518: Flow Charts

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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:Box 7: But you just followed them twice!
 
:Box 7: But you just followed them twice!
 
::[Arrow to Box 8a.] Yes
 
::[Arrow to Box 8a.] Yes
::[Arrow to Box 8b.] No
+
::[Arrow to Box 8a.] No
 
:Box 8a: (That wasn't a question.)
 
:Box 8a: (That wasn't a question.)
 
::[Arrow to Box 8b.]
 
::[Arrow to Box 8b.]

Revision as of 13:47, 14 May 2013

Flow Charts
At 8 drinks, you switch the torrent from FreeBSD to Microsoft Bob. C'mon, it'll be fun!
Title text: At 8 drinks, you switch the torrent from FreeBSD to Microsoft Bob. C'mon, it'll be fun!

Explanation

Flowcharts are diagrams that represent processes in a graphical form. While predominantly used in computer programming to visualise the structure of source code, flowcharts can in theory be used to depict any real or virtual procedure. In this comic, this idea is subverted by employing a flowchart to explain flowcharts itself. As for reading the flowchart prior knowledge on how to read a flowchart is required, the comic induces a deadlocked situation.

Moreover, the functionality of flowcharts is quite intuitive, thus rendering the attempted self-description in the comic obsolete. In fact, due to the self-explanatory nature of flowcharts, the one provided in the comic does not even explain the manner of functioning: It only confirms their capability to those who already know how to use it. Someone who contradicts himself by claiming he does not see the arrows albeit following them is left with the message "I hate you" in End-Box 2b. For everyone else, the chart inevitably leads to the "Let's go drink" box, which gives rise to the assumption that the whole chart was only a pretence for drinking.

FreeBSD is a unixoid operating system for computers which is generally considered to require advanced skills. The question whether Linux or (Free)BSD is the preferable operating system is a question of belief to some. The comic takes sides against FreeBSD by implying that one would only install it in a state of insobriety.

The title text mentions Microsoft Bob, a software package published in 1995 by Microsoft. The product was targeted towards beginners and therefore provides the user with a cartoon-style interface instead of a productive environment. While being a commercial failure, the system serves as an insider joke between IT professionals until the present day.

Transcript

A guide to UNDERSTANDING FLOW CHARTS presented in flow chart form.
Box 0: Start
[Arrow to Box 1.]
Box 1: Do you understand flow charts?
[Arrow to Box 2.] Yes
[Arrow to Box 4.] No
Box 2: Good
[Arrow to Box 3.] Yes
Box 3: Let's go drink.
[Arrow to Final Box.] 6 Drinks
Box 4: Okay. You see the line labeled "Yes"?
[Arrow to Box 6.] Yes
[Arrow to Box 5.] No
Box 5: But you see the ones labeled "No".
[Arrow to End-Box 1.] Yes
[Arrow to End-Box 2a.] No
End-Box 1: Wait, what?
[No Arrows.]
End-Box 2a: Listen.
[Arrow to End-Box 2b.]
End-Box 2b: I hate you.
[No Arrows.]
Box 6: ...and you can see the ones labeled "No"?
[Arrow to Box 3.] Yes
[Arrow to Box 7.] No
Box 7: But you just followed them twice!
[Arrow to Box 8a.] Yes
[Arrow to Box 8a.] No
Box 8a: (That wasn't a question.)
[Arrow to Box 8b.]
Box 8b: Screw it.
[Arrow to Box 3.]
Final Box: Hey I should try installing FreeBSD!
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