Friday, May 30, 2008


It's easy to be nice when things are good. Being nice in difficult times is much harder.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Have been catching up on a huge backlog of blog posts which i should read, but can't find the time.

May '98 has been the prominent theme. Ahmadiyah also. It's like a backlog of pogroms.

That's another thing, why Tragedy '98? A tragedy to me is accidental, random. May '98 seemed to happen like a fucking Swiss clock. This is a good post.

Following on from that there's an anti-multicultural post. I dunno, what all the fussing is for. You break the law you get punished, real simple .

Monday, May 12, 2008

Imaginary Wealth

Over the last few weeks I've had this idea for a trading strategy. Basically a set of rules which describe when to buy or sell currencies. I input those rules into my PC which makes decisions for me really quickly.

The difference with programming a trading strategy and a potentially marketable piece of software, is that you know that you can get instant gratification once you have a trading algorithm. You don't need to market or distribute a trading algorithm or have a fancy front end, iron out the bugs and it's (hopefully) making you money from the word go!

Well that's the theory, I can always hope, eh?

Amazing how my psychology changed once I could see theoretical profits being computed in front of my eyes (based on data since 1999). The morning after, I went to work, and I was convinced I had this trading business licked. I was think about setting up my own hedge fund, living by a beach in Manado, maybe doing one or two trades a day and then devoting the rest of my time to teaching programming to kids in the local pesentren (for me programming is like mental kung fu, a bit like the kung fu in Shaolin Soccer).

Talk about getting carried away! Once I got home, I spotted two serious mistakes. I would now have made large losses over the last 9 years with the strategy. I could see my decades stuck in offices in front of me. Drudgery! But then I tweaked the strategy a little and was back into dreamland! :)

Everyday has been like that, I just hope on the final day of tweaking and poking, I'll have a strategy that'll reap me large returns on paper as well as in reality.

At the moment, I need new market data and have to nix a particularly dodgy assumption I made on price movements. But until I do that, the strategy is showing profits of around €200k with €1k initial investment over around 9 years.

I think I'll choose to live in ignorance a while longer, feels good to be imaginary rich :)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

7,000 Rp Coin

Yesterday I spotted a 50c (7,000Rp) coin on Grafton Street in Dublin (one of Dublin's main shopping streets).

As an amateur economist, I thought I shouldn't bother picking it up, as if it was real wouldn't someone have picked it up already?

In the end I did pick it up, and I think I will incorporate the coin in my new EUR USD FX trading strategy.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Next he'll be wearing gaudy Batik shirts -- why don't Europeans understand Batik??

Monday, May 05, 2008

Down in Smoke

The Indonesian government will get rid of its oil subsidy.

I don't have current figures to hand, but that would mean 10-20% of the budget won't go up in smoke, but could be invested for the future, e.g. education and healthcare.

This is a really positive move. Now if it turned to opening up rice imports (and exports) that would be really positive!!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Blogbrary 2008

Ppl are looking for book donations for kid's libraries in Jakarta.

I remember going to the libraries with my dad when I was a kid. The idea of getting an Asterix comic for *free* or a book about ancient Egypt or Rome was amazing...

Actually when I first went to Jakarta I asked about whether there were any public libraries, and ppl looked at me as if I had two heads... :/ Man I was so sick of going around malls after that trip... Aksara was the only relief I got, and that's damn expensive!!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Photographer's PC

My dad's a photographer in need of a new PC. So this afternoon we sat down and ordered one.

The main goal of this PC is to process raw files into jpegs quickly.

Raw files are analogous to digital negatives, they contain *all* the information the sensor sucks in once a picture is taken, unlike jpegs which remove non-discernible information to keep files sizes small. Raws can be very handy once you are editing your pictures, raws give photographers way more room to manoeuvre when editing, e.g. tweaking a picture's exposure or recovering a picture from under or overexposure.

First thing to choose was between Apple, Windows or Linux.

I use Linux so I'm biased toward it (check it out here!) but unfortunately you can't get any pro quality raw processing software for it. Bumber!

So, it's that old chestnut again, Apple vs. Windows!!

I loathe Windows. I work on XP everyday, this OS is 7 fscking years old already (my Linux OS gets refreshed every 6 months, it's beautiful software btw...) and from all accounts Vista is like XP ME. Yuck!

I haven't used OSX all that much, but it's lovable! :)

So why then did I choose Windows over Apple? Well before I answer that, let's deal with another choice, dual core vs quad core processors.

A key ingredient necessary for quick raw file processing is cores, lots and lots of cores. Dual cores are great for everyday use, they're really snappy for users who do at most two heavy load tasks at a time, basically 95% of users.

Raw file processing is different though. My dad could have 20 files upwards being processed at one time! 5 files per processor will be gobbled up much more quickly than 10 files per processor, even if the individual gigahertz per processor is slower.

The problem with Macs is that however sweet they are, their quad core Mac Pros have a starting price of €2,000. iMacs are great machines, but are limited to dual cores.

So Windows it is. Did I mention how much I hate Windows?

Dell, Acer, Lenovo, HP all make good quality machines. Problem is, they never give you exactly what you want, and if you want something (like extra RAM or hard disk) you'll have to pay through the nose for it.

That's why I build my own PCs. Building your own PC is really simple, and pretty interesting. What you end up with is a tailor made PC for less than you would pay for an off-the-rails Dell model.

I used this guide to get an idea about what components to look out for at the moment and tweaked from there. Vital statistics:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 2.50GHz 6M. Pretty much 2 iMac or MacBook Pro processors in one machine, sweet!! :) Interestingly Dell are still selling the older model to unsuspecting customers!

4GB Corsair RAM for €80. RAM from Apple or Dell is expensive - e.g. a 3GB RAM upgrade for a Mac costs €240, that's 4x more expensive!

1TB hard disk. Only an option on top end iMacs which start at around €1,900. And then the upgrade from 500GB costs €200. This Samsung 1TB hard disk cost a meagre €130 on the other hand! Lots of big image files means lots of storage is a must.

150GB 10,000 RPM hard disk. This baby isn't even an option with Dell or Apple as far as I could see. We'll install Vista on this disk as it runs 33% quicker than 99% of hard disks out there, giving Vista and all the other programs running off this disk a boost.

ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics with 256MB memory. This is the graphics card in the €2,500 Mac Pro. Graphics cards aren't a huge deal for raw processing, this will more than suffice, and it only costs €75, yikes!

With the other bits and pieces we kept to top quality brand name components - another advantage over Dells or Macs -- you know you're buying good components from the ground up, not just shiny cases!

Everything including Windows Vista 64bit cost €1050 (from Dabs) beating similar systems from Apple and Dell on price /and/ on specs - my dad is getting /exactly/ what he needs to do his job as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.