1349: Shouldn't Be Hard
|Shouldn't Be Hard|
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!
This comic refers to a statement sometimes made by computer programmers, most commonly when they are just beginning to learn a new computer language. (Sometimes much later than their first learnings, though.) Sometimes because of difficulties with the syntax rules of the language or similar problems, a programmer may spend a long time trying to get the computer to do a simple action, such as display a message on the screen, or ask the user for a number. "What I'm trying to do is simple—it shouldn't be hard." The statement can also be made when simply using computer software, not writing it, such as trying to get a spreadsheet to do something in Excel. (Add up the dollar amounts for sales marked "completed", for example.)
In the first panel, Cueball is frustrated from trying to get his computer to do something. (We are not told what.) He states that because what he is trying to do is really simple, it shouldn't be hard to get the computer to do it.
Offscreen, someone points out to Cueball that as computer chips are primarily made of silicon (also the basic ingredient in sand), computers are really just carefully organized sand. This points out by implication the number of levels of complexity between the simple arrangement of matter in sand, and a computer which can actually be given instructions and carry them out. The offscreen character concludes: "EVERYTHING is hard until someone makes it easy."
In the third panel, Cueball sits for a moment to digest this idea.
In the fourth panel, because of his frustrations, Cueball contemplates turning the computer BACK into sand—or more exactly, burning it down into a simpler form of matter—because despite its complex arrangement of parts into microchips, etc., he can't easily get the computer to do what he wants. The offscreen character says he (or she) will get a blowtorch, the purpose being to allow Cueball to melt down the computer into simple compounds and elements.
The title text refers to the manufacturing power and machines necessary to manufacture microchips, which Cueball is having difficulty undoing with simple household tools. Since it takes very large machines, intricately machined components and a lot of electrical power to assemble microchips, it is not necessarily simple to undo the process with household tools such as a handheld blowtorch—something like trying to undo a steel weld by lighting a wooden match and trying to melt the weld with it. It could also be a pun that destrying the processor is even harder to do than the task from the first picture.
- [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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