Thursday, November 30, 2006

Monitor Monitor Please Wake Up

A user asked me about waking up a sleeping monitor when an alert arrives for the Message and Map Clients. I had never thought about that. When my computer plays a sound and my monitor is sleeping, I just reach over and move the mouse to see what was issued by the NWS.

Changes have been made in the 3.0 clients to support this feature. If the Message Client plays a sound, a command will be issued to wake up the monitor. If the Map Client pops up, it will issue a command to wake up the monitor.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Weather Message Net Beta 10

I have posted Beta 10 to the website http://www.wxmesg.com/wxbeta

This update includes changes for Weather Message, Weather Message Clients, WxLocal and WxDataSave.

I will try to post a 2.10 release with the updated map component tomorrow.

USB to Serial Adapters

Not all USB to Serial Adapters are created equal. When I upgraded my computer several years ago, I purchased an IOGear GUC232A. It worked with my Zephyrus receiver, however, every once in a while, the serial port would simply lock up. When this occurred, I had to reboot my computer to get the serial port back working. If I stopped and stop the serial ingest program rapidly, the port would lock up.

I picked up a new MFJ USB to Serial Adapter recently and installed it over the weekend. I have not had a lock up with it yet. The MFJ unit is based on the FTDI chip set.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Short Message by Product Update

The next beta will contain the ability to specify short messages by product. The Short Message menu option has been replaced with Product Specifications.

You can enter TOR to enter a short message to be used by the TOR product. You can also enter TORBMX to have a short message for a specific WFO.

The program will honor the short message setup for a group first, then look for a matching product. If neither are present, it will used the default message.

This has been a commonly requested feature. Due to the amount of work required, it has remained on the pending features list for some time.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


As several people have discovered, the version 3.0 software uses a new color scheme. The new colors have 4 components A, R, G and B. A is the alpha channel (transparency), R for red, G for green and B for blue.

I have been asked about convering html colors to a decimal value. Note: You will probably want to use the windows calculator to convert hex values to decimal. Here is an example.

Alice Blue's html color is #F0F8FF hex or 15792383 decimal. In order to convert this color so that is usable in the WxMap ini file, you need to do the following. Take 15792383 and add 4278190080, which is the alpha channel value (#FF000000), then subtract 4294967296 (#100000000). This results in the value -984833. This value can be used in the WxMap.ini file.

Note: The alpha channel's value 255 (#FF) represents no transparency.

The proper representation of this value in hex is FF,F0,F8,FF. This is the ARGB format.

You can convert one component at a time as follows.
FF = 255 * 16777216 = 4278190080
F0 = 240 * 65536 = 15728640
F8 = 248 * 256 = 63488
FF = 255 * 1 = 255
Value = 4293982463
Subtract 4294967296
ARGB = -984833

You can convert from ARGB to the individual componets. It is important to remember that if the number is negative, you first need to add 4294967296 (#100000000). Once this addition has occurred, you can plug that decimal number into the windows calculator and click the Hex button to get each hexadecimal pair.

Note: In windows calculator, click view, then select scientific. This gives you the hex to decimal and decimal to hex conversion options.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Weather Message Production Server Conversion

The Weather Message Production Server was upgraded to Weather Message .Net 3.0 today. The conversion worked, however, I did identify a couple of problems that I will fix for the next beta.

  • The map ini file did not fully convert.
  • There seems to be some problem with TAP paging using a 300 baud modem.
  • WxDataSave is reporting a problem with graphic products.
  • Some of the WxLoader files did not fully convert.

Update 11/22/06 22:15 - These problems are now resolved.

Overall I am pleased and it appears that my server is using less cpu. The old WxDataSave really took alot of cpu.

I will be watching the server carefully over the next couple of days to make sure the conversion was clean.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Weather Message Net Beta 9

I have posted Beta 9 to the website http://www.wxmesg.com/wxbeta

This update includes changes for Weather Message, Weather Message Clients, WxLocal and WxDataSave.

I went ahead and uploaded it early due to changes needed by some users. I have a couple of additional changes, but they are going to take a little more time to get completed.

Hopefully I will have some productive time over the holidays to get several changes completed.

This is getting us close to releasing 3.0. Since all of the programs have been completed, I will be upgrading my production system - hopefully this week. After it runs for while, I should be ready.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Short Message by Product

I am looking into the ability to specify a different short message by product identifier. I have had a number of request for this capability.

The thought is to replace the current short message menu option with "Product Specification" or "Product Specs". The user would be presented with a list, that would contain a default entry that would apply to all products. Clicking on the default row would allow you to change the current short message info. Adding a new product would allow you to setup a new short message, vtec message, options for that product. This would allow you to have a different "user defined" option for each product.

If this proceeds forward, I am questioning whether there needs to be a short message option on the group.

The program would use the group short message first, if present. Then check for a matching product short message, if one was not found, it would use the default.

Radar Image Update

WxRadar now supports the following national products:

National Mosaic
Pacific Northwest Sector
Northern Rockies Sector
Upper Mississippi Valley Sector
Central Great Lakes Sector
Northeast Sector
Southeast Sector
South Mississippi Valley Sector
Southern Plains Sector
Southern Rockies Sector
Pacific Southwest Sector

You must select the state "NA" to see these radar sites.


I have posted the install program for WxDataSave .Net. This is the database archive utility.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Weather Message Net Beta 8

I have uploaded Beta 8 to the website. This update contains a couple of fixes and updated F1 documentation for all programs.

I also realized that I had not created an install for WxLocal. It can now be downloaded from http://www.wxmesg.com/WxBetaNet/LoBetaNet.htm The install includes integrated documentation.

I will work to get the installer for WxDataSave created this week, along with the associated documentation. I had over looked it also.

The documentation conversion project is coming to a close. I will get everything read and checked for errors. That will allow me to concentrate on changes and additional testing prior to 3.0 release. The documentation had to be completed before the software could be released.

I knew the documentation conversion would take alot of time, but I did not realize how much work had to be done. The old documenation was around 150 pages. The new documentation is around 190.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

HVTEC Progress

Changes have been made to Weather Message to support HVTEC alarms. The alarm setup screen follows.

I have not worked out the details on how the short message variables will work. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Group2Call - Adding Pauses in the Message

You can add pauses to the Group2Call text to speech messages by adding this text:


This will cause the text to speech engine to pause for 500 milliseconds.