Trading Life: Tools Of The Trade


We get a lot of questions about the tools we use in our business and trading life.  So, we decided to create a page that lists them all.  We think you’ll be very surprised by some of them if only because you might never thought about those aspects of trading or business.

Trading Platforms

Our primary platform is Tradestation.  Our backup platform is Interactive Brokers.
Yes, you always need TWO platforms. In fact, you should have two of everything – two internet connections, two trading platforms, two types of phones, at least two computers with two screens, two routers, two sets of backups from two different backup software…  Stuff happens and things fail.  You always need a backup!  And, if possible, a backup for the backup.

Research Platforms

We use AmiBroker to calculate certain proprietary indexes and use CSIData and Pinnacle Data for end of day data that we might not get with our two primary trading platforms.  CSIData is used to feed AmiBroker’s database.

Adaptrade’s Builder is an intriguing tool with potential but we haven’t been able to get anything useful out of it yet.  Their MSA (Market System Analyzer) product works well for Monte-Carlo type simulations.  As far as application in the trading realm, it is the most polished tool out there.

We have multiple licenses for Multicharts but do not use it at this time.  In fact, we’ve owned licenses for years but even after 5+ years of waiting the software is way too unstable for serious work which is a shame.  They have such potential and great ideas but their execution leaves a lot to be desired.

File Sharing

We use DropBox for most our file sharing and synchronization needs.  But because it does not offer encryption, our data is visible to prying eyes when stored on their servers. So, we utilize BoxCryptor to automatically encrypt some of our more sensitive files that are stored on Dropbox so that even Dropbox can’t see their contents (definitely recommended for any Dropbox user).

CloudXplorer allows us to manage files in Azure and Amazon S3.  BucketExplorer gives us an alternative tool that is multi-threaded when we need to manage lots of Amazon S3 files.


In addition to DropBox which allows us to share our files, we use Gotomeeting for screen sharing and meetings, or Gotowebinar for larger scale presentations.  We also use HipChat for text chat among ourselves and our customers if video isn’t a necessity.

Logmein and TeamViewer are used for remote access to our computers as necessary.


While we use BoxCryptor to automatically encrypt some of our more sensitive files that are stored on Dropbox, we still need encryption for email.  For that, we use two products.  Virtru is the easiest to use but uses non-standard encryption protocols.  Its great for everyday use to keep the casual prying eyes out and is available on all major platforms and all major web based email services.  For industry standard PGP encryption we use GPG For Outlook which, given the name, you can guess only works with Microsoft Outlook.

Keepass (free, open source) is used to secure our numerous passwords.

VeraCrypt (the replacement for TrueCrypt) is our tool of choice for creating large encrypted containers.  Its free and works well.


We use multiple backup software on our machines.

Newspapers, Blogs, Websites

We subscribe to Mercenary Trader and Casey Research’s One Pass.  We read Peter Brandt’s blog religiously along with John Mauldin’s free weekly newsletters (he has multiple).

Hootsuite and Buffer are used to manage our social media accounts and Microsoft One Note is used to store all kinds of miscellaneous information that tickles the pack-rat in us.

We use Microsoft Outlook to manage the ridiculous number of email accounts we have.  Running a business requires so many different email accounts.  At various times throughout the year, ScreencastSnagitCamtasia and Mailchimp play a role in our lives.

Windows Live Writer is a tool that we used to use for posting to blogs (and still use occasionally).  Unfortunately, Microsoft stopped supporting it and many sites no longer support the metaweblog or typeapi apis required to make it work.  Its really too bad because no other blogging too comes close to what it [Windows Live Writer] can do.


The basic QUICKEN Home and Business software is used to manage our accounting and pay our bills.  Beyond that all we need are EXCEL spreadsheets.

Office Equipment

We use custom-built desktop computers running 6 or 8 monitors for everything.  The only commercial computer we use is an HP ENVY laptop for when we’re travelling.  MSDN provides a lot of our test software whenever we contemplate making a Microsoft purchase.   We use an HP X576dw printer which is the best printer we’ve ever used.  Paying for a high-end printer was definitely worth the price after the issues we had with multiple consumer grade printers (anyone want a couple of printers for cheap?)

Obviously we use Microsoft office as our software office suite.  But we also have a motorized adjustable desk – over time we’ve learned to stand more instead of sitting around all day.  It was pricey but definitely worth the expense.

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