479: Tones

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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I need a lawn, so I can yell at kids to stay off it.
Title text: I need a lawn, so I can yell at kids to stay off it.


Cellular phone users can set nearly anything as their ringtone; even the default rings on new phones are a short string of notes put together, and serve a dual purpose as a company's trademark. Cueball is saying that there's one thing in his life he's never compromised on: When someone calls his phone, it makes a ringing sound. Of course, this is a rather minor thing on which to make a stand.

The comic also seems to begin very seriously, and thus the comic relief is provided by the turn to the inconsequential; this is mirrored in the zooming-in to the cell phone.

To continue the comic's theme of Cueball-as-crochety-old-man, the title text says that he needs a lawn, so he can yell at kids to stay off of it — a stereotypical "old man" behavior.

Randall makes another complaint about ringtones in 2272: Ringtone Timeline.


[Cueball is standing in a room next to a round table, looking out a window. A blue and orange sunset is visible outside the window. There is a phone on the table. The text of the comic is in boxes, two for each panel. Cueball is not talking, but rather narrating in these boxes.]
Narrator: I haven't lived a perfect life.
Narrator: Made plenty of mistakes. Got my share of regrets.
[Zooming in on Cueball and the table with the phone, window with colored sky still visible to the left.]
Narrator: But there's one thing of which I'm proud.
Narrator: One stand on which I've never wavered.
[Zooms in on the cell phone on the table, Cueball and window outside the panel.]
Narrator: When someone calls my phone,
Narrator: it makes a goddamn ringing sound.

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Yes!! To the death!!! A goddamn ringing sound... ‎ (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

In the olden days of electro-mechanical telephone exchanges, each exchange would have a 17 Hz ring tone generator. When a call was switched through, it would send a 17 Hz signal down the line which would be picked off by a 17 Hz pick-off filter in the receiver. This would then activate the bell inside the receiver, causing it to ring. (Feel free to delete if deemed irrelevant). -- The Cat Lady (talk) 10:56, 15 August 2021 (UTC)

could be a reference to “a softer world”, seeing how it has the same style of text boxes on top of one consistent image. thats what it reminded me of immediately, anyway Fjathom (talk) 21:34, 12 December 2021 (UTC)