October 2010 Summary

For some reason, this month seems to have flown by, surprisingly so considering I've not been doing much pre-race trading, at least not this past fortnight.

I've been concentrating on the lay system as it seems to be the only thing that I am doing that is profitable. Despite a disappointing end to the month which saw 9 points walk out the door this weekend, finishing the month on 53.53 points is a cracking result. It continues to bode well for the future with a running total of 344.3 points since the start date on the 24th of May.

Brainstorming Session

A difficult concept when there's only one of me. There's few things I miss about working for a company, but taking the opportunity to just throw ideas about is one of them. I always found the process informative and challenging

I had the opportunity to do so tonight as my broadband when down around 6:30pm. Long term readers may remember the issues I had last year. With the wild winds and rain we've had today (Friday) I thought 'here we go again'. It transpires that BT had technical issues that were affecting many users throughout Scotland and the North of England.

Up And Running

At last, I have got the code in place to automatically analyse the current day's races and pick out the potential lay bet selections.

Since I started looking at this back in May, I've been manually trolling through the card using information from the PatternForm and Timeform sites in order to make my picks. This would typically take around 60 mins, but during the hectic summer months could easily be over 2 hrs simply due to the number of races and horses involved. Doing it manually would inevitably lead to mistakes as well so automating the process is long over due.

Flight Of The Phoenix

It seems that my announcement regarding the death of Binarysoft BDI last month was somewhat premature.

My Linux system updated Sun Java files this morning and, purely as a way of checking it, I launched BDI fully expecting to see an API error message again half way through the login process. Much to my surprise, it rose from the ashes and went straight in. I was able to open a greyhound market and promptly lose £3. No surprise there since my trading has been terrible for months, but a big surprise seeing BDI come to life.

It was like visiting a long lost friend.

Whether I continue to use it as a trading tool is something I'll have to consider. I doubt that the issue was caused by a Java problem. It's more likely to be API related and as such, is it likely to happen again. Bound too I would think given that it uses the old API which, I would presume, Betfair will ultimately disable completely.

Simply The Worst

Go on. Admit it. You saw that post title and you couldn't help but have a certain tune by Tina Turner pop into your head. Be warned, it will be with you all day now.

Today saw what was probably the worst single day in the life of the lay system. In the first six races I got involved in, I managed to find four winners. After the first two hours, the lays were down some 25 pts. Fortunately they rallied a little in the later races, but there was still a significant dent in the running total for the month, which has dropped by over 30% since yesterday.

Finally Up And Running

Finally got the Linux server completely revamped with a fresh installation of Ubuntu Server 10.04. I had a couple of permission issues with the Betfair PHP files I've been working with, but once that was resolved, everything worked fine.

The screen shot shows the MySQL section of Webmin displaying a view of the 203K plus records downloaded from the Betfair site in a matter of minutes. Webmin allows me to do vitually every type of administration I'd need to without having to open a terminal - though that can be fun too.

Giddy Up Horsey

I've been wanting to put a header image on the blog for absolutely ages, but couldn't find one I liked. I had intended showing lots of sports but seeing as I rarely do anything other than horse racing, this one fits the bill. Thanks to Free Horse Racing Photos for the photo. There's some nice ones there and are issued under the Creative Commons License and can be used on your website for free.

Long Story, Short

First up thanks to the chat room stalwart, Steve for the continued assistance on my botting exploits. I have a better idea where I'm going now though today's discussion during the hectic afternoon racing has flagged up a number of issues that, though not directly related to the programming task in hand, affects it none the less.

My little server that I have set aside to run all these tasks, as well as other facilities, is based on the Linux distro, SMEServer. This distribution is designed as a Microsoft Small Business Server alternative aimed at, yes you guessed it, small businesses.

Now I'm Lost!

The good news is the bot design is now under way. I started off today designing a routine that, with the click of a mouse, the day's data file, containing the results from the previous day, would be downloaded from the Betfair site, some of the data contained therein modified, then the file saved to my server before being fed into my database.

That worked I treat and I went on to modify it further so that it would do the same on any number of files en masse. That worked even better than I imagined downloading all 767 available win market files dating back to 2nd Sept 2008 in under 5 mins. 287 seconds to be precise.

I, Robot

It's been a week since my last post yet it only seems like yesterday. I've been a little bit out of action this week as far as blogging is concerned as I needed to get my accounts sorted and my tax return sent off. A tedious task at the best of times, though I'm my own worst enemy in that over the years I've tended to collate my accounts annually rather than keeping them up-to-date as I go.

That's it done now so I can get back to more important things.

Swings And Roundabouts

A new month and another assault on the exchanges. Some things though haven't changed. I'm still trading the pre-race markets with the same carelessness that has plagued me all week. A combination of bad entry points, bad decisions and extraordinarily slow reactions. I am getting old though, not too mention senile, so I do have an excuse for the third one.

I've also developed the rather nasty habit of throwing away big chunks of money in the last race of the meeting. Very annoying, though I suppose the solution is obvious - don't trade them!

Fortunately, other areas performed well and more than made up for the poor pre-race display.