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Last Updated: April 18, 2019

Wizard Of Odds Weekly Update April 18, 2019


When you receive this newsletter, I will be on my return trip from hiking across the Grand Canyon - both ways. It's a long 48-mile trip with 11,000 feet of elevation gain, but I'm taking my time and doing it over three days. Next week I'll tell you more about it.

You may recall last week's newsletter was sent out the same date as the general ticket sale for Burning Man. I had to write the newsletter before, but promised I would let you know how I did. The answer is terrible. I was part of a group of 13 people trying to buy tickets and the number who were successful was zero. I can take losing on something that is fair and random, but that was not the case with this fiasco. Here are my main grievances:

  1. Everyone in my group sat staring at the same "spinning arrow" page for over three hours. I think the sale sold out in minutes, but tens of thousands of people, including me, never knew and kept sitting there patiently looking at this screen for hours.
  2. One in our group did get past this screen, got half way through the process to buy the tickets, but then got a blank screen when he clicked a button, and was simply never able to complete the transaction, despite his best efforts.
  3. Most of those who were successful cheated. Maybe "cheat" is a strong word, but they didn't follow the rules, in particular the one about not refreshing the screen, and somehow managed to get to the front of the queue. Stories vary, but it involved tricks with disabling ad blockers, removing cookies, refreshing the screen, and who knows what else. I hear previous sales were also plagued with technical problems and cheating, so I suspect they already had a bag of tricks ready. Then again, maybe if I knew the tricks I would be filing it under "advantage play".

Spinning Arrows

Here is a forum about the ticket-buying process full posts by angry people like me and some winners boasting how they gamed the system: OFFICIAL 2019 TICKET SUCCESS/FAIL THREAD

In the unlikely event anyone with the Burning Man organizers should read this, I have two simple suggestions:

  1. Fire whatever vendor was used to conduct this three ring circus.
  2. Go to a simple lottery system, where everybody has an equal chance.