1084: Server Problem
Title text: Protip: Annoy Ray Kurzweil by always referring to it as the 'Cybersingularity'.
Cueball has messed up his Linux server (which can have the prompt ~# or ~$), apparently not for the first time. Megan offers to take a look at the PC and types in "ls" — a basic command that lists the files in the current directory. The computer returns a bizarre error message — it trips over one of the simplest commands, indicating that Cueball's system is messed up. Really messed up.
On Linux, most commands are executables usually found in either /bin or /usr/bin. The /usr/share folder, on the other hand, is where "architecture-independent shared data" is stored. Adobe is a software company that produces Acrobat, Photoshop, and a wide range of other software for manipulating work revolving around a 2D canvas. "android_vm" would likely be a virtual machine for Android. The .jar extension suggests a Java-language program. None of the above items are related to the command "ls", nor do they have anything to do with each other, with the semi-exception that Android is based on Java. Executables should also never be found within /usr/share or within directories named "example" or "doc" - indeed, by default Linux does not even look in the /usr/share directory for items that can be run unless the user tells it to do so by changing the $PATH variable. The presence of "ls.jar" within a folder called "android_vm" suggests Cueball was attempting to boot up a virtual Android device, but somehow wound up directing the Linux server to use the executable files meant for the virtual system instead of the correct ones in /bin or /usr/bin.
In the last frame Megan is bewildered by this result and asks "What did you do!?". Cueball suggest a course of action which mimics a common error message: "[X] is busy, please try again later." Obviously he has seen this type of message frequently enough to try it as a general cure in all similar cases (even scarier, there is a good possibility that his tech issues are so bizarre that it often works for him).
Megan then tells Cueball to "shut down the system and wait for the singularity," referring to a hypothetical future event when superintelligence can be artificially created. Since future superintelligent humans/computers transcend our comprehension, we can't predict or even understand what will happen after the singularity. One interpretation is that Megan is telling Cueball that his system is such a mess that it will take a post-singularity superintelligence to fix it (or run it in its current state, as only an intelligence beyond present comprehension would be capable of doing). It also indicates that either 1782: Team Chat or 1668: Singularity could be the sequel to this comic. Since the singularity is a hypothetical event that may never happen, or may happen at a date unimaginably far in the future, Megan is essentially telling Cueball to give up completely on fixing his server. This is her way of declaring that no human can fix or understand his server.
The title text is yet another protip from Randall. Ray Kurzweil is an author and futurist who has talked and written much about a technological singularity. Presumably, mangling the jargon (by confusing the concept of the "singularity" with the science fiction term "cyberspace") is something Kurzweil (as an expert) would find annoying. Also, as Randall later pointed out in 1573: Cyberintelligence, the prefix "cyber" has not really been used for a decade...
- [Cueball at his computer calls out for Megan who comes walking in to the frame.]
- Cueball: I, um, messed up my server again.
- Megan: I'll take a look. You have the weirdest tech problems.
- [Zoom in on only Megan who uses the root prompt on the computer.]
- [Megan stands next to the computer, Cueball sits behind her on his chair. The computer returns the following:]
Error: Device is not responding.
- [Megan turns towards Cueball who lifts his hands with palm up.]
- Megan: What did you do!?
- Cueball: Maybe the device is busy. Should I try it later?
- Megan: You should shut down this system and wait for the Singularity.
- This is the first comic to have a high-resolution (pixel-doubled) version of its image.
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