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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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xkcloud
xkcloud.png

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: This is one of those complicated interactive entries, more like reviewing a video game than explaining a normal comic.

In this interactive April Fools comic Cueball, presumably representing Randall, admits to the readers he built a flimsy cloud services company using spare computers and parts. After providing his services to various companies (facebook, Twitter, etc.), his setup failed and portions caught fire, causing him to lose data he was required to preserve as part of his service. He requests the readers help him recover, make up and reimagine the lost data by pressing the large red button at the bottom of the comic.

Pressing the button links to one of two interactive survey pages. One asks the reader to indicate which of several line-drawings best matches a given caption, or the reader can create their own drawing in a simple web-based "paint"-style app. The other asks the reader to indicate which of several captions best matches a given drawing, or the reader can create their own caption. The content of the "surveys" appear to come from reader submissions, and are different upon every click.

Below the "survey", the reader is presented with a listing similar to a Facebook news feed, listing several "posts" of the line-drawings apparently tagged with the captions as paired up by the survey results. The posts are made by apparently fictional randomly-named readers. These posts are accompanied by a button similar to Facebook's "Like" button which is labelled either Covet, Crave, Hanker, Thirst or Yearn. All of these are synonyms of "want". After completing the survey, the page refreshes with new "posts".

It is not immediately clear if the reader-created drawings or captions are, in fact, being cycled into the surveys and feeds, or if the displayed items were all created by Randall and the reader-created content is simply discarded.

Included in the cloud hardware are (from left to right) a Macintosh Classic, several old laptops, an Alienware tower, a Nintendo VirtualBoy and 2 other devices.

Trivia

  • It's the first comic without a title text.
  • Since being originally posted the words "CLICK HERE" have been added in large text to the top of the red button followed by the word "to" being added to the beginning of the existing text.
  • From time to time, instead of the interactive page there is a page with three dots only. This might be due to access problems while xkcd fans all over the world try to submit graphics and text.
  • 908: The Cloud also related to cloud computing.

Transcript

[This transcript only transcribes what can be seen in the first picture shown at the top of the explanation here. For more see link below]
[One large frame with a five part comic and a large red button at the bottom.]
[Cueball sitting behind a desk.]
Cueball: We've made a huge mistake.
Desk: XKCD.COM
[Cueball points at a bunch of computers]
Cueball: I figured starting a cloud services company would be easy.
Cueball: After all, I've got tons of computers!
[A zoomed view on Cueballs head.]
Cueball: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr— they all struggle to protect privacy and user data...
Cueball: And we offered a solution.
Cueball: I forget what it was, though.
[Cueball is standing with his arms up.]
Cueball: Anyway, long story short, we screwed up immediately and lost tons of their data.
Cueball: Also a bunch of stuff is literally on fire?
[Cueball standing behind a desk.]
Cueball: We can fix this.
Cueball: But we need your help.
Desk: XKCD.COM
[Below the above is a large red rectangular clickable button, that will take the reader on to the interactive part of the comic. On the button it says in large white letters:]
CLICK HERE
To help us recover user data
before Facebook & Co notice we lost it.
[The standard text for the next possible pages can be seen on the link to the continued transcript. Also here will be a list (which may not be possible to make complete) with possible text for the lost data.]

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