869: Server Attention Span
The comic shows - in human language - part of the conversations that a browser and web server do in order to get the right page. The protocol they use is called HTTP.
This comic makes fun of the issue that many webservers that see a mobile browser will automatically suggest to load the mobile version of the website, but then serve the front page of the mobile site, not the page the user had requested. In quite a few sites, there is no 1-to-1 correspondence of pages between the regular and the mobile site, yet this habit is annoying.
A second issue with HTTP is identified in the last pane. HTTP is stateless. After serving the web page, the connection is severed. Any new request for a page will have to start afresh - which is where the server starts with again: "Hi! I'm a server!" Of course, browsers do not have egos nor do they hold grudges but it can be annoying for users. This design issue can also slow down the browsing experience.
The title text is a joke that all the other servers in the rack think the web server is being childish. /var/log/syslog is where Linux and other posix systems store their system log messages. The 'trying to start conversation' comment is probably a joke on ARP discovery packets that are sent out to the network to see who is who. All servers send out ARP packets to see what other machines are on the network, but some machines send them out every 5 minutes, which can be extremely annoying for someone monitoring network traffic logs.
The coffee comment is another jab at web servers. Some websites use java, or other jvm based languages (Grails, Scala, and others) as the back end of the website, as opposed to using PHP or ASP. Of course, java is another word for coffee, so a web server running on coffee is likely to be well-caffeinated, and well-caffeinated people tend to bounce off the walls with enthusiasm.
- [Single blade in a server rack.]
- Server: Hi! I'm a server! Who are you?
- [Mobile device with a web browser.]
- Browser: I'm a browser. I'd like to see this article.
- Server: Oh boy! I can help! Let me get it for— ...Whoa! You're a smartphone browser?
- Browser: Yeah.
- Server: Cooool! Hey, I've got this new mobile version of my site! Check it out! Isn't it pretty?
- Browser: Sure, but this is just your mobile site's main page. Where's the article I wanted?
- Server: What article?
- Browser: The one I—
- Server: Who are you?
- Browser: I—
- Server: Hi! I'm a server!