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''Welcome to the Explain XKCD wiki''
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<font size=5px>''Welcome to the '''explain [[xkcd]]''' wiki!''</font>
  
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We have collaboratively explained [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9}}''' xkcd comics]],
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==Comics==
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<small>''Is this out of date? {{Purge|Clicking here will fix that}}.''</small>
The latest comic is number [[1090]]. All the comic explanations (so far) are [[:Category:Comics|here]].
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See [[List of all comics]] for 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!
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== New here? ==
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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.
  
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Please sign up for an account and contribute to the Explain XKCD wiki!  We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between.  If it is referenced in an [http://www.xkcd.com XKCD] web comic, it should be in here.
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* Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
  
== Getting started ==
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* [[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! [[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]].
<!--For new comic pages:
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1. Every registered user can upload images.
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=== Choose a comic! ===
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== Rules ==
 
== 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.
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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, the Discussion page is perfect for that.
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If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
  
Please only submit material directly related to&mdash;and helping everyone better understand&mdash;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 posting such are at risk of being blocked.
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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.
  
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If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is [[Special:ListUsers/sysop|here]].
  
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[[Category:Root category]]

Revision as of 05:35, 4 March 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",". xkcd comics, and only Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",". (Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",".%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Troubleshooting
"Oh, you're using their Chrome APP, not their Chrome EXTENSION. They're very similar but one handles window creation differently." is a thing I hope I can stop saying soon.
Title text: "Oh, you're using their Chrome APP, not their Chrome EXTENSION. They're very similar but one handles window creation differently." is a thing I hope I can stop saying soon.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a BOT - Please change this comment when editing this page.

The humor of this comic revolves around the fact that due to complexity and somewhat low quality of the modern software, the reasons for many problems that users experience (and possible solutions) are not obvious and straightforward and methods for repairing the problem often rely on invoking certain seemingly irrelevant actions that happen to cause a desired side-effect. As the author points out, knowing these non-obvious ways to repair the problems requires memorization of lots of "stupid computer knowledge" rather than relying on logic and understanding of general principles of software. By "stupid", of course, he means "seemingly irrelevant".

In many cases, Randall (or Cueball as his avatar) loves to help people using his specific knowledge (see 208: Regular Expressions). But when the trick is "stupid", he would prefer the programmers to fix the problem definitively so he never has to rely on this trick anymore.

One particular example of an illogical fix to a software problem is depicted in the comic. Here, Cueball is trying to help Hairy resolve the problem of lack of response from the software application to any mouse clicks. A suggestion is made that this is not due to abnormal behavior of the software ("freezing"), but rather because either the user or the software itself has opened a modal dialog window with coordinates outside of the main screen area, where it can not be seen. Modal dialog windows in desktop operating systems by design get the sole focus of the user input when launched, blocking access to the rest of the application window. They are valid GUI tools and are used when the software needs user's input before it can proceed further. However, opening such window and placing it outside of the visible screen area ("off-screen") will make the window both inaccessible and invisible to the user, precluding him/her from closing it and re-gaining access to the software.

One non-obvious way to repair such problem is to switch the screen resolution outside of the program experiencing the problem (using operating system configuration tools) to some other resolution and then switch the resolution back to normal. Switching the resolution in itself does not fix the problem (as often the highest resolution is being used so one can rarely switch to higher resolution to gain access to the modal dialog stuck in "off-screen" area), instead the fix relies on the fact the in many desktop operating systems the resolution switch also forces the operating system to redraw all windows on the desktop (which in itself is a logical and normal action) and, while doing so, some operating systems will also reevaluate the appropriateness of the coordinates of all windows and adjust these coordinates so that the windows do not end up in off-screen area after the resolution change. The latter is also a logical and prudent action by the operating system, however, in our scenario it is used as a side-effect to fix the problem. This is due to the fact that the operating systems rarely provide other, more obvious ways to bring the off-screen windows back to the visible area.

Transcript

[Hairy sitting at a desk with laptop, with Cueball standing behind him.]
Hairy: Wait, why can't I click anywhere?
Cueball: I don't... Ugh, It opened a dialog box offscreen.
Hairy: Why is that even possible?
Cueball: It really shouldn't be. But you can fix it by changing your screen resolution to trigger a window cleanup.
Hairy: Seriously?
Cueball: I know, I know...



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

New 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.

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