Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Maybe the author needs to get out more (Score 5, Insightful) 120

by Sycraft-fu (#47570537) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

No dude, your books are not so incredible that people will buy them no matter what the price. There may be a few people who are like that, but most aren't. Price matters in entertainment. Turns out, when you make something cheap enough so that people don't need to think about spending the money and even more so they feel like they are getting a "Great deal" they'll spend very freely.

Steam has figured this out with videogames and siphons tons of money out of people's pockets, and has people thank them for doing it. People get drawn in by the "savings" of the sales and spend tons. I should know, I'm one of them. Not only do I have games I haven't played, I have games I haven't installed. I see something that I'm interested in that is a good price and I say "Oh man, I should get that," and I do. If they are more expensive, I think about it more, I wait until I really want a new game, I go and replay something I already enjoy.

Cheaper books will lead to bibliophiles just collecting the things. I know my mom would. You get them cheap enough and she'll drop hundreds a month on stuff she'll never read, just because she wants to have it.

Authors/publishers/developers/etc need to get over this idea of their digital goods being "worth" a certain amount. No, you need to figure out what you need to do to maximize your profits since there is zero per unit cost. Usually, that is going to mean selling cheap, but selling lots.

Comment: Want more profit? Just do right by the customer (Score 1) 221

by MikeRT (#47564865) Attached to: Comcast Confessions

I don't know any Comcast customer who has had a positive experience with their customer service. I also know some who've had Comcast blatantly disregard the details of their contract with respect to price and features a few months into a 12-24 month contract. Frankly, what Comcast needs besides competition from more companies and municipal broadband (via utilities) is a few strategic arrests of employees and executives for fraud. Put a few of their guys in prison for fraudulent business practices, and I'll wager their billing and sales people will wake the f#$% up and do right.

Comment: Re:um yea... (Score 2) 496

by Sycraft-fu (#47563353) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Also with regards to the 3% charge rate, that is something that likely wouldn't go away, even if everyone went cash. Thing is, cash takes a lot of work to manage. You have to count it (*and account for it) secure it, get it to the bank, etc. If you look at a cash heavy place like a Las Vegas casino you can see the large amount of infrastructure they have in dealing with that. It isn't free. Turns out 3% isn't such a bad charge for not having to deal with that.

My parents ran a small business and they really didn't care for cash transactions. They took it, of course, and it was maybe 10% of their business. However despite not having 3% (or I think like 2.7% with their processor) shaved off the top, they prefered less cash because of the extra work. If they had a cash heavy day it meant having to cycle money out of the register in to the safe, potentially having to go to the bank to get more smaller bills/coins, and having to make bank runs more often per week. All the time spent doing that was time not spent doing something else for the business.

Cash costs money too, which is why most places don't really mind the credit surcharge. Cash might not have a direct surcharge, but there's a cost to dealing with it and the more you deal with it, the more it costs, just like the credit surcharge.

Also, in the rare occasion you do find a business that'll give you a discount for cash (contractors are often like this) you always have the option of using it. It isn't like Visa pays for goons to follow you around and force you to use your card.

Comment: No they don't (Score 1) 496

by Sycraft-fu (#47563321) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

You have no idea how it works, do you?

Debt collectors are nearly always separate companies. So what happens is you get way behind on a payment, the company you owe tries and tries to get money, but they fail. Finally, they just write it off. They then sell your debt to a debt collector. These debt collectors buy it cheap, usually 10% or less of the original amount. The company takes the loss and goes on with it. The collector then tries to get money so that they make a profit on the debt, and not a loss.

Companies do not want to sell a debt because there's no way they can sell it for what it is worth. They'd much rather have the money.

Student loans are a little different, since Sallie Mae does both loans AND collections, and student loans they offer are usually government insured (so they get their money no matter what) and you can't discharge student loan debt. Also they are a complete cluster fuck of stupidity since they are basically the worst combination of private enterprise and government agency (they were originally government, now private, but have something of a special status). They are currently under investigation regarding their practices.

Normal consumer debt though, they don't want you to default on. What they would like is that you run up a lot of debt and they pay it off slowly, paying a lot of interest, but pay it on time and completely. They would not like you to default.

Comment: Bullshit (Score 2) 496

by Sycraft-fu (#47563289) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Now I should note everything I'm going to say here applies to FICO credit score. Banks are certainly welcome to delve deeper and look at individual account performance and make a determination that way. So maybe, and there's no way to know this, the bank would evaluate that pattern more favourably when looking at the account and considering an upgrade to an unsecured account.

However for credit score what matters is (in order of importance):

--Payment history. Paying as agreed (meaning not more than 30 days late) is the biggest thing. Having no delinquencies, collections, defaults, etc is the prime thing. A long history of "pays as agreed" is what matters most.

--Debt burden, meaning how much you owe. For revolving accounts that is the amount of credit available vs the amount used. So having a number of high limit unused credit cards helps your score. For installment/mortgage accounts it is more about how much has been payed off.

--Length of credit history. The longer you've had a credit history, the better it can be. Also the longer you have specific accounts, the more they help.

--Types of credit. The more kinds of credit you've had, the better. This means revolving (like credit cards), installment (like a car loan), and mortgage. If you've multiple categories, that helps more than just having one.

--Credit inquiries. Each time you seek credit, it hurts your score a little for a short while. It isn't much and it doesn't last long, but is has an effect.

That's it. That's how it is calculated. Of those, payment history and debt burden are by FAR the biggest part. So if you have accounts that show you always pay as agreed, and you don't owe much, you'll have good credit.

As an example: I have a mortgage on my primary house, also a paid off mortgage on file since I refinanced (which is technically a new loan so the old one shows as paid off). I have a bunch of credit cards, probably $40,000 in credit, most of which don't get used, I got them because they offered a bribe and then never made use of them again. I have a primary card that I use for pretty much all purchases, and pay off in full each month. My credit score was 820, last time I checked.

The reasons are I have a perfect, lengthy, payment record, two kinds of credit, and I owe very little in relation to my available borrowing power. Hence, good score.

Also when I did a secured card, which admittedly was like 2 decades ago, I paid it off in full every month, and after the prescribed period, 6 months I think, they gave me an unsecured card no issue.

Comment: You needn't charge anything (Score 1) 496

by Sycraft-fu (#47561961) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Just having one is sufficient. If you owe nothing on it, each month it'll be marked as "pays as agreed" on your credit report. Also it shows up as unused credit, which helps your score. Getting one and not using it works just fine. Having more than one and not using it works even better.

Comment: Also maybe you got in a fight with a company (Score 1) 496

by Sycraft-fu (#47561915) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Fedex sent me to collections for a debt I didn't owe. Now I was very feisty with it and made sure to check that it didn't go on my credit history, but many people wouldn't. It was only $20. So maybe they just ignore it, it gets on the credit record. That would be "in debt collections" but wouldn't really reflect on the rest of my finances, it would just be something I decided to quit fighting.

There's a difference between someone with a small debt in collections because they don't agree they owe it and someone with a bunch in collections because they truly are financially underwater.

Comment: Re:Who cares? (Score 5, Interesting) 229

by Sycraft-fu (#47555893) Attached to: Free Copy of the Sims 2 Contains SecuROM

No kidding. And sims 2 has ALWAYS had SecuROM in it. They just didn't feel like taking the time to patch it out. While I'm a firm believer that DRM is a waste of time and money on the game company's part, there's no massive conspiracy here. They used SecuROM when they released Sims 2 (it was released in 2004, they used SecuROM a lot with games then) and they haven't bothered to redo it because, well, it is old and they just don't wanna spend the time.

Fair enough, particularly for free.

Plus the nerd rage over it is really overblown. Turns out when there's a problem with something, sometimes companies listen and fix things. So last SecuROM game I played was Battlefield Bad Company 2. It was not problematic at all in my experience. You had to activate it one time online and it then ran without checks or ever going online again. You got a certain number of activations, 5 or 10 I think, but not only could you deactivate it, with a tool or automatically during uninstall, but they would replenish automatically over time. So unless you were doing a ton of reinstalls and not deactivating it was really unlikely you'd have an issue.

Silly to include DRM in my opinion, particularly for a game mostly played online, but not at all onerous on the user.

People seriously need to chill about this shit. Support DRM free games when there's a version available (GOG is a good site, please not Steam is not DRM free, Steamworks is DRM) but don't rage and whine if there's DRM and the DRM isn't a problem. Yes it is silly and a waste of money, but don't act like it is some massive issue if it is not.

If a game has some "always on" DRM bullshit that shuts it off if the connection goes down? Ya that's a reason to get mad and not buy it. If it has a DRM that wants to activate once and then fucks off? Oh get over it, you probably have to get online ones to patch the thing anyhow. Just jump through the hoop and go on about your business.

Comment: More on MA (Score 1) 157

by fyngyrz (#47539203) Attached to: Soccer Superstar Plays With Very Low Brain Activity

That translated into martial arts is roughly the equivalent of a 4th DAN, but for that you need longer due to 'regulations regarding examinations', waiting periods between 2 examinations.

Depends on the martial art. The most modern practice recognizes natural talent while incorporating considerable traditional technique; I assure you, everyone does not walk into their first day of training on an equal basis -- I've been teaching for decades and I think I've seen about every level of beginner skill there is. Some people are simply gifted. Certainly from there on in we see the difference between the shows-up-once-a-week and the person who seems to be there every hour they can possibly manage.

Also, more on topic, I can definitely assure anyone who is curious that you're not doing high level thinking when executing advanced martial arts techniques.

All you really need to do to understand this is think about bike riding. When you learn, you learn, you think like crazy. Which does you very little good. But eventually, you internalize the process (that's what I call it, anyway) and you can do it while carrying on a conversation with someone else, paying almost no attention at all to the activity of riding the bike. Those near-instant balance corrections, the precise amount of handlebar control and lean for cornering, all of that comes from "underneath." Same thing for advanced MA.

That whole business about finding your calm center and holding it -- that's a real thing. If you start thinking under threat or pressure, your performance will drop like a stone. The best technique comes from a relaxed, centered condition, accepting of whatever comes.

Comment: The saddest part (Score 1) 75

by MikeRT (#47519727) Attached to: Verizon's Offer: Let Us Track You, Get Free Stuff

Is that Verizon probably knows there's a market for this from market research...

After what's come out about corporations having to feed the surveillance beast, anyone who opts in should be subjected to having their house and cars wiretapped in perpetuity by the NSA with a direct feed to the FBI as the price for their nonchalance toward surveillance.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll

Working...