Good questions wish I knew the answers so I could retire young haha! I had a small vertical spread that I closed today for a small profit when corn started to turn up. I figured taking the small profit was better than letting it run completely against me and turn into a loss.
Also thanks for all the info you gave on the brokers and charting software, I will definitely be looking into it more. I do have experience writing C# in Ninja Trader and have also experimented with TOS prodigio. I definitely like Ninja Trader more because it is open script where you can write everything yourself, where TOS only allows you to use a dumbed down drag and drop version of programing.