Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Steve Jobs died on October 5, 2011, the day before this comic was posted. He was the CEO and one of the founders of Apple, Inc. He was the head of Apple for the introduction of OS X, the default operating system used on all modern Macintoshes. In OS X when there is a significant slowdown, the Cursor becomes the symbol seen in the comic. This symbol is infamous among OS X users, and is nicknamed "the beachball". It appears during a lag, and can take a very long time to disappear, thus seeming endless.
The title and rotating cursor above a fixture in the ground seems to be referencing the John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame, suggesting that the rotating cursor above the fixture is, in fact, a monument to Steve Jobs.
The title text refers to the fact that on the Mac, the application sometimes recovers and the system comes back; other times, however, the damage is irrevocable, a Kernel Panic happens and the system needs a restart.
A similar tribute comic was also dedicated to Terry Pratchett, the day after he died, in 1498: Terry Pratchett, and to Gary Gygax, three days after he died, in 393: Ultimate Game.
- [Two people before a memorial with an eternally spinning wait cursor. They contemplate silently on an influential life. Goodbye, Steve.]
- This comic was released the day after Steve Jobs died - a Thursday. It replaced the Friday comic. The next comic was not released until Monday.
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Ugh, I hate it when people attribute everything the the technology to Steve Jobs. Apple spends pebbles on R&D, polishes up the work of other countries and they get labelled as inventors and heroes. Incredibly frustrating for the rest of us in the technology industry. Davidy²²[talk] 08:35, 9 March 2013 (UTC)
- I don't think Apple would polish up the work of other countries. InAndOutLand (talk) 01:51, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
- The way I see it, Apple's innovation is in their UI. The iPod wasn't the first portable digital music player, and the iPhone wasn't the first smartphone, but they were the first in their respective classes to have an intuitive interface that could easily be understood by someone with no technology background. Marketing is everything in the tech industry, and a product will fail if it can't convince the market that it's the better choice, even if it's absolutely better from a technical standpoint. Curtmack (talk) 18:36, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
- First of all, nothing in this comic attributes "everything in the technology industry" to Steve. Secondly, Apple spends more on R&D than most other companies – it's one of the reasons the markup is so high on Apple's products. Thirdly, if those "other companies" were just as good at design and execution as Apple, as you seem to believe, there would be nothing stopping them from achieving the same success as Apple. So what stopped Dell from releasing the iPhone and upsetting the mobile industry? What stopped HP from developing an online music store and totally upsetting the music industry? Either you're going to have to argue that everyone except Apple is just incredibly, incredibly unlucky, or you have to admit that there is something that Apple does that those companies don't. What that differentiating thing may be is open for debate, sure, but to say that everything they do is just a polish of some other company's work is simply ignorant. 22.214.171.124 17:48, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
- Apple got lucky early on, and managed to get a fanbase, which they have basically brainwashed into thinking that Apple Products are automatically better than anything else. Secondly, I assume that it was not the comic itseld Davidy22 was referring to, but rather the explanation, which has since been changed. 126.96.36.199 23:40, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
- Brainwashed? The Apple II and the Macintosh were not the first in their ideas, but they were revolutionary computers. 188.8.131.52 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- "pebbles on R&D"? I wish I had pebbles... Apple spends BILLIONS of US dollars every year on R&D ($3.3B in 2012, $4.4B in 2013). Check their Form-K filings with the SEC if you don't believe me. Some other tech companies spend more, but they also have a much larger product line than Apple's so that is to be expected.184.108.40.206 14:30, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
This actually looks more like the Centennial Flame at the Canadian parliament building. It has the same paneling style at the base, unlike the JFK eternal flame, which, judging by pictures, has a round, flat base. 220.127.116.11 16:23, 19 December 2015 (UTC)
The title text suggests that if I wait long enough the beachball will change to a flame. I have waited several minutes. How long does one have to wait? /David A 18.104.22.168 20:44, 23 August 2016 (UTC)