Category Archives: Tools


SynergyThis post will certainly highlight my ‘tech’ side but I had no choice but to cover this here. This tool has single handedly improved my life, my trading and all my work at the computer in general. Many traders (actually pretty much everyone these days) rely on multiple screens to do their work. Scanning charts, news, websites and what have you requires a lot of screen real estate. In a lot of cases, you can hook up multiple screen on a single cpu but sometimes, you just have to deal with multiple machines. When dealing with multiple machines, I usually see either the user A) switching from keyboard to keyboard trying to work on different machines or B) using a hardware KVM, pressing a button to switch the main keyboard from machine to machine.

For several months now, I have been using Synergy, a small piece of software, available for free, that virtually binds a single keyboard and mouse to multiple computers, given the computers are connected on a local network.

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I have recently been testing PCFs I can unfortunately NOT publish on this site. I decided to purchase Elder-disk v 2.0 for TC2005/2007. The software was written by John Bruns and is available for purchase on‘s online store.

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Google Reader vs Bloglines

Off trading and onto “tools” for another post. Mind you this is in line with The Blogging Times Today interview with Nicholaus Baum and with Wallstrip‘s coverage of GOOG. A couple of weeks back I posted about trying Google Reader instead of Bloglines. Well I would like to apologize to IACI publicly for doubting them and their product (notice how I keep this a stock market related blog by throwing a symbol in a completly unrelated post). I tried Google Reader but I am now back to Bloglines.

I know Bloglines may not be the cuttest thing around but you have to give it to them, it has all the functionalities it needs and it is fast.

I liked the “look” of the user interface in Google Reader a lot more but I found that:

  • Switching from feed to feed was much slower on average and
  • adding a new feed was taking me twice as long (add first than go back and put in right category).

Overall, even though it did look better, I was not gaining anything with regards to functionality and I was slowing my morning routine down to a point where I was skipping some of my categories to save time. So I am now back to Bloglines and I will stick to it for now.

Thought organization with MindManager Pro 6

Happy friday! Away from the market a bit and into the tools department. I have been using MindManager Pro 6 from Mindjet for about 3 weeks now and I find it has really increased my productivity.

For those of who don’t know, I am big fan of the GTD approach from David Allen and I found that using MindManager was a great way to capture brain dumps on a specific project. I was using flat files before this but MindManager makes the process a lot easier. I can now dump my ideas in a complete random fashion, as they pop into my head, and organize them in a neat map later. For example, here is a map I used to store my trading related research info (this is sample only, I may another map to actually share the research info later):

MindManager Pro 6 Screenshot
But it is not only for business or professional information. Sometimes it’s the little things nagging at me that I try to get rid of. For example, here is a map I created in 2 minutes to clear my head all the things related to my 4 year old’s birthday party:
MindManager Pro 6 Screenshot
Some of the items of the map are hyperlinks to webpages where found information or links to emails that where exchanged about the party. I now keep MindManager open about 90% of the time. Since Internet Explorer, Excel, Word and Outlook now have a MindManager toolbar, it makes exchanging information really easy. If I am browsing for cake recipes and I find one I like, I hit the MindMap button and a link is created in the current map. If I reading emails in Outlook and one comes about a specific project, I can click the MindMap button and a link to this email is created in my current map.

Overall, MindManager is a great way to collect and organize thoughts about a number of things. It gets two thumbs up from me.

Blog readers?

I know most people rely on their blog readers a lot to gather information. I know my reader is frequently the first place I visit in the morning or the site I take peek at if I only have 5 mins of web time ahead of me on a weekend.

For a while now I have been using Bloglines which I love. Following a post by Gina on Lifehacker I decided to give the Google Reader a try. I plan on using it for a solid week before making my decision (and post) on the topic.

Mind Mapping

For some time now, I have been using mind mapping software to try and orgznize my thoughts. Up to now, I was using FreeMind, a free java based mind mapping software. I just now downloaded the free trial copy of Mindjet and I decided to give it a try. I will post feedback later…

DownloaderXL from AnalyzerXL

I was on a trial of DownloaderXL and I ordered a licensed copy yesterday. It is really a nifty tool for anyone who plays a lot in Excel and for $50, you can’t really go wrong. The package I got includes:

  • RTQuotesXL, builds a quote sheet with whatever symbols you need. Can also include charts. It gets the data from Yahoo! so have to pay Yahoo! for their real-time quotes if you want real-time in Excel. Otherwise you will get the delayed data.
  • PortfolioXL allow you to create portfolios in Excel and track buys and sells.
  • DownloaderXL is used to download historical quotes.
  • OptionsXL downloads option chains and LEAPS in Excel.

So far I am very satisfied. It works as advertised and allowed to improve my system. Ultimatly, I will probably use the API from IB‘s TWS but for now, this gets me going with little effort.

In my current setup, I rely on two worksheets in one book: Ideas and Trades. In the Idea sheet, I throw in symbols I picked up from TC2007 and I pre-fill certain things (trigger in, stop, target, size). Since this now has the last price, I rely on “Conditional Formatting” to warm me a specific symbol is passing its trigger point. In similar fashion, my Trades sheet warns me if I’m getting near my stop or near my pre-established exit.