Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Labeling Layers

While working on the new WxSiren Controller, I discovered an easy way to enable labels for the optional map layers. In this application, we are loading a roads layer using one of the optional map layers.

The user wanted to see the road names. Right now Weather Message does not have the options on the layers configuration screen to display the labels or configure their colors. I was able to make a small change that now allows the program to load layer settings from an "ini" file associated with the shape file.

I will post the specifics and update the WxMap help file when the next beta is released.

Text to Speech using AT&T Natural Voices

I finally broke down and purchased the AT&T Natural Voices Mike and Crystal. The download was about 550mb each. One voice takes about 640mb of hard drive storage. I will have to say that these voices are almost like listening to a real person.

If you use the Text to Speech option in Weather Message, those voices, priced at $35.00 are a great deal. I wish I had purchased them sooner.

You will find an off-site purchase link at:


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Siren Controller - Live Test Successful

The live test of the Weather Message Siren Controller was completed today in Lee County Alabama. The software sent the DTMF commands to rotate a selected siren and it rotated. This test was unique in that it used the computer's sound card to generate the DTMF and the serial port to key the radio.

Tom Moore, WX4TM, Lee County EMWIN Coordinator called me this morning to deliver the good news. Frank McLemore, N4TKT, with Communication Electronic Services adjusted the sound levels on the computer interface. Once the deviation was set properly the individual siren controllers responded.

The software can generate DTMF, two-tone, and group call tones using the sound card. This added feature gives users a mix of different signaling capability. All of the signaling methods can be used to activate different devices all at the same time.

The software continues to support external encoders to meet the requirements of different users. They tested the Motron TC1/MX with success. The Motron TC1/MX is an external DTMF encoder.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Map Blinking

I constantly get requests to add the ability to blink counties on the map. I ran some experiments today and had success in blinking a color. The only problem was that it blinked that color no matter where it appeared.

It took 17 milliseconds on my 3.4 ghz pentium 4. While it is computing the image, nothing else can happen. That does not seem to bad, but for users with slower machines it could be a problem.