Title text: Maybe you should keep FEWER backups; it sounds like throwing away everything you've done and starting from scratch might not be the worst idea.
On his laptop, Cueball explores a cyclic path along which his files are being copied from storage to storage. His laptop (presumably the one he is on) is sending its files to a server, which sends its files to another server, which in turn syncs back a certain selection of files to his laptop. Cueball determines that this setup leads to an exponential growth, implying that each node in the cycle simply copies files over to the next without any effort to avoid duplicates. Indeed, each time a set of files completes a full cycle, duplicates of the same files are propagated.
Moore's Law is an observation in computer engineering (made by engineer Gordon Moore in 1965) that states that the number of transistors we can fit in a chip will double approximately every two years. Cueball, who was rather alarmed, calms down when he realizes that the exponential growth of his backup is slower than that of Moore's Law. He reasons that as long as he keeps at the forefront of information storage, he will never run out of room. Assuming available disk capacity is proportional to number of transistors (this is roughly true for solid-state disks) or otherwise keeps pace with Moore's Law, this would imply it takes more than two years for his files to completely propagate through two servers and back to his laptop enough times to double in size (implying either an extremely slow transfer or an extremely weird backup system).
The phrase "[this is] why we can't have nice things" is often used in response to incidents where someone abuses a well-meaning feature, with the abuse ultimately wiping out any benefits the feature was supposed to bring. In the comic, the person off-screen is commenting on the fact that Cueball is not using advances in storage capacity in a responsible manner. That is, rather than using the increased capacity to store more useful information, he is simply using it as a workaround to avoid having to make his backup strategy more efficient.
This concept is further expanded upon in the title text when somebody, presumably the off-screen speaker, notes that Cueball may be better off taking fewer backups in the hopes of losing some data. Typically backups are taken in the hopes of not losing programs and data. However, if the inefficient backup solution presented is representative of the other things Cueball has created, it may be better to have it all be lost and in effect force it to be re-created in a hopefully superior way.
There are some similarities to the Cueball who owns the computer in the 1700: New Bug and maybe also to the Code Quality series: 1513: Code Quality and 1695: Code Quality 2, where Cueball speaks with Ponytail.
Poor backup strategies are referenced in 1360: Old Files
- [Cueball] is sitting in an office chair at his desk, working on his laptop.]
- Cueball: Wait. My laptop is backing up some folders to this server...
- [Cueball scratches his chin in thought.]
- Cueball: ...Which is backing up its archives to that server...
- Cueball: ...And that server is syncing certain folders over to my laptop...
- [In a frame-less panel Cueball clicks on his laptop keyboard.]
- Click click click
- [Cueball is back to working normally on his laptop. A voice speaks to him from off-panel as indicated with a starburst at the right frame.]
- Cueball: ...But the exponential growth is slightly slower than Moore's law, so whatever.
- Off-panel voice: Oh my God.
- Off-panel voice: You are why we can't have nice things.
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