You'd better get yourself a garlic T-shirt, buddy, or it's your funeral

Friday, 6 March 2009

There are times when I hate xkcd. Mostly these are:

1. When reading a discussion on /. and you just know a particular image will be posted.

2. When you spend hours searching for a specific comic that you're certain exists.

The latter is what bit me tonight - I'm certain there exists a cartoon which has a plot of:

Woman says hi.

Guy says hi.

Woman looks confused.

Guy realises she was talking to her phone, not him.

Cannot find the image for the life of me - only phone-related image I could find was tones.

I thought I might get lucky if I knocked up a quick hack to search the alt-text on all the images, but sadly not.

Still it was a fun project. To be uber-useful we'd need to persuade people to imput the text in each cartoon, along with the number.

Given that there are only 550ish cartoons published thus far creating a database would take a person a day, or a group of people a couple of hours.

Tempting .. very tempting ..

ObFilm: The Lost Boys. Yay!



Comments On This Entry

[gravitar] tshirtman

Submitted at 00:59:03 on 6 march 2009

I think I read all xkcd's, I happen to regulary be in situation 2, but not for hours, in general it take a few seconds to several minutes...
... but I can't remember the one you speak about... :/
[author] Steve Kemp

Submitted at 01:01:56 on 6 march 2009

I was a little mistaken. I found it just after pushing this entry to be live:


[gravitar] Randall Munroe

Submitted at 01:04:40 on 6 march 2009

The comic you're thinking of might be (I had to search for it too).
But more importantly:
> Still it was a fun project. To be uber-useful we'd need to persuade people to imput the text in each cartoon, along with the number.
Which they already do :) Ryan North implemented just this system. See the search box below the comic on the main page.
[author] Steve Kemp

Submitted at 01:07:38 on 6 march 2009

I have absolutely no idea how I could possibly have missed that huge search box!

To add insult to injury I search for "phone" and the very cartoon I wanted popped up in first place.

The only thing I can do now is go sleep. Argh!

[gravitar] klette

Submitted at 01:17:32 on 6 march 2009

Well, if searching doesnt work, browsing by month speeds up the process a bit. I use for all my comic needs :-) quite nice
[gravitar] gnomon

Submitted at 04:11:08 on 6 march 2009

There's also OhNoRobot over at, which uses this same fan transcription effort to index just shy of 10e5 individual comics across almost 1500 comic series.
[gravitar] Ken Bloom

Submitted at 18:09:33 on 6 march 2009

XKCD's search engine (right on the front page) doesn't do it for you? They've transcribed all of the comics too!


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