Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Geographical Warnings

Tom and I have been discussing Geographical Warnings. These are warnings based on your location. Weather Message now has the capability to send emails and pages based on a fixed latitude / longitude falling inside or near a polygon.

A really neat application would be to have your gps equipped phone know when it is getting near or inside a watch or warning. Is that possible? Yes and it is not too difficult.

It would require one of two approaches.

1) Run an application on the smartphone that would send the current gps position to a weather server. The server would then search the active watch and warning products to see if the position is near or inside one of the watch and warnings. The application would then alert the user. I am thinking that it would have to send that position once per minute.

2) Run an application on the smartphone that would receive a SMS/email message that contains the polygon information. The application would then check the current position against the polygon and issue an alert. The information would only need to be sent once. It would be the applications responsibility to keep the active watch / warnings in memory and check once per minute to see if the phone was in a warned area.

With smart devices (phones and pda's) this application could work. Some major players in technology have been talking about this for sometime. They even want to put this in cars...

So can it be done on a Weather Message budget? I believe a low cost server solution is possible. All it would take is a user that wants this capability, a phone that supports Windows Mobile and a calling plan that allowed for unlimited SMS or reasonable internet access.

WxPda - Version 3.0 - Beta 2

I had a chance today to install WxPda on a Pocket Pc 2003 computer. I quickly discovered that there was a problem with vga screens. I have corrected that problem and uploaded a fresh beta.

Monday, October 22, 2007

WxPda - Version 3.0

I have upgraded WxPda to Microsoft's Compact Framework 2.0. This upgrade also adds support for Windows Mobile 5. I am changing the program version to 3.0 to match the current Weather Message Net major release number.

I have run some very limited tests. I do not know if it will install on Pocket PC 2003 or Smart Phones. If you give it a try, please let me know your results.

I switched the display on my windows mobile 5 device to landscape and the software now looks correct. You can now use landscape on a windows mobile 5 without problems.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Weather Message 3.2 Released

Weather Message V3.2 has been released. You can download the update at
http://www.wxmesg.com/downloadsnet.htm . For information on what has changed in this release, please read the release notes.

There are over 56 changes in this release. Here are some highlights.

Highlights -

* Weather Message Server can now run as a Windows service.

* Support for storm based warnings. You can now alarm by latitude longitude.

* WxMap now supports painting polygons.

* WxMap has all colors located in one tab. You can now select the items that appear in the map legend.

* WxMap supports the NWS Zone and Marine layers. To use this feature you must download the latest map layers.

* See the release notes for a complete list of changes.

Thanks for all of your suggestions, bug reports and assistance with the software. Work will begin on version 3.3.

Suggestions for 3.3

- Multiple state support in one alarm.

- User manager.

WxDataSave, WxLocal and the Retransmission applications have been respectively released along with Weather Message 3.2. If you are using any of these applications, they must be upgraded at the same time you upgrade Weather Message.

Birmingham NWS Weather School

I will be making a one hour presentation on EMWIN and Weather Message at the Birmingham NWS's Weather School October 16, 2007. The Birmingham NWS is a long time supporter of EMWIN.

They have incorporated information about EMWIN into their annual Weather School. Because of this, they will not be holding an EMWIN workshop this year. If you are interested in attending an EMWIN workshop, I suggest you contact your local WCM and ask them to sponsor a class.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Weather Message 3.2 Beta 9

I am getting prepared to upload Weather Message 3.2 Beta 9. I have made a number of internal changes in the programs. I discovered that all of the programs contained some code associated with creating windows that was not needed.

This extra code was a result of the original conversion. I knew it was there, but did not realize the magnitude it had on the application. After removing the extra code from Weather Message Server Setup, the size of the "exe" was reduced by 30,000 bytes. I made the same changes in all of the applications - about 10 hours worth of work. This should help all of the programs load little faster and reduce the size of the installed application.

I have added a third option map layer to WxMap. This layer can be user defined or populated with the new rivers layer. I will be updating the map layers download to include an option rivers layer.

If the test reports on this beta are favorable, I will look at releasing beta 9 as the offical 3.2 release.

Look for the update later this evening.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Weather Message Webserver Crash

The computer that contains the Weather Message website crashed this afternoon. The website is hosted on the computer that contains several other websites. I have been working to get this computer back working all afternoon and into the late night.

I am in the process of updating the website with the latest content. I hope it is back to normal by noon Tuesday.

Update 10/2/2007 - I believe the webserver is back to normal operation now....