2615: Welcome Back
Title text: 'We're shocked by the Notre Dame fire. Click for our tribute to--' [okay] 'Now that we're all staying at home these past few weeks thanks to this new coronavirus, we--' [okay]
Cueball is opening an app called TornadoGuard, a reference to comic 937: TornadoGuard. In that comic the app is described to have a function so it "plays a loud alert sound when there is a tornado warning for your area". Tornadoes are a recurring theme on xkcd.
In the background, a tornado is approaching, so presumably a loud alert sound has just played and Cueball has opened the app. It is also possible that the app didn't play any alert (see reviews of the app in 937), but Cueball saw the tornado and thus opened the app to check whether it had any news.
However, before he can interact with the app and learn more about the tornado, he has to click through various old messages from the app, since he hasn't opened the app in a while. This is feasible because May, which is the month in which this comic was published and typically the most active month for tornadoes, had seen fewer-than-average tornadoes in the previous two years but not during this year – see this Tornado Central story. So Cueball would have been more likely to have to worry about tornadoes this year than in the previous two years.
The comic is poking fun at the obtrusiveness of these kind of messages by presenting a scenario where they cause a significant delay before Cueball would be able to read the very urgent information about current tornadoes.
The messages include a description of a big update, a response to user feedback about one specific feature, and a social post seemingly unrelated to the app.
This continues in the title text where there are two more messages that refer to specific world events and can therefore be dated: The fire that damaged the church of Notre Dame in Paris April 15th 2019; and the early attempts to limit the spread of Covid-19 disease, which was declared a pandemic on March 11th 2020. It has been a while since the last reference to the pandemic, actually the previous comic about this, 2563: Throat and Nasal Passages, was released almost exactly 4 months prior to this one.
The two mentioned news stories were relevant about three and two years before this comic was published, respectively. Neither of these are important to know right now, whereas an announcement about an update that changes its functionality could be important to know about.
Although it is possible that there are no more messages to click through if nothing of significance has happened subsequent to the title text ones, the reader can easily imagine that the development team has posted further 'real time' messages that Cueball will still have to scroll through and/or dismiss, with very little immediate importance compared with the imminent proximity of an actual funnel-cloud.
- [A large cloud fills the upper 3/4 of the panel. That it is a cloud is indicated by curved lines at the bottom of the cloud. Below the cloud lines is a tornado in the right part of the background. It is throwing up dust on or near the mid-distance horizon and creating an active debris cloud. In the foreground Cueball is standing holding his phone up in one hand, looking at the screen, which is on as indicated by five "light lines" coming of his display. Three paragraphs of text fills most of the white cloud space above Cueball, they are connected by lines, with the last leading down to the top of Cueball's phone. There are two rounded boxes to the right and below the first two paragraphs with text. They represents buttons Cueball presses on the screen to get to the next text message.]
- Hi! The TornadoGuard™ team is proud to announce a big update! We've added-
- Note to users of sentinel mode: We've heard your feedback, and the controls are now-
- Got it
- The TornadoGuard™ team saw this cool leaf shaped like a spider; do you want to see...
- [Caption below the panel:]
- When you open an app for the first time in a while, you have to wait around while it tells you about all the cool adventures it's had.
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