Poor Mans Quotrek

Discussion in 'Trading Software' started by elindydotcom, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. Ok, so I have this nice smart phone (the blackjack) and want to be able to view quotes/charts on it when I am out of the office or home. The need is occasional so I can not justify the costs involved in paying for a dedicated charting application like Quotrek and another set of exchange fees. So I started looking around for a remote control application – and I bumped into an open source project for VNC that runs on windows mobile 5.0 for smartphones. http://sourceforge.net/projects/dotnetvnc/ This version does not require the use of a stylus and was designed to be driven by the phone’s keyboard only. There are a number of remote control type commercial applications for POCKETPC type devices (those that use a stylus) but none for the smartphones (those without a stylus). Anyway, this VNC project I stumbled onto is a good piece of work done by a fellow by the name of Rocky Lo.

    However, there are severe shortcomings when trying to use any real-world application, especially charting applications. It is slow to move around the VNC virtual desktop since movement is pixel by pixel. Not all keystrokes are defined (eg: ctrl-pgup and function keys are missing) and, in general navigation is a pita. Throw in a multi-screen host and it became almost impossible to use for an extended period of time for any trader.

    In order to remedy some of the navigation issues I contracted with a programmer to create a better navigation framework – i.e.: a way to rapidly move around the desktop. The cost, while high, would still be less than the cost of exchange fees and quotrek over a 1 year period. So, I bit the bullet and signed the contract. The first phase of this thing is almost complete but so far I’m the only one who’s been looking at it. So I was wondering if anyone out there would be interested in helping test it out. I have no intention of selling this as a product – it’s based on open source and will thus most likely end up in the open source arena when completed.

    Here are the navigation changes that have been made so far:

    1. A new option to create custom key combinations such as page-up and page-down. You can create your own set of frequently used custom keys. For traders, this means that you can send your custom key combinations to your trading software on your desktop to trigger your buy and sell hot keys. For example, tradestation users can create hotkeys to open, close and navigate workspaces. Etc. Etc.

    2. There are now THREE navigation modes:
    - Normal mode – this is the mode that is present in the version that is up on sourceforge.net. In this mode the arrow keys navigate you around the VNC virtual desktop one pixel at a time. The rest of the keyboard functions as normal keyboard, sending whatever you type to the application(s) on the host. We modified this mode so that you can send virtual custom hotkeys using menu options (even if the key is not physically present on the phone).

    - Navigate Desktop – This is a new mode that locks all keys and assigns some of them as hot keys to help you move around the desktop faster. In this mode, you can move up, down and sideways rapidly using just the keyboard. You can move in user defined increments (say, 100 pixels) or scroll full screens at a time. When you’re navigating a 4 screen host, this becomes very useful to rapidly get to where you need to be on the screen. In this mode, there is a new menu option that shows you the valid hot keys that can be used for navigation.

    - Navigate Application – This is a new mode that locks all the keys and assigns some of them as “special” keys. These keys are the CTRL, ALT, HOME, END, PGUP and PGDN. This way, you can use the smartphone keyboard to quickly navigate, say, a word document. When you want to type again, you exit this mode to return to normal mode. In this mode, there is a new menu option that shows you the valid hot keys that can be used for navigation.

    3. There is now better support for multiple screens. When you log in you can specify the width and height of your configuration (eg: 3 x 1 is 3 screens across by 1 screen high). If you use this, when you log in you will be restricted to seeing one screen. You can navigate to the other screens by using menu options or, if in “navigate desktop” mode, hot keys. This particular feature isn’t fully baked – I’ve seen some bugs in it but it is part of the scope of work so should be more stable soon.

    You will appreciate the two new modes once you try out the application and see how hard it is to navigate around in Normal mode. You can quickly switch back and forth between modes. So, for example, you will use one of the navigation modes to quickly get to the point of interest on the screen and then switch to normal mode to enter data or perform other application specific functions.

    The best way to use the program is to create a quote/chart layout that you think would work best on your small phone screen. To me this means a quote screen and a couple of chart screens that are linked. This way I can simply click on a symbol and have the charts update while keeping my navigation chores to a minimum. Realistically speaking you aren’t going to see more than one chart at a time so if you use this often you will quickly learn to tape read using just a quote screen!

    To use this program simply copy it to your smartphone and fire it up. The server can be running RealVNC (which is what I use) and, I believe ULTRAvnc (which is what Rocky-lo uses). Some features of the original product only works with Ultravnc. Generally speaking I've found that RealVNC is more stable when used as the server so far.

    Please post any bugs you encounter in this thread. As far as fixing them - bugs related to the new navigation I can get fixed since they fall under the fixed bid contract that was negotiated. Others probably came from the original work so I probably can’t get them fixed without paying more $$$. For those, I will pick and choose which ones will impact me and fix those (sorry ‘bout that but there has to be a limit). The source code of the final product should be available somewhere once the whole thing is done. At the very least I can send the original author a list of any bugs reported. I know he’s very busy and will probably not have the time to fix ‘em but at least they’ll be logged and noted for future reference.

    PS: Of course, since this is a remote control app, the quotes you see aren't going to be as speedy so don't even thing about using it for scalping or other rapid-fire type trading.
  2. Hi Oscarmayer:
    Yeah, the blackjack is great - gotta love the screen and the thin form factor.

    I have that mobile.quote.com site book marked but, unfortunately, the quotes aren't streaming :(. So I ended up using this program to get streaming quotes (or close to it) on the ocasions where I needed it.


  3. QuoTrek


    Yes, Quote.mobi is the "Poor Mans Quotrek" <b>IT'S FREE!</b> Yes, unfortunately the quotes aren't streaming but <b>IT'S FREE!</b> :)
    Quote.mobi works on any phone/pda with Internet access (BlackBerry, Palm, Windows Mobile, Nokia & even the iPhone).

    Go directly to http://mobile.quote.com on your phone/pda browser when you are out of the office or home for <b>FREE QUOTES</b>.

    Quote.mobi offers...
    Watchlists: 5 Watchlists with 10 symbols each.
    Interval charts: 1-, 5-, 15- and 30-minute, as well as 1-hour, daily, weekly and monthly.
    Pull-down menu: Quotes, charts and news.
    Hot Lists showing the most active stocks on NYSE, NASDAQ and AMEX.
    Currency Calculator.


    <object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/4zBF5J2Ttbc"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/4zBF5J2Ttbc" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object>
    <b>A short video clip</b>
  4. Surdo


    It is 30 minutes delayed, but I guess it is useful when I am fishing and really do not need LIVE quotes.

  5. Updated Build from the programmers. This one fixes a keyboard issue. It seems that each smartphone device may have a slightly different set of keyscan codes for the keyboard. So, a keyboard configuration utiltity was built. The side effect of this is that all the hotkeys for navigation is now configurable.

    To use this version, you need to go through a configuration process to set up the keys. Go to MENU then Select "KEYS AND KEY OPTIONS" then select "MANAGE KEY BINDINGS". Choose each key from the MENU selection and assign a key from your keyboard to it.


    PS: Please post or private any feedback or bugs.
  6. Samsung Blackjack to get an upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.0?

    There are rumors that the Blackjack is likely to get an update to the Windows Mobile 6.0 sometime after June this year.

    eLindy, are you going to update to WM 6.0 when it's available?


  7. It shouldn't require an upgrade since it's written to the .net api but, yes, once I purchase a phone with WM6 on it I'll do whatever changes are necessary to make it work (unless I find something that already works).

  8. TOS doesn't have something that supports the blackjack, has to have a touch screen. The TOS mobile tells me my session times out every single time I log in.
    #10     Jul 20, 2007