Friday, November 16, 2012

Windows 8

I have installed the Weather Message Clients on a Windows 8 computer.  I am pleased to report that I did not have any trouble running the software. 

Users that are accustomed to using the Start button in Windows 7 may be initially lost with Windows 8.  When the tiled desktop appeared, I managed to get to the desktop.  Once there - "No Start Button".  The secret is to move the mouse to the lower left corner of the window.  Then a start tile appears.  Click on the start tile and you move back to the tiled desktop.

Moving the mouse the to lower right corner of the screen displays options to setup the computer.  The options that appear on the tiled start screen are different than the options that appear when you are viewing the desktop.  The options that appear on the desktop will lead you to the control panel.

My first impressions:  I think this operating system is designed for people with touch screens.  The regular desktop looks like Windows 7, less the start button.  The tiled desktop, is different.

It appears that we are moving into a new era of windows operating systems.  I must now start working on transitioning the Weather Message programs from Windows Forms to XAML so that we can take advantage of some of the new features in Windows 8.  That will be a major rewrite of the user interface.

Microsoft .Net Framework 4.5

Microsoft has release the Microsoft .Net Framework 4.5.  The 4.5 framework is an in-place update to the version 4.0 framework.  It includes a number of enhancements that improve the operation of programs developed for the 4.0 framework.

Weather Message uses the 4.0 framework.  I recommend that all Weather Message users update their systems with the 4.5 update.  You will find the update at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30653.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weather Message 3.9 Updated for Twitter Change

The Weather Message 3.9 installers have been updated with the recent twitter changes.  A quick fix had been posted to the Weather Message Yahoo group.  The program only updates can be used to update your installation.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Twitter Deprecates Endpoints

Twitter has deprecated their unversioned endpoints.  Last week they started removing the endpoints from their servers.  Several Weather Message users reported a problem with posting messages to Twitter.

We have a temporary fix available that restores functionality.  See the Weather Message Yahoo group for a link to the fix and installation instructions.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Garage Storm Shelter

After the April 2011 storms, FEMA made grants available for storm shelters.  I applied for one to be installed in my garage.  The grant application was finally approved.  Here are some pictures of the installation.

The shelter was installed by Robert Hamlin Construction, bobby@blackdogstormshelters.com.  The shelter is manufactured by Steelsafe Shelters, www.steelesafeshelters.com.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Using SMSMatrix for SMS Messaging

Users that want true SMS delivery can use SMSMatrix for this service.  It does require a monthly fee.  The following setup can be used without any modifications to Weather Message.

Go to paging setup.  Click on paging services and setup a new service as follows:
(Click on the image to see more detail)

 Enter the text exactly as it appears.  You will want to replace xxxxxx with your SMSMatrix user name (email address) and yyyyyy with your SMSMatrix password.

Save the service.

Now setup a new paging group that will use this service.   Here is a screen shot.
(Click on the image to see more detail)
Now assign this group to an alarm and give it a test. 
SMSMatrix does support text to speech capability.  If you are interested, let me know and I will post setup information.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Weather Message 3.9 Released

Weather Message V3.9 has been released. You can download the update at http://www.weathermessage.com/Downloads/WeatherMessage.aspx. For information on what has changed in this release, please read the release notes.
Note: Version 3.9 requires the Microsoft .Net Framework 4.0. Because of this requirement, version 3.9 will not run on Windows 2000 or older operating systems.

There are over 90 changes in this release. Here are some highlights.
  • Several Email and Paging enhancements, including the addition of new short message variables.
  • Added support for the Zephyrus WX-14 receiver.  The ingest program now supports two TCP/IP receivers.
  • The Message Client's main interface has been redesigned.  There were over 30 changes to this application.
  • The Map now has a toolbar for easy zooming.
  • Created a new web application to support adding a link to the original product text in facebook and twitter feeds.
WxDataSave, WxLocal and the Retransmission applications have been respectively released along with Weather Message 3.9. If you are using any of these applications, they must be upgraded at the same time you upgrade Weather Message.
Thanks for all of your suggestions, bug reports and assistance with the software. Work will begin on version 4.0 right away. Watch the beta page for updates.

Suggestions for 4.0
  • I have over 70 pending feature enhancements. 
  • Starting moving the software from "windows forms" to "windows presentation foundation".
  • If you want to see a new feature, please send us an email.
Note: This release requires the full Microsoft .Net Framework 4.0. The Framework has two editions, Client and Extended. You can use this link to download both editions - http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=17851
Note: Facebook and Twitter updates will not work without the Microsoft .Net Framework 4.0 Extended install.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Website

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, the pages at http://www.wxmesg.com will start redirecting to http://www.weathermessage.com.  We have been working on the new website for a couple of months.  It is not quite complete yet.

As we update the content on the new site, we will redirect the old pages, one by one to the new website.  We are trying to move all of the content. 

We now have the EMWIN product search working on the new site.  You will find it at http://www.weathermessage.com/Support/EMWINProductSearch.aspx  This page was broken on the old website after our webserver was upgrade.

If you find missing content, please let us know.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Providing full message links in tweets and facebook posts

Several customers have asked about adding full message links in tweets and facebook posts.  I am now in the process of developing a web application that will allow for links in the posted messages.

Initial tests look good.  It does require a public facing IIS webserver with an associated domain name to process the embedded links.

Here is a sample post I made from my test twitter account. (http://www.twitter.com/kb4mdd)

NWS has issued a Area Forecast Discussion

In this example, I am using the domain name "a.emwin.net" to host the data feed.

Monday, May 07, 2012

CAP Ingest

The next release of Weather Message will have the ability to ingest the National Weather Service CAP feed.  CAP stands for the Common Alert Protocol.  You can learn more about CAP from this wikipedia article.

The NWS publishes an Atom feed for each state that contains a list of active weather products.  Each entry contains a link to the actual CAP formated XML.  That XML is CAP compliant and contains specific information about the weather product.

At this time, this ingest engine is pull only.  It has to poll the NWS servers for new products.  In the future, they will be pushing this data and/or CAP compliant messages will appear on the regular NWS data streams.

Why do we need another ingest method?  That is a good question.  Many government agencies are now requiring software applications to be CAP compliant.  This addition will allow Weather Message to be CAP compliant.

Zephyrus WX-14 now in production

The Zephyrus WX-14 Next Generation EMWIN receiver is now in full production.  Zephyrus is now accepting orders.  You can contact them at 918-437-3333.

They are in the process of updating their website with information on the WX-14.