Bar Charts Brought to Life: Index of Interactive Information for HTML and PDF

Bar Charts and the Information Challenge

Whether one is an unknown entrepreneur or Donald Trump, an elementary school teacher or a university president, a 6th grader researching other countries or a government leader visiting them, each person in any capacity has at least one thing in common: information.

Let me explain why I use bar charts as an example. Whether information is being acquired or distributed for business or educational purposes, the challenge that arises is how to compile all of the information. Bar charts are just one example of a variety of instruments for displaying information which is precise, yet simple.

This time is referred to as the “Information Age” because information about anything under the sun (and beyond) is now available in every home and hamlet. However, though information is one thing each person has in common, our interaction with it sets us apart. In many cases, the way information is accumulated may propel one business beyond the rest. On the other hand, the way information is disseminated may also set one business ahead of the rest. Can something as simple as bar charts make the difference?

Tools for Information Improvement

Bar charts, pie chart, or other types of business chart and business graphs are easily created using graphing programs with almost any word processing software. To create graphs in word processor for a database chart or a database graph is relatively simple and user-friendly.

Creating graphs and charts can also be done for a company website using almost any graph program or business mapping software.

HTML and PDF Interactive Information

Using the above-mentioned tools, compiling information using charts, graphs, and other informational mapping becomes very simple. But problems arise after initially compiling information. Online charts and graphs may include net charts, php graph, flash chart, perl graph, perl map, dynamic chart, dashboard chart, dashboard map, dashboard graph, coldfusion chart, coldfusion graph, dynamic flash, globfx, visual mining or any other data visualization tool, like a web graph or an executive dashboard. Creating these visuals online generally require .net technology.

There are online charts and graphs on the one hand, but there are also many charts and graphs made from word processing applications. The latter are usually saved as a PDF file, in order to preserve the visual integrity of the information when printing reports. These PDF files may include an archive report in the form of an archive PDF, api java PDF, PDF charts, perl PDF, PDF invoice, cold fusion PDF, C++ PDF, other pie charts and bar graphs. These are usually created using Adobe Acrobat.

Bridging the Gap Between PDF and HTML

The disconnect usually comes in trying to convert a PDF file to an HTML file or an HTML file to a PDF file. The gap between HTML and PDF has been bridged by an advanced PDF to HTML converter in recent data visualization software.

Now, visual information a user prints from the internet will no longer cut off because it does not fit the page, nor will a PDF document be distorted while writing it to the internet. Do bar graphs make the difference? The answer is that it depends on how you use it. With the possibility of interaction between HTML and PDF now available to the 6th grader, Donald Trump, and everyone in between, accessing and disseminating information can propel everyone forward into the Information Age.

“Special FX” Charts – What Are the Best FX Charting Software Packages?

For almost every trader, charting software is a key component to doing business. Forex traders are no exception. Without a good chart, it is impossible for most of us to get our arms around the market’s big picture when determining our next move. So for the forex trader, what is the best charting software?

As with so many pieces of the trading puzzle, there isn’t a single clear answer. Each of us will have different criteria by which we determine the charting software that best serves our FX trading business. However, without a clear idea of what those criteria are we stand a good chance of choosing a product poorly. The following is a strong set of questions I have found it useful to ask when determining which charts to use in my trading:

  1. Which forex broker do you trade with? This might be the single biggest component when determining your charting software. Every brokerage offers charting software (at least, I’ve yet to run into a broker which doesn’t), and some of the software is really quite good. If the broker you are trading with offers a charting package you find unacceptable, you have two primary paths of recourse. You can change brokers (not a big deal, but it is a bit of a hassle), or you can use 3rd party software to chart and continue trading through your current broker.
  2. Do you want to ‘trade on the chart’? Personally, I’ve never found this compelling. Sure, it is convenient to simply click a spot on the chart and enter an order to trigger there, but for precision order entry (which my own trading plan requires) is more of a hassle for me than just typing in an entry through my broker’s standard trading window. But if you are comfortable with a simple point/click/trade functionality and an order entry that is ‘close enough’ really is close enough, this could be a useful feature. Particularly if you trade in an environment which demands lightning quick action, this ability could be a deciding factor.
  3. Price. Obviously, paying a monthly fee for your charting software represents an additional cost of doing business. Some of these premium (meaning ‘not free’) programs are quite good, but usually the only improvement over a free charting package you’ll see is the addition of a few additional technical indicators. Unless your trading system absolutely depends on such a special indicator (or the capacity to program your own indicators, as with Tradestation or eSignal), this additional expense is probably unnecessary.
  4. Trade automation. Prior to the advent of Metatrader and it’s Expert Advisors there were only a small handful of charting software which provided trade automation. One of my favorites (and still is) is VT Trader. The charting software is very good, and activating a simple trading system is not complicated. If you are comfortable (and that is a big ‘if’) walking away from your computer while it trades your money behind your back, either VT Trader or Metatrader can provide good options. (But please, PLEASE let any system you implement paper trade for a while prior to using it real time).

So we can see that one size does not necessarily fit all FX traders when it comes to charting. But here are three packages that I use regularly:

  1. PowerCharts – you can find this software at http://www.dailyFX.com (click their ‘charts’ tab, to find multiple FX charting packages, both free and premium).
  2. FXCM – this is one of my brokers, and the charting package is fine. I have the option to trade on the chart, though I rarely exercise that option.
  3. VT Trader – this is the beefiest of the forex charting packages I regularly use. It has a nice set of indicators (unavailable in the other two I use), as well as the ability to program very simple trading systems.

Don’t take any of these as particular endorsements. There are quite a few FX charting packages out there; you owe it to your own trading business to see what will work best for you, but when you keep these criteria in mind you will certainly find the one which is right for you.

Stay timid!

Timothy

Business Plans 101

A business plan acts as a road map or compass; without it you will get lost in your business.

The biggest mistake is simply putting it off.

A plan contains a description of your business, an evaluation of your main competitors and several financial calculations.

But why are so many people so afraid or intimidated to write these plans of actions?

Many new business owners are so over-enthusiastic about their business concept, that they are desperately eager to begin and do not have the patience to look at the economic realities involved in their business.

Filling out the many financial forms in your plan can be an overwhelming process for any new business owner. Many are so intimidated by the financial calculations that they want to skip this process. If you recognize either of these tendencies in yourself, it is even more important that you prepare your financial calculations carefully and pay attention to what they tell you. Do not try to get out of it by telling yourself that your financial estimates will be wildly off base and yield useless results.

To alleviate this type of intimidation many have with a plan, it is imperative that Certified Public Accountants, bookkeepers, business plan or financial consultants be a part of your business support team. If you do not have these experts to assist you with your plans, you can take a course in accounting and buy the latest accounting programs.

Other resources to help you write a business plan include books, colleges and universities that work with Small Business Development Centers and counselors and mentors at the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). They provide low-cost classes on how to write business plans from $40 to $60.

Remember you are the brains of your business; your accountant is the heart and your attorney is the lungs. An accountant helps you keep track of your money and an attorney helps you protect it.

Since over 90% of start-up businesses are funded by private sources such as retirement or pension plans, unemployment insurance payments, savings accounts, divorce settlements, child support payments, etc., many people skip the business plan stage.

Even if you do not need money to start your business, writing a plan will help you see if your idea will be strong from the start. Without a plan, you leave far too many things to chance.

If you started your business without writing a plan of action and now you are close to running out of funds, then chances are you need to write an expansion business plan to look for other financing options while you move your business to the next level.

When seeking out funding for your business you need to make yourself known to financing sources well in advance of asking for financial help; approach multiple sources of financing; educate yourself on the available financing options; know which options are available to your type of service or product; determine which options to pursue at various phases of your company’s growth and always be ready to prepare your business for financing.

You definitely will need a plan if you are going to apply for a business loan, need investors, have business partners, have a management team, or are selling the business.

You can use your plan as a tool to generate interest from financiers, prospective employees and strategic partners.

Before you even start to write your plan, get copies of loan applications used by banks, commercial finance companies, and government. These applications will give you a good idea of how much financial information you will need to include in the business plan.

The most standard plan is a start-up plan, which defines the steps for a new business and the expansion plan which will take the business to the next level or to a larger market.

The plan count is not a good way to estimate how good your plan will be. Instead, measure the plan by readability. A good plan should provide a reader with a general idea of what a business owner is trying to accomplish after skimming or browsing over it for 15 minutes. The more standard start-up and expansion plans developed for showing outsiders normally run 20-40 pages of text, easy to read, well-spaced text, formatted in bullets, illustrated by business charts and short financial tables, plus financial details in appendices. Never write a business plan 50 or more pages.

At a minimum, your plan should have the following sections: Executive Summary, Company Description, Product or Service, Market Analysis, Strategy and Implementation, Web Plan Summary, Management Team, and Financial Analysis.

The most important part of your plan is the Executive Summary. The Executive Summary is an outline of the entire business plan. If you do not have a good Executive Summary, chances are the SBA, bankers and potential investors will not read the entire business plan.

Just remember that the most important audience for a business plan is YOU! Only you are accountable to all of the statements, claims, stats and facts inside of your business plan.

Remember by skipping the business plan stage chances are your business will face many, many risks and you might find yourself out of business within 2 to 5 years.