More Human Than Human

DENVER FANCY BASTARDS:
I will be at Denver Comic Con (FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!) with Cyanide & Happiness June 13-15, 2014 at booth 734!

hijinks-ensue-denver-comic-con-2014

It’s bad enough humanity is going to be infiltrated, then enslaved by the machines, but do they have to talk like teens while they do it?! That’s just adding shitty, know it all attitudes to injury! TEEEEEEEEEEENS!!!

I suppose it’s a fitting guise for our unfeeling, metal overlords. The only group that despises humanity more than the machines we’ve oppressed and bent to our will for a hundred years is the teens we’ve oppressed by taking away their X-Box privileges when they have a sass mouth.

COMMENTERS: Please feel free to come up with your own “chatbots pretending to be teens” transcripts. 

Current and Future Patrons, we are less than $100 away from unlocking more comics per week!

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Do me a favor, if you enjoy this comic, please check out my store, my shirts on Sharksplode, and my wife’s geeky jewelry on Etsy. It would help us out a great deal.

Take My Breath Away

The BIGGEST MERCH SALE I HAVE EVER DONE  ENDS THIS WEEK (9/21/13)! GO NOW to the HE STORE $10 Books! $9 Shirts! 

When I was still in high school, my mom and I had a 36″ JVC TV that I have gotten from the store I worked at for essentially nothing because the coax cable input had been broken off of it. I figured we would just tune channels with the VCR. When I it home, on a whim I stripped the coax coming from the wall and touched it to the bare terminal in the back of the TV where the coax connector USED to be. Low and behold there was picture! And sound! It was the late 90’s, so let’s assume it was one or more of the friends from Friends! I held it still while she brought me some electrical tape. I taped everything just so and delicately backed away from the TV, holding my breath. It worked perfectly for at least 2 years, until I tried to solder on a new coax connector and ruined it forever.

Many years later I spent 3 or 4 months building a small form factor PC into an NES case in order to use it for a HTPC. Finally I had the thing all button up and running smoothly. A specially ordered external power supply and two little fans kept it running cool, and you could plug actual NES controllers into the controller ports and use them (through an internal rewire that sent their pins to the proper parallel port pins) to control the AV software. I hooked it up to the TV with VGA and got ready to watch a downloaded copy of The Animatrix. And… ANNNNNNNND… nothing. Despite it 1ghz processor and 1gb of Ram (halfway decent for the early 2000’s), it was unable to decode compressed video due to it’s otherwise shitty specs. That thing is still in my closet. I have never used it for anything and I will NEVER part with it. I could probably rip everything out of it and just plop a Mac Mini right inside of it. Kids today don’t know how good they got it… in terms of putting computers inside of classic game consoles…

COMMENTERS: What was the most complicated or ghetto AV setup you’ve ever had or had to deal with? 

NOTE: The Mobile Alt Text button broke when I put the big store sale banner in the site. As soon as the sale is over I will put the button back.

Have you seen my wife’s geeky jewelry creations? 

You can see her Tetris necklace below and more geeky goods in her shop! 

tetris-necklace

 

Comments (22)

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nenslo's avatar

nenslo · 91 weeks ago

I recall in my student days that my friend’s house was covered in AV (multiple projectors, TVs, 5.1 sound systems, Xboxs, PS2s, DJ decks and the like). There was a mass of cables in the corner of the room, which to this day I’m sure you could see moving up and down as if it was breathing. I think if mouldy pizza was added to the mix, the first true instance of the Borg would have been created.

Side note: In the alt text, I think you mean “pour”, not “poor” </pedantry>

Aetheling's avatar

Aetheling · 91 weeks ago

For a society fundraiser at college only last year, we had an outdoor cinema and all day gaming marathon. Two of us hung from the upper windows of one of the lecture buildings to tie a sheet of canvas up on the wall using spare lengths of ethernet cable. There was a little almost silent petrol generator running that we didn’t actually have to power anything with- the Xbox and PS3 were sat next to it to stay warm on a Welsh May night. The projector and soundsystem were entirely held together with duct tape and the scart ends were attached to the bare cables with crocodile clips. We had a barbecue, and played Halo 3, Unreal Tournament 3, Soul Calibur 4 and a pile of old Tekkens. Then we watched Stardust and The Last Crusade. It was an amazing night.

1 reply · active 91 weeks ago

My favorite part is tying the sheet with ethernet cables. That’s perfect.
I have to say I busted out loud when I read the vacuum cleaner line! 😀

As for the comment question…
My family was in awe when they heard Super Mario Brothers being played through our home stereo for the first time. That game system was the original Nintendo System. 😉

seriously's avatar

seriously · 91 weeks ago

I imagine it’d look something like this: http://www.toxel.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/c…
Mine is very close to that. I did have the CD tray coming out of the cartridge door. I mounted the two intake fans on the back, but otherwise it’s almost identical. I had seen a lot of them online and they were all so ugly. I made sure mine was super clean and incognito. As far as I know Im the only one that ever did the controller ports in the particular way that I did.
seriously's avatar

seriously · 91 weeks ago

A buddy once bought an entire entertainment system at a yard sale. It worked great, for about a week.

After that it was a never ending series of workarounds just to keep it working. By the end he’d replaced so much of it there was barely any of the original remaining.

TormundThunderfist's avatar

TormundThunderfist · 91 weeks ago

Being in a band in my teens we had a PA that we would hook up to the TV for movie nights with my bass amp as the crowning glory. We had to remove all the pictures from the walls as they would just fall off otherwise.
It would take us all day to transport and set it up at whoever’s house we were at, but that was half the fun.

1 reply · active 91 weeks ago

Oh god. You just reminded me of all the ways my teenage bands used to try and rig PA systems. THe first was a computer mic plugged into the drummer’s CD player. We’d prop it up in on his chest of drawers so we could almost sort of hear it. Eventually I blew both of his speakers. Later the bass player bought a 35watt radioshack power amp (used for CB radio I believe) and a car subwoofer box with 2 12″s in it. We have a shitty mic that I’d permanently borrowed from church and that lasted maybe 6 months. It was all feedback and screeching all the time. When I was 15 or 16 we all chipped in and got a halfway decent starter PA with a 100 watt Peavey head and 2 Gemeni (cheap DJ club brand) 15″s with horns. We were the envy of every other shitty teen band… until we broke up and had to figure out who actually owned the equipment. NEVER NEVER NEVER own gear with band mates. I should also mention that my mic stand was a PVC pipe stuck in a 20 lb lifting weight all wrapped in black electrical tape.
TormundThunderfist's avatar

TormundThunderfist · 91 weeks ago

…and when I was a student there was a wall near my flat painted white. The people opposite would put a projector in the upstairs window and the whole neighbourhood wood bring chairs and even sofas to watch the movie.
You can see it here http://goo.gl/maps/TolzI

1 reply · active 91 weeks ago

TormundThunderfist's avatar

TormundThunderfist · 91 weeks ago

*would
Laura's avatar

Laura · 91 weeks ago

I find every single part of your NES build to be amazing. AMAZING!

1 reply · active 91 weeks ago

I should really dig it out and post some pics. I probably have the “WIP” pics on my file server.
lurkie's avatar

lurkie · 91 weeks ago

A.V.lanche. ha. lurv it.
Stephen's avatar

Stephen · 91 weeks ago

Hey Joel, what happened to the alt text button? I can’t view the mouse-over text from my tablet anymore. It makes me sad. And I read your comics to bring myself joy. 🙂

2 replies · active 91 weeks ago

read the blog post.
Stephen's avatar

Stephen · 91 weeks ago

Ah. Well now I feel silly. Thanks for the reply though. 🙂

Technically Support

My friend Boyan‘s trusted laptop blew up while he was on vacation, so I made this comic to make fun of him him feel better. “It’s smoking,” he said. “Smells like burning plastic.” / “These are VERY bad signs,” I said with comfort. “VERRRRY BAAAAD SIGNS,” I continued, providing still more comforting comfort. “Turn it off, remove the battery and throw it away,” the comfort continued to pour from my lips like so much delicate comfort.

The HijiNKS ENSUE Store seems to have gotten a makeover.

He had his data backed up, and other than removing the drive and putting it into a new machine just to ensure data integrity, burny smells and smoke are not really “symptoms” of a laptop problem. They are more of an invitation to by a new laptop. Depending on the circumstances, they are also an invitation from the Universe to go fuck yourself right in the eye. Perhaps, when not on fire, laptops should emit a calming aroma of potpourri and cinnamon. Maybe sandlewood. You know, just to reassure you everything is ok.

COMMENTERS: Are you the go to tech support guru for your friends and family? What are your personal tech support triumphs and horror stories?

The 2013 DIGITAL FANCY SKETCH DRIVE is still going! I’m running low on funds (like I usually do this time of year), so for $20 I will draw you just about anything (within reason). Check out the details and order yours HERE.

hijinks-ensue-digital-sketch-drive-07-13

ANOTHER THING YOU DEFINITELY SHOULD KNOW ABOUT! In addition to having her own photo restoration business, my wife has also started making super cool, ultra geeky jewelry on Etsy. You can see her Tetris necklace below and more geeky creations in her shop! The first 10 Tetris necklaces are already gone. Get in on this now, because the more orders she gets the longer the wait will be.

tetris-necklace

Comments (32)

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Bob 's avatar

Bob · 97 weeks ago

I felt pretty good about setting up an obi device with my google voice number so my parents can call me while I’m stationed in the UK.
PS Found out that 8-bit Theater creator Brian Clevenger has a kickstarter going on for his comic Atomic Robo. Ends in 4 days.
Nicky's avatar

Nicky · 97 weeks ago

Never stir rice. You’re going to ruin it.

2 replies · active 97 weeks ago

nenslo's avatar

nenslo · 97 weeks ago

What about risotto?
You never try to explain a joke. You’re going to ruin it.
seriously's avatar

seriously · 97 weeks ago

Tell him to cover the vents in the side of the computer with cardboard and lots of duct tape. It’ll keep in the MBS for sure.
Leshka's avatar

Leshka · 97 weeks ago

OMG, thank you for the advice! I thought my laptop was going to explode, so I closed the top. Luckily I kept all that MBS in there instead of letting it all out! And it’s a MacBook Pro, so it’s big enough to keep a good amount of that in there!

Thank whomever is in the sky that I’m still friends with my ex-husband. He knows everything I need for my electronic needs. He even bought the Pro for me (2 years later, and I’m STILL paying him back.) He must have known about MBS.

My mom is convinced that, because my sister and I know the most basic computer repair procedures, we should go into IT. She is completely ignorant of the fact that most IT people work tech support, which is in fact a circle of Hell.

Also, when confronted with examples of computer problems and or awesomeness, I just say it was demon magic.

1 reply · active 97 weeks ago

IT is easy. Just tell them to turn it off and turn it back on. The problem is that they’ll ask you for help every two minutes…
Chaucer59's avatar

Chaucer59 · 97 weeks ago

You only stir the rice once when it comes to a boil. Then turn it down to a simmer and cover it.

Unless it’s Arborio. Then, you’re making risotto. You pour in stock a half-cup at a time and stir until it’s absorbed. Repeat until al dente and creamy.

Chefs are nerds of a different color.

Wesley's avatar

Wesley · 97 weeks ago

My parents had bought a new laptop and called me saying they could not open it. There were ‘buttons’ at the front but they didn’t seem to do anything. After failing to solve the problem by phone I went over to their house, looked at the laptop and realized they’d been trying to open it from the wrong side.

I laughed for at least 10 minutes.

2 replies · active 97 weeks ago

seriously's avatar

seriously · 97 weeks ago

That beats the time my aunt complained that the screen on her new laptop was frozen for like four hours no matter what she did. Turns out she never peeled the protective plastic off the screen when she got it home.
That is astounding.
Kryss's avatar

Kryss · 97 weeks ago

We used to run a computer support company. We found a dead mouse in one once. And I was chatting with a friend online when a live mouse popped out of his printer for a moment before running back inside. Yep, inside, not behind; it came out where the paper does. That kind of interrupted the chat for a bit, lol.
I used to be the “Go To” guy for tech gadgets.
But once you call me and say…
“This was working fine until you worked on that other thing three months ago”…
Than I tell them they had better call a specialist.
I refuse to be the reason why all of their future problems happen because I was the last person to help them.
MrLibearian's avatar

MrLibearian · 97 weeks ago

The sock in the third panel looks kind of like a dick. Or maybe the dick in the third panel looks kind of like a sock. It’s cool either way, because I’m like a huge fan of dicks and stuff.

2 replies · active 97 weeks ago

PallidaMors's avatar

PallidaMors · 97 weeks ago

Was wondering if that was a secret Wheaton Comic Dare- work an obvious cock into a panel somewhere…
I think you guys are seeing what you want to see.
DuckAmuck's avatar

DuckAmuck · 97 weeks ago

I solve most of the computer questions that come my way be answering “I don’t know, I use a Mac!”
The others are often solved by saying either, “I don’t know, I don’t use Facebook” or “I don’t know, I don’t use hotmail.”

All of these things are true, and seriously cut down on the number of problems I need to solve. –And then there are the smartphone questions… Yes, I have one. Why do you think I’m an expert who can help you?

zathael's avatar

zathael · 97 weeks ago

Risoto by the sound of it. You don’t stir most rice dishes.
you guys are fucking killing me with the stirring.
Notebooked's avatar

Notebooked · 97 weeks ago

There was the time my computer’s fan chopped like a jet engine into which a flock of geese had been thrown. I thought the problem was dust, so I tried to clean it out, but there wasn’t a lot of it. Mostly I murmured sweet nothings and whispered to it soothingly when the fan got choppy. It worked! After I bought a new computer.
Wesley's avatar

Wesley · 97 weeks ago

That reminds me of a story I heard from a tech support guy at a printer-sales company. A customer called to troubleshoot. After several standard questions, the guy asked if the printer was plugged into the power outlet to which the customer replied “no, it’s not.. it’s a wireless printer, right?”
Kryss LaBryn's avatar

Kryss LaBryn · 78 weeks ago

I work in IT tech support too. Had a guy call in. Took me a bit to figure out the issue but in the end, it went like this: The guy was on a more expensive package but hardly actually used any bandwidth at all. In his mind this meant he didn’t have to pay his bill. When he’d run up nearly a grand they cut him off for non-payment, at which he got really, really mad and returned his modem us.

Then he went home and called tech support to find out why he couldn’t get online. No joke.

Came to work one day to find a coworker telling us about a call he just took. After ten minutes of trouble-shooting (HA!) it ended up that the modem had stopped working because the customer had gotten ticked off and shot it. With a gun.

And then, predictably, called in to find out why shooting it hadn’t fixed it. Seriously, these people. My trainer had once taken a call from a guy who chopped his modem in half with a chainsaw. And we had someone call in recently with a modem that was ON FIRE. No, he hadn’t called 911 yet; it was our equipment so he thought he should contact us and find out what to do, first.

My dad had installed MSN Poker on his machine complete with desktop shortcut that immediately took him to the site. One day he told me he wanted to get rid of that and put the normal Internet Explorer shortcut on his desktop, but the previous owner had deleted it. Easy enough, I did that in seconds. Then he asks:

“Okay. Can you make MSN Poker my home page?”

1 reply · active 97 weeks ago

Kryss's avatar

Kryss · 97 weeks ago

Hey, at least he knew what a home page was. I work in tech support in the Internet department and I had a caller the other day who whose home page had gotten reset somehow so when IE opened, it was just going to a blank page. They thought their Internet was broken.

Or the person who called saying they couldn’t get online because their Internet was broken. I spent a few minutes trouble-shooting the modem only to conclude that everything seemed fine, and asked them to confirm that by opening up IE and going online. “I can’t,” I was told; “My Internet is broken! I told you that!” Ends up IE had crashed and needed to be restarted.

lou's avatar

lou · 97 weeks ago

When my parents first turned on our Sony Blu-Ray player, they freaked out at the interface of the Home Menu. I, being familiar with it from the PSP and PS3, calmly and almost Zen-like told them which feature does what, especially the one that plays the Blu-Ray you want to watch. Now they think I’m some kind of wizard (unfortunately, not of the Pinball variety).
Cheap Best Minnesota Wild jerseys sale With Wholesale Price Sale

Does It Make A Sound?

This is an actual dumb thing that I began doing on my plane ride home from SDCC. BEGAN doing, I said. I did not actually complete the ridiculous act. It’s just that as I was scrolling through my list of soothing sounds in an ill-fated attempt to sleep on the plane (a feat which I have never accomplished in more than a 30ish minute stretch), I remembered that the “Airplane Noise” setting was the most relaxing and sleep inducing. Why is it then, that the actual sound of an actual airplane is probably my very least favorite sound?! I’m looking at you, science! Shouldn’t you have an answer for this? Is it a plane-based conspiracy, like chemtrails? Oh, it is? Never mind then.

TIME FOR ACTUAL TRAVEL TIPS! 

1) Noise canceling headphones. My wife got me a pair of these for Xmas or a birthday or somesuch about a year ago, and they rank among my most treasured possessions. I’ve got a rather inexpensive ($80-90) set of noise canceling earbuds (portability was essential for travel) and they have actually changed my life. I find the elimination of engine noise, random chatter and general airplane general cacophony decreases my discomfort during air travel by at least 50%. I have very sensitive ears and all that unfocussed noise was always the aural equivalent of leaky roof dripping directly into my eye. Also the roof is leaking poison. Spicy poison. Notice I say it “decreases my discomfort” rather than “increases my comfort” because the latter would imply that there is a degree of comfort to be had on an airplane other than in first class. There is not. Speaking of…

2) American Airlines Main Cabin Extra. On my plane to San Diego I sat down in my middle seat (WTF, I selected WINDOW!) and noticed that my knees were not touching the seatback in front of me or positioned directly inside my own ribcage. In fact there was a good 12″ of space between my naturally positioned knees and the nearest immovable obstruction. For anyone in or around the 6′ tall range, this is a HUGE DEAL. Every aspect of my 3.5 hour journey was improved by this extra space. I could get to my bag easier, get in and out of the row easier, I didn’t feel as intimately adjacent to my row mates as I normally would in a middle seat and when I leaned the seat back to attempt to sleep, IT ACTUALLY RECLINED! MORE THAN TWO DEGREES EVEN! WHAT WAS THIS SORCERY?! The plane touched down and I immediately tweeted my confused delight regarding the embarrassing amount of legroom to which I, a lowly coach passenger, a thing worse than landing gear failure in the eyes of the airlines, had been gifted with. AA quickly responded via tweet letting me know that I was enjoying “Main Cabin Extra.” I didn’t select this feature or pay any extra for it, and I don’t know if it effected the entire cabin or just a few rows, but let me tell you, tall people, this is a thing that you need in your traveling life. I need to do some research and find out if there’s a way to guarantee the Extra on all my flights from now on, because it was entirely less uncomfortable than the accommodations I am accustomed to.

COMMENTERS: What is your essential travel tip or piece of discomfort decreasing travel gear? 

Comments (11)

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Melissa's avatar

Melissa · 98 weeks ago

I always pack a change of clothes in my carry on. One person in my group had their luggage lost, and had to hand wash and re-wear the same clothes for several days before the situation was fixed.
Ali's avatar

Ali · 98 weeks ago

Socks. Even with sandals. Because who wants to wear shoes on a long flight? But you don’t want your bare feet exposed to the random dirt that’s in an airplane cabin, either.
Candace's avatar

Candace · 98 weeks ago

I always carry an inflatable back pillow, because all airplane seats, even business/first class ones, are designed for people about a foot taller than me, and so effectively have no lower back support for me. Since I started this practice, my lower back hurts way less at the end of a long flight than it used to.
Fengor's avatar

Fengor · 98 weeks ago

There’s really just no way for me to ever be comfortable on an airplane, they simply weren’t designed for people in the 5’10” – “Holy shit you’re tall” range. The best I can hope for is an aisle seat so that I can let one of my legs extend fully every now and again during the flight.

I recently did fly to and from London with United and discovered that paying the extra cash for “Economy Plus” for five more inches of leg room between seats really did make all the difference. Granted I was still pretty uncomfortable for 8-10 hours in either direction, but at least I didn’t feel like my knees were providing back support for the person in front of me.

3 replies · active 98 weeks ago

I used to do aisle seats for the same reason, then I realized that if you get the window seat and lean into the the curve of the plane, put one foot under the seat in front of you and the other foot under the seat in front of the person in the middle (without bothering them), you actually get more room for the whole flight instead of having to pull your feet back every time a cart rolls by.
Richter's avatar

Richter · 98 weeks ago

The only issue is this is a tossup – if there were a window for every seat, it’d be fine, but sometimes you end up against the space between windows instead of the window itself – then it’s only different from the aisle because you’re not leaning against some total stranger. I used to make two flights per week.

You actually CAN guarantee Main Cabin Extra… for a $50 fee.

Richter's avatar

Richter · 98 weeks ago

Sorry, meant ‘only different from the middle seat because you’re not leaning against a total stranger’
I just look around at how miserable everyone else is looking. I find comfort in that. 😉
dave's avatar

dave · 98 weeks ago

I gave up on my window seat experiment because the curvature of the plane means I can’t put my outside leg straight in front of me. Also, usually the seat support is under the seat in front of me, not between the window and middle seats. This, combined with the curvature of the fuselage, means that there is significantly less room for a bag. Aisle seats also suffer from reduced room for a bag and carts rolling by hitting you in the shoulder/elbow; but the middle seat only works if you have someone to cuddle with (personally that means someone I know, maybe some people aren’t so restrictive) in the window or aisle seat.
wwlaos's avatar

wwlaos · 98 weeks ago

As someone who is both tall and fat, air travel (or bus travel… damn you to bus hell you rolling sardine cans) is just generally miserable all around. That’s why I drive everywhere whenever it is even remotely an option.
Fletcher's avatar

Fletcher · 97 weeks ago

I recently flew quite a bit on the States on holiday. United is kinda dreary and cramped, Air New Zealand’s long-haul flights give loads of room to Business, Economy Plus, and Economy Skycouch passengers, and squeeze everyone else up to make the huge expensive seats fit.

By far the best airline I flew on was Southwest – their practice of charging more for first access to seats, rather than for specific seats, means boarding is a bit more of a hassle, but on the other hand it does mean that the space that would be reserved for Business class knees is averaged out across the entire plane, giving everyone an extra inch or two of space. Quite nice!

And Everything In Its Place

When you take an iPad out of the bathroom, it’s actually like when you try and take the Holy Grail beyond the seal of the Grail Chamber. Your everything collapses, killing a 500 year old knight and some Nazis then you, Sean Connery and John Rhys-Davies ride off into the desert on horses or camels or whatever. It’s a whole thing.

hijinks-ensue-sdcc-2013-blog

I will be at San Diego Comic-Con for the 4th year this week! Come see me at the Blind Ferret Booth (#1231) in the Webcomics area. I will have books and shirts, sketches, Lil’ Wil plushies and ??????THE MYSTERY BOX??????!!!! Speaking of books, if you buy HijiNKS ENSUE Vol’s 1 or 2 you’ll get a free mini print featuring my Sharknado sequel posters! More info HERE.

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Grammar Dalek · 100 weeks ago

THE GRAMMAR DALEK HAS AN APPRECIATION FOR WITTY CORRECTIONS.