Weather Watcher Live – Walmart World During A Storm

July 28, 2008

This past Saturday we were shopping in our neighborhood Walmart when a severe thunderstorm hit the area. I was back in the electronics, computers and gadgets section (of course). The intensity of the storm was unbelievable. Now, you have to keep in mind, Walmart is like shopping in a building the size of a football field and hopefully it is built to withstand any elements of nature that is thrown at it. Normally, if it rains and you are in Walmart, you won’t even know it until you go outdoors. Not this time… After a few noticeable claps of thunder, the torrential rain started and then came the hail. That got my attention… At that point I debated leaving the electronics section and proceeding directly to the hunting and survival section; however, I proceeded to the front of the store near the main entrance and what I saw outdoors I never, ever experienced before. It was like watching storm stories on the weather channel. It looked just like one of those tropical storms you see on storm stories. At this point, my instincts were telling me to find my wife, which is like looking for a needle in a haystack in Walmart. When I did find her, the storm had slowed considerably. She asked me, did you see that wind, rain and hail? What got me is that she is the one that is scared of storms and she was still shopping for groceries. She actually scolded me and said, “You need to settle down”… I couldn’t believe it, our cars could have blown away, and everyone was still shopping, including her. Next time there is a disaster, I’m going to Walmart world, which is another world where the serenity of shopping shelters you from the real world.

When I got home, the storm had passed. Our house was still there, which meant my computer was safe. I immediately booted up the computer to check the weather. The software that I use to check the weather is called Weather Watcher Live by Singer’s Creations. It is an awesome and powerful desktop weather software application; and, it is free. I have been following and using this software for several years. The author of the software, Mike Singer, is constantly improving the software and really listens to the users in the forum on his site.  If I only had Weather Watcher Live with me, while in Walmart world, I could have seen that storm approaching and ran for the car.  This is definitely my weather software of choice.

Weather Watcher Live - Screenshot

Weather Watcher Live - Screenshot

Recently, Singer Creations, released a “beta” version of Weather Watcher Live.  Weather Watcher Live has the ability to pull “real time – live data” from weather stations that you select. The software is designed to pull down data from stations sponsored by WeatherBug. I want to point out, this is not WeatherBug software. It also pulls weather information from the National Weather Service.

Listed are some of the features:

  • See a quick snapshot of the weather for today/tonight.
  • View the current radar/satellite image.
  • Access severe weather alert information.
  • Review a graph of today’s min/max weather information and the current rate of change.
  • Scroll or flick the slider bar at the bottom of the window to view the upcoming hours/days/moons.
  • Advanced weekly weather forecasts
  • Severe Weather Alerts
  • View weather news, videos, photos, and cameras.
  • Tons of weather maps
  • Ability to set the your computer wallpaper background to display a weather map of your choosing.

[GET IT HERE - WEATHER WATCHER LIVE]


CherryPal™- Next innovation in computing?

July 26, 2008

My last post I stated “I sometimes wish Microsoft would just come out with a basic operating system and leave all the eye candy to the third party vendors”.  Well, Microsoft is not doing that, but CherryPal™ apparently is. CherryPal™ is a computer that runs an embedded form of the Debian Linux operating system.  Just my opinion, but this just may be the next innovation in computing.  What is CherryPal™ ?

Here is quoted text from the CherryPal™ website:

“The CherryPal™ desktop is a tiny PC designed with the user in mind. It does all the things you do every day: surf the web, keep in touch with your friends, listen to iTunes, watch videos, word processing, presentations and spreadsheets, all without the hassle of a traditional PC. It only uses 2 watts of power, lasts 10 years and has 80 percent fewer parts. There’s no software or upgrades to install, no risk of viruses, and no operating system to deal with and free 24/7 support – all for just $249.”

It appears that the CherryPal™ is designed to use the resources that the internet already provides.  CherryPal™ claims to be GREEN (80 percent less parts than a typical desktop computer), claims to be FAIR (fair pricing) and claims to be OPEN (uses open source software).  With open source and online applications becoming more prevalent, fast and dependable; this may be a great solution for many users who use their computers primarily for the internet. You would definitely need to have a broadband connection to take full advantage of CherryPal™ . I will definitely be monitoring this one.

[READ MORE]


Which operating system? Vista or XP

July 25, 2008

I’ve been using Microsoft Vista since its release and here is my take on it, in non-technical terms:

After reading the system requirements that Microsoft released for Vista, I initially installed it on my home computer when it was released in January 2007. Being an IT professional, I should have known better, but I wanted that candy. My obsession got the best of me; but, that is how I learn. At the time, I was running a PC, with XP Professional installed, with a single processor and with a gig of ram… Basically my XP computer was very stable, was fast, and did everything I needed it to do. All my external devices (PDA, Printer, WebCam, Drives, etc..) performed flawlessly. Long story short… It installed, but was slow, very, very slow… I even backed the operating system down to its’ very basic level and it was still slow. Not only was it slow, my PDA, printer, webcam and wireless mouse had issues. I ended up purchasing additional memory and once I did that, the operating system became tolerable. I eventually gave the computer away to a teenage relative due to the issues I experienced with some of the external “legacy” devices I had.

I have experienced every operating system that Microsoft has ever released, from DOS to Windows Vista. I’ve found that when a new operating system is released by Microsoft, and the “system requirements” are published, you can pretty much take those requirements; and, if you double and sometimes triple the basic requirements, you will be OK. Basically what this means, is wait awhile after an operating system is released (at least six months to a year), then buy a new computer. That pretty much gives the computer manufacturers the time to come up to speed to meet the requirements of the operating system. I ended up with a new PC with dual AMD processors, 3 gigs of RAM, 256 MB video card, 500 gig hard drive, TV Tuner, etc… and suddenly Vista came to life. Since my purchase, there are now computers with “quad” processors, more memory, etc…  My personal opinion, Vista is a good operating system that was probably ahead of its time… It has a lot of eye candy, which I personally don’t think people really want. I sometimes wish Microsoft would just come out with a “basic operating system” and leave all the eye candy to the third party vendors.

Why are so many people skeptical of Vista? Windows XP is probably the only operating system most users ever experienced. People do not like change. Secondly, as the Windows operating systems evolve, they have become very stable. Why would you want to change, when what you have is working fine?  HOWEVER, technology is going to continue to change until we hit that proverbial wall. Personally, I don’t even think we are even close to the wall yet.

As some measure of defense for Windows Vista, I came across an article recently published by CNet News (click here) . Microsoft basically played a trick on some users who had a negative impression of Vista. They rounded them up, told them they were releasing a new operating system code named “Mojave” and had them have a go with it. More than 90 percent of the users fround “Mojave” to be a positive experience. Following this experience Microsoft informed the users that “Mojave” was actually “Vista”.

UPDATE – 29 July 2008

Microsoft releases videos of the “Mojave Experiment”.  The videos can be viewed at:   http://www.mojaveexperiment.com


drop.io – The Excellent Adventures of Bob and Kay

July 24, 2008
2008 Home Depot Tour Car - #20

2008 Home Depot Tour Car - #20

This is my first post on my blog and I thought I would share a neat website I came across called “Drop.io“.  I used this site recently to post a “temporary” blog and to post some photos and a video on “The Excellent Adventures of Bob and Kay” (relatives of mine).

Drop.io enables you to create simple private sharing points called “drops.”  Each drop has four primary input methods – the web, email, voice, and fax – and a few secondary ones like “widgets.” Anything you input into a drop can then be retrieved on the web at that drop location.  You can also set a time limit on how long you want to keep the drop active.  The service has no email signup and no “accounts.” Each drop is private, and only as accessible as you choose to deliberately make it.  Each drop has four primary input methods – the web, email, voice, and fax – and a few secondary ones like “widgets.” Anything you input into a drop can then be retrieved on the web at that drop location.

Bob & Kay (our cousins) are travelling Nascar gypsies for the Joe Gibbs Racing Team. They travel the United States showing the Tony Stewart #20 Nascar (Toyota Camry).

On July 16th, we paid Bob & Kay a surprise visit at the Home Depot located in Hagerstown, MD. We really had a great time visiting with both of them. They are very knowledgeable of what they are doing and take great pride in doing their job.  Here is a pic of me and my wife with the car.

During the visit I was able to snap some photos and grab a small video of Bob starting the car.   For a moment, while shooting the video, he looked like Tony Stewart climbing out of that car…  The photos and video can be viewed at my drop (click here).  When the password box appears, enter “rick”.


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