2194: How to Send a File

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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How to Send a File
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.
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.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by an IMAGE FILE OF A SD-LADEN BUTTERFLY ON AN SD CARD CARRIED BY A BUTTERFLY. Title text needs to be explained. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

Similar to 2190: Serena Versus the Drones, this is another teaser ad for Randall's new book, How To, due to be released a week from this comic's release, on September 3, 2019. The comic shows an image from of one of the chapters, and containing being a link to a larger piece of that chapter, or perhaps the entire chapter.

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. This is probably not a good idea.[citation needed]

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 tries the books 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 method of data transmission as opposed to the more traditional methods that are detailed in traditional computer science books.


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[Cueball (representing Randall) stands in an otherwise empty panel.]
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.
[Cueball (representing Randall) stands in an otherwise empty panel, with one hand raised to his chin in a thinking position.]
Randall: If only there were a better way...
[A picture of Randall's new book. It is black with large blue text and smaller white text. On the book cover, in white drawings, are seen Megan with a ladder and either Black or White Hat (hard to say on black background). 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. The "blog.xkcd.com" link is in link blue color.]
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
Book: How To
Book: Randall Munroe
[3 pictures of laptop computers. The first picture shows a regular laptop computer, with an arrow pointing to the lower half of the computer, and text with the arrow. 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 2 pieces horizontally, cut in half by a pair of scissors. There is the following text above the pictures:]
Exclusive advice from How To:
When sending a file, it helps to know which part of your device the file is stored in.
Arrow text: Files are usually in this part

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Anyone else find it annoying to have the regular comic co-opted for advertising a book? Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 20:30, 26 August 2019 (UTC)

There probably are, but I'll excuse Randal because he provides* such entertaining comic for free.
*usually and arguably RIIW - Ponder it (talk) 21:00, 26 August 2019 (UTC)
I don't mind. If it was a frequent occurrence perhaps, but this is, what, twice in over a dozen years? And he includes humor in the ads, so it's not like we completely miss out. -boB (talk) 21:08, 26 August 2019 (UTC)
Me, to an extent... It's his prerogative, of course. It's more disappointment at not getting a real comic (the remaining joke being "meh" at best, because the majority is either in the linked page or/and the book). I feel certain this is at least the third comic "preempted" for this particular book, though I can only remember the Serena Williams Drones one for sure. Though my mind might be counting the temporary comic - which by definition WASN'T a preempting but rather shortening the Friday comic's "air time".NiceGuy1 (talk) 05:07, 31 August 2019 (UTC)

Pedantry section: If you have a dockable tablet computer - I do - then the files are in the screen part, and the keyboard and trackpad probably can't contain files. Also, you don't need scissors to separate them, there's usually a button to press or magnets or something. And technically you probably could mail the tablet... but I usually wouldn't. [email protected] 21:54, 26 August 2019 (UTC)

If you start being pedantric... Google the meaning of the word "usually". Let's talk again afterwards. Also you do not need to (but I guess you are allowed to) put your email as a signature. If you want to be reachable/track your comments/etc. You can just easily register to this wiki, and then have your profile added instead of that random IP. I personally never recieved spam, etc. from this site. --Lupo (talk) 07:18, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
I don't get it. according to the usual or ordinary course of things : most often : as a rule : customarily, ordinarily according to Webster, seems to match the sense it was used in the comment.

I annually have to send several terabytes of data to a co-worker who needs to analyze and then retain it for some months. We snail mail SS hard drives around since we own them, and the data is originally accumulated on them. Short of switching to SD cards I am not sure there is a better way even in 2019.... 02:20, 27 August 2019 (UTC)

Depending on how the data is accumulated, ongoing data synchronization is often how it's done in 2019, at least for businesses. Every time data changes at point A, those changes are automatically (either immediately, or possibly nightly) sent (over an Internet connection, usually encrypted) to point B, so Point B is always close to being a clone of Point A (and the converse is also possible). That way over a long period of time, terabytes worth of data can be transferred, because you are not trying to do it all over a short period of time, and only what's changed is transferred. The initial transfer might still be done using a hard drive mailing, though, and this requires special software running on both sides, something the average user probably doesn't have. On the other hand, rsync is free, as is ssh with encrypted tunneling. -boB (talk) 14:51, 27 August 2019 (UTC)

It is important to know which part of the computer your files are in. Mine are usually in the little rectangular prism stuck in the side. No need to cut up the computer, as I can just pull out the rectangular prism after telling the operating system I am going to do that. Nutster (talk) 04:49, 27 August 2019 (UTC)

If you read the linked chapter, he does show an example of just handing someone a thumb drive. For the comic he chose to show a more amusing method.Barmar (talk) 20:07, 27 August 2019 (UTC)

Missed the obvious chance to make a pun: butterfiles. 13:32, 27 August 2019 (UTC)

The linked chapter ends with sending the butterflies with pouches of DNA. That's not optimal. If you instead put your data inside butterflies DNA, they will take care of redundancy and error recovery as well. -- Hkmaly (talk) 23:27, 27 August 2019 (UTC)

A cell contains a few picograms of DNA. Relying on reproduction limits a butterflies capacity to a fraction of one cells DNA. Using the pouch of DNA increases capacity by at least a billion. 06:55, 28 August 2019 (UTC)

Try the python script specifically designed to do this easily172.68.70.34 13:46, 3 September 2019 (UTC)