User:Unreliable Connection

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Unreliable Connection
NEGATIVE REVIEWS MENTION: Unreliable internet. POSITIVE REVIEWS MENTION: Unreliable internet.
Title text: NEGATIVE REVIEWS MENTION: Unreliable internet. POSITIVE REVIEWS MENTION: Unreliable internet.


In today's world, the Internet, pervasive mobile technology and the COVID pandemic have all caused an implicit expectation for many people to be available all hours of the day, whether for work or social communications, even when on vacation. In this comic, Randall addresses the issue with a deliberately suboptimal internet device that drops Internet connectivity intermittently and at unpredictable intervals, thereby causing activities that require a constant, uninterrupted connection to be unusable. The device appears to be an internet modem connected to an automated version of a Galton board or Jin Akiyama's mathematical pachinko machine[1] with a series of twelve switches at the bottom to be pressed by falling balls, eleven of which are linked to a the label "on" and one linked to a second label "off," both such sets of switches apparently controlling the connection. This solves the social problem of demands for the likes of synchronous teleconferencing, by causing asynchronous methods of communication to be relatively more reliable and efficient for personal use.

This is funny because such a device could likely much more easily be implemented in the firmware of the internet or WiFi modem or routers. (See 1785: Wifi for an explanation of firmware.) It's not clear whether the switches merely interrupt the connection momentarily or control power to the modem, which would involve a much longer booting sequence. The "unreliable" connection provides an excuse to be unavailable for work or social calls, and thus free to enjoy one's vacation. However the device also allows the user to have a fast internet connection most of the time, enabling them to use it for leisure purposes, such as downloading movies for entertainment, or to connect with others on one's own terms. It thus retains most of the benefit of a good connection.

The probability of a ball hitting the "off" switch is 165/2048, or about 8% (assuming the machine is ordinary,[2] and the space between switches is disregarded) because it's in the ninth position. We don't know the frequency with which new balls are dropped, so we can't estimate the frequency at which the device is likely to trigger Session Initiation Protocol, Transmission Control Protocol, or similar timeout conditions that would likely close synchronous VOIP, video conferencing, and e.g. VRChat connections. Even if such connections were to survive the induced service interruptions, the application layer call or teleconference quality would suffer during them. The device may cause interruptions rarely enough that the connection is usable for casual purposes, but the user can still reasonably claim that it's unreliable to get out of online obligations.

The title text reflects on today's increasingly always-connected world, where emphasis may be changing from finding rare vacation spots that have reliable internet, to now finding somewhere worthwhile to go that still doesn't have it. It could also be a comment on the mild paradox that a nominally unreliable internet connection has advantages for those whose communication schedule, volume, or style preferences make synchronous teleconferencing less practical, desirable, or both. The reviews for the new vacation spot indicate that disconnections are found to be both desirable and undesirable, possibly even by the same person.


[There are twelve switches under an automated Galton board or pachinko machine, eleven of which are linked to a large item marked "on" but the ninth of which is linked to one marked "off", apparently controlling the operation of a modem connected to a gigabit data-cable and also connected onwards to a WiFi router. There is a supply of balls in a hopper above the board, with the triangular configuration of pins directing the balls chaotically to one or other of the switches, as shown by a single released ball and a motion path partially showing how it had rebounded from around half-way down until after hitting and rebounding away off a bottom-layer "on" switch.]
[Caption below the panel]:
My new vacation spot has very fast internet that turns off randomly every now and then, just so you can tell people you'll be staying somewhere without a reliable connection.

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Do you want me to create your sandbox? ColorfulGalaxy (talk) 20:11, 2 April 2023 (UTC)

Please create my user page and sandbox, and don't forget User:Memo Spike Connector. 2659: Unreliable Connection (talk) 23:43, 3 April 2023 (UTC)
I've created them both. Anyway, thanks for your kind reminder. 2659: Unreliable Connection (talk) 09:42, 9 April 2023 (UTC)
The page that you're in charge of got spam edits again. ColorfulGalaxy (talk) 21:12, 7 April 2023 (UTC)
Uh, They seem to know when I'm usually active, and spammed when I'm inactive, maybe just to annoy others. I always worked late. 2659: Unreliable Connection (talk) 23:54, 8 April 2023 (UTC)
Look guy(s), the spammers have been spamming long before you "took charge". Your work-hours matter not one jot, even if we knew your timezone, and the community handles it as it always tries to. I will deal with anything I see 'spammed', if not dealt with by others before I get there, and you can deal with anything that you see before anyone else gets there. Whether UC, CG, OMG or any other 'normal'. (Though OMG is clearly the same person as CG. If, by some remote chance, they are not, one of them is also UC; but very probably both are.) 11:37, 9 April 2023 (UTC)
And Look guy(s). You Have Already Been Tricked. Did you know about the email with CG's name on it? Y'no, I'm jealous of him, so I was gonna do a trick. Omg Oriental Music Group (talk) 23:03, 9 April 2023 (UTC)

DELETED COMMENT ColorfulGalaxy (talk) 21:26, 7 April 2023 (UTC)

Thanks for encouraging. I will do better. 2659: Unreliable Connection (talk) 23:52, 7 April 2023 (UTC)

Could you create my user page? Omg Oriental Music Group (talk) 09:34, 9 April 2023 (UTC)

What are you going to do? 2659: Unreliable Connection (talk) 09:35, 9 April 2023 (UTC)

I want to put the lyrics in the sandbox into my user page sandbox. By the way, could you contact the author for the minor fix to the lyrics? Omg Oriental Music Group (talk) 09:36, 9 April 2023 (UTC)

There is a lot of discussion about the lyrics going on in the portal. That's the place where I posted a math problem (sadly they removed it). Some people said that the lyrics were lousy. There are a lot of obscure words. I'm no linguist, really. I hope that the debate won't continue here. 2659: Unreliable Connection (talk) 09:42, 9 April 2023 (UTC)
See what the "author" said: -- 09:44, 9 April 2023 (UTC)
So this means that the only one left would be "Donald ATG Trump", which isn't active at all. 09:47, 9 April 2023 (UTC)

Predict the next comic[edit]

Let's try to predict what will come next on the xkcd comics. 2659: Unreliable Connection (talk) 23:53, 7 April 2023 (UTC)

What about music staff?


You're not going to create a sandbox for me, so I'll temporarily put it here.

? — 2659: Unreliable Connection (talk) 03:43, 11 April 2023 (UTC)

You made the page almost take forever to load. ClassicalGames (talk) 08:51, 11 April 2023 (UTC)

Please stop talking about the lyrics. Several other people has gotten angry. I can't trust you, because you kept doing something suspicious and you sound like a scammer. 2503: Memo Spike Connector (talk) 00:51, 14 April 2023 (UTC)

When the bot failed[edit]

Please read this page before creating a new comic page. Your edit had puzzled the bot too much. ClassicalGames (talk) 08:51, 11 April 2023 (UTC)

Thank you very much. 2659: Unreliable Connection (talk) 09:00, 11 April 2023 (UTC)


It happened that my birthday is the day immediately after yours. And our last names are almost spelled the same. 2503: Memo Spike Connector (talk) 06:12, 12 April 2023 (UTC)

It seems that we have a lot in common. 2659: Unreliable Connection (talk) 09:06, 12 April 2023 (UTC)

Our birthdays all fall in the same month. 935: Missed Connections (talk) 23:43, 17 April 2023 (UTC)
You're not fooling anyone and, with messages like the above, it seems you don't care. Do what you do, and if it's not contrary to the site ethos/good practice then it's tolerable (whether or not it's annoying). But there's really no need to 'fake' different personæ.
PS. "Blanked the page", as an edit explanation, is not only inaccurate but it's also your attempt to hide awkward details from the more casual viewer. Surely you're not brazen enough to make it obvious, yet shy enough as to really not want to be called out on it? 11:06, 25 April 2023 (UTC)
PPS. Don't try to comment this out, either, you who are sometimes needlessly pretending to be the personification of various comics. I will not accept your authority on this matter. 09:16, 26 April 2023 (UTC)
The comic will come back and swear at you if you keep skepticizing. There is too much skepticism. It looks like few people believe in fictions. {{unsigned ip||22:54, 26 April 2023})


If this page was copied did you not remove the incomplete transcript tag? Its complete! Do your part!

Thanks for reminding. 2659: Unreliable Connection (talk) 07:13, 25 April 2023 (UTC)

Create user page[edit]

Could you create User:Papyrus? Yesterday was his birthday IIRC. Also remember to create User:Python. 2503: Memo Spike Connector (talk) 08:06, 30 May 2023 (UTC)