TT Mobile available in Google Play

TT Mobile is now available for everyone to download from Google Play. It looks awesome! Great job, team! This version also added support for trading strategies written in TT SDK running on my AlgoSE server. Below is a screenshot showing child orders of SSE’s Time Sliced order. TT’s next generation Synthetic Strategy Engine (SSE) runs on top of TT SDK and AlgoSE server. SSE strategies are written by my good friend William Baker.

Download TT Mobile today! :-)

 

TT Mobile

TT Mobile now in Google Play store

 

FICO Score 9: The New FICO

Recently, in no small part because of the National Association of REALTORS® and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, FICO announced big changes to their credit scoring model. While it remains to be seen how much of a quantitative impact the new FICO 9 formula will have, many segments of the population could see increased scores. Those who stand to benefit the most include people with medical collection accounts, repaid collections and young people with “thin files.”

The Federal Reserve Board reports that over 50 percent of all bad debt collections on credit reports are connected with medical bills. Troublingly, a high frequency of medical collection occurs via poor communication between the patient and the hospital or the patient and their insurance company. The reporting of erroneous medical debt was one of the bigger driving forces behind the coming Sept. 1 implementation of FICO 9. Under the new scoring model, the impact of overdue medical bills will be largely negated as medical debt will be differentiated from non medical debt. For borrowers with unpaid medical collections, it is anticipated that scores could jump as much as 25 points per account.

Borrowers with multiple accounts in collection stand to be big benefactors as well. Scores will no longer be penalized for previous collection agency charges once they have been repaid or settled. FICO 9 will ignore all old debts that have zero dollar balances. Those with more than one account in collection could see their scores increase as much as 50 to 75 points.

Young people aged 19 to 29 have had an uphill challenge post 2008 when it comes to opening credit lines. Enormous student loans, an aversion to credit cards, and limited credit histories have compromised many younger Americans’ ability to build their own credit. The new formula takes a more lax approach when assessing those with smaller credit histories, making loans more accessible for Millennials.

Experian, after conducting its own study on FICO 9, concluded that 59 percent of renters’ scores will increase.

While the effect of FICO 9 may not be known for some time, the new formula, especially as it pertains to medical debts, is at minimum, a small victory for consumers. Hopefully, by establishing a tangible way for borrowers to improve their scores, new incentive will be established for many to work with collection agencies in an effort to settle or pay off previous obligations.

This doesn’t mean we are returning to the pre 2008 economic climate, but it’s something.

-Noah Perkins

Noah is an alumnus of UMASS, currently making his home in San Diego. Originally from Boston, he now works as the CMS for VA Home Loan Centers, a VA sponsored lender helping veterans and active duty personnel in their search for affordable housing. To learn more about VA mortgages, visit; https://www.vahomeloancenters.org/

 

 

This is a sponsored article.

TT Mobile in Google Play

Today marks an important milestone. TT’s next-generation mobile trading app for Android has been deployed to Google Play Store. It’s still in pre-release and available only to beta testers, but we are getting closer every day. It’s very stable and usable. The overall look has deviated slightly from my original design, but I like it better this way. It’s a little bit more intuitive. Below are the main functions of the app so far.

  • Watchlist of instruments
  • Instrument-centric view of orders and positions
  • Trading from order ticket
  • Trading and order management from price ladder (MD Trader)
  • Order management screen
  • Fills and Positions
  • Forever Audit Trail

The users can input trades from order ticket and MD Trader, monitor orders, have a watchlist of instruments, inspect their positions and watch the forever audit trail. Not too shabby for a mobile app! Very full featured, especially when compared to what’s out there. The team did an outstanding job. Oh, and iOS app is coming along as well.

If you have a @tradingtechnologies email address, head over to the link below and download your copy for Android.
https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.tradingtechnologies.ntm
(pssst – can’t access the page? Make sure you’re logged in only with your TT account. Try incognito mode)

For those of you who don’t yet have access, take a look at some screenshots below.

Solution to MacBook storage problems

At Trading Technologies we recently switched to laptop-centric culture. Our desktops got lugged away and everyone can choose what kind of laptop they would like to have. I was one of the pilot MacBook Pro users and I got mine over 18 months ago. It took me a while to get used to it, but it completely changed the way I work. It’s so easy to just grab a laptop and crash a meeting room with two other devs. This makes communication so much easier. Not to mention I can now work on the train. Every company should consider this!

Unfortunately my Mac came with only 256 gigs of storage. For a developer that’s not that much. Especially that I use a lot of OSs on many VMs. I asked our IT, and they listened. It came earlier today. LaCie external SSD with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt. It’s a speedy ~250MB/sec.

 

I really had a lot of fun velcroing it to my Mac. What do you think? Geeky enough for you? ;-)

Behold:

External SSD

External SSD velcroed to my MacBook Pro. Match made in heaven ;)

8 years at Trading Technologies

I just noticed it has been a whole 8 years since I started working for Trading Technologies. I was hired fresh out of college and began my journey on May 15, 2006 (well, I did some consulting on the side before coming to ChiTown).

trading_technologies

Company logo when I started

 

New TT logo

New TT logo

 

 

During my career at TT, I pretty much worked on everything the company has to offer.

I spent countless hours massaging our flagship X_TRADER product. I was a key player in bringing .NET into the program and integrating it with native C++ and MFC. This really made adding new windows easier (have you ever had to deal with Win32/MFC?!) and allowed for tight X_STUDY integration.

X_TRADER's .NET toolbar

X_TRADER’s .NET toolbar. Click for larger image

 

In order to achieve maximum performance, I completely rewrote the Time & Sales window. Both the stand-alone and one integrated into MD Trader. While working on T&S I learned a lot about grids and data virtualization.

Time & Sales window

Blazing fast Time & Sales window with the default (butt-ugly) X_TRADER color scheme

 

Every trader who’s copying/pasting links to and from Microsoft Excel goes through my Link Manager. That was a very fun project which definitely provided a ton of value for our customers. There are thousands of traders who design their strategies in Excel spreadsheets and want their numbers to be shown on grids, charts, ladders and algos. And this works both ways – I allow them to copy cells from X_TRADER and insert them into Excel. The data flows flawlessly and everything just magically works.

X_STUDY OLE linking

Look ma! I has Excel linkage! (Click for larger image)

For fun I also added preview to the Color settings window, which finally made it usable.
I wrote so many things for X_TRADER that I actually lost track. Not to mention countless prototypes to fool around with new features. Definitely good times :)

 

I am the architect and author of TT API – our high performance trading API for Windows. It was a great few years designing and implementing all the different features. I certainly learned a lot. TT API lets you trade any exchange that TT supports, including Autospreader SE and Synthetic SE engines. You can really go to town. Just check out TT API samples on GitHub.

It’s also worth mentioning that internally our Algo SE server and ADL (Algo Design Lab) are both powered by my TT API.

 

Two years ago I was selected to start on TT’s future platform. The codename for it used to be “Nextrader“, but due to trademark conflicts a new name was chosen. I coined the name and designed many low-level communication and security details (EdgeServer-to-client path, authorization, protocols, etc) which are now the foundation of the new system. I also led and directed the client-side team.  The TT platform is written from the ground up using modern technologies. It’s optimized for speed. Trust me – you will feel it :)

In addition to web-based interface, TT Platform will ship with an Android mobile app. That’s another one of my babies. I designed the flow and general layout of the main screens for both phone and tablet form factors. Our in-house designer Kevin made them look awesome. I’m sure you will love it! Working on mobile is challenging, as it forces you to think from a different perspective and face a whole new set of problems. Limited screen real-estate, battery life, disconnect scenarios, butt dialing (or shall I say: butt trading) are all issues you have to deal with. I had a blast :-)

Side menu

“Nextrader” for Android prototype. Side menu. Click for larger image. The name has since been changed to “TT Mobile”.

 

MD Trader on Android

TT Mobile for Android. MD Trader on a phone. Click for larger picture.

 

I started writing iOS version of TT Mobile with my team, but I didn’t get too far (enough to master Objective-C). I was needed on the new Algo project. Currently I am working with Andrew Gottemoller on our next-generation trading API, which we internally call TT SDK. The plan is to allow our customers to hand-craft their algos and run them in our co-lo facilities for minimum latency and maximum speed.

 

TT SDK is lean. It is fast. Linux and plain C. It is powerful, yet feels delightfully simple.  In addition to C we will eventually provide wrappers for higher-level languages. I, naturally, already have a C++14 and Mono C# version going. Stay tuned!

 

As you see, I’ve been having fun. Trading Technologies is a great company, but its most important asset are definitely the people. Everyone is smart and easy-going. I made many good friends at TT and I’m happy to see them every day.
Let’s see what the future will bring :)

SafeBuffer and UnmanagedMemoryStream

At work I have a situation where I have some binary data allocated in the native code. It’s pretty much a raw char*. I then would like to access that same information from the managed side. But how? Of course I can just copy the data to a byte[] but that’s just wasteful.

I did some googling around and found the obvious solution – UnmanagedMemoryStream. It can take pointers, or a SafeBuffer. The latter is basically a smart wrapper around memory handle. Take a look at the code I came up with. I hope somebody will find it useful. It’s still work in progress and can use some love, so any comments are welcome.

I needed to pass the std::unique_ptr as r-value, otherwise the linker complains (thunks for non-existent copy constructor). I still need to clean this code up to handle custom deleters. But it serves my needs for now.

Edit: There is a bug in this code. Can you spot it? ;)

HID Card and Android phone

At my workplace we use HID ProxCard II cards to enter the building and to open individual doors. Everybody has a card with their picture printed on it. The problem is that I keep forgetting mine, plus I’ve had it for such a long time that the card started to disintegrate and it looks rather nasty.

HID card

I really wanted to just use my Android phone in lieu of the card, but it seems like HID cards are not compatible with NFC :-(
This of course wasn’t going to stop me. Somehow I wanted to “fuse” the card with my phone. If my phone had a plastic case or cover, I could just slip the card inside of it. But I own an HTC Once and since it’s made out of aluminium and gorilla glass, I don’t really need (or want) a cover for it. I decided to use a sticker to attach the card instead. I ordered a custom-fit sticker from SkinIt with a cute picture of my boys on it. Now I could finally start my project :)

Costom skin for HTC One

 

First I cut off a small strip of plastic along every edge of the card, starting with the top. Then I removed the front layer with the printed picture. It was clear that there were two additional layers to the card. Finally, I carefully separated the two remaining layers, exposing a copper coil and something that looked like a microchip.

Removed sticker and cut sides

Coil

 

Next step was to affix the layer with coil to the back of my HTC One. I chose not to remove the coil from the plastic it was glued to, and instead to attach the whole thing to the back of the phone with scotch tape. Of course I rounded it off a little bit witch scissors, just to make it look better.

HTC One

Coil from HID card affixed to back of HTC One

The final step was to place the SkinIt sticker over the back of the phone. Sadly that didn’t go as smooth as I hoped. Since the coil and microchip are not perfectly flat, you can see a small bulge. It will take some time to get used to it, but ultimately it should not be a big deal. A small price to pay for the convinience.
Here is a photo of the finished product. Now I just need to remember to carry my phone around with me at all times at work :D

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