561: Well

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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I'll concede ergonomics anecdotally, but none of the studies of Dvorak were at all rigorous (the most-cited Navy study was overseen by Dvorak himself).  And the 'slow typists down' thing is a myth.  Also EMACS RULES VI DROOLS WOOOOOOO!
Title text: I'll concede ergonomics anecdotally, but none of the studies of Dvorak were at all rigorous (the most-cited Navy study was overseen by Dvorak himself). And the 'slow typists down' thing is a myth. Also EMACS RULES VI DROOLS WOOOOOOO!


Uncomfortable truths are truths that exist, but no one wants to have to think about.

The first is about Firefly the TV series created by Joss Whedon and canceled by FOX after airing airing the first 13 episodes out-of-order due to poor ratings performance. In Firefly, the main language spoken is Chinese, because apparently between the present day and the events of Firefly Chinese society took over the whole of humanity. However, there are very few actual Asians on-screen.

Dr. August Dvorak introduced the Dvorak keyboard layout in 1936 that is supposed to be far superior to the QWERTY keyboard layout. However, Dvorak has not replaced QWERTY, despite it being "better".

The title text perpetuates the Emacs vs. vi debate.

All comics in the Well series:


[A sign sits by a well]

Sign: The Uncomfortable Truths Well

[A guy and a girl are lined up for the well; the guy throws a coin in]

Well: For a universe that's supposed to be half Chinese, Firefly sure doesn't have any Asians.

[The guy is gone, a couple arrives behind the girl from the previous pane; the girl throws a coin in]

Well: There's no solid evidence DVORAK's better than QWERTY. The standard histories are urban legends.

[Just the couple remain; the boyfriend throws another coin in]

Well: You've never said "I love you" and meant it. It was always just words.

[The girlfriend now throws in a coin]

Well: You meant it every time.

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Shouldn't we elaborate on the questioned superiority of DVORAK? -- 20:45, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

Actually, QUERTY was not designed to avoid jamming keys. It actually seems to be based on morse code mappings - to suit the majority of early users who were morse code operators. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/fact-of-fiction-the-legend-of-the-qwerty-keyboard-49863249/?no-ist (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The final two frames appear to be foreshadowed by the title text within Connected (http://xkcd.com/807/) Lakeside (talk) 19:02, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

I like how the 'uncomfortable truth' for the man is that he never meant it when he said 'I love you', but for the woman, it's that she always did! 23:47, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

What is ironic is that I am setting up a keyboard based on Michael Dicken's optimizer. Also, while I prefer vim (light weight!), I also have Xemacs out of my own choice. Greyson (talk) 20:37, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

The uncomfortable truth is that both emacs and vi are quite difficult to learn, just in different ways.
Emacs, after you learn it, allows you to write the highly flexible macros for the text processing but requires to type some very long command names to do most things. Being largely written is Lisp, historically Emacs had also been very slow and memory-hungry but with the modern computers it doesn't matter any more. Oh, and Emacs messes up the proper Tab characters, replacing them with spaces.
Vi doesn't have this flexibility but has a built-in set of commands extremely well suited to editing the programs. Vi is well-suited for the remote administration because it works well even over the very slow and high-latency connections and allows to do everything with just the alphanumeric keys, thus working even when the handling of the function keys (including arrows ans such) was not set up correctly. One of the newer versions of vi, vim, allows to do some very extensive programmable text manipulation, getting closer to Emacs in this respect; and vim can be set up to mess up the Tab characters just like Emacs. 21:58, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
vi is the hell, my keyboard doesn't have a META key... Maybe it's ALT, or ALT+CTRL,... ALT+SHIFT, or ALT+SHIFT+CTRL+ESC+...A hell. But you can rely on vi, it's available on every UNIX based system. So, if you just have a simple Telnet or SSH login you have to figure out how vi does work. --Dgbrt (talk) 23:30, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

The Firefly explanation is too much, especially with the point about airing out of order. I think with the inclusion of Randall's personal preference for Firefly, and its frequent reference by Randall, it would make a lot more sense. flewk (talk) 08:07, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

The voice in the last panel is clearly coming out of the well, as is the case in Well 2. It's not Megan saying "I love you" unlike the current explanation. 21:06, 13 June 2017 (UTC)