly, "A giraffe is a fucking miracle. It has a dinosaur-like neck. It's yellow. Yeah, technically an elephant is not a miracle. Technically. They've been here for hundreds of years…"

    "Have you ever stood next to an elephant, my friend?" asks Violent J. "A fucking elephant is a miracle. If people can't see a fucking miracle in a fucking elephant, then life must suck for them, because an elephant is a fucking miracle. So is a giraffe."

    TLDR: They think the song is deep and not stupid.

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  36. Take me down to meme-less city
    where the joke material is not so shitty
    ...

    I approve of the turn from XKCD hate to ICP hate, as both are steaming piles of Very Bad Thing created by people who are oblivious to how much they suck at what they do, despite the disgusting adoration of all of their sheltered, mouthbreathing fans.

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  37. Hey, I had my HI-LARIOUS parody reposted here. Nice. And I SWEAR I DIDN'T READ ALORIA'S VERSION BEFORE I POSTED THAT. I was just so refreshing to do it there.

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  38. Dang it, Pro Mole; every time I write a guest review and send it off, I come back to the comments here and see that you've posted the exact same thing that I thought.

    Oh well, bright minds think alike and all that, right?

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  39. Christ, you'd think dude would bother to parody more lyrics instead of repeating the fucking chorus.

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  40. "making assumptions about (or laughing at) things that you are ignorant of is par for the Cuddlefish course."

    YES, i'm a CUDDLEFISH and I'm PROUD of it! It's time for us to come out of the shadow! CUDDLEFISH POWER!

    "No. It doesn't have to at all, unless you consider mocking and sarcasm a high form of flattery. In which case, you're welcome. "

    I know I raise a touchy issue on this comment thread, but I think there is something wrong with that line of arguments. You should never trust what people say about what they like and always consider their revealed preferences, that is what you can infer about their preferences from their actual behaviour.

    YES my friend! It is ECON-GEEK time!

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  41. ‮You were WAY too nice to this comic Rob! This is one of the worst XKCDs in years

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  42. .tihs taht daer ot gniyrt gniyonna gnikcuf os sti

    ?sdnah naM .sdnam :ahctpaC

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  43. Man on box says things that rhyme. *shrugs*? I don't know, I am starting to think Randall is screwing with us -- how little can he put before his fans stop to call it a "comic"?

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  44. Re. 806:

    How many JUST A DREAM comics do you have to do, Randall!??! Ugh.

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  45. UndercoverCuddlefishOctober 14, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    i see we have some html magicians in here

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  46. Panel 1 of this mornings smbc would have made a good xkcd.

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  47. 806 was surprisingly good. Although 'shibboleet' is possibly the lamest pun I've ever heard.

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  48. 806: Haiku OS, Randall? I'M SO IMPRESSED.

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  49. Wow! 806 is obnoxiously condescending to us plebeians. Also, I would like to note the stupid technologically ignorant drone of the system following the script is male while the free-thinking ideal linux-loving technologically knowledgeable person is female. I would have not cared if randall didn't white knight in most of his comics.

    Gee, what a perfect world it'd be if I can talk to a programmer any time I had an IT problem by saying some exclusive password.

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  50. @10:08

    Actually I think it's probably one of the easier xkcd strips to relate to. We've all been there, even if it's not necessarily related to IT. The main issue is when you call up a support line, the default script assumes you're the one doing something wrong (which it should be, because that's usually the case). It can be very irritating being put onto that script when the problem is on their end. The idea is that it would be nice if there was a code word you could use to get the 'it's the company's fault' script.

    To give a non-IT example, a student I was supervising had an issue with scholarship money being allocated and I had a lot of trouble getting past the gal in the registrar's office to someone who could actually fix things. A password for that would have been nice (except I can now phone the guy directly, which is essentially the same thing.)

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  51. The first four panels of the latest XKCD were done two decades ago by Dilbert. Only more concise. Too lazy to authenticate this, but it's Dilbert talking with a tech support goon re: his email account.

    Oh, hey, they turned the comic strip into an animated short. Check it out.

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  52. "YES my friend! It is ECON-GEEK time!"

    @ zino: Economics is a liberal art. Randy hates you.

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  53. Also, I LIKE ICP. The lyrics are freaking hilarious, and the beat is generally good. Like have you ever heard "Mr. Johnson's Head"? It's about this student who cuts off his teacher's head and keeps it in his book bag, and the chorus just keeps saying, "Cuz I've got Mr. Johnson's head...IN MY BOOK BAG!" And the kid complains that nobody notices him and talks about how even if he died in class, nobody would notice and his body would just rot for weeks and weeks stinking up the class and nobody would notice. And then he goes in the hall and throws up on the wall. I mean the lyrics are just so entertaining.

    Maybe I'm an optimist but I don't think they really mean their lyrics to be taken seriously- I think it's supposed to be ridiculous and over the top.

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  54. I think the best part of the new xkcd is that it is all a dream. The first few panels are the standard xkcd fare, then it gets even more ridiculous with linux-loving chick, and then it's revealed that it's just a fantasy of a nerd. Kind of like most xkcd comics are. The only way it could be better, if the final panel depicted Randall throwing the comic in the bin, saying something like "nah, that's too much pandering, they might think I'm trying too hard".

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  55. "Also, I would like to note the stupid technologically ignorant drone of the system following the script is male while the free-thinking ideal linux-loving technologically knowledgeable person is female."

    This.

    "The idea is that it would be nice if there was a code word you could use to get the 'it's the company's fault' script."

    It would/should not necessarily be restricted to mean that it's "their fault". In this case, it means "FUCK YOUR IDIOTIC PROTOCOLS I KNOW THAT THESE 10 STUPID CHECKS YOU ARE LISTING ARE TECHNICALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO SOLVE MY PROBLEM THANK YOU VERY MUCH". Which means that, well, the problem might be on their site, or it might be related to the user's network or modem, or whatever.

    [anecdote]The really bad cases isn't tech support going through their routines though - it's when you report some technical aspect (which might include a bug report) to the freaking PROGRAMMER(s) of something and they don't know shit about how their program works, or should work. In these cases they're essentially as clueless as everyone else in the chain, which explains every failure of the program and keeps you guessing how they even managed to write anything that does not immediately crash. I have been there.[/anecdote]

    "I think the best part of the new xkcd is that it is all a dream."

    Definitively. Until I read the last panel I fully expected it to be real, because in xkcd land things are like that.

    I hope you're right regarding ICP, Chaos.

    Is it just me or is there less traffic since Carl left? (Probably goes to show that 60% of cuddlefish were actually him I guess.) Quick, someone go spam links to here in the xkcd forum.

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  56. Women are clearly better at everything, obviously; Randall told me so. I want to bear his children so hard right now.

    I kinda like 806. It certainly isn't "Loads Of Laughter", but it (a)involved more than one line of strips (b) involved more than one character (c) I didn't see the ending coming, so Randy actually surprised me.

    So, mm, +1 Randall. Keep going and maybe you can get back to your old days.

    I'm going to say it is a good thing the dream ended there, because IRL the caller would probably have started awkwardly hitting on her because "omg it's a girl who knows computers!". But hey, this is a dream and maybe she would've liked that. A Geek can dream.

    Oops, I accidentally read the tooltip. While not atrocious, it certainly is pretty awful in that it contributes literally nothing new. But hey, this is far better than the comic being awful and the sole redemption being his "afterthought" tooltip. Or both sucking entirely, as is not too uncommon.

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  57. Re-reading that, I basically underestimated him and he surpassed my low expectations. Is that a victory? Because that's pretty well how I enjoy low-quality films. Ah, for 1 minute investment it's pretty good, I suppooooose.

    No I just can't fight this feeling, we should be lovers.

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  58. I feel bad for anyone working in tech support right now. For the next few weeks they're going to be inundated with little smart asses shouting "SHIBBOLEET HAW HAW" down the phone at them and cackling through their retainers. It'll be "malamanteau" all over again.

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  59. Also could someone please explain the pun in "shibboleet" because I'm no native speaker. Yes, I get that it ends in "leet", but is there more to it?

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  60. Evln: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibboleth

    Am I the only one who thought this was the smuggest thing since the anthropologists alt-text?

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  61. AAAAAAAH!

    AAAH WHAT THE HELL RANDALL!

    WHAT
    THE
    HELL


    LOOK
    LOOK AT THAT MIDDLE PANEL IN 806!
    THAT
    THAT BIG BLACK LINE
    IS NOT HIS LEG!



    Also noteworthy: look at the second panel. Look at how ridiculously tiny his hand is in comparison to his head!

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  62. Ok, so Randall is back to show the world what a complete smug twat he is. Nothing new here; it's just SO amazing, though, how his utter smugness finds no limits.

    Captcha: Rellya. Rellya?? Rellya.

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  63. Thanks! For the record, Randall might have primarily referred to the act of dispatching/verifying a response in software, which is apparently called Shibboleth too. I thought I read something like that before!

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  64. Even though it's smug and made to make randall and his cronies feel superior I found 806 quite funny. It actually sets up a joke and goes through with it, and quite effectively too. The punchline took me by surprise.

    Yeah yeah it conveyed things in text which it could have done with pictures (like the nerd paraphernalia stuff) and other legitimate criticism, but it made me chuckle.

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  65. smug smug smug mcsmug

    Obviously, I've been in situations where I'm not looking forward to calling tech support because they're going to run through all the "low hanging fruit" troubleshooting before getting to the meat of what the problem is.

    But you know what? I'm okay with that. Because tech-savvy people are perfectly capable of making basic mistakes, too. In fact, they're sometimes MORE blind to simple solutions, because they have the option to run straight to running traceroute and pawing through packets in wireshark when all that was really needed was to powercycle the cable modem. When you're a newb, you usually try all the basics, because that's all you know to do.

    TLDR: those seemingly cargo-cultish CSR scripts aren't just for technically ignorant grandmas, they also catch the "I know more about this than you and it can't POSSIBLY be... oh yeah, the cable came loose from the back of the modem, derp."

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  66. You know, I'm actually kind of ambivalent about 806. We keep saying things like "Randy's pandering to nerds," but...why shouldn't he? One of the core components of humor is the ability for the audience to relate to it. Granted, the best humor isn't audience-specific, but there's nothing wrong with jokes that are, right?

    I for one admit that I've wished for better tech support. Who hasn't? I've been on the phone for hours, calling back and forth with the techs as they read off the same Google results that I got before making the call in the first place. I put up with them suggesting things that I know won't work. I know that if the problem WAS something I could've fixed with the steps they offer, I wouldn't have had to call.

    But, on the other hand...What's the deal with airline food?

    A joke really does have to be more than, "Hey everyone, just like all of you, I recognize that this thing could be better!" There's nothing wrong with relatable humor (which is actually distinct from referential humor, a genre that has plenty wrong with it), but you have to ADD something! You have to make the joke special somehow.

    Randy couldn't do that. Worse still, as others have said, he shows his bias by once again putting a female in the "hero" role. There's nothing wrong with including women in comics. SMBC does it all the time, and a full third of the main cast of Dinosaur Comics is female. But Randy, guess what? WOMEN ARE NORMAL PEOPLE TOO. Get over your high-school fantasizing about them being perfect, wonderful, flawless paragons of intelligence and reason and realize that they're just like men in a LOT of respects. It's okay for a girl to be the annoying useless one and for a guy to be the one with the answer the caller is looking for. It really is.

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  67. Aloria a REAL GEEK would NEVER make those kind of mistakes clearly you are some kind of IMPOSTER

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  68. 806 is chock full o' ad hominem. What guarantee would a caller have that a given techie would known two programming languages relevant to the situation at hand? I'm not a CS major, and I display my ignorance in a majority of the situations where computer malfunctions occur, but if there were, say, a hardware problem, wouldn't knowing a ton of programming languages be almost completely useless?

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  69. "It's okay for a girl to be the annoying useless one and for a guy to be the one with the answer the caller is looking for. It really is."

    No it's not. People would complain about that, just as people are complaining about the one he went with.

    The only combination he could pick to avoid complaint is male/male or female/female- ideally female/female because certain people might complain about only males working in tech support. However, since this is xkcd we're talking about, the idea between having the two being different sexes is to create a visual contrast. Two males are going to look exactly the same unless one or both of them are either Mr Hat or Mr Beret, neither of which would fit in this strip.

    Either way, none of these are going to improve the comic so I don't understand why people are making such a big deal out of it. He typecast one character as a male and one as a female and people are accusing him of white knighting? It's not exactly hard to find xkcd strips with ACTUAL white knighting!

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  70. Gryffilion: Exactly. Knowing how to code makes someone about as knowledgeable of networking as being a gourmet chef makes one a decent farmer.

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  71. @Gamer_2k4:

    It's more than just pandering. It's a false dichotomy combined with ad hominem. Either you don't know any programming languages and are unfamiliar with the kind of obscure, computer-related things that make Randall all hot and bothered, or you know two (or MORE!) programming languages and are basically Hiro Protagonist (or, in this case, his female counterpart).

    Randall has a frustrating habit of being VERY black-and-white about various topics--i.e., if you don't major in a scientific field, you're useless; if you don't as much as Randall about Linux, you're stupid; et cetera. There's no middle ground in the Randallverse. It's disguised, rather poorly, as observational humor, but since Randall is piss-poor at writing and execution, the "joke" is revealed as nothing more than his horrifyingly vast superiority complex.

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  72. I liked your alcohol-fueled post on 804, aloria

    It was silly but I dig that

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  73. Well, Opera crashed while sending my comment. Seeing a lot of people commented while I was writing my comment and then cursing with Opera, some points were already touched upon.

    So, before anything: this comic isn't horrible. It's smug and it ends with the worst justification for an irreal situation(in a world I supposed was surreal enough, but it seems it's not... huh?) that was ever invented. But it has nice development, the dialogue is passable(or I have Asperger, who knows?) and the heads connect to the necks(finally!). It's not the salvation of XKCD, but it's a start. That, or Randall isn't working on any posters now.

    But to the points that bother me:

    1) Why would StickRandall want to talk specifically to an engineer? That may be a cultural thing, but when I think engineers, the first fields that come to my mind are construction, electricity and mechanics. Computer stuff is relegated to computer scientists and system analyst... or not?

    2) That goddamn "I know two programming languages, I'm a leet goddess" thing. Seriously, Randall, how smug is that?!

    3) The white knighting. I think it's so deeply ingrained in Randall's mind that he just assigns female characters to the superior roles automatically.

    4) Stick-hands. They are too small and lump together so badly with the rest of the body that in the middle panel it took me three takes to figure that the guy had his legs crossed and the hand over his knee and not... well, I know you thought about that, too.

    I think I forgot the rest, so whatever. I also had an anecdote to go here but... I'll leave it to the next comment.

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  74. Pro Mole:

    "Why would StickRandall want to talk specifically to an engineer? That may be a cultural thing... "

    People who attend to things like router, firewall, and server admin are sometimes called network or systems engineers instead of analysts.

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  75. I'm somewhat reluctant to jump on the white-knighting bandwagon. The person with the computer problem who is so obviously superior to the first techie is male, so if nothing else, the Technocratic Elite in this comic are represented with complete gender equality.

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  76. @Anon 8:46

    He typecast one character as a male and one as a female and people are accusing him of white knighting?

    The thing is, though, this is typical Randall. It would be one thing if the genders were interchangeable in the comic, but they're not at all. There are maybe three instances where the girl is the "bad guy" in all of xkcd. I don't think anyone is saying, or would say if this was the only xkcd they had ever seen, that this one comic is a crippling blow against equality. But it's the fact that this happens ALL THE TIME (and shows no sign of letting up) that makes it so bad.

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  77. The possibility that a girl was chosen for the hero spot for white-knighting reasons is pretty low on my list of things that bother me about this comic.

    As has been said, if the CSR was the girl or there were no girls, then someone would complain about the "girls aren't good with computers" stereotype.

    If it were all girls, someone would make a remark about this being some sort of kinky fantasy for Randall.

    I guess having a girl as the person calling in with the problem would be less problematic, but Randall's basically screwed no matter what the gender distro, so I'll cut him some slack in this area.

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  78. @Gryffilion

    The person with the computer problem who is so obviously superior to the first techie is male, so if nothing else, the Technocratic Elite in this comic are represented with complete gender equality.

    The person with a computer problem is a male because he represents Randall, and because males are the most common gender in this comic.

    Again, the problem isn't so much that Randall put a girl in a positive light; it's that he's unwilling to put her in a negative one. If both tech support people had been women, it would have been a little strange for a tech support center, but it would've been alright.

    However, Randall decided to insert a woman into the strip, and she ended up being the genius, sympathetic, "my partner is an idiot" one. I don't know, maybe he doesn't even realizes that he does it. Even if that's the case, though, there's no denying that the problem exists.

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  79. Ugh, people, stop posting comments while I'm posting mine. I have to keep replying now.

    @Aloria

    If people complained that the CSR was a girl, they'd be stupid. Tech support as a whole is traditionally unhelpful, and it's never had anything to do with the one person you're talking to. I've called up Microsoft for tech support, and not one of the three Indians I talked to could solve my problem. That doesn't mean people from India are bad with computers, and I can't imagine anyone legitimately believing that. People who'd criticize Randall for making a girl the stupid one wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

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  80. BUT THE MAN KEEPS THE FEMALES DOWN
    AND SAYS THEY CANNOT BE GOOD AT MATH AND COMPUTERS

    AND THIS IS UNFAIR

    signed,
    every cuddlefish who has never been around a woman more than getting to sit next to one in CS101

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  81. @Zino,

    Never called you a Cuddlefish, I just implied you would fit in at their country club.

    Also HOLY FUCKING CHAIR FLOATING!

    He's not even trying anymore.

    806:

    Randy: "I gots a problem and its not my 'puter I KNOWS IT!"

    Tech Guy: "Let's start from the top! Since I have to answer this very question hundreds of times a day, and this script solves over 90% of those problems I'm going to use it before I have to pester someone well above my pay grade to make sure what you KNOW is what is actually happening."

    Randy: "NASA! Engineer! EXPERIMENTAL OPERATING SYSTEM! I Sell T-Shirts for a living and am kind of a big deal on the Internet!"

    Tech Guy: "Oh I see! Let me put you through to our sexy tech clairvoyant!"

    Sexy Tech Clairvoyant: "Hello, I am every person's wet tech support dream. A person who will solve all your problems without you even having to explain them to me. I know that your time will always be more important than mine and that's why I can solve all of your issues in 0 time. I can do all this by knowing 2 programming languages: JavaScript and GW BASIC. You just have to know how to summon me since I only talk to non-sheeple and let the peons carry on amongst themselves. Also, do me without a condom."

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  82. I think Capn's comment should be the blog post for 806. It pretty much covers everything and is hysterical.

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  83. ALORIA in cs101 i once sat between two girls

    do i win a prize

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  84. ahahaha Ann you took CS101 what's the matter didn't score high enough on your AP exam you newb

    SHUN

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  85. @aloria

    I stole most of the exclamations from redux (because I am obviously such a fucking redux fanboy, I can't help plugging it, both the website and my butt-hole while thinking about redux).

    His post is tl;dr, but if you only read the bold parts and just imagine Randy screaming them (as per his instruction), it works very well.

    Also, I don't think my comment works well enough for a post, but thanks for the compliment. You have succeeded in making me feel bad and awkward about calling your drunk post boring and unfunny now.

    Oh ... why do we fight? It's not fair to the children. I love you all ... except for the people too fat/ugly/stupid to ever be able to receive _real_ love.

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  86. Eh, no hard feelings. More people think they are a lot more interesting and funny than they really are when they are drunk, which is why being the designated driver sucks so much.

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  87. As someone who had to work for years on a customer service job that required a script, I hate people like the guy in this comic. Yes, yes, you're superior, and you know that what I'm saying isn't relevant to you. But guess what I know? That my boss is recording this call, and that I'll get fired if I deviate from the script.

    Suck it up and ask to be transferred to someone higher up.

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  88. I feel like writing a blog post about this sort of thing entitled "not everyone is as good at computers as you (and that's okay.)"

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  89. actually it turns out none of our courses even have numbers

    once again my brain has been infiltrated by american wrongfax, or, more accurately, facts that are not wrong when applied to america but are when applied to the UK

    the main problem with the new strip is that, believe it or not, this is something that has been thought about before, and the reason it is stupid is not that hard to realise: sure, you think you're smarter than the average punter and deserve to get specialised treatment at call centres... but so does everyone. if call centre workers all automatically surrendered when people said "don't give me the script, just FIX IT" then only about 5% of people would be able to use the internet

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  90. On the other hand Randall probably longs for the days when only 5% of people could use the Internet, so he'd still be OK with this.

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  91. This kind of reminds me of the inverted road text comic, where it was something like this:

    THIS WAY
    READ TEXT
    PEOPLE DON'T

    The reason for that, of course, is so that when there's heavy traffic, you really do see the lines in the correct order. You're bothered by it? So what? It serves a purpose.

    Here too, the script serves a purpose. Just because it doesn't cater specifically to Randall doesn't mean it's wrong (shocking as that may be).

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  92. Aloria: well, that explains it. Here we call these people generally system analysts. Not engineers, anyway.

    So, I remembered my anecdote. Our OS professor always tells it during his course, and it goes roughly like this:

    Once he had a problem with a modem, I don't remember exactly what it was, but I think it had something to do with it not having a proper driver coded for UNIX(this happened somewhere around 1970-80). So he called tech support and they started with the good ol' script. But he knew the problem had nothing to do with those issues, so, after being transferred a few times to people who just couldn't help it, he adopted a clever strategy.

    As the next attendant got him, he said there was a problem with the Translation Lookaside Buffer. That's an actual term of CS, but since the people down the tech hierarchy knew they couldn't help him(or just plainly had no idea what a TLB was), they quickly got him to someone who really could help him.

    Which, by the way, is just like "shibboleet", except less automatic. That's why I remembered this story: Randall rehashed an idea that is so old my professor has been telling the same story for years(maybe decades) with the same punchline(no, not "it's just a dream"; the shibboleth).

    CAPTCHA: psyliter; a measure of psychic power capacity

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  93. I haven't had to call tech support in ages, but either Cablevision or Comcast has their lower level "have you tried rebooting and power cycling the model" script as an automated system where you can either just blindly press the button for "that didn't work" over and over until you get bumped, or press the option for "I don't want to try all this crap, let me talk to a human." So Randall's little fantasy actually exists in some form.

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  94. This comic is basically like something we all did in middleschool. "Hey guys, you can replace some of the words in this song with other word for humorous effect and it still rhymes!"

    The panels are barely even related. I'd have to say this is the worst xkcd in a long time. I mean really, it's like this is not even an attempt at humor. It's just... a bad song.

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  95. Is anyone else surprised the Randall hasn't made a comic about Minecraft yet?

    I mean really, it's a nerdy thing, it's super popular right now... it's like that's the exact sort of pandering you'd expect of him.

    I'm predicting one of the next ten xkcds-- no wait that would be too timely.

    Sometime, a hundred xkcds from now, randall will do one about Minecraft. "Remember that? I JUST found out about that guys! And now I'm making a joke about it!"

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  96. http://i56.tinypic.com/x0qkvp.png

    laugh you pricks

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  97. If there is only one girl in a particular XKCD strip, the girl is the smart or thoughtful one every single time. The closest thing to an exception is that narcissistic emo girl. This is so true that when it was finally rendered untrue a little while ago with a FEMALE teacher represented as being stubbornly resistant to scientific enquiry, my jaw dropped so far that I haven't been able to close it properly since. But in this case it was still an anonymous student of unspecified gender showing her up, not a representative of the horrible Orwellian patriarchy.

    Being so unwilling to represent any female at all as inferior to any male is the sort of simpering anti-intellectual feminism that (in a male) tends to hide an underlying hypocrisy. Most people who have done a course on feminism will have encountered the type. Those guys who seem to think that sympathising with Women as the universal victim is the perfect pickup line, and figures that most of the class gets all wet every time he opens his mouth.

    Randall might not know those guys because he only studies rational manly subjects like maths and science, not soft and feminine subjects like sociology and history. Maybe he thinks he's unique and progressive.

    (Oh, there was also that comic about some guy who wanted to escape his relationship by falling asleep. I guess that one was too artistic to stun me.)

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  98. Well, balls. Two of my coworkers just started talking about 806, and one said he'd use that retarded code word the next time he called tech support. "No one is making you read it," indeed.

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  99. R., that was brilliantly hilarious. I sincerely laughed aloud. Thank you.

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  100. ‮I have a confession to make. After reading this comic I experienced, not a GOOMHR moment, but a moment of bonding with Randall. I wanted to go home and visit paradise cities, also! There I could forget that there was ever such a thing as XKCD. There I could finally know peace. As I slept last night, I dreamt of this land. I cannot describe it to you here in a way which will do it justice, but it was a place where I was happy. I awoke to a bright cold Seattle morning and reality dawned. I had still read this comic. I had not escaped to a better place. I will never be free.

    The narrative structure of this comic is a little confusing. The man is sitting on a box and singing, that much is clear. I'm assuming he's busking or something, but there's no real indication of that. A bench at a park or subway station would make it pretty clear, and it might even allow for some of that patented "it's better than the shit I usually put out" art that makes the ladies go crazy for Randall-brand loving. You could draw a whole scene if you wanted! And context might help the joke here. God knows it needs the help.

    The joke itself--well, here I want to be careful, because it's one of those jokes that doesn't lend itself to summarizing nicely. Obviously it's a play on the song. It tries to create a narrative structure of a spree of violent crime being quelled by the Mounties, who I guess send the criminals off to Orwellian rehabilitation camps? All while keeping to the structure of "Take me down to X region where Y rhyming thing happens."

    It's not the worst thing in the world. He manages to keep the meter moderately well. The rhymes mostly work, and only feel slightly forced. It is, however, pretty fucking terrible.

    It's just--what is the point? It's not doing anything interesting. It's old enough that I'm not even going to bother complaining that it's not timely, but come on, Randy. Parodies should do something insightful, or at least interesting, with the source material. It should do more than draw a poorly cobbled together narrative using all the words you can think of that mean roughly the same thing as "city" that have rhymes. Or at least do something more than draw five panels of a stick man sitting on a box with badly drawn musical notes surrounding him.

    Who else thinks Randy first thought of "counties" and "mounties" rhyming and just went from there?

    EDIT: Oh yes, I'd like to thank everyone for their submissions on this one! Keep them coming. The hate has made you powerful.

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  101. Inferior AnonymousOctober 15, 2010 at 6:03 PM

    Wait, how do you stop the comment system from putting in its own "said"?

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  102. ‮‫‏‫‮‮‮‬‬‬‮‬‭‬‮‫‮‮‮‮...demialcorPOctober 15, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    You must have the POWER!

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  103. I sense the birth of a horrible, horrible new meme is near.

    I
    am
    scared.

    !emem sdrawkcab eht

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  104. someone needs to delete that shit

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  105. R. That is great. Please don't stop being you.

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  106. i think what really gets me about the tech support one is that it doesnt even make sense (at least to my hideously english mind).

    so he's phoning up tech-support, and in order to prove he's a tech-literate-super-being, that hasnt made any basic mistakes, he tells them that his modem keeps failing every few hours.
    well firstly, my understanding is we dont really have modems anymore - broadband uses a digital signal anyway. i realise we all call them modems, but if your trying to sound all technical to prove how awesome you are to tech support, wouldnt you wantto be *right* about everything?
    which brings me to the other thing - is he saying that he thinks he should be connected *directly* to their office? maybe its just a UK thing, but here the phone lines go to an exchange first. and if the uplink light (whatever that is, is it the one to tell you its synced, or that you have actual interwebz?) keeps going off, its the connection between you and the exchange thats a problem - well, maybe. it could jsut as easily be your modem being crap. or your filters being crap. or the fact he apparently has the router on the end of a wire in the middle of the room, rather than as close to the wall-socket as it could be.

    but its certainly not your connection to 'their office'.
    who is he phoning? his ISP? the equivalent to BT? (does the US have an equivalent to BT? if not then thats a major reason to move there...) some random website that he cant get access to? there is no indication that the people he's phoning have anything to do with his problem. Except, of course, that he's a geek so cant possibly be wrong. about anything. ever.


    Also, i've never once been told to restart my PC when talking to tech support about my broadband - instead they say things like 'right, yeah, its dropped 8 times in the last 2 days. have you been having problems with voice calls, because if you havnt then its harder for us to get BT to help. oh you have been? well thats excellent!'. and when told to restart things, its typically the router i get to restart.

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  107. 4:55: Broadband/DSL does use modems. Technically they are still called modems. (Besides, he still COULD have a 56K modem. Some people do.)

    "which brings me to the other thing - is he saying that he thinks he should be connected *directly* to their office?"

    I don't think he's saying that. He said "The problem is between your office and the modem", which arguably (incorrectly) excludes the modem itself as the problem's source, but doesn't say they're connected in that way.

    "or the fact he apparently has the router on the end of a wire in the middle of the room, rather than as close to the wall-socket as it could be."

    Funny. Why should it be? Here, we connect routers to modems with Cat5 cables (the same cables as for 100 Mbit ethernet) so I don't see why a router should need to be close to a wall-socket.

    "who is he phoning? his ISP? the equivalent to BT?"

    I guess his ISP. What's a BT?

    "Also, i've never once been told to restart my PC when talking to tech support about my broadband"

    I guess that is intended by Randall - restarting your PC is somewhat unprobable to fix problems with your internet connection if the PC is set up right, and anything refering to a "start menu" is even more egregious.

    4:43: All this goddamn HTML source code reading and in the middle of it I get that it's just Rob's friggin' blog post.

    Also it's some tinkering with stupid characters or HTML tags in the comment and name box that makes the text be backwards for that field (i.e. the " said..." or actual comment field).

    ThePirateKing: Mine... what?


    Goddamn comment form doesn't allow postings larger than 4 KiB! Do you believe it?

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  108. Evln, continueing,October 16, 2010 at 5:51 AM

    Mole: "but I think it had something to do with it not having a proper driver coded for UNIX(this happened somewhere around 1970-80)."

    To be fair, that would happen today too :-D

    Anon: "On the other hand Randall probably longs for the days when only 5% of people could use the Internet, so he'd still be OK with this."

    This is of course an extreme version, but right now we have uh.. political efforts for educating more media literacy (not sure if that's the right term in english) over here. An "internet license" (like a driver's license) generally isn't that bad of an idea (though it has practical problems). This wouldn't serve to exclude less techy people; instead, everyone would be required to know a bare minimum of what these internets are and how you use them.

    Anon: "Suck it up and ask to be transferred to someone higher up."

    Didn't he do that?

    Capn: " I can do all this by knowing 2 programming languages: JavaScript and GW BASIC."

    Now now, what with the niche humor. (To explain: GW BASIC is considered today about one of the most crappy languages ever seriously created, and JavaScript is a more abstract language than others that isn't used as much as mainstream languages.)

    Gamer_2k4: "The thing is, though, this is typical Randall. It would be one thing if the genders were interchangeable in the comic, but they're not at all."

    Though I basically agree with your opinion here, saying the genders in 806 are not interchangeable is simply wrong. They're not interchangeable based on the role model Randall is accused of, but generally they are interchangeable.

    Mole: "Why would StickRandall want to talk specifically to an engineer? That may be a cultural thing..."

    I have come to accept that in the US, you can apparently be an engineer for about everything. Our translation for "software engineer" and "software developer" is the same - and means "software developer". The "network engineer" or "systems engineer" is probably what I think of as "system integrator".

    Also, it's hilarious to me that all stuff software apparently belongs to "computer science" in english. Like it's some sciency science of sciences. I don't think it is. (I don't think learning how to use a computer should belong to "computer science" either.)

    "Well, Opera crashed while sending my comment."

    lies.

    Besides, this comment form is so crappy I always leave my comment in the clipboard while sending it.

    "2) That goddamn "I know two programming languages, I'm a leet goddess" thing. Seriously, Randall, how smug is that?!"

    Just as smug as most of the people that have come to associate with the term leet or 1337. It's like a goddamn meme now.

    Gryffilion: "Randall has a frustrating habit of being VERY black-and-white about various topics"

    Good call.

    aloria: "Gryffilion: Exactly. Knowing how to code makes someone about as knowledgeable of networking as being a gourmet chef makes one a decent farmer."

    It's a step in the right direction. (Besides, system integrators probably would not like this simile.)

    "those seemingly cargo-cultish CSR scripts aren't just for technically ignorant grandmas, they also catch the "I know more about this than you and it can't POSSIBLY be... oh yeah, the cable came loose from the back of the modem, derp.""

    I assumed that generic bald stickman had ruled out all such possibilities here based on what we read, though I see that the comic might promote such behaviour. (Given that its audience is basically the smug xkcd 1337 crowd anyway, even more so.)

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  109. I'm not sure about this JavaScript thingie, but the examples on Wikipedia made it look like that. Although I think my description fits Java better. JavaScript is mostly used as web scripting thingy, so much I do know.

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  110. 5.48am:

    What's a BT? http://lmgtfy.com/?q=bt

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  111. BT is British Telecom, the... well the British telecommunication company, which is I think still a monopoly.

    Acronyms are not that easily googleable.

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  112. Zino: "BT is British Telecom, the... well the British telecommunication company, which is I think still a monopoly."

    Ah ok, no, here our telecom still exists but it's mainly an ISP like most others. (Although they still own the physical connections, but these are rented by all ISPs or so.) In any case, if you have an internet or telephone connection problem you'll call your ISP.

    "Acronyms are not that easily googleable."

    True, although in this case their site showed up as the first result. (Along with unrelated ones.) I searched for it on Wikipedia but there was lots of other stuff.

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  113. It's probably the first result when you Google within Britain, but that's because Google uses your location to decide what's most relevant to you. British Telecom doesn't even show up on the first page for me.

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  114. I'm not in Britain! Else I would have known what BT is in the first place. (Though continental europe isn't as far away from Britain as the US.)

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  115. Didn't Dilbert do almost this exact comic over a decade ago? But, you know, better?

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  116. Take me down to xkcd land
    where linux lovers get out of hand

    Take me down to xkcd area
    where Black hat evil causes hysteria

    Take me down to xkcd point
    where life is interesting but love dissapoints

    take me down to xkcd city
    where the grass is lush and the people have an iq over 30

    Won't you PLEASE take me hoooome....

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  117. you're giving xkcd fans way too much credit if you think they have an IQ over 30.

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  118. (the saddest part is I'm pretty sure you're trying to be pro-XKCD there)

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  119. "city" and "30" don't rhyme, dude.

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  120. They probably could, depending on how retarded your accent is.

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  121. This is obviously a narrative on how America collapses into anarchy, is patrolled by Canadian peacekeepers, and then becomes a Orwellian police state.

    If Randall had any talent he'd make those images along with the (lame) lyrics above each.

    Sure it wouldn't make sense, but at least it'd be better than that shit at the top.

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