Number 138
Date Aug. 7th 2006
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Pointers is the 138th xkcd comic.


In Computer Science, a "pointer" is the address of a memory cell in a computer's RAM that are displayed like black hat shows in the comic.

A programming statement like

int a = 5;

will write the integer value "5"  into the memory cell whose address is remembered with the letter "a". Behind "a", there is a pointer like 0x3A28213A, which would mean the value is to be found in the cell with that number. Like everything else inside a computer, RAM addresses are binaries, displayed in the human- readable Hexadecimal form.

It's a pun: A "pointer" is also a hint in an everyday situation.

Mouseover textEdit

"Every computer, at the unreachable memory address 0x-1, stores a secret. I found it, and it is that all humans ar-- SEGMENTATION FAULT."

The "secret" is unreachable, as computers will not allow it to be spread.

See alsoEdit

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