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Opening Disclaimer: The following are the views of this author, and does not reflect the opinions or recommendations of FX365i or anyone else.  Also, the author is admittedly strongly opinionated, and does not in any way present his views as “fact.”  This post just shares a bit of my journey in technologically supporting my trading educational experience as effectively and frugally as possible.

Now that THAT’s out of the way…

I am unabashedly a life-long Mac-head.  I have an iPhone, iPad, Mac-Mini running my home entertainment, and am typing this right now on a Mac Air.  Every bit of my life’s details, media and data coordinates between these devices and syncs seamlessly through iCloud.  So what?

Well, I started my student trader experience rudely discovering that the required trading platform is PC only, and abruptly encountered my first equipment challenges and decisions.

Before continuing about integrating these new PC activities into my Apple-esque world, something must be said about the beginning of our conduit chain, our internet connection.  It must be capable and reliable.

By capable I mean having bandwidth and speed to upload and download cleanly and without hesitation… As far as demand, I’m not doing 3D animations here, so I figure if my connection can stream media it’s fast enough to track candles and execute my trades.

Reliability is just as important.  The other day I lost my connection AFTER initiating a trade, becoming blind to its progress and unable to perform any exits beyond those already pre-set (thank heavens for protective Stops and Limits!).  Obvious as it may be, it’s important to remember that if one wishes to trade, one must first and foremost protect one’s connection to the InterWeb!

Back to my Mac/PC conflict resolutions…Once web enabled, I now needed a Windows environment for my trading software.  There are a variety of ways to do this, and one of the most highly touted is installing Parallels on Apple machines to run Windows.  It’s be said by others smarter than myself that one of the best computers to run Windows IS a Mac.  I of course chose another route.

I realized that if I would be attending the FX Live trading classes online, I’d actually need 2 screens: one to watch the instruction and another for my personal trading.  I considered just listening to the instruction as an audio-only radio show.  That would work fine if not for the fact that there’s a lot of worthwhile education presented visually in our live classes. As such, I came to the understanding I was not going to be able to rely solely on my Mac Air. Additionally, I was highly reluctant to introduce a Windows realm into my pristine Mac universe anyway (virus anyone? Windows updating, bugs and just the PC “unknowns”).

So I kept my Mac life intact and acquired a close-out PC at my local big-box store.  I went to Best Buy, but Fry’s would be another good choice.  Costco has good prices, but not the variety.  Also, I actually got better-than-Costco pricing taking advantage of the clearance selection of machines just replaced by updated versions.

I decided the most important feature was a large display.  There’s a lot of stuff going on in those charts, and these over-60-year-old (amazingly) eyes can use all the help they can get.  I found a just-antiquated new 17” HP for just over $300.  I only use it for trading, and a year later it’s still going strong.  All I miss in it is an illuminated keyboard, but this trading student’s budget sacrificed upgraded laptop features for other life’s luxuries such as food and rent.

The only other truly necessary purchase was a controller, as using the built-in laptop trackpad is impractical if not impossible for good chart manipulation and trading.  I’ve been super happy with my Logitech M570 bluetooth trackball.  It’s got great precision and sensitivity control, and I like having a stationary controller that doesn’t roll around on the top of my desk.

In technology as in life, everyone has different circumstances and preferences, and will find their own path.  Perhaps something in sharing mine will help you in yours. Or maybe this has just been five reading minutes in your life that you’ll never get back.


-Brian Cutler
Community Development Director
FX365 Institute

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