Tuesday, May 5, 2009
One of my hobbies is forex trading, and a sub-hobby of that is writing custom indicators. MetaTrader is a trading platform that is very popular in the forex community because it allows traders to write custom indicators. It's pretty easy to get started if you have programming experience because the language is very similar to C. And yes, you can also write your own bot if you wanted, called an Expert Advisor. Personally I don't spend too much time trying to write a winning bot simply because there are way too many variables to take into account, and eventually the market's going to yell "in your face" and your winning bot will end up losing. I just write simple scripts that help me identify entry points, and filter out all the non-interesting price movements. Recently I've been looking at breakout strategies because they are simple, yet effective. The result is a custom indicator I wrote which simply put calculates the high and low for a time period, and then draws pretty rectangles. Like so: The above is simply the high/low of 2 hours before the opening London session, and the opening US session. Isn't it puurrrrrrty?
One of my time-wasting hobbies is running Linux on virtual machines. I play games from time to time so Windows is still my main OS. But otherwise, I do use my Linux virtual machines for many things like my personal Mercurial repository is running on VirtualBox. For the curious, my distro of choice is Archlinux. Anyone who's needed to tinker with a Linux distro knows that you spend a lot of time in a text editor changing configuration files. Typically, the choices are pico/nano for its simplicity, or vi because it's on any POSIX compliant operating system. I decided, ah what the heck, I'm gonna learn vi and use that for editing files instead of nano. I got decent with vi. I could move around (albeit I still relied on home/end and arrow keys), save, search, etc., but on Windows I'd still use Notepad2. In an attempt to improve my productivity in text editing, I'm doing the VIM challenge! All my text editing I will be using WinVI (I even replaced the notepad.exe with it), and I even got the demo of ViEmu running on Visual Studio. For the next 2 weeks I will be using vi for anything text related. I've been going through tutorials and trying to remember all the new things I'm learning. Most importantly, I'll be trying to avoid the home/end/arrow keys as well. BTW, '*' is an awesome feature in vi. It highlights all instances of the current word in the document, and subsequently you can use n or N to back or to the next instance. Like, take a look at the following screen shot: Boom! All instances of "total" highlighted with just a Shift+8. Let's see you do the same thing with Ctrl+F, mouse-click "Find next" (or worse, reverse your search).