Announcement

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).

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Died in a Blogging Accident: Sneak Peek!

UPDATE July 2014 – Died In A Blogging accident can now be found here!

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Happy Christmas to all you goyim. Since you're checking the blog on Christmas Fucking Day, I assume you have no family, or you are one of the chosen people. Either way you deserve a present. Allow me to give you a preview of chapter 3

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Thank you for your interest, but this preview was intended only for viewers over the Christmas period, and has now been removed. If you want to see chapter 3, please wait until it comes out in the summer. See you then! And keep tweeting #DiaBA!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Comics 1299-1305: Who Will Remember Us?

Comic 1305: Undocumented Feature

Click here, or anywhere on the image, to see the full-sized version. Trust me, it's worth it. I will wait.

I just, wow, this Xkcd hits home in so many ways. A many-panel skyscraper of a comic, reminiscent of the the glory days of SMBC. The artwork is effective and to the point. But what really make me want to re-read this comic is the story it tells.

I think the subject matter of this comic is something we can all relate to. This comic is fictitious, but it captures the experience of so many online backwater communities. It ends with a punchline about Facebook and an alt text about Youtube, but that is only to emphasise the contrast between those sites and the little misfit communities that we create ourselves.

And yes, Xkcd-sucks is one of those communities, whether you spell it with a hyphen or not. Look in any comment thread and you will see the friendships we have built. We were just trying to troll each other, but in was in fact the trolling that helped bring us together.

Furthermore, this comic is an important reminder that all online communities will eventually die. You don't have to be particularly observant to see that has already began to happen. No-hyphen doesn't update anymore. The comment threads are closed. And that has not produced the huge influx of activity to this blog that I expected.

People leaving No-hyphen are not going elsewhere to hate Xkcd. They are just leaving, for the same reasons that Rob is no longer posting. Their hate is turning to apathy. It's no longer fun to hate Xkcd.

With that in mind, I have decided to stop reviewing Xkcd. This blog will be retired, and Xkcd-sucks will die.

So in light of everything I have said, I will give this comic the grade it truly deserves, complete with something I have been waiting to say in earnest for all these years: A* for Randall Get Out Out Of My Head.

That does not mean the previous six Xkcds are exempt from criticism. These will be the last reviews I write, so I might as well make them count.

Comic 1304: Glass Trolling

B- for trolling Google Glass. It's something that deserves to be trolled, but the troll was not original. F for the fact that obnoxious Xkcd fans everywhere are going to copy this comic, because of course they are.  Just imagine a million of them uttering 'OK Glass' commands while they needlessly chatter at their smartphones. Worst of all, there already is a feature on Nexus phones that's pretty much the same thing, except you say 'OK Google Now'. And with this comic being the bad influence that it is, people might actually start using it. Randall, do you even know what you have inflicted on humanity with this simple PNG image? Instead of mocking the stupid trend of talking to electronics, you have helped perpetuate it!

D for artwork, and for not even going to the effort of drawing a second person. DETENTION for Gizmodo repost.

Comic 1303: Profile Info

Nice idea, but there are so many ways in which it wouldn't work.

It wouldn't work for social networks, which is where we would most want to use this trick. How dumb would it look if every single comment you made on Youtube was signed 'John If-you-see-this-name-in-an-ad-give-the-product-a-one-star-review-smith'?

F- for failing to think things through any more than I thought through this grade.

DETENTION for Gizmodo repost.

Comic 1302: Year in Review

This comic failed to make a point. F- for lack of a point. Is the joke supposed to be that a newscaster talks about something completely irrelevant while on air. Whilst it's something we'd all like to see a newscaster do, it doesn't actually make for a good joke, because it's unoriginal as fuck. F-- for unoriginality.

And the worst part is that it's trying to be all zany and random, and it just fails dismally, because it's just what we expected. F for building up an expectation, and going nowhere with it.

C- for the alt text, but it was almost unrelated to the comic.

Comic 1301: File Extensions

I fail to see a joke in this one. I fail to see any way to apply this comic to my own experiences. You have to be scraping the bottom of the observational humour barrel to come up with stuff like 'oh yeah, pdf files are much more trustworthy than ppt files.

It doesn't even make sense on its own logic. I regularly convert my lecture slides from .ppt to .pdf to make them easier to read on a Mac. But that doesn't change their trustworthiness. Normally logic shouldn't matter, as it's just a comic. But when it fails to impress me in any other regard, logic becomes its only redeeming value. And the weak logic of the broad sweeping statements about file types, which is incidental to the content they contain, is the best thing about this comic. Doesn't that say a lot.

Oh yeah, Randall. Aren't your comics always in PNG format?

F for lack of logic. F- for lack of relevance. F-- for lack of a joke. DETENTION for Gizmodo repost.

Comic 1300: I Don't Own a TV

The following review is a tribute to Rob Mason, and his timelessly brevitic style of reviewing eveything.

Nobody cares. F

Comic 1299: Galilean Moons

This comic is just... what? This comic is awful beyond mere description of words. To wit one William Monty Hughes, "Words fail me [...] but I shall not fail words." So let's review this astronomical turd of a comic.

Why would one of the moons be so happy about escaping the girl's orbit, and orbiting the guy instead... unless it was planning to suck him off. Hey, that reminds me of my first ever comment. Nostalgia aside, it is so hard to see what this comic is on about. I had to turn to Explain Xkcd to help me in my final review, and the grades I had to give are:

*Deep breath!*

Q for bad artwork. R for failing to include show the moons' motion. S for not even including a dotted circle to show the orbit. T for the impossible-to-comprehend joke about orbital resonance. U for lack of standalone value due to it being a joke about orbital resonance. V because it's not even funny. W because apparently Galilean moons moons a don't do anything but say the same thing repeatedly. X because even if the moons somehow had the power of speech (and I reiterate: why the fuck?!) it would make no sense for one of them to shout "MOOOOOOON!" It's like the most annoying Pokemon with none of the good things about being a Pokemon. Y because not even the forums liked it. Z for making moons look like the astronomical equivalent of crabs.

Overall grade: Z*, that's a ZED-FUCKING-STAR (pun not intended thank you very much - a moon is not a star), the worst grade I have ever given. You know what that means?

100 BELT LASHINGS, one for every comic I have ever reviewed, for the WORST COMIC I HAVE EVER REVIEWED. 

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And before I go, DOUBLE DETENTION for Gizmodo repost. Fuck you Gizmodo! FUCK YOU IN THE THUNDERBOLT PORT! AND FUCK EVERYTHING TO DO WITH FLAT DESIGN. ALSO WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO PUT DRM ON A FUCKING USB CABLE?! FUCK YOU STEVE JOBS!!!!!! OY VEY.


*Ahem*

Before I go, I'd like to talk seriously for a moment. If comic 1305 is anything to go by, this community will soon be forgotten, even by those who participated in it. And that makes me truly deeply sad. But though we may go our separate ways and never even tell anyone that Xkcd-sucks was a thing, there is one thing that we will never lose: the fun we had from the comics we bashed and the friendships we made. Even if no one remembers it, it still happened. It was good while it lasted, and no one can take that away from us.

You know, I was never into MMO gaming, and Chat-rooms and BBSes were slightly before my time. So this was the closest I have been to a tight-knit online community that I felt I really belonged to. And you guys have been best, even the Anonymous, especially the Anonymous. The last few years have been the best of my life.

Feel free to share your best memories of hating Xkcd in the space below. Try to put this blog out of your mind when you see your families this Christmas. I wish you good luck, farewell, and have an easy feast.

And I never did finish that story...

Monday, December 2, 2013

Comics 1295-1298: Xkcd Sucks at Programming

What's this you say? Four comics in one review! But Jon, it's not an exact multiple of 3. To that I say, who gives a crap?

Comic 1298: Exoplanet Neighborhood


Well, let's start with the good. Randall get an A+ for the algorithm that makes the circles spaced out evenly. That kinda neat, and it must have been fun to do. Everything else on the other hand.

D for graphic design. This is basic stuff here. Don't depict planets as dirty brown discs. He has made this mistake before in 1071. Speaking of 1071, it's hard to see how that isn't a rehash of that comic. There are more planets, for one thing. The shape of the comic is rectangular rather than circular.

So what's the difference? Is it meant to show how more planets have been discovered since that comic was made. No. Read the text carefully: "Constructed from statistical data on typical planet sizes and orbits."

Oh, so they're not even real planets. It's just based on what we think might be out there. Yeah, I'm betting this comic will end up looking really dated in a few years when higher resolution telescopes prove that there are far more planets than this F for using damned lies and statistics in lieu of data.

Our models of planet formation are flawed. They don't even properly explain the origin of our own solar system. So applying that logic to other stars is flawed at best. Bear in mind that there is an observer bias in favour of large planets, because large planets are easier to spot. Small planets will probably be found to vastly outnumber gas giants when we get higher resolution telescopes. If our own solar system is anything to go by, then most gas giants will also have planet-sized moons.

So to sum up, F- for general scientific dickery.

F-- for being a poster. He probably made the background white to save on ink costs. Stingy bastard. Just look at how much better it looks with a black background. And all I did was invert the colours (and correct one of the spellings).


Oh, and F--- for forgetting to include an alt text, then hastily adding an alt-text-for-the-sake-of-an-alt-text a few hours later. Don't think I didn't notice.

Comic 1297: Oort Cloud


B for referencing a current event. Not everyone has heard of Comet Ison, but the comic is just about readable without that knowledge, so A- for standalone value.

Does the time scale used in the comic bug you? Because it bugs me. Most comets have orbital periods in the hundreds of years, if not thousands. Certainly it would take at least that long to reach the Oort Cloud.

Fun fact: the Oort Cloud is far away, like really far. If it take light 4 hours to reach Neptune, what we traditionally regard as the 'edge' of the solar system, then you'd be looking at at least 4 months to reach the Oort Cloud. And since the comic does nothing to even imply this vast distance, that's a big fat F for having no sense of scale.

This sounds like nitpicking, but think about this. It would not have hurt the comic at all if there was a '3000 years later' caption between the 2nd and 3rd panels. It would have actually improved the joke somewhat. The idea of two friendly comets picking up a conversation after 3000 years is a funny one. F- for missed opportunity.

Now it's time for the nitpicks. D for failing to show motion, and D- for the stilted dialog.

This is another clear-cut case of comic that he should have run by an editor, because it was actually a good idea, but good execution would have really enabled it to shine like a dying comet in the sun's corona.

Comic 1296: Git Commit


We get it, Randall sucks at programming. This is not how you are supposed to program. As Ars Technica (the wise old sage of tech journalism) will tell you, you are supposed to write code that other people can understand.

F for making a joke out of 'I suck at programming.' But wait. There's more to it than that. It's a great big GOOMH* moment to Xkcd readers who are also programmers. In fact, I imagine it's the sort of thing that pgrogrammers encounter all the time when they make small incremental edits to their code. It's probably stating the bloody bleeding obvious to these people, so no joke. F** for stating the obvious, but they'll still appreciate the GOOMH anyway, because it's Xkcd.

C- for standalone value, as half the comic's readership will probably be scratching their heads and wondering what a 'Git Commit' is, if it's not obvious from the context (it isn't).

Comic 1295: New Study


Randall shakes his fist at the TV like a bitter old man bemoaning the fact that radio is ruining music. The viewer sighed at yet another Xkcd comic complaining about TV news stations appeared on his Feedly dashboard. This comic gets a D for just being boring. D+ for artwork, which is a little on the lazy side, but at least the guy doesn't have a floating head.

Of course, we all know that Randall wishes that everyone would get their science news by reading the science-themed Xkcds, then googling some of the terms they mention so they can understand the punchlines. If Randall got his way, he'd replace science news with science homework. Fuck you, Randall.

*In case you're a new reader, it stands for 'Get out of my head'.
**It's not asterisks. It's two stars, you fuckers.