Trade Talk Blog

Welcome to the official blog of Trading Technologies, your source for professional futures trading software.

Help is at Your Fingertips

“Nobody reads the manual” is a common refrain when discussing documentation. For software, many users simply open the program, fumble around and begin using the application without looking at a setup guide or pressing F1 for help. And many users who search for a “getting started guide” are confronted with a vast repository of .pdf files, requiring a best guess at which tome contains the nugget of information they need. With mobile and desktop applications increasing in usability, the dusty old users’ manual seems more like a bygone artifact of antiquity than a required, helpful aid.

Which explains, in part, why TT abandoned user manuals.

Everything from our system administration and user manuals to our setup and getting started guides has been opened to the internet via the new Help Library. This allows a user to open the browser, enter a search term and quickly find the information they need. Want to find out howX_TRADER supports NYMEX products? Or simply how to collect logfiles in TT User Setup? You can now access all TT content in less than a second—without searching a 200+ page document.


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The Bridge—Railings or Rulings?

The recent CFTC concept release provided a thorough, detailed summary of the current state of electronic trading and risk controls, and asked for public comments with a set of 124 specific questions. The document itself is a significant effort, intended to serve as an impartial platform to stimulate discussion of current and best practices, and has received more than two dozen responses from industry participants.

However, the process reminded me of the following story about looking upstream for solutions to problems. Please bear with me as I may have embellished the story (just a bit) from its original script.

A prosperous village straddling a scenic river had a problem rescuing people who had fallen off an upstream bridge into the river. The number of rescues seemed to increase daily, and the villagers were up in arms demanding help for their over-worked rescue crews.

The village elders held a series of meetings and drew up a detailed plan of action. They would establish trained monitoring patrols, equipped with a new, elaborate alarm system that would quickly alert authorities when someone was spotted in the river. They would beef up the rescue crews with the newest, specialized equipment available and also keep additional rescue teams on call.

The elders, being very wise, also looked for ways to address the problem upstream at the source. So at the bridge, they planned to build entry gates to restrict access. Travelers would have to register to cross the bridge and, as part of the process, would have to prove that they were qualified to cross. The registration assured that if by chance they did fall in and needed rescue, they could later be identified and fined. Crossings would be limited both in frequency and in total number per day. Once you started to cross, if you changed your mind and abruptly turned back, you had to wait before you could cross again. “We only want serious travelers to make these trips, not inexperienced sightseers who might just cause accidents.”


Sweden, Ahead of the Times

Sweden celebrates National Day each year on June 6.*

Somewhat unique among monarchies, instead of a family motto upon accession to the throne, the sovereign of Sweden will adopt a personal motto. This often serves as a national motto as well, and is printed on their 1 krona coins.

Upon taking the throne in 1973, the current Swedish monarch, King Carl XVI Gustaf, adopted the motto For Swedenwith the times. This motto reflected his desire for both himself and his country to constantly evolve to adapt to the modern world. When it comes to navigating the recent eurozone crisis, though, in many ways Sweden, along with the other Nordic countries, was ahead of its time.

Nordic countries were largely spared the crisis that unfolded in the eurozone over the last few years. In part, that is likely because the Nordic countries had already been through their own version a couple decades earlier, and had already made structural changes to their economies that allowed them to weather the recent storm. As the eurozone shows signs of stabilizing, the Nordic countries, and Sweden chief among them, are poised to see growth accelerate.\

On the Air with X_TRADER® in 3…2…1

It is a very rewarding experience when happy customers invite me to educate their peers on the benefits of using TT products. A collective of Trading Technologies customers at BTFDtv who I’ve come to know through Twitter recently gave me that opportunity. I am thankful to @LeftHash and @2yrflipper for inviting me onto the show “Guarding the Left Hash.”

JD Leman, aka @LeftHash, afforded me a great opportunity to engage and interact with his trading community. I took full advantage by walking the online crowd through new features in X_TRADER® 7.17 as well as some of our newer functionality and policies.

Most interesting to me were the questions presented by JD and his team. Although they are long-time users of X_TRADER, they were not familiar with some of the functionality that I as product manager take for granted. In actuality, this is not difficult to believe considering the wealth of functionality in X_TRADER. It’s not uncommon to see pockets of unique use cases where traders find what works and stick with it rather than experiment with new features. Everyone has their unique style. This forum presented a great venue to enlighten traders to little-known tips and tricks, some of which I detail later in this blog post.

Social media is certainly a powerful and heavily utilized tool in the trading community. Venues like LinkedIn and most noticeably Twitter are driving trading and general investment communities as both news sources and sounding boards. The use of Twitter as a news service and communication network continues to expand, and it has become an essential tool for the the prop community as well as buy-side and sell-side traders. In fact, my invitation to speak on BTFDtv was extended through Twitter after a member of the community saw one of my tweets and recognized that my perspective could be valuable to his peers.

JD asked that I document our discussion and make it available to his viewers. Read on for highlights of my interview with JD—or better yet, click on the video below to watch the segment in its entirety.