1349: Shouldn't Be Hard

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Shouldn't Be Hard
(six hours later) ARGH. How are these stupid microchips so durable?! All I want is to undo a massive industrial process with household tools!
Title text: (six hours later) ARGH. How are these stupid microchips so durable?! All I want is to undo a massive industrial process with household tools!


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Cueball is sitting at his laptop and is annoyed because a simple task is hard to do.

An offscreen-voice tells him that computers are just carefully organized sand. This is a pun on the creation process of a microchip, which involves turning sand into silicium and arranging it in form of millions of transistors.

"Everything is hard until someone makes it easy" points out that tasks are much easier to do if someone took care of making them easier, e. g. by writing a program for that task.

Cueball reveals a plan to turn the laptop back into sand, likely by destroying it and melting tbe microprocessor, which would make it unusable. The offscreen-voice attends to help him by bringing him a blowtorch, which would make the process of melting much easier.

The title texts is a pun that the process of destroying the laptop is probably as hard to do as the former computertask.


[Cueball is typing on a laptop.]
Cueball: What I'm trying to do is really simple.
Cueball: It shouldn't be hard.
Offscreen: All computers are just carefully organized sand. Everything is hard until someone makes it easy.
[Cueball sits back and pauses.]
[Cueball picks up and examines the laptop.]
Cueball: Maybe I should turn this one back into sand.
Offscreen: I'll find a blowtorch.

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Carefully organized sand eh? I believe this is a callback to this comic( and the silicone of course but...). 14:33, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

I Don't think this is a call back -- just a common reference to that computer chips are based on Silicon which have been arranged into electrical circuits Spongebog (talk)
Not a callback, not even a little bit. That comic did not reference the manufacturing process of computer chips at all, but instead use rocks as a sort of physical computer. The "carefully organized rocks" in that comic could have easily been carefully organized coconuts and the meaning of the comic would not have changed a bit. Also silicone is not the same as silicon. Silicone is a synthetic polymer made out of silicon and would be entirely unsuitable for building computer chips. Silicone = caulk, implants. Silicon = quartz, sand, computer chips. 16:04, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
That comic was also the first thing I thought of, but alas I do not think this comic is referencing that one, because in that comic he is organizing rocks, not sand. Sparx (talk) 03:46, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

Repeat after me: the CPU is not the computer. "The core of the CPU is mostly made out of sand" is less cringeworthy. As the "computer" itself, it's mostly made of plastic and metal. Even the CPU's plastic casing is a large part of it in volume. Ralfoide (talk) 14:21, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

When I buy a box of Ferrero Rocher Hazelnut chocolate, and I say, these made out of chocolate, would that statement be "cringeworthy" if I forgot to mention the hazelnut interior, or the tin foil that surrounds the chocolate, or the paper cup that goes around the tin foil, or the plastic container that it comes in? Even the cardboard setting in the box is a large part of it in volume. (Moral: when we describe something, we only really care about the active components that allow it to do whatever it is supposed to do, not the packaging it comes in.) 15:32, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
It's aluminium foil, not tin. It comes in a cardboard box here. 02:04, 1 July 2016 (UTC)

It has changed! The title is now "Lorenz" and each time you open a tab there seems to be a random choice between 3 different comics, two of them with clickable options Jesuspetry (talk) 14:41, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

And it seems the (multiple!) followups to each comic are being created by user suggestion! Jesuspetry (talk) 14:50, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

What Jesuspetry said! Checking just now, the title of the comic is "Lorenz" (a reference to Edward Norton Lorenz?) and the title text is "Every choice, no matter how small, begins a new story." Imperpay (talk) 14:53, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

Wait, no, we're looking at number 1350 on the main xkcd page, not 1349. Time for a new page here, forthwith! Imperpay (talk) 15:00, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
You're right. What has confused me is that 1349 flashes in the screen before 1350 is carried over by the browser Jesuspetry (talk) 15:26, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
Oh, and from my connection at work, I can't see the "real" 1350 at all. All I see is the image from 1349, with a new title and new title text. I'll have to wait until I get home. (I believe you'll see what I see if you use the old unix interface from a previous April 1, at uni.xkcd.com, and display 1350. Imperpay (talk) 16:41, 1 April 2014 (UTC)