There’s always a relevant xkcd

xkcd. A perfect blend of Romance, Sarcasm, Math and Language. Randall Munroe, a former roboticist at NASA and now a mathematician who makes webcomics, captures many of the life’s musings in a very hilarious tone. Some of them may seem subtle and there are also separate webpages to explain an xkcd.

There are a lot of theories as to why the comic was named “XKCD.” Some people say that if you add the numeric values (X+K+C+D i.e 24+11+3+4) you will get the number 42 — the answer to life the universe and everything! But it’s just a coincidence. Randall Munroe said “It’s not actually an acronym. It’s just a word with no phonetic pronunciation — a treasured and carefully-guarded point in the space of four-character strings.”

Here’s a blog that explains xkcd:

And here’s another:

And here’s a website that tells you if XKCD is ‘bad’ on a particular day:



The Future of Ads

Now, imagine this. You go to a shopping mall to get yourself some vegetables and other groceries and there’s a person following you. A stalker? Nope. He is actually a paid professional monitoring your purchases. If you go to the same shopping mall for say, 1 year, by the end of 1 year, that person knows everything from the Pajamas you prefer to your favorite Chocolate. Too bad you didn’t read the terms of service which clearly stated that you’ll be stalked every time you visit their mall for “improvising” the user experience. So, the next time you go to the store, this stalker will be ready with all the items you wanted to buy. All you have to do is give your credit card and bingo! – you’re out of the mall in 5 minutes.

I don’t know how many of you like this, but is it a problem when someone monitors your activity and uses the same for the growth of his/her business?

If NO is your answer, then its well and good. No probs, your work will be done in 5 minutes and that “stalker” just helped you save a hell lot of your valuable time.

But if YES is your answer, it needs an explanation. Why do you find it annoying to be followed by a stalker who is not going to hurt you in anyway except helping you do things that you always do- but without extra effort AND without charging anything? Well. That’s where something called “privacy” comes into play. We don’t want our private lives to be peeped-into by people we don’t know or the ones we don’t believe. We prefer going through the tedious process of walking by the aisle and searching for products we want. So why is this happening? Maybe we don’t like being stalked by humans. So…how about robots! Great idea isn’t it? Nope. It’s not a great idea. People don’t like being stalked by robots either and that’s because the data is again parsed by humans (?) to improvise the user experience. Moral of the day? You don’t like being stalked and you don’t want anyone/anything behind you constantly bugging you to buy a product that you like.

These days, a lot of web-based companies and social networks cash-in on this very fact. They target the not-so-tech-savvy people by making them accept the terms of service and using this information to develop their business.

Is this morally right? Yes it is. That’s because the Terms Of Service(TOS) is usually a sheet full of legalese that a layman isn’t really bothered about and that’s what makes the “innocent layman” a potential target for the ones with business acumen. You’ll soon find firms doing this job (stalking people- which is already common AND easy in cyberspace) in real life (i.e the mere-mortal form). Stay tuned!!!