801: Golden Hammer
Title text: Took me five tries to find the right one, but I managed to salvage our night out--if not the boat--in the end.
Java is a programming language touted for its PortabilityTM, which sometimes leads to it being used in systems where it really just shouldn't be used. Cueball laments that the hardware he's tinkering with, despite being used for a single purpose, has its firmware written in Java; since the microprocessor is unknown, it's quite possible the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) had to be ported over to the processor before the hardware designers could write firmware for it. Presumably, they considered this worthwhile to be able to write the control code in a language they're comfortable with, even though it probably would have been much simpler to just write the control code in whatever language they used to port the JVM in the first place.
Black Hat explains that this is really an example of an age-old adage: "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." The hardware developers probably only knew Java, and when they thought about how to write firmware for their new device, "Java" was the only solution that occurred to them.
Of course, instead of a hammer and a nail, Black Hat's analogy is about using bolt-cutters and vodka to get through the lock on Wolf Blitzer's boathouse. Not-so-coincidentally, Black Hat is holding a pair of bolt-cutters and a bottle of vodka. The implication is that Black Hat did, in fact, break into Wolf Blitzer's boathouse the previous night, which is why he just now entered the door at the start of the strip.
The title-text further implies that the boat Black Hat stole did not survive.
- [A man with a black hat is going through a door, a bottle in his hand. A voice speaks to him from off panel.]
- Person: Seriously? This thing runs Java? It's single-purpose hardware!
- [The person is sitting at a computer, holding some device which is wired to a box, and pointing at the screen.]
- Person: I bet they actually hired someone to spend six months porting this JVM so they could write their 20 lines of code in a familiar setting.
- [The man with a black hat has a pair of bolt cutters in the hand that had been obscured in the first panel.]
- Black hat guy: Well, you know what they say -- when all you have is a pair of bolt cutters and a bottle of vodka, everything looks like the lock on the door of Wolf Blitzer's boathouse.
- Person: I'm glad you had a nice night.