2194: How to Send a File
|How to Send a File|
Title text: Note: How To will teach you lots of cool stuff about technology, data storage, butterfly migration, and more. Also you will never see your files again.
Similar to 2190: Serena Versus the Drones, this is another teaser ad for Randall's new (at the time the comic came out) book, How To, due to be released a week from this comic's release, on September 3, 2019. This also prompted a change to the xkcd Header text.
This comic discusses transferring files, previously discussed in 949: File Transfer and in what if 31. The snippet from his book that is shown in this comic shows scissors cutting off the (top) screen of a laptop, presumably as a way to give the "bottom" portion to someone for file transfer. While it is true most laptops house their hard drive in the bottom half of the machine, you would probably never need to prove it in a destructive manner. Tearing the screen off any given laptop is not a good idea.
It has not been unknown, in times past, for someone to take their 'computer' somewhere to be repaired and arrive with just the monitor (and perhaps the keyboard and mouse) unplugged from the 'box' (desktop or possibly under-desk tower case). This is because the owner has considered the latter to be little more than the 'disk drive' thing that reads the occasional floppy-disk, rather than being often the only absolutely necessary piece of equipment needed to be looked at – the cumbersome CRT screen may well be far less necessary to take to a computer repairer, despite it being where "all my files" are commonly seen. The comic example may parody the above example with a more updated twist, but does also overlook that a number of slimline devices have touchscreen technology, and all the most important bits are included within the part with the screen, yet may also have a 'bottom half' keyboard that is optional and indeed removable (scissors not required!) while not actually including any of the relevant data.
The chapter linked to shows other methods of getting your files to another person and, in fact, explicitly states that breaking a computer to send files is not a good idea.
The title text hints at other amazing content in the upcoming book, including discussion of butterfly migration (does it cause predictable tornadoes in Kansas? Can they carry coconuts to England?). It also threats that using the books idea for file transfer will make sure you will never see those files again, i.e. they will be lost for good if you try the book's method at home.
The chapter preview, that the comic links to, discusses using butterflies as a method of sending files from one person to another on the form of flash media attached to butterflies, or encoded in DNA, and goes pretty in depth into these particular methods of data transmission as opposed to the more traditional methods that are detailed in traditional computer science books.
- [Randall, depicted as Cueball, stands with his arms spread out]
- Randall: It feels weird that it's 2019 and yet I still sometimes find that the easiest way to move a file around is to email it to myself.
- [Randall has raised a hand to his chin,]
- Randall: If only there were a better way...
- [A picture of Randall's new book is shown to the left of the text. The book is black with large blue text and smaller white text. On the book cover, in white drawings, are seen Megan with a ladder and White Hat. Both are looking up on Cueball who is floating in the air with a quadcopter drone beneath either leg, trying to plug in an electric light bulb in a naked lamp hanging down near him. It seems he has already removed the broken light bulb, as he has one in both hands. And now he tries to put in the new one. The blue text stating title and author can be read but not the white text. The "blog.xkcd.com" link is in link blue color.]
- Book: How To
- Book: Randall Munroe
- My new book How To is out next week! If you want to learn how to send data, you can visit blog.xkcd.com for a sneak preview of Chapter 19: How to Send a File
- [Beneath a heading are three pictures next to each other of a laptop computer. The first picture shows a regular laptop computer, with a labeled arrow pointing to the lower half of the computer. The second picture shows the laptop in a lighter outline, with scissors instructing to cut horizontally on a dotted line across the middle of the laptop. The third picture shows a laptop in two pieces cut over between the screen and the rest. There is a very jagged edge on both parts, which has been moved away from each other.]
- Exclusive advice from How To:
- When sending a file, it helps to know which part of your device the file is stored in.
- Label: Files are usually in this part
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