Grupeer

The second Peer-2-peer lending platform I invested in is Grupeer. This platform is from Latvia and has a lot of similarities with Mintos. It looks a bit like the smaller and younger brother of Mintos.

Acceptance process

The acceptance process at Grupeer is simple, just fill in your details and send a personal identification document. When I did this the first time I blurred some of the info, for example my social security number. They did not like this and this slowed down my initial acceptance process a bit. But the communication about it was fair and prompt. They will also ask you some questions about your income but it’s not mandatory for you to give that kind of information.

Depositing funds

Adding funds to Grupeer is just as easy as with most of these platforms. You just transfer the money via bank transfer to their account in Latvia. All the data is at one page and is clearly mentioned. Another option is Transferwise, but I have zero experience with this system since I have a European bank account and I am using the simple IBAN system. Every time I transferred more funds to Grupeer they appeared in my account within 2 business days. And I got a nice notification email about it as well.

Investing

The loans have quite a high annual interest rate, around 14-15% for a loan that has a term of 8 to 12 months. Next to that the loans have a buy back guarantee. Which gives you guarantee that the invested amount will be paid back to you in case the loan defaults.

Depending on the investment you did there is a certain payout schedule. You will be paid interest and principal according to this scheme. And a funny thing is that every time you receive interest of principal you get a small notification email. To get tens of those emails on a day is quite a nice feeling! You really see your money doing its work for you.

Grupeer also offers an auto-invest function. It works exactly like you would expect and it’s simple to operate. The auto-invest functionality really gives you the opportunity to gain a passive income from Grupeer.

Withdrawing money from Grupeer

Of course, I also tested withdrawing money from Grupeer. I did this at a moment when there were literally no loans to start investing in. I started the withdrawal process, which is fairly simple, at Monday morning. It was back on my (European) bank account at Tuesday lunch time already. So that gives me a lot of trust in Grupeer as well.

Today I stopped investing with the app Peaks

As the title says, today I stopped using the Dutch app Peaks. The app was originated by the Dutch bank Rabobank and has been marketed as ‘investing with your spare change’.

The app can (only if you are using it in combination with an account at Rabobank) round off each PIN-transaction to the whole digit and put the difference aside to invest in. So, if you buy a coffee for €2,20 Peaks will round up to €3,00 and the 80 cents difference will be set aside. At the end of each week (on Sunday) you get a notification from the app with the amount of money is going to be deducted from your account. You can then stop this transaction if you think it’s too much for that week or whatever reason you have.

On the following Monday or Tuesday, the money is then invested in some ETF’s (exchange traded funds). You can also choose for one out of four risk profiles: mild, spicy, sharp and hot.

Why did I stop using Peaks?

Sounds nice right? So why did I stop using the app after some months then? Because it is simply not worth it because of the costs. The app is free for the first 3 months, which I used it for, just to see what the fuzz was about. After three months the usage of the app costs 1 euro per month if you have less than 2500 euro invested. Above 2500 euros it costs you 0,5% of the amount you have invested. Next to that there is also the fee you must pay to the funds, usually 0,25% to 0,33%.

Let’s take the riskiest profile (hot) to calculate the costs and let’s say we put in 30 euros each month. The expected payback for this profile is 6,1% on an annual basis. If you don’t pay any fee you will receive around €11,90 in payback after a year. However, you of course do need to pay the fee, starting after 3 months, so 9 euro in total, this will only give you 2,90 after the first year. We did not even incorporate the fees you need to pay to the funds in this calculation!

Some other reasons I stopped using Peaks next to the high costs are the irritating app settings screen and the fact that’s it’s an app, nothing more, nothing less. I have no idea what happens if I break my phone or if I switch phones or numbers.

I see Peaks as a nice experiment to give young people some more insights in how they can invest their spare change, but nothing more than that.  Peaks is not a serious investment for your future, near or far.

Prefer 5GHz on Ubiquiti UniFi AP’s by using Band Steering

As you probably already know is the 5GHz band for wireless access points the faster way of connection your wireless devices with your internet. However the actual distance the 5GHz waves can travel is less than the distance 2.4GHz travels. But there is no need to choose one above the other, especially not if you have an Ubiquiti Unifi access point using band steering

In this very short tutorial I will show you how to add band steering which is the technique to encourage devices connected to 2.4GHz to connect to the way quicker 5GHz band. This 5GHz band is also likely to be less congested by your neighbours as the 2.4GHz band tends to be.

 

  1. Go to your UniFi controller.

  2. Go to settings in the left hand bottom.
  3. Enable advanced features in the Sites > Services screen.

  4. Go to the Devices tab and select your Ubiquiti UniFi Access Point.

  5. At the right hand of the screen the properties tab for that access point will show. Click on ‘config’ in the bottom and then search for the Band Steering part.

  6. Tick the box next to ‘Prefer 5G’ and hit ‘Queue changes’
  7. Go to the bottom of the right hand screen and check for the box ‘apply changes’, hit it, wait and you now have band steering to 5GHz activated.

Now enjoy the freedom of your devices automatically selecting the 5GHz band if they believe that is better for the connection. Your standard 2.4GHz still works as it always did, so even your older wireless devices without 5GHz still work as they always did.

 

 

 

Upgrade Ubuntu 14.x server to Ubuntu 15.04

It’s already april again and that means that Canonical has updated Ubuntu. This one has the name Vivid Vervet and has the number 15.04.

It is very easy to upgrade this from a Ubuntu 14.04 or 14.10 server. It’s just the same as upgrading from 14.04 to 14.10 which we discussed earlier in this post.

Keep in mind that upgrading takes a couple of minutes and that you make sure you have a backup!

Requirements

  • Ubuntu 14.04/14.10 server
  • SUDO-rights

1. Update-manager-core

Make sure you have update-manager-core by trying to install it. If your server already has update-manager-core installed there will be no problem.

sudo apt-get install update-manager-core

2. Edit release-upgrades file

Use nano or vi(m) to edit the file /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades

sudo nano /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades

The file will open and in the bottom you’ll find Prompt=lts, change it to Prompt=normal

You can save in nano by pressing ctrl+o and hitting enter. You can close nano by pressing ctrl+x.

This way the update manager will look for every new version that came out, not only the LTS-versions.

3. Upgrade the system to Ubuntu 15.04

Execute the following command, it will upgrade your server to Ubuntu 15.04

sudo do-release-upgrade -d

Follow the instructions on the screen. These can be different for your server and are therefor not discussed here.

Login to server with RSA keys and PuTTY

Connecting to your VPS with PuTTY on Windows is quite easy. But it can be even easier and faster with RSA keys. In this tutorial we will discuss how to connect to your VPS with RSA keys and PuTTY on Windows.

Requirements

  • Have a (Ubuntu 14.04) VPS
  • Have PuTTY installed
  • Have PuTTYgen installed

Generate RSA keys

  1. Openup the program PuTTYgen
  2. Click on ‘generate’
  3. Move your mouse over the area.
  4. Save your publickey in a folder you won’t lose
  5. Save your private key in a folder you won’t lose (ex. Dropbox)

Upload RSA key to VPS

  1. Login to your VPS using PuTTY and the username password you already had
    1. Enter the IP in putty
    2. Change the port if needed
    3. Press ‘open’
  2. Copy paste the value from your previously saved public key to this file on your VPS
  3. Save the file (ctrl+o in nano)

Save RSA key in PuTTY

  1. Open PuTTY
  2. Enter your IP and port
  3. Type a name for your VPS under ‘Saved sessions’ and press ‘Save’
  4. Now go to connection->SSH->Auth and browse for your private key file at the bottom of this screen.
  5. Go to connection->data and enter an auto-login username to login with (ex. root or your name)
  6. Go back to Session in the tree on the left
  7. Save your session again

Disable password login

  1. Find PermitRootLogin and change that line to PermitRootLogin without-password
  2. Save the file using ctrl+o on nano

Upgrade Ubuntu 14.04 LTS server to Ubuntu 14.10

It is october again, so that means Canonical has released a new version of Ubuntu. This time the gave it the name Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn. This release does not have so many changes. But if you’d like to upgrade to Ubuntu 14.10 there is a simple tutorial. Keep in mind that upgrading takes a couple of minutes and that you make sure you have a backup!

Requirements

  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS server
  • SUDO-rights

1. Update-manager-core

Make sure you have update-manager-core by trying to install it. If your server already has update-manager-core installed there will be no problem.

sudo apt-get install update-manager-core

2. Edit release-upgrades file

Use nano or vi(m) to edit the file /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades

sudo nano /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades

The file will open and in the bottom you’ll find Prompt=lts, change it to Prompt=normal

You can save in nano by pressing ctrl+o and hitting enter. You can close nano by pressing ctrl+x.

This way the update manager will look for every new version that came out, not only the LTS-versions.

3. Upgrade the system to Ubuntu 14.10

Execute the following command, it will upgrade your server to Ubuntu 14.10

sudo do-release-upgrade -d

Follow the instructions on the screen.

Install Elasticsearch with JDBC driver on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

In this tutorial we will be discussing how to install elasticsearch with a jdbc river on a Ubuntu 14.04 LTS server.

Prequisites

For this tutorial you will need:

  • A Ubuntu 14.04 LTS installation
  • SSH access
  • A logged in root user or a user with sudo rights
  • MySQL installed
  • Unzip installed (apt-get install unzip)

Install Oracle Java

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java

and press enter when asked

apt-get update

sudo apt-get install oracle-java7-installer

You can test your java installation by checking what is the output of

java –version

Download Elasticsearch

First go to /home by using
cd /home

Now download the Elasticsearch Debian Package
wget https://download.elasticsearch.org/elasticsearch/elasticsearch/elasticsearch-1.3.4.deb
(Check if this version is still the latest by visiting http://www.elasticsearch.org/overview/elkdownloads/)

Install the Debian package by using
dpkg -i elasticsearch-1.3.4.deb

Start Elasticsearch by running
Service elasticsearch start

Wait some seconds and then visit
Your.servers.ip:9200
or use the command
curl -X GET 'http://localhost:9200'

It should say something like ‘status: 200’ and some other information.

You just installed Elasticsearch!

Install MySQL JDBC driver

Now you need to install the MySQL JDBC driver. This lets MySQL, JDBC river and Elasticsearch communicate.

Install the JDBC driver
./bin/plugin --install jdbc --url http://xbib.org/repository/org/xbib/elasticsearch/plugin/elasticsearch-river-jdbc/1.3.4.4/elasticsearch-river-jdbc-1.3.4.4-plugin.zip

Download the MySQL JDBC driver to your current directory by using
curl -o mysql-connector-java-5.1.28.zip -L 'http://dev.mysql.com/get/Downloads/Connector-J/mysql-connector-java-5.1.28.zip/from/http://cdn.mysql.com/'

Unzip the zip file by using
unzip mysql-connector-java-5.1.28.zip

Add the jar to the JDBC river plugin directory and give it permissions.
cp mysql-connector-java-5.1.28/mysql-connector-java-5.1.28-bin.jar plugins/jdbc/
chmod 644 plugins/jdbc/

Restart Elasticsearch by using
service elasticsearch restart

Make sure you only have 1 (ONE!) mysql-connector-java-5.1.28-bin.jar in your elasticsearch folder! It should be in plugins/jdbc.

Your first JDBC river

Now you can start using JDBC river with SQL like this