1863: Screenshots

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For the final exam, you take a screenshot showing off all the work you've done in the class, and it has to survive being uploaded, thumbnailed, and re-screenshotted through a chain of social media sites.
Title text: For the final exam, you take a screenshot showing off all the work you've done in the class, and it has to survive being uploaded, thumbnailed, and re-screenshotted through a chain of social media sites.


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The comic shows a syllabus of a course on screenshots. The image on the left shows an image of screenshots of text, along with what seems like annotations describing various ratios and dos and don'ts about making such screenshots. The right side shows the main points of the course, touching on topics that are relevant for making and publishing screenshots. Some of these guidelines are violated on a regular basis by people sharing screenshots on the internet, leading to the degradation of quality of digital content (see 1683: Digital Data). The punchline of the comic describes a high attendance in the course (presumably many people are interested in how to take high-quality screenshots), however the digital textbook only sold one copy, implying that the only attendee that bought the book was adept enough to distribute screenshots of the textbook content to the others.

"Embarrassing background tabs" may refer to this, where a politician handed out a document with background tabs to pornography websites.

The title text once again refers to the continual re-screenshotting of data as seen in 1683: Digital Data, where the final examination consists of the students taking a screenshot good enough that it is still recognizable (and hopefully readable) after being re-compressed, re-screenshotted and re-uploaded to various social networking sites, deteriorating its quality. It is worth pointing out that this is quite a difficult task, considering the student only has control over the first screenshot, meaning that subsequent screenshots could degrade the quality to any level.


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Intro to Screenshots
  • Highlighting: What & how much
  • Aspect ratios
  • Cropping: Pre- and post-
  • Whitespace
  • Screenshots vs links
  • Catching the right GIF frame
  • Snapchat and trust
  • Embarrassing backround tabs
  • Spellcheck's red outlines
  • Security: Beware URL tokens
  • Redacting personal info
  • Useful browser modes
  • Tradeoffs: PNG vs JPG
  • Watermark ethics
  • Spotting fakes
[Caption below the frame:]
My class on screeshots was a big hit, although for some reason I only ever sold one copy of the digital textbook.

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Is "Embarrassing Background tabs" a dig at Kurt Eichenwald? 14:00, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

Him or just about anyone who has porn on background tabs. It's a regular occurrence these days. OldCorps (talk) 14:31, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
Well sure, but he's probably the most triumphant example in recent media memory 14:56, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
Ramon Perez was the first one to come to mind for me. He's a US Congressman who recently passed out a handout to the US House of Representatives Finance Committee with screen shots that included a 'MILF' tab and several 'Teen' porn tabs. 16:23, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
Does someone has uncensored image of that? BTW we should add censorship on list of things which can degrade digital data. -- Hkmaly (talk) 00:35, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
I went looking to see if I could find a copy of the screenshot, wondering if he was actually looking at porn. (Seems to me, "MILF" and "Teen" are more likely to be at the start of the page title on a popunder ad than they are on an actual site, and someone who's actually watching porn is unlikely to have many tabs of such diverse content open. So maybe he was really looking at warez/movies/dating sites and didn't notice the popunders). The only one I could find was the copy of the story on Men's Health magazine; which has a screenshot of a guy tweeting a screenshot of Perez's apology tweet, which included a screenshot of the original screenshot. -- 08:50, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

Do you think it's coincidental that the comic numbers for this one (1863) and for the thematic predecessor (1683) are anagrams?

Yes, I think it's accidental. Randall doesn't reference comic numbers too often, and if he does, it's something more obvious. Here it looks like it's some numerology connection, created by searching enough patterns. kshksh (talk) 13:13, 15 July 2017 (UTC)