Trading stage Two

Well, we seem to have survived stage one , perhaps losing money, perhaps blowing our first account, but we’ve seen the light and the path to riches is still laid before us.

Time to discover indicators! Moving averages, bollinger bands, parabolic stop-and-reverse. So many to choose from!

So we jump to google or crack out our trading for dummies book and see that we’re missing indicators! THATS  why we failed last time! Nothing on our graphs to tell us what’s going to happen and when to take a trade!

So we think , I’ll add a couple of useful indicators and learn what they mean. We start by setting up moving averages as all the books and web tutorials say we should. EMA-15,EMA-45 and EMA-90 to start. We change the colours (possibly making them match the ones in the tutorials). We might even be brave enough to take a position based on moving averages crossing or some other voodoo we’ve read on some random guys website.

We lose. Stinging from the loss we regroup. Change the indicators, they cant be showing enough information. Add a few more for good measure. The parabolic SAR look like what we need. IT TELLS US WHEN A TREND IS REVERSING!  Holy smoke, we’re going to be rich (again).

We take another position base on a Parabolic SAR indicator, we watch as it goes against us. We panic, get out early and congratulate ourselves on only losing a dozen pips. Then the trend changes and we watch as it turns and would have made us 150 pips if only we’d held the position!

Damn You SAR.

Add some more indicators, it must be that we’re using the wrong ones.

adx-4-mhsbullSo we keep adding indicators until our chart looks like an explosion in a rainbow coloured wiring factory.

We take another position looking for patterns in the lines hoping the indicators will give us the confidence to make pips. Even though we can barely see our entry position in the mass of coloured bars we still manage to watch as the position goes against us again and our money start dwindling away at a rate of knots.

So we go back to basics. Remove all the indicators. Follow the tutorials again. This time I’ll pay attention to what the indicators are telling me. Add different indicators.

We cautiously take another small position. We win! WE WIN!

We quickly come to the conclusion we were reading the indicators incorrectly!

We’re going to be rich (again)!

We increase our lot size. Not caring about risk:reward ratios or following the golden 2% rule. Now we’re winning all is good in the world.

Our lot size is massively disproportionate for our meagre live account size but we don’t care we’re WINNING!

Then disaster strikes. An announcement from a central bank, they’re cutting interest rates. Our positions tank, costing us almost our entire account! We panic, close out our massively negative positions possibly blowing our account. What went wrong??

In our rush to ignore the 2% rule and our skimming over the working out appropriate lot sizes we managed to overlook the bit of the tutorial about stop loss orders!

If only we’d paid more attention, read more tutorials. Damn those indicators, it must be the developers fault! That or it must be those crappy tutorials! Yes, its their  fault!

Pretty soon we realise we must be doing something drastically wrong. But we still blindly continue to read the tutorials, read more books, perhaps take a training course. But still we find our account sustaining losses.

Time to change tack. Perhaps praying for pips will work. ‘Cos prayer always works.


Yes, even prayer-cat has more pips than you.

Trading Stage One

Ok, you’ve heard of Forex trading. You’ve seen the fancy houses and the lifestyles of the rich and famous and heard how they’ve made their money from the markets. You may have even got  friend of a friend who’s second cousin twice removed’s uncles brother has retired at a young age from the forex markets (I have – girlfriend’s brother-in-law retired at 27).

So you think, wow, that must be a quick path to unlimited riches! So you crack out your Google-fu and enter “make money in forex” and end up reading articles like this or  this, promising that reading a few articles and some helpful tips pages will get you that 160ft  yacht you’ve always dreamed about. Easy riches… I’m going to be so rich I’ll be wiping my arse on 20’s because the 10’s crinkle with sharp edges.



So, you read an article on setting up shop. Read another article on finding a broker or click on one of the million banner ad’s you’re now being bombarded with as a reward for mentioning the word “Forex” in a Google search.

Not really understanding what functions a broker should perform you choose the one promising the greatest riches! You come across new phrases like “NO DEALING DESK!”, “Auto Trade”, “pips” & “0 pip Spreads!”. You Google further hoping to quickly increase your understanding of these terms and speed yourself further along the road to riches!

Settling on a broker you open your first demo account. I’ll get used to this with monopoly money you think to yourself contemplating your new life as nouveau riche.

You open your first positions using the brokers free platform, buying when prices increase, selling when prices decrease. Life is good. You see some wins and some losses, you feel the excitement and adrenalin, however because you don’t understand the mechanisms involved or what spreads and carries can do to your trading profits, your monopoly money account declines toward zero. You don’t quite understand why your losers are larger than your winners.

At least you won some you think to yourself. Lets start over.

You proceed to open a new demo account playing with a fresh batch of monopoly money. You say to yourself – I’ll try harder this time – perhaps reading and Googling about entry and exit points and stop losses and take profit orders. Maybe you blame the broker for your losses.

You’ve now got a bit more knowledge under your belt. You might understand candlestick charts and may have even read pages on profitable chart patterns, believing that a double top is the path to predictability. Maybe you’ve read a book on Naked charting or Japanese candlestick formations. You now come across a whole new set of terms, doji’s, hanging men and hammers. Still your monopoly money dwindles away to nothing again. Lets start over.

Time to enter Trading Stage Two.

The 4 stages of trading

Since my new job pays permie money not silly money, I need another source of income. Got to pay for those fast cars and cheap hookers somehow.

What to do? Bingo sites? Small eBay business? Write apps in my spare time? Take a second job working in a titty bar? Tempting. But none of those is going to get me one of these bad boys. And I need one of those bad boys like a need air.

No, I need REAL income not petty cash income, or loss of spare time. I need something that has the potential to outstrip my day job whilst not taking an excessive amount effort to perform. Something I can almost leave on auto pilot, do from anywhere and invest only a few hours here and there to start with.

Two words my friends. FOREX TRADING.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. Danger Will Robinson. Bankruptcy in a few short steps. Well, yes, but there’s never any profit without risk, and this looks like a route to handsome returns. If you’re liking the current poverty rate you’re getting from your ISA’s, workplace pensions, or savings accounts by letting some other Muppet manage your money for you, you don’t need to read further.

However, if you’re a real hard core capitalist and think Jordan Belfort’s lifestyle is something to aspire to, stay with me.

If you’re just interested in what the markets have to offer and want a method of making money where the rewards are unlimited and are governed only by the risk you’re willing to take, Forex trading is what you’re looking for.

So the next four posts will detail what I’ve learned so far. I’ll lay bare the mistakes I’ve made (and I’ve made some absolute whoppers, and YOU will too) and the lessons I’ve learned. I’ve become more financially aware than I’d ever thought possible, and all because I’ve been learning how to become a real Forex trader.

I’m almost a year into the journey of becoming a pro, and I know I still have a LONG way to go yet. I’ve been talking to people I’ve worked with about trading and I’m starting to sound like I know what I’m talking about, so writing about what I’m talking about will probably help solidify the knowledge for me and help me avoid having to repeat myself too often!

I cant promise I can make you into a real high rolling money maker but maybe I can entertain you with my screw ups and hopefully, maybe, possibly, help prevent you repeating my dumb-ass mistakes!


Turns out this thing is on.

So here we are again, another attempt at posting.

This time, no pressure.

No promises to post once a week (although I might).

No promises of interesting code (although there may be).

No promises of keeping multiple blogs for different subjects (NO there really wont be).

What I do promise however, is to attempt to make each post : mildly interesting, possibly useful, mostly using grammatically correct English,  and bring you wealth, love, hot chicks and world peace*.

So what’s new?

Well, I’ve given up contracting, maybe temporarily – who can refuse doubling your income overnight – but for now its something I must do. I’d just had enough of the same DULL projects, DULL web coding (anyone who knows me knows how much I *love* web work), DULL database work, and well just all round DULL crap. There’s only so many dull form-filling-validating-database-writing-report-generating pieces of crap you can stomach before you want to decapitate yourself in a fit of depression. I’d reached that point a few months ago.  I never thought I’d reach my fill of computers, having been a code monkey since the age of about 12….but it happened around about May ‘14. I was ready to give up tech and go and make furniture or something.

So, I took a permanent position doing quite possibly the most interesting code-work outside of the games industry. It’s re-ignited the flame that burned inside me that gave me the love of all things tech, and better still I’m in at geek-ground-zero.  I’m in the R & D Department of what can only be described at James Bond’s Q division.

It’s still a bit of a trek, an hours drive but it’s well worth it.

I *LOVE* my job.



*no, not really. Although there may be cheap hookers and coke.

Feeling a little neglected…

Fresh starts…

Yup, but this time it really is. Lots of personal stuff happened over the last 18 months that really slowed progression of anything to an absolute halt!

Firstly, personal health, like not being able to see properly or walk was a bit of a show stopper. But thankfully I'm completely recovered. Whew, that was close.

Secondly, I'm now (almost) divorced! Just waiting for the decree nisei and were all done. I still have the house and the kids, but since they're not really 'kids' anymore, I'm on my own at home most of the time.

Thirdly, near death experience in my car. I aquaplaned on all four wheels in torrential rain, so even four wheel drive and traction control couldn't save me! I spun at least 5 times, took out a speed sign, a large blue motorway sign a few trees and slid to a halt in the mud. Luckily I bounced around on the hard shoulder's grass verge and didn't end up back on the carriage way. Contrary to popular belief, I wasn't driving fast! About the ONLY time I was trundling along to get home and it all goes pear shaped! Still, the air bags and the car were amazing, if I'd been in a lesser car I probably wouldn't have walked away from it. Even the police officer that attended couldn't believe I walked out! Awesome car. Unfortunately no more.

I don't think that's gonna buff out.

So after the insurance paid out I bought another new car, hopefully this will last longer. It's a lot slower, but a MUCH better car!

Another advantage is petrol consumption. The Evo managed about 18mpg on average, 25 if I was lucky, and 4 if I was having fun. Cost of commuting was £70 fuel every two days or about £1,500 a month in fuel alone. The new Mercedes manages a good 45mpg taking it easy, and barely drops below 30mpg even when pressing on. So the car might be more expensive, but it will have paid for itself in 3 years. How about that for justification? :)


A post a day…and sniffing petrol.

Ha-ha, well the Christmas run of posting almost daily didn’t last!

repeat to yourself :




The drive and time spent in the car really is killing me. Another stupid mistake was rewriting the contract on extension to allow working 5-days-over-4, so at least I’d get 3 day weekends to work on my own stuff (i.e. Apple warez) and that didn’t really pan out either. The working day stretched from 9am to 7pm making me even more tired than before! Arriving home after 8.15pm, eating , then showering means that by the time I get to the ‘spare time’ its already 10pm.

Result : even less time to do anything useful and deteriorating health to boot. Not a good move.

However, you learn from your mistakes, and I’ll definitely take work closer to home next time.

One thing that did come out of all this was my need to enjoy the commute, so i bought a new car!

Ok, given its 120 mile round trip per day, i should have been looking for a diesel with a big tank. But i just couldn’t help wanting something special. I needed a reward for half killing myself. So I bought one of these.



It’s a brand new Lancer Evo X FQ330 SST and looks exactly like the image. Its an absolute MONSTER. A tank full only gets me 240 miles that’s on account of the tank only holding a measly 55L, and that’s taking it easy (26mpg), which translates to a visit to Shell (needs 98Ron) every 2 DAYS. I really do have to apologise to mother earth every time I get out!

However, I absolutely LOVE the car. The SST is automatic – this is the first automatic I’ve driven and I have to say its pretty amazing. The SST is    a twin clutch drive train with 2 six speed boxes so while you’re in the current gear the other box is pre selecting the next gear, so the gear changes are seamless and fast – taking about 1/10th of a second. This means that it will propel me to 62mph in fraction over 4 seconds and has a top speed 180+ limited to 155. There are so many driver aids to stop me wrapping it round a tree that the tech is more advanced than what i work with as a day job he he! The SST has three driving modes – Normal, Sport and Super Sport.

Normal behaves like an ordinary automatic keeping the revs as low as possible making it a civilised drive and trying to keep the MPG in double digits, Normal mode gets ~26MPG. Sport mode is where the fun starts. Throttle response is tightened, and the RPM is held in the power band so the turbo is always spooled up and ready. RPM is held in the current gear longer and clever stuff like the Active YAW control prevents the box from changing at stupid times like mid cornering. Then there’s Super Sport. This really is track mode. Throttle response is tightened up still further, and the box only changes at the red-line. I haven’t used super sport, sport mode is plenty frightening enough. The technology and engineering in this car is absolutely amazing. Another distinct advantage with this car is its a lot more subtle than my old Subaru was. It doesn’t look out of place in the Asda car park, but it still makes for a double take when you see the vents on the bonnet!

So, whilst it makes the commute a little more acceptable, I still don’t think that offsets the distance and time problems no matter how much fun i can have playing in traffic.


My contract is coming to an end , its been a fantastic 2 years at the the Library and although another extension is on the table I’m really not sure I can tolerate another 3 months of the commute of death. In addition, the 2 year limit of HMRC kicks in which means I’d effectively be taking a pay cut if I didn’t increase my rate to compensate amongst all the other HMRC worries that make you look like an employee rather than a contractor. I’m pretty sure it’s time to move on.

I sure my writing and photography output will increase when that old friend ‘spare time’ re-appears.

The good old days.

Check me out. I’m on a roll, a post a day, almost!. Anyway, the other night one of my old contacts, from a good thirty years ago pointed me to a site he’d found on line that had archived all our old demos from the Amiga days! OK, I’d better explain myself.
Circa 1985 me and a friend called Cosy set up an Amiga demo group call ‘Magnetic Fields’ with a guy from Rotherham who’s nickname was ‘No.5’. Yes, that was the main character from the film Short Circuit. I’ll leave the real names out to protect the guilty!
So, there we were with our A500’s Hacking cracking and packing anything that moved. I think Cosy may have been single handedly responsible for the downfall of commodore, but that’s another story. I was much more interested in coding stuff, and even though I’d had published products out from the tender age of 12 (on the vic20) this was where we really got to cut our teeth.
Decent graphics hardware and a nice fast 68000 CPU running at a whopping 8mhz! We had demos coming out of our butts. I was responsible for a few of the early MF demos which are all on that site! It’s amazing to look back at what a 16 year old kid was up to cracking out 3d demos using the hardware blitter to draw lines, render sprites, and i was also responsible for one of the most famous ( or notorious depending on your point of view) virus killers at the time – Interferon.
Interferon worked by hooking all the IRQ’s to replace its boot code
so that in the event of any virus ( or a competing boot loader) stepped in, Interferon would immediately heal itself, and survive the reboot. One trick Interferon had up its sleeve was that it also
replaced all the IRQ’s on the vertical blanking interrupt, which ensured that all those vectors we replaced 50 times a second! Nothing was getting past that sucker.
Funny thing was, the most successful virus killer on the Amiga was written in 1K of assembler. 1024 bytes. Whilst all this hackery pokery was great fun it did do one thing that changed my life, I got me into the games industry, where I stayed for a further 23 years.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Blog diverge. GO!


One of the problems I’d had with this blog was ‘what does it say?’. By that I mean, I had tech articles I’d want to write, photo’s I’d love the world to see, and general discussion items that might be of interest. I’d never really considered keeping multiple blogs for separate content, I thought it was too much effort.

Re-visiting this now WordPress is at V3.3 i find not only is the level of integration with all the previous tools I’d used really slick, but my range of iDevices make everything easier than ever. The workflow to post & barriers to adding multiple content streams really have dissolved.

So, I’ve split my content.

I’m now split 3 ways! Although i really struggled to post anything significant for at least the last couple of years, this should help focus any work I do.

will contain all my personal musings, thought articles and anything that isn’t covered by my photo blog or my tech blog.

Is my new photostream blog. It will be devoted almost entirely to iPhoneography, since the best camera is the one you have with you. Apparently. Until I’ve got lots of good iPhone only photos, I’ll post some DSLR images too.

and finally,

will contain any tech stuff I end up regurgitating. Thinking about tech blogging, there’s not much to say when you’re not at the bleeding edge especially when you no longer need to post technical articles for the ‘look at me, I’m techy, employ me’ treadmill. That’s not to say I don’t need to prove that, just less so when you have a good contract track record. However, i still love tech writing so there will be the odd bit of content that i thought might be useful or exposing something that tripped me up.


So, there we have it. 3 blogs instead of one. I really should be 3 times as many posts with a 1/3 of the work this time round.

Blog FAIL.

What a complete n00b. I couldn’t get my blog theme to look like it should, so I did the whole reset thing. Deactivated all my plugins. Cleared all caches.. Updated stuff. Exported my entries. Reinstalled WordPress.
No change.
So I went all hardcore. Back to the host. Delete WordPress. ( you can see where this is going. ) reinstall WordPress.
Success! Theme works perfectly. Reimport posts. All present and correct!
OH WAIT A MINUTE. All media now gone!

Good thing is I was starting fresh anyway, just a bit annoying that all the pics, zips, source stuff will have gone. I could restore a backup from host, but I don’t think the old stuff is worth worrying about.
So it really is a fresh start!