Daily Archives: December 13, 2011

Mysteries of the IntelliStar 2, revealed

I’ve had a fascination with The Weather Channel’s local forecast computers since infantile amnesia set in, so reading this post about the tribulations of the IntelliStar 2, the forecast computer that drives the Local on the 8s programming for The Weather Channel’s high definition simulcast, was a fun read. Apparently the project was in trouble for a while (which is why it took The Weather Channel so long to bring a truly local forecast to the HD channel). The hardware specs are wild:

There ended up being 2 boards and a daughter card to make the I2HD work. The two main boards are PCIe boards and are very complicated. There are several instances of embedded linux running across the boards.

Again, the software was developed in-house. The new renderer was purchased from a 3rd party and integrated into the system (VizRT). The device driver was also done in house. The high level software is written in C#/F# running on Windows Embedded Standard (due to business requirements not present for [IntelliStar 1]).

It’s a pretty complex box doing complex things — constantly ingesting a satellite feed with radar and text products from The Weather Channel and the National Weather Service while driving high definition output 24/7. (Via TWC Today.)

Follow jaredwsmith.com on Twitter

You can now follow a full feed of updates from jaredwsmith.com over on Twitter — just find @jaredwrites for all of my screed here. I’m using Twitterfeed right now to pull in the updates; hopefully its PubSubHubbub engine will pick up my feed and move it off the 30-minute polling interval sooner rather than later.

I will be perfectly honest: I have resisted this move for a very long time. Call me old-fashioned, but I do not believe this is what Twitter is for. As long-time followers of @jaredwsmith can attest, I very infrequently tweet blog links (and usually, I would only tweet links to the most important stuff that I actually spent time thinking about). It has been a very fascinating A/B test to see how posts perform when I get Twitter involved, and I had a couple hits in 2011 (my open letter regarding the National Weather Service in particular was a huge hit) when I got social networks involved. RSS by itself just doesn’t cut it — and this goes for both new bloggers and established big blogs. Like it or not, Twitter is one of the two essential distribution channels now. (Facebook is the other, but I’m not going to do anything with it.) Let’s see how this works out and if the account gets suspended.