Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Randall is viewing a screenshot of a text-message exchange via his own phone's web browser. Such screenshots are frequently posted online, to show content ranging from humorous typos to creepy behavior. In this screenshot, in addition to the text messages' content, we see a battery bar reflecting a charge of 6%; this effectively "photobombs" (or distracts Randall from) the actual content of the original screenshot. On the other hand, the phone on which the shot is viewed is charged at a healthy 85%.
The phone the screenshot is taken from is an iPhone, while the phone being viewed is an Android.
The title text suggests that Randall has plugged in his phone to quell the anxiety induced by the 6% charge in the screenshot, mistaking it for the actual battery indicator of his own phone. This measure is obviously unsuccessful, as charging his own phone does nothing to change the charge of the phone in the picture. A similar phenomenon is when a screenshot is viewed and the viewer attempts to use the controls (e.g. buttons) in the image.
An alternative interpretation for the title text is that the screenshot was posted as part of a thread asking why their phone isn't charging. This would be ironic, as Randall's focusing on the battery level means his eyes are being drawn to the very problem being spoken about, yet he is too distracted by it to read that this is the problem!
This may also be a reference to mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are according to many neurobiologists a biological basis of empathy. If you see someone stick a needle in their hand, it feels as if you hurt yourself and some people experience a tightness of the chest when hearing a wheezing asthma patient on the radio. Here, Randall's mirror neurons start to fire as he feels the anxiety associated with a phone losing battery power.
- When someone posts a screenshot of their phone,
- [A screenshot of a text exchange, being viewed in another phone's browser. The picture of the other phone shows a 6% charge, while the phone viewing the picture has an 85% one. The charge indicator in the screenshot is circled in red and marked with several exclamation points.]
- I can't pay attention to the content if their battery is low.
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Guys I feel so strange right now, I woke up thinking "My battery is low, I need a charger but wait ... A new xkcd comic!" I have uploaded my screenshot : http://imgur.com/kjK1S1B
22.214.171.124 09:45, 26 May 2014 (UTC)bluelightzero
- I plugged in my phone but it's not charging??! http://imgur.com/xCaPvxX --126.96.36.199 22:00, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Because I can:
International Space Station (talk) 17:26, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
That subreddit made me feel dirty. And all this after seeing some long "friendzone" rants on Imgur. 188.8.131.52 10:10, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
For completeness: http://imgur.com/YLNKqlC
15:53, 26 May 2014 (UTC) 184.108.40.206 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Although I personally prefer Android phones for their OS flexibility, I don't think the "Android has longer battery life than iPhone" comment is needed in the explanation. It feels very opinionated, out of place and dubious (battery life essentially depends on usage.) That comment distracts from the main point of the comics. The comment the screenshot is of an iPhone and the phone itself is an Android is quite relevant since both status bars are vastly different (something that a casual reader might not realize), yet the phone owner is still confused by the screenshot's battery icon. If someone wants to reword that in the description better than I could do, please help yourself. Ralfoide (talk) 17:56, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
- The iPhone vs Android jab in the explanation was totally trolling, lame. Android phones as a rule have much inferior battery life to iPhone over the span of the day - and the reason for that are design decisions in making of iOS vs Android. For example iOS is total nazi in not allowing background processes to run (spare ones actively playing music or GPS, plus limited time downloads). On Android OTOH, apps relish attaching themselves to the many system hooks, to be launched/notified on changes - so as practical matter you always have Maps, Play store, Google Play Services and user apps leeching on the battery. Android has advantages over iOS (there are many thing you can do that are verboten in iOS) - but battery life, as well as privacy control are not one of them. Please let the explanation be w/o getting into platform war - it is about being OCD, not mobile OSes. 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I don't think that's what "photobomb" means. 18.104.22.168 20:14, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
- I disagree. I found the usage quite ingenious. 22.214.171.124 04:20, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
My read on this is he's distracted from the call for help, "Help, my battery won't charge! See!", because the attached image shows a low battery, killing his respect for the sender. Maybe that's just me. 126.96.36.199 23:13, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
- I agree; I interpreted the title text as the message that someone is trying to send to Randall. Diszy (talk) 05:27, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Some of the reason for this is the android sdk is used to create these screenshots.
The sdk contains some virtual machines and these have the battery detect as being low.
This seems to be done on purpose as you could query the charge of your phone in an app and having this set to in the middle makes it easier to test your app.
It is much easier to take a photo with the sdk than to use real hardware as phones will be different and you will have other applications running that you don't want to be included in the screen shot.
188.8.131.52 03:38, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
- …except it isn’t! iPhones don’t get to use the Android SDK, and they have screenshot functionality since day one. Modern Android phones also have that capability. And no, making screenshots on the VMs is not easier: the SDK requires proficiency with Android, computers in general and much more; you can’t have the texts that you want to have a screenshot of on the VM; it’s generally slow and worthless. Such screenshots are created with physical phones, of people too lazy to charge their phones. —Chris Warrick/184.108.40.206 15:43, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Why is this still incomplete? 0100011101100001011011010110010101011010011011110110111001100101 (talk page) 08:38, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
- The "First draft" reason is removed. --Dgbrt (talk) 21:24, 10 June 2014 (UTC)