Talk:1190: Time

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Pretty sure we're just getting trolled with this one 04:48, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Can't tell if this is emo xkcd or trolling xkcd. Alpha (talk) 04:53, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Something seems a little fishy because the image url is different than normal. Bugefun (talk) 04:55, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Maybe the comic slowly changes throughout the day. Alpha (talk) 04:56, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Oh god, it does. Alpha (talk) 04:57, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
When uploading different versions of the image, use the naming convention time[iterationNumber].png. We'll compile all the images into one and display them as per Traffic Lights. Davidy²²[talk] 05:05, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Alright, so the comic appears to be switching between two states here: between this and this. If nothing new happens, I'll get to clipping the comics together. Davidy²²[talk] 05:28, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Whoop, nope, this just came up. Is there more to come? Davidy²²[talk] 05:34, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Alright, so a new one is posted every half-hour. Whoopee. Davidy²²[talk] 06:06, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
And there's a new one! Megan leaning back and looking up...
Well, the image changed, who has the time to make a script to catch the new images and compile them into a gif? Statharas.903 (talk) 07:14, 25 March 2013 (UTC) 05:11, 25 March 2013 (UTC)It could be a reference to the old proverb " time and tide wait for none" Cueball and the girl could be waiting for the tide in the beach! (Just a guess) 05:11, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

The picture does chance with time. The URL includes a changing timestamp that I can't decipher. Compare these two URLS (which have slightly different images:

Perhaps there is a way to hack the URL to view future images. 05:29, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

I would also like to add that knowing randall, these are not the only images. For all we know, the image will still be changing in 5 years while a tree grows in front of them. My point is: Are the URLs hackable, or did he encrypt them? 05:33, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Likely there is a way to hack the URLs; they look like some sort of hash, probably a hashed timestamp. Of course, he could easily have added some salt to the hash, making it significantly *harder* to hack. But they're strings of a specific length, so it should be pretty easy to bruteforce it, fetch all the images, and then (maybe) reverse-engineer the sequence. *That* all depends on how many of them there are. 05:44, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Good god, do you see how many digits are *in* that hash? The sun'll have burned out by the time we've tested every possible combination of digits. Davidy²²[talk] 05:47, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

It seems that the image is updated every 1/2 hour. 06:17, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Given that the images switch back and forth between other images already seen, and that the comic should be viewable in the future, it seems unlikely that it's any thing like a simple sha256 of part of the timestamp. I think it's more likely a function of half-hours and minutes (assuming we continue to get a new possible image every half-hour). 06:59, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
The images do cycle, yes. But for some reason I have never seen the img where Megan is looking behind her. Also wouldn't it be difficult to show a sequential story (like the rising tide) if the previous images keep cycling ?

Hash appears to be SHA-256. I tried some obvious hashes ("1", "11901", "1190_1", "1190.1") to no avail. Maybe this is HMAC-SHA256? Also, I would suggest trying Unix timestamps. 06:19, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

I've been trying to make educated guesses as to what's being hashed here: ... he could also be using hash(hash2(value)) which would be virtually impossible to crack. 06:59, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

It's entirely possible that the "hash" is actually randomly generated. Just a thought. 07:03, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Regarding sha256. Its most likely some hash of a timestamp, but if he doesnt wants us to crack it, he would have prefixes a password.. sha256('secretcode17:30'). Im just saying, if he doesnt wants us to crack it, we most likely cant. I've tested all unixtimestamps from 1300000000 to 1364390334. Also "00:00" to "23:59", with and without the colon and a load of other formats. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Alright, this is probably not going to work, but I'm trying to exploit Randall's awesomeness here. Maybe he decided to take the time-stamps from the user? I don't know if that's even possible... That would then allow people in different time zones to obtain different images simultaneously. (What's the corollary of Godwin's law for a bunch of math-and-science nerds and relativity? Is there one?) Clicking the img src url on the comic's html page, give me this: : Never mind.. apparently others see the same image too.

Could he be doing this live? Monitoring the discussion on the net? Collaborative, crowdsourced comic-ing? Reminds me of those you-decide-what-the-character-does-next-and-flip-to-appropriate-page parallel plot novels. 07:14, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Let's just compare the two pictures and see how the bottom right changes, which I believe is water and they are indeed waiting for the tide. Statharas.903 (talk) 07:19, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm adding urls to pictures bellow, edit freely.
They change every 5 minutes, will try to keep track.

I have uploaded all the different images onto the wiki, in the order that they were revealed. To avoid needless duplication of effort, I'll put them up in the explanation page. Davidy²²[talk] 07:44, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

It just went back to the second image... 07:59, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

And now changed to something new.
The images do look alike, but they're all different. Thanks David. Statharas.903 (talk) 08:04, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
No..I checked the random string. They're exactly the same. In fact, now it's gone back to the second image. Again. 08:07, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Just found this JavaScript code embedded in the comic HTML source (Update: Reformatted to prevent eye-bleeding):

I'm no programmer but this looks important to me...

Moved it to pastebin, so it doesn't clutter the page so much. 14:22, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
Doesn't really help. The script basically changes the image when something happens (probably some time passes, although it's possible there is more hidden there). WHAT image then appears is not directed by the script, but by the site. Specifically, the image displayed as first is taken from, while the script asks for ... which is, if you get correct "r", probably some json containing the image url. So, even if you hack the script, you will not get all possible urls. -- Hkmaly (talk) 09:17, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
... actually, given that the script part doesn't seem to do anything just now, it's even possible it's for later (ie, starts producing images when the correct time come). Or maybe there is a bug somewhere in the code :-). -- Hkmaly (talk) 09:27, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for explaining. Why hasn't anyone posted this before? Could "location.hash" possibly have anything to do with the method used to generate the image hash key? Also, why is this code so difficult to follow (Obfuscation?)? So many questions... Sorry if this is just a huge waste of Time.
location is the URI of the page. location.hash is the part of the uri after the # character. If you go to, you'll see some debugging output in your browser's debugging console (Firefox: Web Console or Firebug, Chrome: Development Tools). But nothing to decode the algorithm... :-( -- 10:01, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, I don't know what's doing it, but there's definitely some script (probably this script) that's refreshing the image automatically. I left the comic open for an hour or so and noticed the image had changed. I refreshed with #verbose in Chrome right before the 30 minute mark and got the following in the console.
connecting to event source: time07.min.js:1
s {type: "comic/time", data: "{"spread":5,"image":"832a7f13ca0fadc46e93475bb617d78211e32c81c3af0e289a51f8f149707759.png"}", lastEventId: "e2992bf0-9557-11e2-8001-1c6f659cb250"} time07.min.js:1
waiting 0 seconds before displaying comic 832a7f13ca0fadc46e93475bb617d78211e32c81c3af0e289a51f8f149707759.png time07.min.js:1
Resource interpreted as Image but transferred with MIME type application/octet-stream: "". time07.min.js:1
s {type: "comic/time", data: "{"spread":5,"image":"847265673986f085460bf1a95b96f7171bcd9a4f1f0a598b2188307d03bcfaa3.png"}", lastEventId: "79580fe8-9558-11e2-8001-1c6f659cb250"} time07.min.js:1
waiting 4 seconds before displaying comic 847265673986f085460bf1a95b96f7171bcd9a4f1f0a598b2188307d03bcfaa3.png time07.min.js:1
connection error i {type: "error"} time07.min.js:1
Resource interpreted as Image but transferred with MIME type application/octet-stream: "".
The script seems to poll the server every minute or two. It's different from before, where the image server itself redirected to the correct image. The auto refresh was probably always intended, but not quite ready when the comic went live. It may have turned out to be necessary too, so the image server doesn't have to do all the work. 14:45, 25 March 2013 (UTC) 09:48, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Moved to pastebin. 14:34, 28 March 2013 (UTC) --Johnsmith (talk) 22:51, 25 March 2013 (UTC) --Johnsmith (talk) 23:10, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Is it just me or or did Randall manage to make all of us perform a Denial of Service on, and ? seems much slower, and I keep getting "500 Internal server error" when accessing this site ( I guess that's the effect of having everybody hit F5 every few minutes :) 11:57, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Earlier today, the server handled all the image redirections. The script you see above went through several mutations (currently at #8), with each mutation it seems that Randall is adding more servers and trying to split the load between them. This is basically how a bot-net works - we all run code written by some evil genius, and he's changing the code as time passes to serve some hidden purpose. 15:44, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

If he is using us as a botnet, then maybe the next comic will be something alluding to that.
Probably like this:

When I saw this comic last night and that there was no explanation up, I thought to myself "How zen." I figured that Randall was going through a calm streak before throwing us the utterly ridiculous April 1st comic. Did it come early, or does he have something even bigger planned for us? 07:05, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, did you miss the bit where this comic updates every 30 minutes and all the server error messages being caused by the massive traffic to both the wiki and the main xkcd website? Davidy²²[talk] 07:08, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, when I said "last night" and "no explanation", I implied that I wasn't aware of that at the time, which is why I thought what I did. Of course, it is now "now" and there is an explanation, so that should answer your question. Also, since it's not April 1st, and Randall has consistently released something major on that day, the jury is still out, leaving my question quite open (though I was really only asking for opinions). 07:20, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

wanted to add an image to the list above, but didn't know at what timestamp to add it, got 69085b480cb82911b19fe8f114909756989eed89b0d227db0f59c1843de7ba24.png at 2013-03-26 09:47 CET (UTC+0100) /Puggan

The hours denote the time since the initial release of the comic. The page is still a work in progress, we're going to bring that all into one image file soon. Davidy²²[talk] 09:13, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

This site should seriously consider cloudflare, it's perfect at times like this and takes minutes to set up. I run all my sites through it and it saves a lot of page huts and bandwidth. Pyle

Or at least make the main page a static page that refreshes every so often. I'm guessing that most of the traffic is going to the front page with not as much traffic to the actual comic page Odysseus654 (talk) 15:43, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Some of the images on the wiki (looks like time38.png through time48.png) are slightly different than what is on the main site. The lines are slightly thicker, as though someone did them based on screen captures. Royce (talk) 14:37, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Well, at least we have the hashes so they can be re-retrieved, so nothing is really lost, right? Should we add links to the original? Odysseus654 (talk) 15:43, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
I uploaded two of the "thicker" images and one of the "regular" ones, and I did the same thing for all of them: right-click->save-as. Given that the "thick" ones are all clustered together, I think the files on the xkcd site changed. Druid816 (talk) 18:21, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Story so far: linky Odysseus654 (talk) 19:30, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

I guess we shall find out in ~10 minutes if Randall is trolling us. 04:20, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

... so that's it?

Did I just miss something or we've all been epically trolled for 48 hours? 04:22, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Motherofgod, no, he's *still* going! Davidy²²[talk] 05:20, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

What makes you think he's done? 04:25, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm still waiting for the water level to drop precipitously... and then for red spiders to run over everything Odysseus654 (talk) 04:28, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Well, strip 1191 is up so I assumed it was over. I guess it's not. Until April's Fools maybe? 04:32, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

It is not over -- the image is still updating, at least it did for me Spongebog (talk)
Yes, it's not over. Last frame shows just a minimal movement of Cueball's head, but no doubt it's still ongoing. 04:49, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Given the fact the strips for the last 2 weeks have been comparatively simple, I expect Randall has been planning this for at least that long. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Considering the common theme with "today's" strip, anyone wanna guess that he's sending us a hex-encoded file over a really slow modem link, slated to complete April 1? Anyone wanna run "magic" over the hashes and see if they come up with a compression codec or something? Odysseus654 (talk) 04:45, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

I liked this idea and crunched the hex data for 00:00 to 51:00 into a binary file ( Can't see anything resembling a file header, but that doesn't really say much. If this is compressed header-less data there wouldn't likely be any easily discernible patterns. Haven't really tried running the data through anything, zlib was one that came to mind but haven't tried it. I'm pretty shure it's not the seaside, but a lake - the water level is not changing at all.

Its probably going to loop back on itself, eventually, and repeat this way forever. 07:12, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

For those wondering about the Javascript behind this: I posted my analysis of the Javascript on the xkcd forums, and further de-obfuscated and annotated the code over on GitHub. Here's a quick summary though: it holds open a connection to xkcd's servers and listens for instructions and follows them. Those instructions are either "load a new image" or "reload the page". So, you don't have to mash F5, it will automatically update the image when they're available. We have no way to control how fast the images come or when they do, and it's quite possible for them to update forever. --Fiveofoh (talk) 06:41, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

This is a series of animation frames. I suspect they will only ever be shown once (based on the fact you can only get the current image, not previous or future images -- this is in keeping with the title, "Time", which passes and which you can't ever get back]. The filenames are UUIDs too long to guess, so somebody needs to start collecting the filenames here so that a proper flipbook can be assembled. Here's the latest URL: Go here to collect URLs:

We've kinda already been doing that. They're the big long filenames next to each timestamp. Davidy²²[talk] 09:06, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Oh my god it's game of thrones played out in 2D Evan Pyle

Is it just me, or do the last two frames look like someone just threw a rock at the castle? 14:20, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

I believe it is the cannon ball that I have been expecting since they first started building castles. ChrisPUT (talk) 16:34, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Here's a bit of JavaScript to execute in your browser's JavaScript console. (Cmd+Alt+K on Firefox for Mac, for example.)

/* Collect all frame image URLs */
var images = [];'a[href*="/time"][href$=".png"]')).forEach(function (a) {

/* Create an image in the top-right corner of the screen */
var img = document.body.appendChild(document.createElement('img'));
img.setAttribute('style', 'position: fixed; top: 1em; right: 1em;');

/* Allow removing the image by clicking */
img.onclick = function () {

var texts = [0,51,169,174,322];
var delays = [0,1000,1000,1500,4000];

/* Cycle through the frames */
img.onload = function () {
	/* Pause a bit longer for the text frames */
	var idx = texts.indexOf(img.i);
	var delay = ( idx > 0 ) ? delays[idx] : 50;
	setTimeout(function () {
		img.src = images[++img.i % images.length];
	}, delay);

/* Start with the first frame */
img.i = 0;
img.src = images[img.i];

Jan! 09:22, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

---Thanks for the script!. Ctrl+Shift+J on Windows Chrome Shine (talk) 13:11, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

- updated script 'coz there are three text panels now. User schnitz 19:00, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

- updated script with another text panel 21:00, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

The one for the prior half hour (5AM - 5:30AM EST, 27 March 2013) is located at 09:26, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

And the one for the following half hour is located at 09:31, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Call me a paranoid, but I think this strip is all about 9/11:

  • If you read the strip number (1190) backwards, you get 09/11
  • This subject is recurrent on xkcd
  • As far as we have seen, there is a destroyed tower and they are rebuilding it
  • The next strip, following 1190 (or 09/11), mentions war against countries with large oil reserves but low military capacity. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I feel like that's kind of a stretch, I'm pretty sure it's just a story about a day at the beach.

If a new strip goes up every 30 minutes our time, and if each strip comprises of, let's say for the sake of simplicity, one minute in their time; to build the sand castle [frames 24-117 = 93 frames] so far it's taken almost 2 days our time, which would be about an hour and a half their time if each frame is a minute. Using my scale, an hour our time is 2 minutes their time, a day is 48 minutes, and our month is their 24 hour day. If we assume Randall plans to give us a 24 hour period from that world's time, and we use the minute-per-frame rate I made up, than we'd probably be looking at a month of images our time. I guess we'll just have to see how long he's got it planned to go on. -boB

Has it ended? All that's left is the sandcastle, and there doesn't seem to have been anything else changed on it for a few hours.

It's zooming out! When look at the gifs showing the frames in succession, the last 3 show the castle getting slightly smaller each time!

It's true! The most recent also shows the edge of another castle, leading me to believe it's part of some kind of sand castle contest, probably including some of xkcd's other recurring characters!
Weird, now it's not showing that, Randall must have put something up too soon.

A controllable version of the same comic is available at - slow/fast movement, pause, control back and forth. It also has the image # on the top left. Auto updating. 20:56, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Can you add on-screen buttons, so it's usable on phones and tablets without hardware keyboard? -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

looky here: 23:14, 27 March 2013 (UTC) That was a glitch on the server that revealed a future frame, but it has been corrected and that link is now a 404 not found. I guess if we want to see it in context we'll just have to "Wait for it." -- Bugstomper (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Well now we're back to that picture as the present frame. Racerdude09 (talk) 03:14, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Is someone gonna update the transcript to note them building a sandcastle, as well as the dialogue so far (consisting of Megan and Cueball saying goodbye to each other at No. 52)?-- 00:38, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Anyone else think that they're roleplaying Dom and Mal in Limbo? Fry-kun (talk) 05:36, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

I think they're bulding a sand replica of King's Landing for the Game Of Thrones season 3 premiere -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

My first idea regarding the sand castle was also about Game of Thrones, but i dismissed it as being too biased.. -- 13:31, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

I have modified the code "/* Collect all frame image URLs */" to see only images of the "Frame by Frame Breakdown" section :

/* Collect all frame image URLs */
var images = [];'#Frame_by_Frame_Breakdown').parentElement.nextElementSibling.nextElementSibling.querySelectorAll('a[href*="/wiki/images/"][href*="/time"][href$=".png"]')).forEach(function (a) {

(Sorry for my English... and the ugly code...) -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Anyone else think this is going to be related to Wed's cartoon? I'm half-expecting Black Hat to show up from the future, with advanced weaponry, to take oil from the sandcastle of the past. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Guys, i think we might have lost a few frames in between, no? When did he upload the first image? like, the exakt time... knowing this we could calculate the amount of images there should be and compare to what we have... Caranhyas (talk) 18:04, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

The four comics from 89:00 to 90:30 (most recent so far) look the same to me, but the PNG files have different CRCs for the image data blocks, though the metadata in the PNG files are all the same. I wonder if there might be something subtle hidden in the images, or the way they're compressed. 22:54, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

There is a very minor difference in the water level on those images, even though the water level has been static in most of the other images. 02:05, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

I don't think the title text is a reference to anything except for... wait for it... THE MONGOLS ;-) 23:00, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Unless the 99:30 image was misnamed, it's not included in the list of images. Does anyone know where this frame went? Bob 14:18, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Is that rain in two recent panels? Larry (talk) 14:21, 29 March 2013 (UTC)r

Can someone identify for sure what Cueball is doing in 105:00? His arms seems to be crossed, and his holding something in his hand. mem (talk) 14:30, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Looks to me like he is shivering, which would allude to a cool down common with rain storms? Jeremy1026 (talk) 14:51 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Looks to me like he's brushing sand off himself; see the shower around him similar to her hair at 10:00? 03:07, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Megan just wheeled in a trebuchet! This is going to be fun! 16:34, 29 March 2013 (UTC) Now she's launching a rock. I wonder which tower it might hit. March 2013, at 17:08. Flew over the first two and might impact far right tower if it continues. 17:48

I think this is all an elaborate 'joke' which will keep running until Monday - April Fools' Day Joncaves (talk) 17:17, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Re explanation of hour 110:00. My first thought was "How can a person whose face is an empty ovoid look upset?". However, looking at the image again I can see how it does. Respects to Randall. Possibly an April Fool, but I will be even more impressed if it runs beyond Monday. I'm waiting for the tide to come in. jasq 23:12, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

I googled some hashes. The first two seem to show up here, in a directory tellingly labeled "wait":

The "wait" folder there contains hashes that weren't found in the database and might or might not someday be discovered. They are probably there *because* someone was looking up hashes to see if they were common words. 23:17, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

To review, the first two are: 8eb156cce408df8bb83528382d6a2aa2ce6c74f3c573fd12b058cd1c56420672 1e349a579b5f9b5ed487ddf7e88244b70330941ddedac9c6abf6ed2e3f589b97 Googled the third one, but it only shows up on xkcd discussion forums :( Hashed some of the hashes, but didn't see the result in the list, so it dosen't look like a hash chain. Someone should google all the other hashes, and someone else should figure out what the guy in the "wait" directory (presuming it wasn't Randall) was hashing. --Venal dwarf (talk) 21:37, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Comparing all the filenames to the hashes on that page, I found a total of four that overlap. The first two, as mentioned. But also one from the middle of day 1, and one from the end of day 1.
00:30 - 01/00:30 - 8eb156cce408df8bb83528382d6a2aa2ce6c74f3c573fd12b058cd1c56420672.png
01:00 - 01/01:00 - 1e349a579b5f9b5ed487ddf7e88244b70330941ddedac9c6abf6ed2e3f589b97.png
12:00 - 01/12:00 - a3aa116efca3c01d8a64c0c7e79158dc8a62241aba767064e3a6c724cc5ade93.png
23:30 - 01/23:30 - 1da3859627430022485c53ad90e88e8771b2bec2d60e910b59ef332325bba29f.png
--Venal dwarf (talk) 22:36, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
There is a fifth one also, from 01:30 - e25be2dd49fe9f33c3543cdf640b67e0f2146cc576db5da007a135a278e524ee.png
I converted all 1153 hashes in the file to lower case and did a wget on them but it did not turn up any files from the future. Bugstomper (talk) 05:31, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Is Randall training us like Pavlov's dogs - every 30 minutes we are compelled to refresh the web-page? Joncaves (talk) 01:59, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Does anyone have an opinion on how we should continue naming the saved timeNN.png files if the updates do not continue on the half hour? Right now the link for the skipped update 242 got renamed to the nonexistent time242NA.png and the next update's link is time242.png. But what do we do if the updates are changing to once per hour? By the way it does look like the next half-hour update has been skipped too. -- Bugstomper (talk) 05:57, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

It does seem to have gone hourly as of midnight EDT. I stuck in "NA" as a placeholder since I wasn't sure what to do with the files, and wanted to make it clear that the half-hour updates were skipped in case it goes back or changes in some other way. Maybe start naming them by the time, instead of sequentially, e.g. "012200.png". If the pattern holds, the "no update" lines can be removed. (Or both might make more sense, like "time243-012200.png".) 06:08, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Anyone else getting a 404 error with the latest image ( Joncaves (talk) 15:19, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Strange: As far as I know always redirects to the current frame. But if you visit the current one (133:00) at and check the displayed image, it says 'c6976fbb244af4fc2286ffe3ac2cf78d408c1f610ecd71e18b4a677a048f084d.png' while time.png redirects to '1d9ce7199935b1b629d6b8744e62c7700a3780357b2dc74bb70471db616ddadb.png'. If you take a md5 of both images, they appear to be the same.

I was confused by this as well, I'm grabbing the images myself via time.png and got the 1d9ce7 hash. How will these duplicates be displayed in the table?Lockyy (talk) 17:48, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm seeing some strange stuff now. I have a script that uses wget of time.png to get the redirected hash png like Lockyy is doing. And I can verify that when you go to the 1190 page in the browser you get a different hash. But the previous hour and this hour, unlike the ones before it, the two hash pngs are different. And when I refresh the screen in my browser at the 1190 page, first I see the image I get from time.png, then the image refreshes with the other one. I'm not sure what this means or what we are supposed to do with it. I added the time.png hashes to the table for the last two hours but we probably need a way of indicating the difference. -- Bugstomper (talk) 20:38, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

This latest hourly update did the same thing. If you are fast enough you can even get the first image in your browser by right click view image before it changes to the second one. I edited in something that shows that. It probably could stand some reformatting by someone with better graphic design sense, but at least right now all the information has been captured. - Bugstomper (talk) 21:18, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
Looking at it some more, I see that wget of the page at gets you an img link to time.png and then there is the javascript that must after some delay get the different hash url image. That means that we had better be sure that we do not miss any manual checks of hourly updates because the scripts will never find that second image unless someone has a way of getting a script that runs the javascript as if it was a browser. As long as someone posts the hash of the image from the browser every hour, I can ensure that we have the hashes the scripts can get because I have a cron job checking for those updates every 15 minutes. -- Bugstomper (talk) 21:49, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
And with the update for day 06/18:00 it appears to be back to normal, one consistent image per update -- Bugstomper (talk) 22:22, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Just if somebody else wants this, i hacked a little bash script to download all images to the current listed here. It skips already downloaded images so it can be reused later when more images are here.

curl -s |
egrep -o  "/wiki/images/[0-9a-f]/[0-9a-f]{2}/time[0-9]*.png" | 
while read url; do
    imgname=$(basename $url)
    printf -v target "image%03d.png" ${id:-1}
    [[ -e $target ]] && continue
    echo $target
    curl -so $target$url

-- 18:51, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

To ease waiting times:

This is awesome. I love the internet. --Jeff (talk) 19:15, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

I've offered up own explanation. The obvious metaphor is how time continues to flow and things change when you’re not watching. And how this could be a conceptual art project that could continue the rest of our lives... 19:36, 31 March 2013 (UTC) Lawrence Person

Correcting your link: my own explanation -- 20:49, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
This comics may not really continue forever unless Randall will put some sort of repetition into it. May not be simple loop but something more sophisticated, but still, images shown up to now doesn't show any kind of repetition yet. -- Hkmaly (talk) 12:28, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

anyone else notice the water is slowly rising? not unlike a tide (depending on the time scaling implemented? perhaps a flooding river (as might correspond to the mention of a river)? 18:08, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

I checked your claim that the water is rising, and I agree. Good catch! I measure the rate at about 1 pixel per 25 frames starting at about 100 hours. Though a more careful look could surely refine that estimate. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I measured the water level with a ruler. The water will take another 20 days before reaching the sand castle if rising at a constant rate. 01:27, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Oddly this contradicts the text, which says that the river is going down: "Any idea where the river is now?", Cueball replies "Still pretty far out. It actually retreated a little this week." --AH

"It's *still* pretty far out". I think this means that it's getting less far out. 07:41, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
"It actually retreated a little this week." ~~dang

This comic has been running and updating so long I think perhaps it is a sand castle creation/destruction program that autonomously lets the two indefinitely build, destroy and rebuild new sand castles all the time… 09:55, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Maybe. We don't have enough data to say that for sure yet. We just need to "wait for it". 10:07, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

I think numbers in "As of this writing, it is still updated after more than XXX hours - even after Y new, different comics were posted on the front page" at the top of the page should be calculated using {{#expr}}. I changed it for number of comics, but I have no idea how to calculate number of hours since it was posted.DiEvAl (talk) 11:15, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

When Megan coughed and Cueball asked if she was okay, did anyone else think of Lanes? Cueball explains that cancer treatment results are not known until much later, "and often the first sign is a cough or a bone pain. So you spend the next five or ten years trying not to worry . . . ." ~~wrybred

Could Cueball and Megan be building a European city, as it evolved, was damaged and remodelled where 1 day of strips is 100 years? Maybe Cueball is curretly remodelling Notre Dame de Paris or Westminster??? If so, it should get interesting around day 17 17:34, 4 April 2013 (UTC)rbnm


# Assumes you have a complete set of numbered PNG images in a
# directory called "./images". (See the script above) Makes a
# directory called "./cropped" containing N images that are 1 pixel
# wide by 395 pixels tall, each of which contains the second to last
# column of one of the input images.  Finally, concatenates all those
# images into montage.png, which will be Nx395 pixels and can be read
# as a graph of water depth over time.

mkdir -p cropped
rm cropped/*.png
for i in images/*.png
    f=`basename $i .png`
    convert -crop 1x395+550+0 $i cropped/${f}_cropped.png
    echo $f

montage cropped/*.png -geometry 1x395+0+0 -tile x1 montage.png

echo Wrote result to montage.png
Codegardener (talk) 21:00, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

He's making a mini-version of the whole sandcastle on top of the mound! You can see the two turrets on the left and the mound in the center!

They're inside an hourglass! ;) - Filippo

i believe that he made a fractal version of the scene atop the middle sandcastle... are we going to have an infinite zoom for a bit (or maybe forever?) - ck

Maybe it's some sort of reference to Model Rail where Cueball ends up with multiple model railways in his basement...-- 13:14, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Whoa -- big change in scale, zoom in on Megan holding a mini trebuchet at about 5 pm central time Friday the 5th.-- 22:20, 5 April 2013 (UTC)--~~

A tiny trebuchet for use on the tiny turrets? Megan is kinda awesome. --Druid816 (talk) 22:32, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

I think she should "outgrow these toys and focus on something practical" ;-) DiEvAl (talk) 22:59, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Looks like they are re-enacting the trebuchet incident on the mini-castle. AH -- 23:53, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Meta-physical time again: "I don't understand what the sea is doing" - wasn't it a river earlier? Is it a different sea? The river of time maybe? Where is Randall leading us? Joncaves (talk) 03:09, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

I'm thinking it may have to do with the title text from this comic.
I think it's obvious. They're not on a beach. They're on a recently exposed portion of the river bed. In time the river will come back and engulf the whole area. 10:16, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

I have redownloaded the 199:00 image based upon the hash here and it does still say "river", so Randall hasn't adjusted the "past" to fit the "present"... Mark Hurd (talk) 05:50, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
I've read somewhere that they are not on the beach. They are on some sort of a boat covered with sand. First they were in the river, and now they reached the sea. DiEvAl (talk) 14:19, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
So if they are on a boat then it isn't the river/sea that is rising it is the boat that is sinking (or having more weight added to it). Joncaves (talk) 18:35, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
It's pretty obvious to me. They're on a beach with a river running through it. Yes, beaches sometimes have rivers in them. And also, rivers that run through beaches tend to be very unstable and to move their bed all the time, because of the fact that it's running water through loose sand. That's why they talk about the river moving. 08:04, 7 April 2013 (UTC)
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