CppCon 2017

I am lucky to be able to attend the CppCon 2017 in Bellevue, Washington for the second year in a row. I am excited to attend the sessions on C++17 as well as the proposals for C++20.

This post is basically a collection of my tweets and shower thoughts from the conference.

Crypto Trading Framework

https://github.com/itsff/m3f-trading-system

In my free time, I’ve been messing around with cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin as well as a couple of other, lesser known altcoins. I am mainly using GDAX and Bitfinex for my trades. It’s a lot of fun!

Pretty much all exchanges offer some sort of API. I created a simple .NET client for the GDAX and wrote a simple trading framework. I decided to learn the Akka.net actor model for this project, as it makes writing trading bots easier. Speed is not an issue, as I’ve noticed GDAX’s position tracking system cannot keep up with my apps.

Today I have open sourced my framework on GitHub under revised BSD license. You can clone it from here. It ships with a simple “buy low sell high” strategy which illustrates how to consume prices and interact with orders.  More exchange backends to come (or feel free to contribute more).

CppCon 2016

One of the great perks of working at Chicago Trading Company is our conference budget. We get to attend two conferences a year. Even though I just started, the company sent me to Bellevue, WA for CppCon 2016. It was an awesome, seven-day experience! We attended a two-day advanced C++ training session, then spent the remaining five days attending the different CppCon tech-talks and presentations.

I learned a lot, met some of my old friends and made new acquaintances. I even bumped into Bjarne Stroustrup, the father of C++, who happened to be staying at the same hotel. It was great!

My schedule: https://cppcon2016.sched.com/filipfracz (PDF)

By far my favorite session was the keynote by Jason Turner where he built a Star Wars pong game in C++17 for the ancient Commodore 64. It’s really fun to watch, especially the optimizations that the C++ compiler performs on constants. Very neat.

 

All presentations are available on YouTube and the code is on GitHub.

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Trump Wall, the game

Political satire

I had too much time on my hands in-between jobs, so I figured I would have some fun. I went to Florida to babysit my teenage sister during her spring break, but I quickly realized it was a pretty boring task. When we weren’t at the beach or driving, we would watch election coverage on TV. Political tensions were flying high. In-fighting within both political parties. Just bring out the popcorn. I was really rooting for Bernie, yet it was Trump who was getting the most press.

I decided to code up a little game in order to capitalize on the Trump love/hatred that was sweeping the country.

Enter: Trump Wall, the game!

Trump Wall has a very trivial gameplay. You are helping the newly elected President Donald J. Trump fulfill his (filthy) promise to build the wall along US-Mexican border. You do so by tapping the square outline of bricks. Obviously, the wall is built from the bottom up (you’ll be surprised how many people get confused by that). And since you start from the bottom, that’s a perfect place for me to place an advertisement banner. The more clicks, the better 😉
You complete the level by filling in all the bricks. Once you get all the bricks, you hear Trump proclaim that “the wall just got 10 feel taller”, and the background moves up towards the sky.

The background is usually a random “Welcome to xyz” sign for the southern states that share a border with Mexico. As you complete more levels, you eventually reach one of Trump’s planes or helicopters. Naturally, the game does not have score “points”. Instead, the score represents a number of pesos spent on building the wall.

 

It obviously wouldn’t be a Trump game, if it didn’t feature Trump’s (in)famous sound clips! (“Who’s gonna pay for the wall? Mexico! Who? Mexico!” “We’re going to have strong, incredible borders!”, and so on). I went through countless YouTube videos of his actual speeches to collect them. I cannot believe people are buying this racist stuff. What a world we are living in!

But what about Bernie? Well, I included Bernie in the game too! As the levels get harder, Bernie’s election stickers stand in the way of some of the bricks. You then really need to mash them in order to make Bernie disappear.

Overall it was a fun side project. Political satire is a great way of poking fun at our presidential candidates. I had no issues publishing the game to Google Play, but Apple gave me some serious grief. I was rejected multiple times and had to remove a majority of the controversial content. I understand they are just protecting themselves, but how is it my fault that we have such a “tremendous” presidential candidate? 😉

You can download the game here.

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Back to Chicago

I really liked my gig at Thomson Reuters and had a great time working on my team. Reuters managed to gather very smart people, both in the US and in China. I had a blast.

What wasn’t so cool was the commute on I-290. For the uninitiated, it’s one of the busiest highways in Illinois. Despite the fact that I was “reverse commuting” the traffic would sometimes be brutal. NPR helped, but I felt like I was just wasting time sitting idly in the car.

Some friends reached out to me and I took the bait. I decided to join Chicago Trading Company. Right downtown, so bye-bye commute, bye-bye I-290! I’m looking forward to my first day!