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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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     as well as [[List of all comics]], which is obviously not a comic page. -->
 
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remain. '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Add yours]]''' while there's a chance!
 
remain. '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Add yours]]''' while there's a chance!
 
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== Latest comic ==
 
== Latest comic ==
 
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== New here? ==
 
== New here? ==
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<div style="float:right; margin: 0 0 1em 1em">{{Special:ContributionScores/10/7/nosort,notools}}<div style="font-size:0.85em; width:25em; font-style:italic">[[Special:ContributionScores|Lots of people]] contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account [[Special:UserLogin/signup|here]].</div></div>
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You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at [[explain xkcd]]. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki!  We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between.  If it is referenced in an [[xkcd]] web comic, it should be here.
 
You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at [[explain xkcd]]. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki!  We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between.  If it is referenced in an [[xkcd]] web comic, it should be here.
  
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* Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
 
* Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
  
* [[List of all comics]] contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links ([[like this]]) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! [[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]].
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* [[List of all comics]] contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links ([[like this]]) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]]'''.
  
 
== Rules ==
 
== Rules ==

Revision as of 21:16, 24 March 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained 5 xkcd comics, and only 1812 (100%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Incognito Mode
They're really the worst tech support team. And their solutions are always the same. "This OS X update broke something." "LET'S INFILTRATE APPLE BY MORPHING APPLES!"
Title text: They're really the worst tech support team. And their solutions are always the same. "This OS X update broke something." "LET'S INFILTRATE APPLE BY MORPHING APPLES!"

Explanation

A woman (maybe a different version of Blondie, or Rachel from Animorphs) warns Cueball about not browsing for more than two hours in incognito mode as he might get stuck there forever.

Incognito mode/private mode is a feature in a web browser that automatically clears any cookies and web history when the browser window is closed. One could become metaphorically "trapped" in this mode if they don't want to lose this data (for example if they've found a useful page which they want to refer back to, or if they're on a website like YouTube which uses cookies to provide recommended videos and they're finding the recommendations interesting), meaning that they can never close the browser again. Presumably this is more likely to happen after a longer browsing session. The only option to keep browsing data when the incognito/private session is closed is to bookmark or write down the URLs of interesting pages; there is no way to keep the cookies, so things such as recommended YouTube videos from within the incognito browsing session will inevitably be lost when it is closed.

Animorphs is a book series by K. A. Applegate featuring several teenagers who have a special power: they can morph into various animals whose DNA they have absorbed through alien technology. However, if they stay morphed for over two hours, they will get stuck in that form until they die (this is presumably where the "two hours" in the comic comes from).

In this comic Randall pokes fun at this by relating it to surfing in incognito mode/privacy mode in a browser. As explained above, staying for too long in incognito mode may cause the user to become "stuck" in this mode until something causes the browser to close, such as the browser/computer crashing or a power failure. This is analogous to the Animorphs who become stuck in animal form if they spend too long in that form.

An alternative interpretation revolves around the use of incognito/private browsing modes when the user is paranoid. They may use this mode if, for example, they don't want the risk of anyone else discovering what they've been doing online, and they find it safer to simply use incognito mode rather than manually deleting the relevant cookies and browsing history afterwards. If they use this mode a lot, the sense of paranoia that initially led them to use incognito mode can reinforce itself, and over time they may become uncomfortable browsing outside of incognito mode. This is another way in which one may become "trapped" in incognito mode after extended use.

Relation to Animorphs

The caption explains that tech tips from Animorphs are the worst, i.e. the woman is an Animorph, and this was not good advice.

The title text continues the idea that an Animorph tech support team would be the worst possible explaining that their solutions are always the same. And then it gives an example which references a common occurrence in the Animorphs book series wherein the protagonists uses their ability to morph into animals to infiltrate enemy strongholds. In the example it is an update for Apple's OS X (a popular commercial operating system), that broke something. The solution is to infiltrate Apple by morphing apples. That advice, however, is nonsensical within the rules for morphing, put forth in the books, since the children can only turn into animals and not into fruits like apples.

Animorphs has been referenced before, first only in the title texts of 1187: Aspect Ratio and 1360: Old Files, and then later in the main comic in 1380: Manual for Civilization, with the books being the actual manual...

Transcript

[A woman with long blonde hair (maybe a version of Blondie) holds both arms up as she addresses Cueball who is sitting in an office chair working on his laptop.]
Woman: ...But remember—if you browse in incognito mode for more than two hours, you'll be trapped there forever!
[Caption below the panel:]
Animorphs tech tips


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Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! Here's how.

Rules

Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.) Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

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