Short Term Schedule Change

Due to unforeseen issues, I have to handle several things out town until end of next week.

I will try to post if the internet connection is functional at where I am heading.

I am quite sure I cannot trade during this trip but I will still post my pre-open thoughts in real-time commentary as long as I have internet access.

Must get packing now.

Have a good one!

Email Issue Resolved

We replaced my email server with a new computer over the weekend.

Data transfer was easy. Looks like there is no data loss so far.

Setting up the email server, however, took many hours as many tedious settings have to be done manually.

Anyhow, it is all done. Everything back up and running.

And a nice little surprise for me – I was told the old email server has been working 7/24 for 12+ years.

When things are working, we tend not to think too much about their importance.

Server Upgrade and Changes to Art of Chart Reading Online

As reported several days ago, my mail server broke down. I am working with a backup of the server setup on an older computer temporarily. We will setup the mail server properly over the weekend. If you intended to send email to us over the weekend, please note that it may be bounced. Just resend the message to us should get it to us.

Art of Chart Reading online will be taken off the site soon as I prepare to release the book bearing the same name. In short, many changes to the site daytradingbias.com in coming weeks as content will be rearranged. If you find the site suddenly looks different, no need to be alarmed.

Have a nice weekend all!

My Mail Server Is Down

Email problem with my server today. It is taking much longer than expected for the repair of the database so far. My guess is that I have to wait til tomorrow before I can check for my email let alone answering emails in the queue.

If you have not seen my reply of your email from last week, it will happen tomorrow.

Site Revision Progress

This week we have completed the move of one set of articles from DaytradingBias.com into a separate website, Essence of Trading. Obviously, the site is for the publishing of the article series bearing the same name. I expected to write more articles for the site whenever I find the right topic.

The original Essence of Trading articles are now redirected to the new site to avoid duplication. So don’t be alerted that you are redirected there. In the meantime, I have the tedious task of reviewing and editing the articles on the new site to make sure they have the correct formatting, etc.

In the future, I will invite other successful professional traders to pen articles for Essence of Trading. Many of my trader friends are not the type who enjoy the spotlight hence don’t hold me responsible when I come up empty handed on this pursuit.

More changes are coming to DaytradingBias.com as we are streamlining the design to prepare for the launch of the new real-time trading signals and trading models.

I will keep you all posted.

Have a nice weekend all!

Long Lives Windows XP or Is That a Major Time Bomb Ticking

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One worrisome thing I noticed during my trip to Asia several months ago was that Windows XP is everywhere. I am not joking here. Even though Windows XP has been discontinued by Microsoft with no updates and totally open to all kinds of exploits, it is still heavily in use. This gets me thinking, maybe those end of day prophecies are not about bombing, wars or whatever humanity issues but just that Windows XP stops working one day in the near future.

Odd Encounters

Official support for Windows XP has ended in year 2014 yet almost all the government services I have to deal with are still using Windows XP. Remember I travelled to quite a number of countries in Asia. This means all these countries, assuming they are using legitimate copies of Windows XP, have not upgraded their computers nor the operating system for at least 10 years already.

Originally I intended to take photos of these computers but I was challenged multiple times with serious threats to my personal safety for trying. Seriously, I did not, like, pull out a big ass camera to take a picture. All I tried to do was to take a quick photo with my cell phone. And nope, it is not allowed everywhere. The hassle I have to went through for even attempting to take a photo or asking about the computers is unbelievable. It is as if I was trying to spy on them or catching them for doing something criminal.

Bureaucrats Do Not Really Care

I do not see this as an issue of the frontline government workers. They have to use whatever they are given. I wonder who gave them the instructions to forbid people from taking pictures of their computers showing the Windows XP desktop or logo. And more importantly, what is the reason for being such paranoia?

My theory is that those who made the decision to use Windows XP computers could have been long retired in all these countries. If not, they probably moved higher up in their ranking or positions already. Hence those who inherited the existing equipment have no idea that computers are not furniture. Maybe those who originally made the purchase decision also have no idea that computers are waste asset that have to be replaced while they are still working.

Since we all know how bureaucracy functions in the real world, it is not hard to figure out the rest. Replace a broken computer is allowed. Repairing a broken computer is part of the maintenance program. But upgrading to new computers with operating system that may not work well with the rest of the deployed frontend computers, is definitely not a good idea for any smart bureaucrats who care about the safety of their jobs.

As long as these computers are still kicking, the bureaucrats in power would leave the headache of computer upgrades to the next bureaucrats.

Windows XP Is Common in Many Critical Government Services

I will not name names here. In the countries I have visited, Windows XP is used in customs, police stations, fire stations, centralized control centres for major bridges and tunnels. We are talking about critical government services here. We are also talking about the most vulnerable version of Windows being used for such purpose.

If these governments want to reduce the upgrade overhead, they have to bite the bullet and switch to something cheaper like Linux. Of course there will be huge up front cost to switch over and likely firing many of the IT staff too because they may not be tech savvy enough to maintain Linux based computers. In other words, either way these government departments are facing large expenses that the politicians will not approve. This is the other reason why many countries are stuck with their trusted Windows XP computers.

Time Bomb is Ticking

I am not saying Windows XP does not work well. In fact, the matured version of Windows XP was much better than the initial releases of Windows 7. Windows XP is also much less demanding in terms of CPU power. In short it is more efficient.

The problem though, is that Windows XP was released so long ago, that the components in those old computers with Windows XP can stop working anytime. When that happens, it is still possible to get new computer hardware to work with Windows XP now. In a few more years, however, it may no longer be the case.

A good example is the newer generation of USB ports. Currently, we are having the 3rd generation of USB being adopted everywhere. Windows XP can barely working with the components supporting this generation of USB. Soon, when the 4th generation becoming the standard, it is likely it may not even work with Windows XP at all.

I can foresee already that massive computer failures on these Windows XP machines happening in the near future. When that happens, I wonder if the government officials and the politicians understand what it takes to resolve the problem.

Defusing the Time Bomb

Hopefully, some government workers and high up bureaucrats, get the chance to read my post here. The important thing now is not to panic since they cannot suddenly upgrade all the computers anyway. By having a disaster management plan in place, it will take care of the crisis faster and minimize the impact of normal government operations. I think that is the number one priority for these government departments.

Many IT departments already adopted the practice of taking complete image of their deployed computers. Such backup image is great for dumping onto another computer should the original machine break down. It minimizes the down time but it only works if the target computer is having almost exactly the same configuration with very similar components. This is where the real bottleneck is as I discussed earlier in the article. Basic image of the computer hard drive is not good enough any more.

To improve the situation, the IT departments can create virtual machines of these frontline Windows XP computers. There are many solutions out there that do not cost much and can handle this task perfectly. What it means is that when new computers are needed, any hardware available can be used and having the cheapest stable operating system installed on such computer will be enough. The actual solution is just deploying the virtual machines onto these new computers.

Of course there are technical details that has to be attended to but it is well worth the effort. If anyone cares about the continuity of their computer systems operate smoothly with minimal down time, using virtual machine technology is probably the best solution right now.

Personal Agenda

I have my personal agenda here when I am writing this article. I actually talked to some high up government officials who understand the problem but they do not know what to do about it. Obviously, their people who manage the computers have not keep up their knowledge with the current technology we have nowadays.

I do not wish that one day I am stuck at a airport just because the computers suddenly not working and they have no way in restoring the service quickly.

I do not want to spend days waiting for something from a government just because their Windows XP computers are out of commission.

Hopefully, more people are aware of this crisis in the making so that it will be defused before major impact is felt when these Windows XP computers failing massively in the future.

NeoTicker Blog Site Recovery Near Completion and My Non-Scientific Survey of Trading Platforms

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If all goes well, we will get the NeoTicker blog site back up either this weekend or early next week. There are several things that has to be done first and it takes time to allow the internet to recognize the site. I will post the link to the site here once I can see it from my laptop.

Update: the site is now online, you can access it here

http://newsletter.neoticker.com

I put the question out to my premium members at DaytradingBias.com, asking them what platform do they use for trading. Interestingly, all these fancy rewards given to all these brand name brokerages do not reflect which platform being the most popular ones. It is not a surprise to me because I know all about the dirty secrets behind these magazines and financial media since the days I was purchasing advertisement for NeoTicker years ago.

The one that majority of my subscribers asking me to support is NinjaTrader. The other one mentioned a lot is TradeStation.

Both platforms have decent support with large communities of traders built around them. It is difficult for me at this point to say which one is better when it comes to deploying the trading tools and models I am porting from NeoTicker. I have already opened multiple trading accounts with various brokerages to test drive my trading models on them. A side-by-side comparison will tell us which one is really better in real trading.

One project done. Many more to go.

Have a nice weekend all!

Photo: A baby crab in Maldives. Magnified approx. 10x

Madness with Trading Platform Differences

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A week into testing various trading platforms on live data feed gave my team a nice little surprise. It turns out, the customization around the major retail trading platforms is a lot more work than we thought. This affects not only the indicators (minor issues) but also backtesting results (major issues).

For major retail trading platforms, I am referring to, well, the ones that majority of retail traders are using. So, that includes Tradestation, MultiChart, NinjaTrader, eSignal and MetaTrader. These platforms are the ones I get to open brokerage accounts to test them directly with live data from the brokerages. It turns out, even the minute bars on forex data are so different that we cannot even believe that we are looking at the same symbols in real-time. For other data like Emini S&P, the differences is minimal in terms of real-time streaming but the way how some of the bars are constructed definitely affect decision making from platform to platform.

I lived through such nightmare decades ago when I was switching my trading platform. I did not expect that the same issue still exist today. Maybe I am asking for too much?!

This is a very interesting experience for me but I cam imagine how frustrated many retail traders can be when they switch from one platform to another as they switch from one brokerage to another.

As we grind along the process, I learned that for even a simple indicator like the one for charting STOPD levels will have to be implemented in ways completely different from one platform to another. In long run, this will be nightmare scenario for maintenance of the more complicated indicators and trading systems across multiple platforms. A simple wish to provide cross platform toolsets is now turning into something a lot more complicated.

A challenge that deserves a place in my weekly rant, indeed.

Reviving NeoTicker Blog Site and Updates on Other Projects

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Within several weeks, I am optimistic that the NeoTicker blog site will be restored. The site was hacked through exploits in the older version of WordPress which led to massive email spamming coming off the site. I made an agreement with NeoTicker’s company to oversee the restoration project. So far things are progressing slowly but it will be done very soon. After all, many of the articles I wrote on trading are posted there. It is a valuable resource for not just NeoTicker users but the whole trading community.

After very long deliberation with my team working on the real time trading signals for Emini and Forex, a surprise decision is made. Against my personal prejudice, I will delivery the trading performance reports in Tradestation format. In other words, at least some of my trading models will be backtested and tracked with Tradestation. People who know me probably know why NeoTicker existed in the first place and it was not based on a good experience with using Tradestation.

This also implies that I will offer my indicators and trading code in Tradestation format, in addition to the other ones already supported.

For the ebook Art of Chart Reading, I am waiting for the edited version on the remaining chapters. From there I will have a lot of reading to do to finalize the project. This is going to make my busy schedule even more busy.

For many of you waiting for so long for my forex research and courses, they are progressing slowly. Unlike the web articles, this time they are done in a very different fashion. As I mentioned before, it is now time for me to produce the much more sophisticated materials.

The amount of time and effort necessary to produce a book length course on trading models is exponentially longer than having each chapter being independent article like the ones I wrote for daytradingbias. On this aspect, I totally underestimated the commitment necessary hence slowing everything down so much. Luckily, I am not those people who give up easily. I can see light at the end of the tunnel at this point.

Enough babbling. Back to work.

Belated Happy Easter!

The 10 and 12 Year Cycles That Shape Our Lives

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Many people interested in astrology would have experienced “a reading” done for them by astrologers. The routines are similar for both Western and Eastern astrology by telling the person something about their personalities, what is happening now and what may happen in the future. After all, majority of those who want a reading are not doing it out of curiosity. Many of these individuals are standing at a crossroad for which some major decisions have to be made. Yet, these people are so confused and worried that they have to resort to ask for help from astrologers …

Note: Following writing assumes that you believe somehow astrology works.

Reliability of Asking for Divine Clues Through a Third Party

One of the weaknesses of having astrologers reading your charts is that they may not be able to understand your situation enough to project the possible outcomes based on your birth date and known conditions.  Here is a good example. If the astrologer is not knowledgeable enough to know that there exists technologies in the near future that your medical issues can be cured, based on limited understanding, the astrologer has to conclude that you may not be able to live through the ordeal.

By similar reasoning, how worldly the astrologer is will determine how good the interpretations of your charts will be. Your future are many possible outcomes based on your actions and decisions today. The more logical and knowledgeable the astrologer is, the more likely you will get sage advices. But that holds true too if you talk to someone who is not an astrologer. As long as this person is logical, knowledgeable about your situation and has deep understanding of human psyche, you are likely to get very good advice as well.

Suggestions from Expert Astrologers vs. Knowledgeable People We Respect

Most of the time, the problem of finding a solution is not that we do not have the answers. The problem is that we choose not to take the path that we know will solve the problem. Seeking for better understanding of a situation is a good move for solving all kinds of issues. However, seeking for approval of our choice from others is a form of evading responsibilities.

That’s why it is so appealing to look for help from astrologers. People will choose to listen to the astrologers because they represent clues from divine sources which can help those people seeking for help to overcome their irrational biases. It is kind of blame the others attitude should things goes wrong.

When we get advices and suggestions from people we respect on major issues, many people will eventually choose what they feel comfortable with, ignoring the warnings and good advices anyway with the additional bonus of creating false memory in their own minds so that they can blame on these people who offered their opinions in the future. I have seen so many people doing this type of self sabotage to themselves. They cannot help it because they lack awareness of their own weaknesses in the first place.

When You Need to Make a Big Decision Do This First

If you are at least 30 years old, here is a simple thing that you can do to get consistent answers to your tough questions about your life altering issues.

Just look back 10 years ago to see if you are affected by a similar situation. Sometimes the issue is not affecting the same area in your life but the overall scenario will pin you to the same position. For some people, it can be something that happened 20 years ago or even 30 years ago. The important thing is that you should be able to tell at once if you can remember what happened in the past because the timing should be very precise.

For example, 10 years ago you may have a troubling relationship with your partner at the time that you have to choose between breaking up or giving up your dream job. The current situation could be that you in a bad relationship with your coworkers who try to take advantage of you while the boss turning a blind eye.

Think of what you did back then. Reflect on the situation to see if you have chosen the right decision. Most important of all, did you make the decision back then that you are still regretting about. This will give you a good idea what not to do this time.

In short, you do not need an astrologer to tell you what to do. You can figure it out by yourself as long as you can be truthful to yourself.

10 Year vs. 12 Year Cycle

Majority of people are more sensitive to the 10 year cycle while others see repeating patterns in their lives on a 12 year cycle. Usually just one of these two cycles dominate a person’s life. It is easy to figure out which one affects you more. If you have married or that you have a child, just look back and forth 10 years and 12 years from those dates to see if other major events happening to your life. This will give you a baseline on how things happening to you in a cyclical basis.

In case you wonder, these cycles do not start from the day you are born. Everyone has a slightly different starting point up to 8 years old. The later the starting point in life, the more likely the person has a wandering mind before then. This starting point affects how people mature into adulthood as it usually takes 2 cycles before a person finally start to think about the future.

After 3 full 10 years cycles, if a person has not progressed enough in awareness, Eastern astrology points out the person will likely be locked-in by fate. What it means is that astrology will work so well on these people that they are expected to repeat all the mistakes they have made before. Notice that it has nothing to do with good fortune or bad fortune. It is just that what may happen in the future to these people are more predictable.

The Power of Virtues in Breaking the Cycles

When we choose to live by a set of virtues at all cost, we program our minds in a way different from the one driven by our character traits and emotional burdens that we know are a mix of our genetics and our upbringing during our childhood. Choosing to live by our virtues helps us to make hard choices and better decisions when fear and greed are affecting us the most. In short, we simplify our lives while improving them significantly in all areas by just following a set of ground rules we choose to believe in.

I am not saying we will make the best decisions in all situations we encounter in life if you follow your set of virtues. What I am saying is that having a set of virtues in place is like having a consistent strategy to manage our lives so that we can have consistent outcomes that we can count on so that we do not need to worry about every decision we make are good or bad. We know on average we will come out doing fine. That’s all that matters.

It is easy to see how such strategy can impact the outcomes from all the cycles a person has to go through.  Normally, a person reacts to the events in life with emotional swings. Many important decisions are made on-the-fly, at least partially driven by the emotions experienced. Such decisions are often made without considering all the facts hence are more likely to be bad ones with negative consequences. In contrast, someone lives by a set of virtues can limit the options to choose from and eliminate the ones that does not follow the principles. With fewer important decisions made badly, the so-called fate or cycles can no longer limit a person’s achievement and success.

Think about it – just the anxiety and worries you saved yourself from by having a good strategy in place to manage your life can do magic already. Being able to sleep without all these wandering thoughts put you way ahead of many others in terms of quality of life. With reduced stress, better clarity of mind becomes possible and in turn better decisions are made more often. Cycles, whether they exist or not, no longer matters.