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PostSubject: Software Review   Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:27 pm

So over the past few months, I've been getting a ton of phone calls, emails, and post cards from different companies asking me to contact them because they wanted to give me free trading software. Since it was free, I figured I'd try them out and post some reviews. So here's what I have to tell you...



Reuters Bridge/Quote Center
Cost $144/month or $1,408/year
Includes subscription plus real-time NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ, OPRA, News

Overall the platform is very good, I have used it before when I was working in the industry as a professional. There layouts can be adjusted to fit your style in almost any way you like. For those who aren't to technical savvy, there are templates available for every possible window you can think of. Everything is well organized and easy to find whether you're an intraday trader or end of day trader. You can view the technicals, fundamentals, see who's buying, see insider activity, and adjust your news to update automatically based either on the top stories or change to whatever symbol you are clicked on.

My favorite part about the platform is system would probably have to be the option chains. You can drag and drop symbols into the chain then have everything pop up instantly.

For me, the worst part about the system is the technical indicators are very lacking. Some of my favorite indicators are not available. Even the highly popular Bollinger Bands are not available. The analysis studies included are: center moving average, exponential moving average, high/low bands, ichimoku kinko hyo, macd, modified moving average, momentum, simple moving average, oscillator, percentage envelope, relative strength index, stochastic, trend strength index, volume weighted moving average, and weighted moving average.

My opinion, if you can live with those basic indicators, it's definitely worth getting.
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PostSubject: Re: Software Review   Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:58 pm

LiveCharts
$347/month or $3,732/year
Cost includes real-time NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ, OPRA, News


The software is web based and runs in java. Overall it's adequate if you're on the road but in most places it's very inadequate and the data can lag or be in error. For the cost, the product does rival all of it's independent data competition. There are no data limitations or chart limitations. From what I have seen, I was able to open as many charts as I want without any crashing. I don't recommend having charts opened all over the place as java has been quite unreliable. If you can't even play multiple poker tables online, you definitely shouldn't use it to view multiple chart if you're managing your own money.

My favorite part about the software is that there are a ton of technical indicators that you can use. Off the top of my head, there must be about 40 different studies available. Another perk to the traveling platform is that you can open it anywhere without any downloads. Simply go to their website and login.

For me, if you have the computer power, I recommend going with a premium platform which is a software download. There was plenty not to like about the platform. The indicators were very clunky, not much display customization available, and you can't zoom in on charts. Even when you are signed up for option chains, it's very difficult to find your way to them. In fact, I still haven't found them. There is nothing to right click and they use simple menus because of it being set up as a java application.

If you need customer service, don't count on getting any. Even though the product is pushed by eSignal, you don't get eSignal support, you don't even get telephone support. Support is made through email and 'hopefully' they get back to you within 72 hours.

Personally, I think the negatives outweigh the positives. If you're strapped for cash, I'd recommend finding a discount broker which gives you the same tools but better and just pay a little more for the trades.
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PostSubject: Re: Software Review   Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:51 pm

Tradestation
Cost: $106/month
Includes real-time NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ, OPRA, News

Even thought tradestation is an online brokerage firm, I thought that it deserved to be listed among the other software providers. The reason I chose to list it with other software is because the platform is pretty solid and almost as good as other platforms out there. You pay a professional level price but an almost professional platform. I think that tradestation's platform is definitely up there when it comes to stability especially since it is a downloaded platform, not java based.

The Options Chain isn't really that useful and loads quite slow which is a big turn off. However, some perks about it is that you can chart option symbols.

My favorite part about the platform would be the order bar, not necessarily anything special within the data or display itself. The order bar lets you customize your orders permanently to be a static dollar amount or share/contract amount. One downfall is that when trading options, they won't allow you to use anything outside of 0.05 and on option expiration day, they close out all of your positions at the ask 15 minutes before the close.

As far as a favorite part within the platform, I would have to say that it would be that the number of indicators and the ability to customize them are definite perks.

There are however, quite a few issues. They tend to have data issues on both stock and options somewhat often. Options tend to have huge data issues frequently which is horrible when they call themselves the best for options trading. Also you must always have a minimum of $2,000 in pure cash to enter a position whether long or short.

Customer service isn't great at all. At some times they have phone issues and other times their outgoing wires and ach have proven to be very unreliable.

However, for the cost and the commission, it's definitely worth considering - just try to avoid options.
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PostSubject: Re: Software Review   Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:01 am

Metastock Pro
Cost: $100/month or $960/year Software Only or $1,395.00 one time fee (Software for Reuters Data) or $1,695.00 one time fee (Software for eSignal Data)
Cost: $235/month or $2,400/year Software + Reuters Data

Included: Charting Tools


I was very intrigued by the free demo CD they sent me and the almost annoying phone calls to try their program at no cost. However, in order to use Metastock you will need to not only pay a hefty price for their program but also have a data subscription to Reuters or eSignal in order to use it. Metastock boasts that 85% of all of their clients do better in the market just by using their program so I attempted to dissect it and see what the fuss was about. Honestly, I wasn't too impressed. The software is very difficult to navigate through which is why they give you several "free gifts" on how to use the software which is harder to remember than the guy's name down the block. Because it attempts to chart the stock on real time, it connects to your Reuters or eSignal data which makes the data slightly delayed by one or two seconds.

Much of the benefits such as news and option chains are not in real time. The program does have a clean layout which is probably why many people use it as their choice for charting but I've noticed several issues with it. The program isn't very sophisticated. They haven't figured out a way to properly store your settings (everytime you open a chart, you have to add your settings to the chart again), keep your current tool as constant (if you're using a drawing line, you have to click it again to use it again which gets annoying), the software takes a very long time to load and crashes 10% of the time during the load, if you have more than 5 charts open at once the software freezes or the data doesnt update or the software crashes all together.

They have online tech support which is usually quite slow but basically you always get 1 of 3 answers for everything - open your task manager and close everything related to Metastock, reboot your computer, or reboot in safemode and reinstall everything.

The sales reps have no knowledge at all. As I was tempted to test them, I asked for recommendations for add-ons and was told different information by 4 different sales reps. I asked for excel spreadsheets which they said they had which charted a comparison of all their add ons, 2 had the same excel sheet and 2 others had different sheets. They all gave conflicting information against their spreadsheets. They make a ton of errors when it comes to getting you out your add ons. Once they make the sale, dont expect any help from them, they attempt to stall for as long as possible so that your 30 day trial ends and you can get stuck with software you dont want and they collect the commission.

Pros: clean layout

Cons: crashes, bad sales support, bad tech support
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