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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Sycraft-fu Re:You needn't charge anything (281 comments)

As wikipedia likes to say [citation needed]. You are right they report usage. You are wrong that zero is bad. Look up how FICO works.

1 hour ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Sycraft-fu Re:You needn't charge anything (281 comments)

Depending on the card it may not matter. I haven't used my amex card in years and they don't seem to mind keeping it open. I have had other cards close due to inactivity.

1 hour ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Sycraft-fu Re:um yea... (281 comments)

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.

5 hours ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Sycraft-fu No they don't (281 comments)

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.

5 hours ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Sycraft-fu Bullshit (281 comments)

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.

5 hours ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Sycraft-fu You needn't charge anything (281 comments)

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.

9 hours ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Sycraft-fu Also maybe you got in a fight with a company (281 comments)

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.

9 hours ago
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Free Copy of the Sims 2 Contains SecuROM

Sycraft-fu Re:Who cares? (222 comments)

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.

yesterday
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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

Sycraft-fu Re:Hypothetical (960 comments)

One somewhat recent example:

http://metronews.ca/news/ottaw...

There are some people who feel that you have a right to speak on an issue only if they agree with what you are saying and will attempt to silence your speech if they do not.

about a week ago
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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

Sycraft-fu Ya, pretty much (960 comments)

That is why when you play online shooters, which attract many immature males, "faggot" is the default insult. They are insecure about their sexuality, as most young men are, and thus being called gay is one of the more hurtful things to them. they externalize that, of course, and thus that is what they use by default against others. However if they find something that works better, they'll go after that. Race, age, nationality, etc, etc.

They are assholes, sociopaths sometimes, they want to hurt others and they choose whatever they think is the most effective way to do it.

For that matter humans in general do it, women included. Bill Burr ha some hilarious bits, based in truth as the best comedy is, about women steering a losing argument towards personal attacks against their man. Saying he has a little dick, is a momma's boy, that kind of thing.

Well, that really happens. It isn't because women are some horrible creatures, but rather because they are using the insults they have learned will hurt the worst, when they get mad and decide to turn to insults. It's what people do when they lash out.

The difference between a normal person and a troll/asshole/ITG/sociopath and so on online is that most people do it only when they are angry, when they are lashing out at another person. These asshats do it for fun, just to get a rise out of people, and so on.

It is not something to be celebrated, or even tolerated (in any community I moderate trolling is a fast way to the banhammer) but trying to act like it is a problem limited to or directed at women is silly.

about a week ago
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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

Sycraft-fu Re:Let's draw a distinction here... (960 comments)

Of course it is assholes acting out. That's what happens when you remove consequences. Games have been an excellent example of that in terms of gameplay and mechanics. There have been games that have tried the whole "No rules but what the players make, they'll work out a stable system." No, actually it devolves in to a bunch of griefer assholes, and everyone else leaves. These people can't do that kind of thing in real life because they'd face consequences.

Sociopaths learn to moderate their behaviour in the real world because if they don't, they get punished. Online, they can run rampant and so they do.

about a week ago
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Buying New Commercial IT Hardware Isn't Always Worthwhile (Video)

Sycraft-fu No shit (92 comments)

We consolidated about 20ish old servers (and added new systems) in to two Dell R720xds that are VM hypervisors. Not only does this save on power n' cooling but it is way faster, more reliable, and flexible. It is much easier and faster to rebuild and stand up a VM, you can snapshot them before making changes, if we need to reboot the hypervisor or update firmware we can migrate VMs over to the other host so there's no downtime. Plus less time is wasted on admining them since there are less systems, and they are newer.

On top of that they have good support contracts, and some excellent reliability features that you didn't get on systems even 5ish years ago (like actively scanning HDDs to look for failures).

Big time win in my book. Now does that mean we rush out and replace them with new units every year? No, of course not, but when the time comes that they are going out of support, or more likely that usage is growing past what they can be upgraded to handle, we'll replace them with newer, more powerful, systems. It is just a much better use of resources.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux Login and Resource Management In a Computer Lab?

Sycraft-fu Is this all necessary? (98 comments)

Seems like you are trying to work out a solution to a problem you don't have yet. Maybe first see if users are just willing to play nice. Get a powerful system and let them have at it. That's what we do. I work for an engineering college and we have a fairly large Linux server that is for instructional use. Students can log in and run the provided programs. Our resource management? None, unless the system is getting hit hard, in which case we will see what is happening and maybe manually nice something or talk to a user. We basically never have to. People use it to do their assignments and go about their business.

Hardware is fairly cheap, so you can throw a lot of power at the problem. Get a system with a decent amount of cores and RAM and you'll probably find out that it is fine.

Now, if things become a repeated problem then sure, look at a technical solution. However don't go getting all draconian without a reason. You may just be wasting your time and resources.

about a week ago
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White House Approves Sonic Cannons For Atlantic Energy Exploration

Sycraft-fu You first (272 comments)

Figure out what level of energy use, as a whole, is acceptable by your calculations. Then figure out how much that means you get to use. Make sure to include all forms of energy usage, such as heating and energy used in building and delivering goods. Adjust your energy use to meet that level, and see how that goes. Then we can talk. Otherwise, kindly STFU.

The reason I say this is not because I'm against trying to reduce energy consumption, I think conservation is always a good idea when practical, but because I'm sick and tired of hypocritical online eco-whiners. They'll bitch about how "people" should do something yet are unwilling to do it themselves. Somehow they see it as ok to bitch that others should be willing to make sacrifices but don't make any themselves.

So put up or shut up. Don't whine that "people" need to change their energy use, but then continue to live an energy intensive first world lifestyle. You are people too. If you cannot or will not adjust your usage, why would you assume anyone else would be willing?

about two weeks ago
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Dell Starts Accepting Bitcoin

Sycraft-fu No kidding (152 comments)

I think a more accurate description of the Bitcoin community would be "highly greedy" or "has a poor understanding of economics". I don't think technical has anything to do with it. In fact if you've some technical knowledge, some understanding of the size of the financial system, and then knowledge about the bitcoin protocol you quickly come to the realization that it has a deal breaker problem (it has several in fact) and that is that it can't scale to be the amazin' world wide currency the faithful want it to be, it can't handle the transaction load that things like the Visa network does, because of the nature of the protocol.

So all the technically savvy people I know do not involve themselves in bitcoin.

Basically I see a few types of people who are in to bitcoin:

1) Hedge fund traders/scammers/etc. Basically people out to make a quick buck. They don't believe in Bitcoin other than they believe they can make money on it due to the volatility, complete counterparty risk, etc. It is just a market to be exploited and left.

2) Self described "Crypto-anarchists" aka "greedy wannabe libertarians" who think that bitcoin will free them from the tyranny of having to pay taxes for such unnecessary things like roads, clean water, and such. They like it because they think it'll lead to a world where they get to keep their money and be free of laws.

3) Doomsdayers/gold-bugs who have a poor understanding of the concept of money (namely that it is a theoretical construct and always has been, regardless of what item is used to represent it) and think that the world and economy are doomed, but if you have the right magic currency, you'll be ok. Because bitcoin has something "backing it" that makes it worth something no matter what and thus it is great.

4) People using it for money laundering, like the Silk Road. They use it because they figure it is harder to trace than dollars/euros/etc and so use it for payment for illegal items.

about two weeks ago
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Dell Starts Accepting Bitcoin

Sycraft-fu No (152 comments)

You pay taxes in US Dollars in the US. You need to convert anything to that. Like if you sold a bunch of goods to someone in Europe and got paid in euros. No problem, and you can keep some of that in Euros if you like, but you need to sell some of those Euros to a bank (or other entity) and get dollars to pay the IRS. They only take dollars.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft's Missed Opportunities: Memo From 1997

Sycraft-fu Re:Microsoft "At Home" lab is a bust (161 comments)

Meile will do this. It'll cost you though. High end appliances, with a very high end price tag.

about two weeks ago
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Nearly 25 Years Ago, IBM Helped Save Macintosh

Sycraft-fu Pretty much (236 comments)

The original "MHz myth" came out of Apple fanboys back in the PPC days. The PPC was supposed to be super amazeballs, beat up those nasty PCs, all that stuff. Well turned out when you got a new PPC Mac, it was slow, since everything was 68k code being emulated. So they latched on to the benchmarketing, the few PPC benchmarks that ran well, and that the MHz of PPC would get much faster. They said that PPC has a positive second derivative (growth of growth) of MHz, x86 had a negative 2nd derivative and so on.

Then of course x86 went and scaled waaay higher, so all of a sudden they started talking about the "MHz myth" and how MHZ didn't matter, PPC was better (again at a select few benchmarks) etc, etc, etc.

about two weeks ago
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Sony Forgets To Pay For Domain, Hilarity Ensues

Sycraft-fu Also human (277 comments)

Anyone on Slashdot who gets smugly superior about this and how "stupid companies are" is just being a hypocrite. We have ALL forgotten things in our lives. We've all forgotten an event we were supposed to be at, a bill we were supposed to pay, something we were supposed to bring with us. It happens.

What's more, everyone has been in a situation where something didn't happen because they, and everyone else, assumed someone else was going to deal with it. You don't go and check on everything that ever happens around you or involving you, you mentally categorize things you are and are not responsible for and ignore the latter.

So ya, companies, which are made up of people, can fuck up too. It's amusing, but perfectly normal.

about two weeks ago
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Is the Software Renaissance Ending?

Sycraft-fu No shit (171 comments)

My two big hobbies are computer games, and digital audio production. I spend easy that on either one of them. Like digital audio, I not long ago bought BFD3. $350 right there, and it is nothing more than a digital drumkit. I'll never make a cent on it, it is just a toy to me, but damn is it fun. That's just one set of tools I've bought, there were more in the past, and I'm sure more to come.

Or gaming, I buy new games whenever the mood strikes me, get new hardware when I need it and then of course there's MMOs. When I played WoW that was $130 or so for the game and all the expansions, plus $15/month for like 3-4 years. A bargain in my book, I got a tremendous amount of entertainment out of it.

For all that, my hobbies are cheaper than some I know. One of my coworkers is in to cars. Fuck me can you spend a lot on that shit.

Hobbies cost money. Everything costs money. That's just life.

And as you said in terms of a business cost? That's chicken shit. $40/month is hardly on the radar of a small business. When my parents ran their small business (about 4 employees) their PHONES cost more than that. Never mind power, heating, rent, payroll, taxes, etc, etc, etc. Just having the requisite number of phone lines (two) cost more than $40/month. Such a minor cost it was just inconsequential.

about two weeks ago

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