Friday, June 8, 2012

AnyBackup 0.9.6 Released

Hot on the heels of 0.9.5, I've released 0.9.6 to address some immediate deficiencies resulting from the major overhaul of the underlying application.
  • File cache layer between SQLite and AnyBackup
    • This addresses the lag the can occur when browsing an indexed drive, especially when you have > 100k files across all indexed drives
  • Improved search dialog making use of the new SQLite backend
    • Search by drive
    • Specify search type: Contains, Ends with, Starts With, or pass in a SQL string (i.e. %.mp3)
    • Specify file type (directory or file)
    • Search dialog is persisted so your input is saved (unless a drive is added or removed -- then the dialog is destroyed and recreated)
  • Clicking on a result file no longer automatically displays it in the content pane, instead this has been moved to a popup menu option
  • Changed remote indexing port to not conflict with standard XVNC port
AnyBackup 0.9.6 -- As always please note that these are all items I own or have bought in one form or another -- don't sue me. :)
The new search dialog in 0.9.6

The new 'Show In Content Panel' option

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

AnyBackup 0.9.5 Released

I've made a lot of changes since 0.9.4 in November last year. I put 0.9.5 up for download tonight, enjoy!

Major changes:

  • SQLite
    • Super fast
    • Less memory usage
    • Comparable disk usage
    • More flexible
    • Externally accessible
  • Many minor bug fixes
  • Complete / consistent icon pack
  • Backup sets
  • Thread crash detection
  • Logging to homedir so may work on UAC enabled machines
    • Super strict UAC settings seem to deny access to network drives, so if you use network drives like me you still might have issues

Not that I've heard from too many people on the app before, but as always, if you hit issues, don't hesitate to let me know or file an issue on the Google code page.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

AnyBackup Upcoming Release

For anyone out there that uses AnyBackup, if anyone out there does beside myself and family -- there have been over a thousand downloads but that says nothing about actual usage, I've not abandoned the project. I just haven't had time recently to do much. I spent a lot of time this weekend, however, revamping it. Some of the biggest changes are under the hood, I've totally changed how data is stored which necessitated moving and rewriting a great deal of code.

Major Changes:

  • Moved to SQLlite as a backend
    • Generally more performant than the proprietary mishmash of objects currently in play
    • Doesn't rely on pickle
    • More flexible
    • Data can be viewed / accessed outside of AnyBackup
      • Probably not super useful for most people but if you had a reason to want to get at this data, it's now very easy
      • It's also very useful for troubleshooting
  • Click & Drag functionality from AnyBackup
    • You can now click and drag files displayed in AnyBackup and drop them in folders, drives, your desktop, etc
      • The above is only true if the files reside on a drive that is connected, of course
  • Right click or double click on files to show in explorer
    • If you double click on file x.txt AnyBackup will launch an explorer instance with x.txt highlighted
  • Modified Time is now displayed in file tables in addition to size and name
  • Search now uses sql syntax instead of regex (necessitated by the switch to SQLlite)
  • Sets now supported
    • This was a feature that really didn't mesh well with the legacy code base so I hadn't gotten much further despite taking a few different approaches
    • Each set is completely independent of any other
    • You can have multiple identical sets if desired
      • i.e. if you want to do rolling backups with different sets of backup drives against the same content drive(s)
    • There's a new toolbar which lets you switch between sets
  • A few optimizations here or there to avoid slowing down on SQLlite queries
  • Thread crash detection
    • Previously thread handling really sucked (it's still pretty messy) but it was so bad a thread could crash and the gui wouldn't recognize it thus leaving the gui continuously displaying the scrolling progress dialog as if the process were still running
    • When a thread crashes now this is recognized and the error is popped up in a dialog box
Look for this revamped version to be up for download in the next week or so.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Peer To Peer Lending - Month 3

This is my third monthly report for my peer to peer lending.

In terms of late and defaulting notes, Lending Club is, quite bluntly, kicking Propser's ass. Now I should point out that it's not exactly an apples to apples comparison as I have some riskier notes in my Prosper portfolio compared to Lending Club. That said, the notes that are likely going to default on Prosper would match my tighter filters on Lending Club. Let's review!

Note the build up of late notes!

Payments received:$693.89
Principal paid off:-$480.55
Payments in excess of principal:=$213.34
Principal charge-offs:-$0.00
Gain/loss to date:=$213.34

Principal value of active notes:$5,119.45
Total active notes:203 
   Past due (1-30 days):
   Past due (31+ days):
   Payoff in progress:
Total charged-off notes:
Total notes paid in full:
Total notes sold:0  

Account value as of writing: $5,216.84

So how are we doing? Well, I've got four notes now that are 31+ days late. I'd be very surprised if any of them pay off. But surely all these notes that are delinquent must be high risk, right? Not really, and that's the rub.

The break down of these four notes: 1 B, 1 D, 1 E, and 1 HR. None of the notes had an delinquencies in the last seven years. One of the notes has a public record in the last ten years (which I've subsequently removed in my filter now). One common thread between these notes is that they all have 1 or more inquiries in the last six months. I've brought my Prosper filter inline with my Lending Club filter now and cut out borrowers with inquiries. This probably cuts out a portion of good notes, no doubt, but at the same time the largest chunk of loans are for consolidation and it makes a simple kind of sense that a good candidate for a consolidation loan should be looking to pay down their current credit lines, not take out new lines. (Yes, I realize things other than a credit line can register inquiries -- as I said, some good notes will get cut out with this broad sweep.) That said I'm only looking to reinvest payments, so I don't need a large volume of loans and can afford to be picky.

I fully expect these four loans to get charged off, they represent $150 in principal outstanding minus a small amount of payments received = $147.67 projected charge off. If this comes to pass my profit will be knocked down to below what my Lending Club account has brought in with less time under its belt.

Lending Club:

Account value as of writing: $5,136.79

My Lending Club account is doing great. All my notes are current. I have not had one note where a borrower has taken the money and walked away, which has happened to at least three notes on my Prosper account. If Lending Club offered an autoinvest option (based on your custom filters and with < $25k invested) I'd say there was no compelling reason to use Prosper based on my experience so far. Even so It's likely that even with a three week handicap losses will mean that my Lending Club account ends up coming out ahead of my Prosper account in earnings.

See the first update.See the second update.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Peer To Peer Lending - Month 2

This will be my second report on my foray into the world of peer to peer lending. I've had some more time to get used to Lending Club and Prosper and I've noticed a couple other interesting differences.

  • Lending Club only posts payments that have passed, Prosper shows money in your account as soon as a payment is initiated -- but that money will be disappear if the payment fails!
  • Sometimes money from a loan pay off can temporarily disappear -- that is the money disappears from your current note value because it has entered payoff, but since it hasn't been processed they don't display it in your cash balance -- which is the exact opposite of how they handle normal payments, talk about inconsistency

So, down to the meat of the matter, how are the accounts doing after another month? To say the least things have been eventful. As I related in my previous update I have a loan that was late. Since then I've had several others enter the 1-15 day late area on Prosper and most were subsequently brought back up to current. Sadly the original late loan is still late and has entered collections. I have $50 on this note. (I double invested on it due to user error.) I also have another loan which is in the 1-15 day late period.


Payments received:$352.43
Principal paid off:-$248.85
Payments in excess of principal:=$103.57
Principal charge-offs:-$0.00
Gain/loss to date:=$103.57

Principal value of active notes:$5,101.15
Total active notes:196  
   Past due (1-30 days):1  
   Past due (31+ days):1  
   Payoff in progress:0  
Total charged-off notes:0  
Total notes paid in full:5  
Total notes sold:0  
Account value as of writing: $5,107.07
*According to lendstats the expected loss on a loan which is 1 month late -- like one of the above -- the expected loss rate is 80%.

Lending Club:

Account value as of writing: $5,061.97

See the first update.
See the third update.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Peer to Peer Lending


In a totally different direction from my normal posting which revolves around technical / programming questions I'm going to spend some time tracking my venture into peer to peer lending. I'm a twenty something professional and I'm attempting to find intelligent places to invest money. I've got a 401k, I have some money in a brokerage account invested in equities, and I've got some in cash in savings, etc. Next I've begun playing in the peer to peer lending space.

What Is P2P Lending?

This isn't quite so scary or random as it sounds. I'm not going around soliciting random people asking if they'd like to borrow money from me, rather I'm making use of third party services. There are two main players in the United States: Prosper and Lending Club. They've had very different histories, but both have been in the news sporadically in the last few years, especially while banks have been hesitant to lend to any but the most credit worthy individuals. (Specifically I've seen many different articles about small businesses turning to this type of funding when they need capital.)

The idea is pretty simple, find people who want to invest money and connect them with people who need to borrow. Of course there is a lot more to it than that. Due diligence is necessary. Are the borrowers who they say they are? Do they make as much money as they say they do? What kind of interest rate should they pay based on their credit history, income, and assets? These are all things companies like Lending Club and Prosper take care of for you. From an investment perspective all you need to do is decide what your risk appetite is. They both have various ranking systems (which I won't go into detail on -- but which the sites describe in depth) which range from people with excellent credit, low risk and returns, to people who have a more spotted past and who pay a much higher interest rate.

What's The Catch?

But wait, this is scary, right? What if the person stops paying? Default is always a risk, your money is not 100% guaranteed, but in an environment where you're lucky to see 3/4 of a percent APR from a 'high-yield' savings account, it takes some risk to get a return. This is not a savings account. That said, it is less scary than it sounds. While you can purchase the entirety of a loan, it is highly discouraged. Rather you can buy as little as $25 of any given loan. So if you take $2,500 to start with, you can buy $25 chunks of 100 different loans. Then if one person defaults, you've lost only the remainder of interest+principal on that note.

All this said, realize that P2P lending is largely an illiquid investment. Think of it as something more akin to a bond or a certificate of deposit. They can both be liquidated readily enough, but you'll most likely take a hit when doing so. There is a trading platform for notes (both services have a platform but they do not trade with each other, only users of each site may trade with other members). Every month you'll get a payment on a note which will include some money that goes towards the note's principal and some which goes towards interest. The principal is simply you getting your base back, the interest is your profit here. (Don't get too excited when you see that you're getting $100+ / month on your $5k investment.) You can, of course, choose to take the interest back out as profit, or you can reinvest it and allow your money to go back to work for you.

What I'm Doing:

I've decided to try out both sites and see which one I prefer. I've allocated $5,000 to each as a test investment and I intend to reinvest my profits. I may also allocate additional funds later if the downside risk is truly as minimal as the statistics make it appear. After a month and half on prosper and half a month on lending club, I can say they each have their own benefits.


  • Allows automatic investments based on your filters.
    • This is really nice as it means that as soon as you get at least $25 in payments it'll push those into new notes and maximize the compounding effect of reinvestment.
  • Very broad / flexible filters
    • Lending Club has filters as well, but they only seem to allow you to make very broad restrictions
  • Higher interest rates
    • Prosper tends to have a higher range of risk, that is they allow people with lower credit scores than Lending Club, and at most levels just seem to charge a slightly higher rate of interest than Lending Club
  • Takes their money by playing the borrowing/investing spread
    • They advertise 8% to a borrower, for example, and 7% to you, and then they take 1% of the resulting interest payments from the borrower
    • Lending Club takes 1% of your payments directly so it is possible, if unlikely, that you could loose money, if a person takes out a loan and pays it back in full, in a month, you could end up with less principal than you started, this couldn't happen with Prosper
Lending Club:
  • Volume
    • Lending club flat out has more loans than Prosper, roughly twice as many loans which means there's a lot more loans out there for you to invest in
    • More loans means you can get your money invested faster and it's easier to narrow down your filters without fear of getting too specific and ending up with a pool of loans that's too small
  • Less risk
    • Lending Club has higher credit standards than Prosper and the majority of their large pool of loans are A or B rated, the returns are lower, of course, but this can be a good thing depending on your risk appetite.
Full Disclosure:
  • Prosper: First invested 12/21/2011
  • Lending Club: First invested 1/9/2012
  • $5,000 to each account
    • ($0.17 more in LC due to their bank account verification in which they withdraw a small amount)
  • In both accounts I've gone for a mix of high interest loans (I've outright excluded most AA rated loans on Prosper and A rated loans on LC to boost my return rates)
That said, it's February 4th, 2012. About a little more (and less) than a month in. Let's review!

Payments received:$146.74
Principal paid off:-$87.42
Payments in excess of principal:=$59.32
Principal charge-offs:-$0.00
Gain/loss to date:=$59.32
Principal value of active notes:$4,987.58
Total active notes:190  
   Past due (1-30 days):1  
   Past due (31+ days):0  
   Payoff in progress:
Total charged-off notes:0  
Total notes paid in full:0  
Total notes sold:0  

Account value as of writing: $5,062.82

Lending Club:
(includes In Funding)
( $5,000.00 )
Principal Received:$0.00  
Note Interest:$0.00  
Late Fees Received:$0.00  
Collection Fees:$0.00  
Service Charges:( $0.00 )
Withdrawals:( $0.00 )
Pending Withdrawals:( $0.00 )
Referral Bonus:$0.00  

Account value as of writing: $5,015.54*

*Lending club counts 'accrued interest' as part of your account value, the amount of interest you are owed up to a given point of time and does not actually reflect any guaranteed earnings -- the cash value of my account is still $5000.17 as my investments are still too new to have received payments yet.


I can't draw any meaningful results from my Lending Club account yet as it's obviously two or three weeks newer than my Prosper account and isn't even fully invested yet (about 8% of it is still pending). But I'm positive on the results of my Prosper account. I have one note which is <15 days late. It is possible it will go into default or that it will be brought back to current, but even if it goes into default, the gains from the rest of my loans already more than cover it. I'll check in again next month and see where things are at. So far I think it's a great alternative to leaving money in Savings. (I do not need it for an emergency fund as I have other liquid assets available elsewhere -- obviously this is not a good alternative to an emergency fund as it is not liquid at par.)

Before you start!

If you've found this looking to try out a peer to peer lending service, be aware there are some great tools at your disposal. All loan information from Prosper and Lending Club is accessible. People have used this to create some awesome pages and tools that allow you to create filters and then benchmark them against historical loans so you can see how well, or poorly, a given subset of loans performs. One such web page is I highly encourage anyone looking to get involved in P2P lending to play around with this page before investing. Also, remember to diversify! This can be said of any investment, but why buy one $2500 loan when you can buy a hundred $25 loans?

See the second update.See the third update.