xkcd.com

Randall Munroe
rmunroe@gmail.com (see note below)

IRC: #xkcd on irc.foonetic.net
LJ RSS: [info]xkcd_rss
Wikipedia article: xkcd

xkcd.com updates without fail every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

 Who are you?

I'm just this guy, you know? I'm a CNU graduate with a degree in physics. I live in Virginia, where I until recently worked on robots at the NASA Langley Research Center (which is in Southeastern VA, not Langley). In my spare time I climb things, open strange doors, and go to goth clubs dressed as a frat guy so I can stand around and look terribly uncomfortable. At frat parties I do the same thing, but the other way around.

 Who else are you?

Server maintenance and most of the coding for these sites is done by my friend davean, who tries hard to remain invisible but can be reached at davean@xkcd.net. Most of the comics are edited/proofread by my good friend Sarah.

 What does XKCD stand for?

It's not actually an acronym. It's just a word with no phonetic pronunciation. It stands for the comic and everything the comic stands for!

 Where did all this start?

I was going through old math/sketching graph paper notebooks and didn't want to lose some of the work in them, so I started scanning pages. I took the more comic-y ones and put them up on a server I was testing out, and got a bunch of readers when BoingBoing linked to me. I started drawing more seriously, gained a lot more readers, started selling t-shirts on the site, and am currently shipping t-shirts and drawing this comic full-time. It's immensely fun and I really appreciate y'all's support.

 Why can't I read the whole comic mouseover text in Firefox?

They can be read with extensions like Long Titles. This is a bug in Firefox, Mozilla Bug #45375. It has been outstanding for many years now. Both Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics) and I have contacted the developers to let them know how many of our readers it affects and to see if there's anything we can do to help with a fix (offering money or programmers). They repeatedly told us to go away and/or shut up, with some developers saying they'd withold a fix because we were complaining. I've of course learned to be way more cautious about offering to help out with an open-source project. You may want to check out Opera or Internet Explorer.

Note: It looks like this has been fixed in SeaMonkey. I suppose eventually the fix will migrate over to Firefox.

 Can we print xkcd in our magazine/newspaper/other publication?

If it's a not-for-profit publication, you need no permission -- just print them with attribution to xkcd.com. If it's a for-profit operation, I will probably give you permission if you email me to let me know. And in either case please send me a copy; I'd love to see!

 Can I email you?

Sure -- rmunroe@gmail.com. I get a huge amount of email, and while I read it all I don't always have time to reply anymore. I try to reply quickly to emails with easily-answered questions.

Note: I don't use submitted comic ideas and I have already heard about every company making human hamster balls.

 Which sorting algorithms should I use? They taught me so many.

This is tricky. Most of what they teach you in school is just as an example of how to think about algorithms; 99% of the time you shouldn't worry about optimizing your sorts. Just learn to implement Quicksort (which is very good) and use that without fretting about it too much. People overfocus on efficiency over clarity and simplicity. And most of the time the environment you're coding in will have an efficient sort function built-in anyway.

Note: If you're interviewing for a company for a position with a focus on algorithms, the above is not an excuse not to know your stuff.
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