Died in a Blogging Accident has lived up to its name and died... in a blogging accident. That is to say it has concluded. You can still re-live the magic by clicking here to start at chapter 1. For genuine criticism of XKCD, please click the top link to the right (XKCD Isn't Funny).

Friday, August 5, 2011

Comic 934: Browser? I Hardly Knew 'Er!

So, you've all probably met our newest writer, Jon Levi. I had initially asked him to move his bingo posts over here to sort of consolidate the anti-xkcd content, but I see he's decided to go ahead and post a guest review. Don't worry; joke reviews like that will never replace actual ones (even if they ARE funnier than the ones I put out). Although, for what it's worth, it's rather telling that my first thought was, "No way, THAT'S what today's xkcd is?" instead of, "Haha, oh that wacky Jon Levi."

Anyway, on to 934.

Title: Mac/PC; alt-text: It's fun to watch browsers fumblingly recapitulate the history of window management. Someday we'll have xmonad as a Firefox extension.

There's not much to this comic; it's just a flawed premise. "Everyone does everything in browsers now." As he usually does, Randall is projecting himself onto his audience. He assumes that just because HE never goes outside a browser, none of the rest of us do (and if he DOES use other programs, then this comic is just one big pile of hypocrisy). It's the sort of joke that only works if you make certain (false) assumptions, which means it doesn't work at all.

Yes, you can use a browser for email, flash games, and rudimentary document handling (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.) However, these things are all done much BETTER as native applications. The reason people aren't dependent on browser apps is the exact same reason that Linux still hasn't caught on. Sure, you can DO all of those tasks (in Linux, or in a browser), but the experience is just so inferior that it's not worth it.

Furthermore, Mac/PC ads focused on things that WEREN'T browser-dependent! Here's an abridged list (taken from Wikipedia).

  • Detachable power cord to prevent tripping

  • Issues in Vista

  • Movie editing

  • Malware and viruses

  • Non-standard hardware

  • Cryptic error messages

  • Customer support

I'm only about a third of the way through the list, but I think that's enough for now. Notice how those issues are still relevant, despite that so much can be done in browsers? In other words, Macs and PCs AREN'T indistinguishable.

And this is why I think xkcd sucks. If it was just not funny, okay, whatever. If it was only that it was occasionally creepy, well, that's tolerable. If it was the bad art, we could just call it "minimalistic" or some BS. If it was that he sometimes uses it to talk about his personal life, I can probably get past that. But xkcd is ALL of those things, and to top it off, when Randall tries to make "jokes," he doesn't even get the setup right! If you have to resort to blatant lies to make your joke almost work, it's time to scrap it and find a new one. If you can't do that, it's time to scrap your webcomic (but please, don't make a new one).

P.S. Helpful xkcd forumite 'folkhero' points out that the Mac/PC ads haven't been running for a while, meaning that Randall is as timely as ever (that is to say, not at all). Surprise, surprise.

P.P.S. Several forumites commented on the brilliance of Randall depicting both the Mac and PC with essentially the same character model. Never mind that this is Randall's default drawing style (dating back to Comic 6!) Nope, his lack of variety is clearly evidence of his genius.


  1. It is rather telling, isn't it; that was my first thought as well.

  2. "....P.S. Helpful xkcd forumite 'folkhero' points out that the Mac/PC ads haven't been running for a while, meaning that Randall is as timely as ever (that is to say, not at all). Surprise, surprise....."

    'folkhero', like many of the Yankees, is rather Americentric. These Mac/PC ads are VERY current EVERYWHERE else in the world - especially in Botswana where PC and Mac throw mangoes at each other.

  3. ALTF, when has Randall ever acknowledged a culture that exists outside of a ten-block radius of his home? When he has ever shown a greater level of global awareness than a boiled egg?

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