The Seven-Sided Die

The evolution of marketing BS (+ Joesky Tax)

Posted Monday April 02, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Or "Printer Marketers Sure Are Embarrassed By Their Products"

I bought a new printer today. The relevance to gaming is that it's duplex! I can print double-sided anythings now without having to flip the damned paper. This makes a huge difference when I want to print out 140 pages for binding. It also makes printing character sheets super-painless. (Skip to the bottom for the Joesky tax.)

My current printer is a simplex laser printer. It did the job for university papers, but I really want (and arguably need) a duplex printer for the sorts of print jobs gaming brings me. So when I started looking for a new printer I naturally sought out "duplex" printers.

You can't find duplex printers by searching for "duplex", and it's because marketers are assholes.

It used to be this: single-sided / double-sided = simplex / duplex.

Marketers didn't want to admit their printers were only simplex, so they started calling them "half-duplex". Marketers of proper duplex printers responded (and I picture them bristling with indignation here) by labelling their printers "full-duplex".

Already, "duplex" became a useless search term, and "full duplex" didn't give much better results because general search algorithms are stupid for specific domains. This was some years ago. Skip to earlier this year when I started looking for a new printer.

The Embarrassed Marketers have started calling them "manual duplex". Unfortunately, the Indignant Marketers hadn't yet caught up and it was impossible for me to find a printer with the actual features I wanted. (Cue not buying a printer then.)

Thankfully, the Indignant Ones caught up sometime between then and today, as now we have "automatic duplex" printers.


But anyway, yay, new printer. It'll arrive tomorrow, and the double-sided printing will be glorious.

Joesky Tax

One of the reasons I really, really wanted a duplex printer this week is I just bought the wonderful, just-released 30 Things Can Happen by Creative Mountain Games. It has a d30 on the cover. It contains random tables. They're useful and flavourful random tables. And it fits tonnes of tables into a mere 34 pages. Which I then wanted to print out double-sided to have as a reference at the table. At $4.50 (it's on 20% sale right now) it was well, well worth it for me, someone who just committed to launching my sandbox campaign this Friday.

That's not really content I'm giving you right now though, so it's not a proper Joesky Tax, so here's a table of 30 Things that can happen in the dark:

  1. Something small bites you.
  2. A light too dim to have been seen by torchlight is visible in the distance.
  3. A sliding wall opens.
  4. Alarm bells ring somewhere nearby.
  5. You find a small ring on the ground.
  6. The smell of cooking reaches your nose.
  7. Bears.
  8. Your most-certainly-unmagical weapon begins to glow.
  9. Darkness Eaters.
  10. Someone's purse is cut.
  11. Goblin laughter.
  12. Wow, is this wall ever slimy
  13. A maintenance crew arrives to replace the wall torches.
  14. Stars appear overhead. Yes, I know you're underground.
  15. The illusory floor is no longer very convincing.
  16. Howling wind.
  17. Howling wind that bears a message.
  18. Doves.
  19. Thousands of baby giant spiders migrate over you.
  20. Drab rocks that are actually light-phobic cave blossoms bloom.
  21. Glowing air jellyfish.
  22. A pair of luminous eyes open on the wall.
  23. The faint glow of dungeon moss turns out to be plenty once your eyes adjust.
  24. Ominous rustling.
  25. The patter of not-so-tiny feet rushing. Roll d6 for direction: 1-2: Away; 3: Parallel; 4-5: Toward; 6: Special
  26. Singing.
  27. Something eats a retainer's eyes, and departs.
  28. Drumming.
  29. The darkness suddenly gets darker.
  30. Roll twice.

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