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Comment: Umm except they did (Score 1) 164

You can see it right in the Slashdot thread where people link to Youtube videos of this being done a long time ago. The idea of "stick a filter on a fan" isn't new because that's PRECISELY what air filters are. They don't make any bones about it.

So, why doesn't everyone do it? Well because it turns out DIY isn't much cheaper if you want it to work well. When I first heard of the idea, on Youtube, I said "let's try that!" Went and got out one of my box fans, bought a filter at Home Depot, and taped it all together. Well I quickly discovered two flaws with this system:

1) Furnace filters aren't near as good as HEPA filters, particularly not the multi-stage system good units have. It did reduce particle count, but not a ton. I could buy better filters, for sure, but then the cost goes up. Buying a filter with a large surface area like good units have gets quite expensive, much like the filters they have themselves.

2) A regular fan is not well suited to the static pressure you get trying to push through a filter. It had very little airflow. Better sealing would have helped some of that, but of course that's more money and effort, but part of it is you just need a good fan. That is again one of the things that the high end units have. They have a fan particularly made to deal with high static pressure, and a case made force lots of air through the filters.

So easier, and not really any more expensive in the long run, to just buy a filter unit. On the cheaper end of things, there's Austin Air units. Basically you pay $250 for a metal box with a powerful fan in it, and another $250 for a huge filter. Every 5 years or so, you pay another $250 for a new filter. Not the world's best filtration stats, but pretty good, better than furnace filters, and cheaper when you look at how long it lasts. At the high end that's IQAir. $1000 for a unit, but the unit and filters last a long time. I particular their HEPA filter can last a decade or more, provided you replace the prefilters when it tells you to.

That's the thing here: This is NOT a new idea, people were talking about it online a minimum of 6 years ago, and it is also not a hard idea since it is literally doing what the filters do. They are simple devices, they have diagrams of how they work on their websites. The cost is in a good fan, and good filters.

Finally, with regards to particle count, you need to be careful that you specify what size and have a counter that can deal with it. One of the reason IQAir units cost so much is they filter extremely tiny particles, like clean room level, viruses and so on. That is much harder to do than larger stuff. Now maybe you don't care, ok fair enough, but don't try and act like it is the same level of performance. You can very well get cheaper air filters that don't filter as well, or as small a particles.

Comment: Do note these things weren't made for China (Score 1) 164

There are reasons to want to own an air purifier even if you live in a place that doesn't have tons of pollution.

The most common would be allergies. If you get a decent one, it can nab pollen out of the air no problem. This can make living in a place where you have allergies to something much more tolerable.

They also help with dust accumulation. I live in the desert so we get lots of particles in the air, humans or no humans. An air filter can help clean that up. Makes it easier to keep the house clean.

Also the real good ones can get bacteria, even viruses, they filter things so small. So it can help limit the spread of disease in your house. Not a silver bullet by any means, but it can help keep the could a kid brought some from spreading.

Not saying China doesn't need to clean up their act, but these things weren't made because of their problems. The big names in it are western anyhow. IQAir (Switzerland) and Austin Air (US) are probably the two best known for high end, small units. In particular if you are talking a $1000 unit, that's IQAir. Their filtration is clean-room levels of good.

Comment: Re:Awkward (Score 4, Interesting) 112

by Andy Dodd (#47574053) Attached to: Crytek USA Collapses, Sells Game IP To Other Developers

The single-player campaign in Crysis was great, I loved it.

The multiplayer utterly sucked. Crytek screwed up one of the fundamental tenets of multiplayer gaming - NEVER TRUST THE FUCKING CLIENT.

Crytek did stupid shit like offload physics calculations to clients (which is why some matches were "DX10-only"), and also have clients do damage calculations.

e.g. if the client said "I fired a pistol bullet and it did 99999999 damage before resists" - well, you'd have an instakill pistol. (This could be achieved by editing an XML). Similarly, armor resists were calculated ON THE CLIENT TAKING DAMAGE - so if you had a vehicle with 99% resistance to all damage types, you were effectively invincible.

My multiplayer experience in Crysis was something like:
1 week of playing legitimately - constantly getting my ass kicked by obvious cheaters
1 week of trying to see what level of cheating I could get away with without people accusing me of cheating - it was shocking how far I could go in this regard (50% damage boosts to everything, no assault rifle bullet spread, 1000 horsepower pickup trucks, AA cannons that could depress their turrets by 30 degrees) without getting noticed because of the attention blatant cheaters received. Even with this, it was only a matter of time in every single game before a blatant cheater would instapistol their way to an attack helicopter with 99% resistance to all damage types and amped-up missile damage.
After that I quit.

Comment: Re:Disengenous (Score 1) 284

by Sycraft-fu (#47573039) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

Yep, when it gets cheap enough people say "I wants," and that is all the more thought it takes. They may never get around to playing it, doesn't matter, they wanted to have it and now they do and they got a "good deal" on it so they are happy.

I do that ALL the time. I have more games than I can play. Not only that, I'm one of those who's very happy to replay old favourites. I really should buy new games pretty sparingly. However, when they are cheap, I buy them just to have them. As such a have a big list of games kicking around, particularly indy titles that tend to be cheaper.

Comment: Maybe the author needs to get out more (Score 5, Insightful) 284

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: Re:um yea... (Score 2) 560

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) 560

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) 560

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) 560

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) 560

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: No, it isn't and they don't (Score 1) 161

by jd (#47556521) Attached to: OKCupid Experiments on Users Too

The Internet is not powered by experiments on humans. Not even in the DARPA days.

No, websites do NOT experiment on users. Users may experiment on websites, if there's customization, but the rules for good design have not changed either in the past 30 years or the past 3,000. And, to judge from how humans organized carvings and paintings, not the past 30,000 either.

To say that websites experiment on people is tripe. Mouldy tripe. Websites may offer experimental views, surveys on what works, log analysis, etc, but these are statistical experiments on depersonalized aggregate data. Not people.

Experiments on people, especially without consent, is vulgar and wrong. It also doesn't help the website, because knowing what happens doesn't tell you why. Early experiments in AI are littered with extraordinarily bad results for this reason. Assuming you know why, assuming you can casually sketch in the cause merely by knowing one specific effect, is insanity.

Look, I will spell it out to these guys. Stop playing Sherlock Holmes, you only end up looking like Lestrade. Sir Conan Doyle's fictional hero used recursive subdivision, a technique Real Geeks use all the time for everything from decision trees to searching lists. Isolating single factors isn't subdivision because there isn't a single ordered space to subdivide. Scientists mask, yes, but only when dealing with single ordered spaces, and only AFTER producing a hypothesis. And if it involves research on humans, also after filling out a bloody great load of paperwork.

I flat-out refuse to use any website tainted with such puerile nonsense, insofar as I know it to have occurred. No matter how valuable that site may have been, it cannot remain valuable if it is driven by pseudoscience. There's also the matter of respect. If you don't respect me, why should I store any data with you? I can probably do better than most sites out there over a coffee break, so what's in it for me? What's so valuable that I should tolerate being second-class? It had better be damn good.

I'll take a temporary hit on what I can do, if it safeguards my absolute, unconditional control over my virtual persona. And temporary is all it would ever be. There's very little that's truly exclusive and even less that's exclusive and interesting.

The same is true of all users. We don't need any specific website, websites need us. We dictate our own limits, we dictate what safeguards are minimal, we dictate how far a site owner can go. Websites serve their users. They exist only to serve. And unlike with a certain elite class in the Dune series, that's actually true and enforceable.

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus