Author Archives: admin

Delayed Progress

A major hurdle was passed over this long weekend. I’ve tried many different data providers (Yahoo, Weather Underground etc) and I’ve written automated scripts to download weather data for each of them. Finally I found one that doesn’t require me learning a lot to make it work (don’t ask me but JSON and I don’t get along).

After that, once I had the weather data, I just needed to connect the dots. Securities are updated with their last “price”. Money moves according to the positions and quantity of those securities. And everything runs automatically without my intervention. W00t!

Mark to Market – the act of moving cash out of client accounts (i.e. yours) when weather goes against your position (making it worth less) is not working – and for the time being, won’t happen. Money only moves when securities EXPIRE.

And only certain cities are covered (Toronto, Mississauga, some others) but each day (not just Saturdays) are set up (again, automatically without intervention).

So enjoy. Feel free to suggest changes. Or request explanations like “so what does this site do exactly?”

Update: Trade Settlement works (better). Both buyer and seller (long and short positions) require a deposit equal to the Price * Quantity (which is transferred into an company account). On Expiry, the combined amount is (will be) deposited into the Seller’s account then immediately before settling up. This is the equivalent of the seller receiving a premium for having taken on the risk, their own deposit returned to them and only then working out the payment to the buyer (if any) equaling the quantity * rainfall (or wind speed or temperature).

Binary Options

Okay, I wouldn’t even post about these instruments except that the Quebec securities regulator decided they had become so popular as to warrant a warning to “investors”. I always passed by such ads assuming everyone would view it as gambling and prone to abuse. But alas, these types of ads show up everywhere including financial sites that ought to ban them.

How to get abused: Binary options are a true/false wager where something volatile goes up or down (e.g. stocks, foreign exchange) in a short period of time (within minutes). If you wager it will go up and it actually goes up, you get an 80% payout (let’s say). If it instead goes down, you lose 100%. The person(s) on the opposite side of the wager get 80% of your loss, much like you get 80% of their loss.

Besides the fact that some intermediary is pocketing 20% somewhere (high for equities on a stock market but not so high for brokers dealing in Pink Sheet stocks) the expected result (from my probability class) is worse than Blackjack, Roulette or pretty much any gambling you can find in a casino including slot machines! And with Pink Sheets you can at least pretend you bought part of a viable company.

If the payout for binary options were close to 50-50 (like Blackjack, Craps or Roulette) then it would be a reasonable gamble to “invest”. But since the 20% for binary options is larger than the 10% a casino pockets for Slot Machines, this is worse than gambling. It’s a whole category beneath gambling – it’s like locking yourself in a room with Tony Soprano and his goons while you can only leave after giving up 20% of everything.

Foreign Exchange is completely random in the short term and nearly impossible to get right in the long term. A large investor can move big stocks (or prevent them from dropping) for short periods of time – which means any bets you make can always go against you.

This is such a dirty business I have no idea how any one could call this an investment. It’s worse than a boiler room.

Almost Twenty Years of Projects

In response to Seth Godin’s recent post I thought I’d provide my own list of projects I’ve done with varying degrees of success. All of these are *personal* projects, not the unexciting professional projects that someone else wanted done (those are secret).

1995 – Space Invaders clone as a CS project in grade 12. After killing everything the boss had to be shot multiple times before he died.

1996 – Mario brothers clone. Another student had a side-scroller with way better graphics, but mine was more of a “game”. He just focused on the graphics “engine” and all you could do was move around.

1997 – Joined a extracurricular CS team at uWaterloo that was to control a traffic light. First meeting was the last. No leadership. No result.

1998 to 2002 – University of Waterloo (dead years)

2002 – took the Canadian Securities Course because I was interested. Got a job on a Trading floor as a result.

2004 – Outside of work created FIX parser/engine. I forget why I did it. Or how.

2009 – Wrote a 50k word novel as part of the

2013 – Started a Securities Matching Engine. Added a web front end. Then a custody system. Then created securities and a data interface with multiple online weather providers.

2014 – Got a job integrating FIX for a Capital Markets firm and automated their manual ticketing for Options. Compiled a FIX parser/engine using Quickfix. To be added to Massive Rainfall. Drank my first Red Bull.


Parable of the Lost Bitcoins

There once was a man who found a wallet full of Bitcoins on a piece of land. He sold all his possessions in order to raise enough money to buy this land, and the wallet was then his. But then the evil bankruptcy court found out about the wallet and it was returned to the filthy liar who stole them in the first place. Or that’s how I interpret it.


The folks at Mt.Gox found *some* of the Bitcoins they previously had said had been stolen by “hackers”. CNBC has a story (as do lots of others) and thankfully, as part of the bankruptcy proceedings, and possibly the activities of hackers trying to help the Bitcoins were *found*.

I’m of course suspicious – terribly suspicious. Bitcoins are just so loseable – which isn’t actually a word – but describes how easily these things are stolen. Just ask this TV host. I mean, of what I understand about Bitcoins, they’re held on a public ledger so at any point should you not be able to find who owns any given coin at any given time? Maybe not immediately – but all encryption becomes obsolete eventually – and maybe we’ll learn then who took the Bitcoins from the cookie jar.

What is taking so long!?!

So here’s the checklist:

  • Kickstarter is good to go
  • Securities can be created (automatically or by the user if they so desire)
  • Orders can be submitted
  • Trades can be filled, matched and settled

So why don’t I launch?

  • Trades don’t update the user’s position (FIXED MAR 14/15)
  •  Which means I can’t tell if Mark-to-Market actually works (NOT ACTIVE)
  • Minimal Viable Product => Not ready

It’s frustrating. I just want it to *work*!