My review of Price Action Lab after two years of use - futures io
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My review of Price Action Lab after two years of use

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My review of Price Action Lab after two years of use

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  #1 (permalink)
Posts: 68 since Jul 2013

In the beginning we hesitated to purchase this software because we have tried some alternatives and we had no luck. Since we purchased it we have upgraded to all new versions.

  • Easy to use
  • Generated code is clean
  • Can easily test systems on different markets
  • It has a scanner for daily data
  • Systems tend to be robust if properly selected
  • Some nice features like a position size calculator, a random analysis tool and price series stats.

  • No multithreading
  • Must break data in in-sample and oos before search
  • Generated code is only for backtesting
  • No indicators - only price patterns (may be an advantage)
  • Only fixed dollar or percent stops
  • No free code for trials

The software works as expected and it does generate systems but future performance depends on selection process. We like it but you should do you own homework. We hope that this positive overall review will help the company to upgrade the software and provide more features.

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  #3 (permalink)
Houston, Texas USA
Experience: Advanced
Platform: NinjaTrader, MultiCharts, TradeStation, NeuroShell, AmiBroker
Broker: Interactive Brokers, TradeStation, DTN/IQ
Trading: TF, EMD, NQ, CL
harvester's Avatar
Posts: 30 since Mar 2011
Thanks: 12 given, 89 received

I wanted to share some feedback regarding Price Action Lab, outlining my experiences as a potential customer. It all ended up with me not getting the PAL system, and I thought it might be of interest to know why. I should mention that I'm one of the people out there who can really appreciate a great system building tool like PAL (or at least what's touted).

Let's start from the beginning. Last November, I read a thread here in one of the forums and am intrigued with what someone wrote naming PAL as a preferred solution. I should also note that I have a tool called Adaptrade (which should have its own thread), which creates thousands of possible systems in the blink of an eye. The very nice thing about Adaptrade, is that the resultant code (EasyLanguage, PowerLanguage, NinjaScript, etc.) are complete and ready to be compiled with no modifications. It's a non-programmers dream come true, but alas uses genetic optimization - which is the opposite of PAL that focuses on pattern recognition.

In any case, I quickly found the PAL website, and read about a demo. So two things that bothered me quite a bit in the beginning was that I had to prove my US citizenship by sending one of my utility bills, and that payment of the system (when it came time for that) was only via wire transfer. Not only was it a wire transfer, but each offer I subsequently received was to act within the next 48 hours. Wire transfers are a painful process and take time to initiate. I realize that payments are now including PayPal??, which is definitely a step in the right direction. I still don't understand the need of proving citizenship to prevent this getting into the hands of suspicious people living in "banned" countries. Seems just a bit paranoid, or is it just a marketing ploy??

I got approved for the demo, and quickly downloaded the software. The first thing I realized is that this is a somewhat non-intuitive software interface and there are quite a few things to understand before jumping into system creation. That's fair, as most of these systems are similar - even Adaptrade is a challenge to learn all the nuances. In fact, the first thing I read in the demo approval email is to make sure I read the user manual before using the system. After my "first blush" encounter with PAL, I could see why that's important. So I proceed to start reading the manual, which is after all, a 170 page document, filled with lots of information, some of which needs to be considered carefully. After about two weeks of reading (as I'm quite a busy person and could not read it cover-to-cover in one sitting), I had enough information to possibly begin using PAL. I then come to find out that my demo had expired. Bummer.

I wasn't really motivated to request an extension of the demo, as there was something I read in the User Manual that I got stuck on. The fact that PAL will not generate complete, ready-to-go code (like the Adaptrade system does). Even though I know my way around the various trading programming languages, I'm not really a programmer. There are a lot of things to consider when plugging in a core piece of code generated from PAL - like money management, risk tolerance, trade frequency, etc. Also, I like the concept of trading CME, COMEX, and NYMEX futures on day trading margins, which is counter to the idea of swing trading (i.e. using daily bars). My feeling after reading through the PAL manual, that day trading systems possibly may not work as well as swing/position systems, although it does mention how to use intraday data. To truly pull out patterns, you probably need lots of data, more than what's mentioned in the manual. At least that's my opinion, of which I'm willing to accept being wrong on this point. The fact is, this is a non-optimized "solution" based on patterns. I would always wonder if the patterns truly had an edge. Could I really create a great day trading system trading the NQ, CL, or YM???

The final point I've pondered is whether it's good to focus on one market and look for patterns within that market. If the patterns are really unique, they may not happen very often - thus not have many trade opportunities. This may not bode well for a day trading system in one of the few futures markets I like to trade. It would seem like PAL would shine in scanning through many markets (e.g. stocks), looking for those unique patterns. It's almost like PAL would be better if somehow it was hooked up to a scanner for browsing through the whole equities/ETF markets. This is what a company called Trade Ideas did, albeit quite a different approach to PAL, but interestingly TI is not really based on technical analysis which is one of the key points of whoever is behind PAL. BTW, Trade Ideas is actually a very interesting concept (once again another thread is needed).

In summary, I was disappointed about the whole free demo experience. I should have probably been told to read the manual first before getting the two week demo. I know that they've updated the payment method, but that was a distinct negative in the first place. However, the big issue, is not having plug and play ready code. If I'm in the market to buy a code generating system, it probably means I'm not a tier-one programmer. The overall process appears to be quite cumbersome from the first time you sit in front of PAL to the time you're actually trading. After all the ultimate goal is to be profitable, and "time is money".

The final observation I have with PAL is that they seem to be spamming me with "act now in the next 48 hours, to get this special deal" type of emails. If it was that special, then why send these every week or two? Also I keep thinking about their "NSA-like" approval process to ensure you're not from a banned country. If it's that secretive, then why all the spamming? Inquiring minds would like to know...


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 Big Mike 
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