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Monday links


  1. DistOne
    DistOne October 22, 2018 5:16 am

    The widely accepted explanation of Oumuamua in the UFO-Disclosure crowd is that it is a derelict spacecraft.

  2. Bear
    Bear October 22, 2018 5:16 am

    Helm: As near as I can make out, it’s a hardware email client that downloads your emails via POP, and lets you sync the mailbox with other devices.

    Like Thunderbird.

    For a fraction of the Helm charges, you can register a domain with GoDaddy (NFI, just an example) which gets you an included email box. Get free Thunderbird, configure your email account to use a secure (standard TLS, just lke Helm) connection, and POP instead of IMAP.

    In short, do exactly what I always do anyway. For a very, very small fraction of the price. Basically, about $12/year versus Helm at $500 and $99/year thereafter.

    One thing that Helm seems to be doing is downloading emails via POP, then acting as an IMAP server for multiple devices. But it looks like that only works when the devices are in transmission range of the Helm device, so you might as well just sync with Thunderbird.

  3. ProGunFred
    ProGunFred October 22, 2018 8:46 am

    Speaking of censorship on bookface; Love him or hate him, and who doesn’t, Musk offers to buy facebook…and then…delete it. Heh.

    No linky. Pick your source, it’s all over the web.

  4. E. Garrett Perry
    E. Garrett Perry October 22, 2018 10:02 am

    I have become convinced that Oumuamua is actually an ancient fragment of what was once a tectonic plate, a continental landmass. It’s not just long- it’s long, wide, and fairly flat: it reminds me of nothing so much as a flake of flint, chert, or obsidian knocked off in the process of knapping a blade. Asteroids aren’t long, broad, and flat; neither are comets. This is a piece of strong, high-density but quite brittle igneous rock that’s been hit very, -very- hard, a shard of a demolished high-silica rocky planet. Depending on how far away and how long ago, it could be a loose chunk of Alderaan for all I know, but it’s no ordinary asteroid or comet. Between rogue planets, free-flying stellar-mass black holes, gamma-ray bursts, and garden-variety impactors of half a dozen kinds, astronomy and astroballistics will make you feel very lucky indeed.

  5. Claire
    Claire October 22, 2018 10:04 am

    That’s a wonderful thought, ProGunFred. I doubt it’s any more than another bit of Internettery. But great thought …

  6. Mike
    Mike October 22, 2018 11:28 am

    Bear, you make a sound argument against this device but your argument raises other issues.

    You’ve compared Helm to Thunderbird which brings up some interesting questions… Where does Thunderbird store your old emails, your calendar, and contacts? Are the old emails backed up and stored on the Thunderbird server and, if so, who has access to them? When old emails are deleted, can they still be recovered from the Thunderbird servers?

    On Helm one’s email, calendar, and contacts are stored by hosting them on the Helm server with no third party having access to them.

    I know that I may sound a little paranoid but the way things are moving politically up here in the Great White North, I’m thinking that I need to enhance my privacy.

  7. Bear
    Bear October 22, 2018 12:14 pm

    Mike: “Where does Thunderbird store your old emails, your calendar, and contacts?”

    If you’re using POP, your emails are on your computer. (Actually, you can configure it to download emails, but leave them on the server, but I don’t do that.)

    “Are the old emails backed up and stored on the Thunderbird server and, if so, who has access to them?”

    If there even is a “Thunderbird email server“, it’s news to me. Thunderbird is an email client. With POP, it downloads emails to your machine from whomever your email provider is. It can also use IMAP, which simply manipulates email on your email provider’s server so that multiple clients (desktop, laptop, smart phone) can access them all.

    Once you delete an email from the server, it’s basically gone. If there was a server backup run before you deleted, they would be able to recover the email. That’s the case with every email server in the world (including the Helm system), unless the administrator disables backups.

    “On Helm one’s email, calendar, and contacts are stored by hosting them on the Helm server with no third party having access to them.”

    I remember Google saying that, once upon a time.

    (And has anyone noticed Google’s latest “improvement”? It reads your emails. When you open one, Google gives you prepared suggestions on how you should reply. That creeped me out when a user showed me.)

  8. Mike
    Mike October 22, 2018 3:38 pm

    Bear, thank you, you just saved me a bucket of money. :^?

  9. ProGunFred
    ProGunFred October 22, 2018 7:33 pm

    Sure, I took it as a joke, that’s funny because however unlikely it may be to come to fruition, it’s not entirely implausible.

  10. larryarnold
    larryarnold October 22, 2018 11:53 pm

    The solution to the payday lending crisis is simple. People who think the payday loan fees are too high should set up competing businesses offering short-term loans at reasonable rates. Competition will quickly drive the greedy lenders out of business. Problem solved.

    Easy-peasey. Right?

  11. Bear
    Bear October 23, 2018 5:45 am

    One of the things most critics of payday loans never seem to bring up is default rates. If one wants to remain in business and turn a profit, you have to charge everyone enough to cover losses from defaults.

    Taking this as an example, payday loans have an average default rate over 6%; six out of a hundred borrowers don’t pay back.

    Conventional loans from banks have a default rate of just over 2%; only a third of high-risk payday loans. And when someone defaults on a mortgage, the bank has a house/land to sell to get back their money.

    Payday loans are unsecured. SOL.

    So yeah, rates are higher.

    I second Larry’s suggestion. Anyone who thinks they can make a living doing payday loans at an average loss should do it, and show us how it works.

  12. Claire
    Claire October 23, 2018 1:13 pm

    That’s very good stuff; enhances the monkeywrench.

    I see he mentions my nemesis, Linda Smith. She did indeed win office after an absolutely miraculous primary write-in campaign conducted by “Linda’s Army” (of which I was a small part). But she didn’t serve “many years” as he says. She served four years in Congress, then made a fruitless run for the U.S. Senate because she knew the same army that put her in office was aiming to drive her out. Running for Senate gave her a graceful way to exit the fedgov without the humiliation of being crushed by her former friends.

    Within 30 days of taking office, the b***h had betrayed everything she claimed to stand for — and went on betraying it. And betraying it. And betraying it. She was barely elected to her second term (beat some lefty no-hoper by just 113 v*tes) and knew she didn’t have a chance at a third.

    People who’ve been around a long time know that Linda Smith was the politician who finally drove me into Freedom Outlawry and book writing. Maybe I should thank her.

    But only if I chance to meet her in hell.

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