Once or twice a year, I write a report (now we call them Blogs) about technology and what I’m using and what my trading computer systems look like.
Since 2012 just started and I hadn’t written one in a while, I thought I would. But let’s be clear. This isn’t about trading, and here’s why. I think the next great leap in trading systems is a year or two away. Right now, frankly, you still need a computer or laptop and more than one screen to do it all correctly unless you are just trading Forex. I’m going to pause briefly here and talk about my trading computer technology and also give a brief comment about what I think is coming. But the reality is that right now is not an evolutionary moment for trading. But it IS an evolutionary moment for mobility, business management, and even secondary trade management. I have done quite a bit of trading from mobile apps in the last few months, and I rather like it.
Let me also say that we are in the process of helping iVocalize (the software that powers our Trading Lab) create mobile versions of their software through HTML 5.0, which will mean that you can listen to us and view charts while on the move. Frankly, I get now why this is so important. While it might not be clear in the Lab each day, over the last six months, I have spent a great deal of time “managing” trades from my Android tablet and not from my computer midday. I still have to be in front of my machine for the first 90 minutes or so to see everything that is going on. e-Signal is NOT on the verge of solid iPad/Android 4.0 apps. But in the middle of the day, once you have positions on or are focused on some key entries and stops, trading from mobile apps such as what MB Trading offers is plenty good.
So a quick note on technology. We are in the process of moving to e-Signal 11.3. This is not something that we take lightly. We are big e-Signal fans, but the fact remains that 11 got launched before it was ready, and it is just now getting there. Expect an update later this year to all of our EFS scripts for 11.3. What’s nice about 11.3? On a 64-bit OS, the pages are seamless and fast. You can flip between them easily. There’s no slowdown at all. The charts are steady and clean. What’s not to like? Some ease-of-use features are gone, although most of them are things like screen capturing and stuff that we use for Tradesight, not for trading.
My home trading machine remains an i7 processor with 16 GB fast RAM and a 128 GB solid state hard drive backed up with a 1 TB regular hard drive. I have dual SLI video cards that aren’t the latest at the moment, and I run two 24″ monitors. In reality, I expect to replace this machine once Windows 8 comes out, which looks to be a gigantic shift in Operating Systems. I’ll be looking at a bigger Solid State hard drive, more RAM, and stuff like USB 3.0 ports, but that is for later in 2012 assuming the world doesn’t end.
I also have a laptop for trading on the go. Currently, that has an i7 chip as well with 12 GB fast RAM, Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate (just like the other); INSERT INTO `wp_posts` (`ID`, `post_author`, `post_date`, `post_date_gmt`, `post_content`, `post_title`, `post_category`, `post_excerpt`, `post_status`, `comment_status`, `ping_status`, `post_password`, `post_name`, `to_ping`, `pinged`, `post_modified`, `post_modified_gmt`, `post_content_filtered`, `post_parent`, `guid`, `menu_order`, `post_type`, `post_mime_type`, `comment_count`) VALUES and a 256 GB solid state drive, which is now almost two years old with no issues. I have a second monitor that attaches to this machine when I need it.
So from a trading machine perspective, even though I typically update every year, these machines are both about 18 months old (same as when I last described them); INSERT INTO `wp_posts` (`ID`, `post_author`, `post_date`, `post_date_gmt`, `post_content`, `post_title`, `post_category`, `post_excerpt`, `post_status`, `comment_status`, `ping_status`, `post_password`, `post_name`, `to_ping`, `pinged`, `post_modified`, `post_modified_gmt`, `post_content_filtered`, `post_parent`, `guid`, `menu_order`, `post_type`, `post_mime_type`, `comment_count`) VALUES and I expect to update them later this year.
But the reality is that e-Signal isn’t out ahead of this tech and probably won’t be, so we’re good. I expect e-Signal 11 to get better and then I’ll get new machines with Windows 8 and more RAM and bigger SSD drives, but that might be the end of that. In 2-3 years, I’m thinking tablet to do everything along with Twitter.
So what else am I doing right now from a technology perspective.
If you know me at all, you know that I hate Apple and all things iPhone and iPad. I did buy the original iPad just to see if I would like the form factor because it was the only thing on the market, but I sold it once other options came along and haven’t regretted it at all.
From a tech perspective, my phone is an HTC EVO 3D on Sprint, although I am in the process of dropping my Sprint account and moving to Verizon with most likely an HTC Rezound. That or the Galaxy Nexus are simply the best phones on the market right now. One (Nexus) is pure Google, so it ships with the stellar Google 4.0 Operating System (also known as Ice Cream Sandwich); INSERT INTO `wp_posts` (`ID`, `post_author`, `post_date`, `post_date_gmt`, `post_content`, `post_title`, `post_category`, `post_excerpt`, `post_status`, `comment_status`, `ping_status`, `post_password`, `post_name`, `to_ping`, `pinged`, `post_modified`, `post_modified_gmt`, `post_content_filtered`, `post_parent`, `guid`, `menu_order`, `post_type`, `post_mime_type`, `comment_count`) VALUES while the other has been specs but has HTC’s Sense overlay, so it will be a little delayed in getting Android 4.0.
I also recently got myself a 64 GB Motorola Droid Xyboard tablet, which is a 10-inch tablet thinner than the iPad that will shortly have the Android 4.0 update and is a simply superb device. I got this on the Verizon 4G network with a data contract, and I have been moving my world into this device since mid-December. It is truly remarkable.
So from a trading machine perspective, there’s nothing new to update. From a trading software perspective, expect to hear a lot about e-Signal 11.3 in the next few months. From a Tradesight perspective, we’re going to be shifting to Twitter for content delivery, which is going to be amazing once you see it.
But if you are like me and like to push the envelope, here are a few things that I suggest from a tech perspective right now.
1) Get the Xyboard from Motorola or the Transformer Prime from Asus (Wi-fi only). The Xyboard on a 4G contract from Verizon gets amazing download speeds away from the house but flips to wi-fi when you come home.
2) There are apps that can change your life. Here’s a few: Springpad, Dropbox, Amazon Kindle Reader, QuickOffice Pro HD. Let’s discuss those.
Springpad is a great app for organizing your life. Switch your computer browser to Chrome and you can easily sync everything you need from events and calendars to shopping lists over your phone. Runner-ups in this category are Evernote and Wunderlist, but Springpad is the king at the moment and it can literally change your world once you get used to it.
Dropbox is my friend. I can’t live without it. From a business perspective, I did a bunch of stuff in line for rides at Disneyland that previously I could barely have done from the office, much less home. It’s a killer app that cloud-saves your work and works brilliantly on Android phones. Depending on your needs, you should check out box.net and sugarsync.com, but the reality is that Dropbox is still the best for most people.
Forget the Nook and anything Barnes and Noble throws your way. Amazon has been content by far, and the Amazon Kindle Fire is great for a dumbed down tablet experience (both my kids and my wife have them, which isn’t supposed to be a reflection on them). If you read books, the process has never been better than over the Kindle app. Read a few pages on your phone waiting in a parking lot, and your tablet or actual Kindle knows where you left off when you turn it on. Great stuff.
QuickOffice Pro HD (for Android tablets) gives you 80% of the power of Microsoft Office on your Android phone or tablet, and frankly it is amazing. I’ve edited Powerpoint slides and Word docs and then shared them back via Dropbox a few minutes later with others. Great stuff.
While this isn’t business related, check out HBO GO and Hulu Plus as well.
The shift to Android 4.0 is a seismic leap in tablet Operating Systems. Apple is losing the battle, and more people are registering Android devices, as I always figured. They are more flexible and people can write better apps for them, in my opinion. While I can’t run my TRADING through a tablet, I do believe that 2012 is the year that I can run my BUSINESS through my tablet. Expect trading to follow by the end of 2013, which will come despite the Mayan calendar’s prediction.
Can you do most of this for now also on an Apple device such as iPad 2 or an iPhone? You can. But I don’t expect it to last, and the numbers are better for Google. I’ll show you that chart later, because charts don’t lie, people do.
For now, consider this your tech update for the start of 2012.