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''Welcome to the Explain XKCD wiki''
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Revision as of 21:16, 24 March 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained 6 xkcd comics, and only 2077 (100%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Laptop Issues
Hang on, we got a call from the feds. They say we can do whatever with him, but the EPA doesn't want that laptop in the ocean. They're sending a team.
Title text: Hang on, we got a call from the feds. They say we can do whatever with him, but the EPA doesn't want that laptop in the ocean. They're sending a team.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Explanations and titles thereof could be improved. Table was removed by a new user. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.

Cueball goes to tech support with his laptop. Hairy and Ponytail are waiting behind the counter; one has dealt with Cueball's bizarre tech issues before, and warns the other. Sure enough, Cueball sets the computer down and offers a detailed list of the arcane problems his computer is giving him.


My laptop's battery won't hold a charge.
A common problem; as batteries are frequently charged and recharged, their capacity for storing charge deteriorates. However...
Tried [replacing the battery]. Now the new ones won't either.
...the problem persisting despite the battery's replacement fails to make any significant sense. It may be a problem with his laptop's charging port, but his comment that the "new ones" now fail to hold a charge seems to imply it is persisting despite the replacement batteries being used elsewhere after attempting to use them for his laptop and failing... Many modern batteries have firmware built in now that reports their charge level. It is possible that his laptop is installing a faulty firmware to any batteries that get connected.
Also, random files get corrupted on the first of every month. Factory reset didn't help either.
Some devices may be scheduled to do a "disk cleanup" on the first of every month. Somehow, this task is corrupting files that should be kept.
When it's plugged in, I get static from my plumbing.
Static charge from a portable device while it's charging is common. Static charge from elsewhere in the building while the portable device is charging... not so much. However, plumbing systems on older houses were often used to provide a ground instead of using grounding rods, which are now the accepted norm. This could imply that for Cueball's house is old, and for some reason his laptop is pumping a large amount of charge directly to ground.
And it reboots if someone uses an arc welder nearby
The high power draw of an arc welder will occasionally cause less devoted power supplies to flicker. Coupled with the bad battery that can not keep the computer running when the power dips, this is causing his laptop to reboot. This could also be just because the arc welder is causing a large amount of electromagnetic interference.
Transition® lenses go dark when exposed to the screen
Transition lenses in prescription glasses darken when exposed directly to UV rays; this is to avoid the wearer any hassle of needing prescription sunglasses. This seems to indicate that the screen of Cueball's laptop is emitting UV radiation.
and when I open too many tabs, it fogs any nearby photographic film.
The screen would have to be emitting X-rays that can pass through the film's container and expose the film.


The sheer incongruity of everything Cueball has reported, in combination with past issues, leads Hairy to report that his manager has authorized Cueball and his laptop be thrown into the ocean so that their plague upon the earth may no longer spread. Cueball, having surrendered to his inability to use technology, accepts this without objection. This is a reference to 1912: Thermostat, where Cueball has an issue with their thermostat, and the Tech support employee asks them if they have tried walking into the sea. It seems this suggestion has evolved into forcefully throwing him into the sea, for lack of a better idea.

The alt-text contains mention of the Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) a part of the United States government responsible for preventing pollution. In real life, most of a laptop computer's components are considered toxic waste, and the EPA, as part of their mission, would not want it dumped in the ocean. More to the point, it's implied that whatever Cueball did to it renders it far more dangerous than an ordinary laptop, and the EPA really doesn't want his cursed possessions in the ocean; thus they are sending a hazmat team to collect the laptop and safely dispose of it.

Transcript

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[Cueball is walking past a sign reading "Tech Support," with a right-pointing arrow and carrying a laptop.]
Off panel voice #1: Oh no.
Off panel voice #2: What?
Off panel voice #1: This guy. He has the worst tech problems.
[Cueball at tech support desk with an open laptop facing Hairy and Ponytail.]
Cueball: My laptop's battery won't hold a charge.
Hairy: We can replace it.
Cueball: Tried that. Now the new ones won't either.
[Close-up of Cueball]
Cueball: Also, random files get corrupted on the first day of every month. Factory reset didn't help.
Off panel voice #2: You weren't kidding.
[Close-up of Cueball]
Cueball: When it's plugged in, I get static shocks from my plumbing.
Off panel voice: What the...
Cueball: And it reboots if someone uses an arc welder nearby.
[Same tableau as second panel except that the laptop is slightly open now.]
Cueball: Transitions® lenses go dark when exposed to the screen, and when I open too many tabs, it fogs nearby photographic film.
Hairy: We don't usually do this, but I've gotten permission from my manager to have you and the laptop hurled into the ocean.
Cueball: That's probably for the best.


Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

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Last 7 days (Top 10)

Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! Here's how.

Rules

Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.) Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is here.