In Brief Weather

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.)

As Per Whatever Observations

On dancing, and other random musings…

I came to a realization pretty much out of nowhere tonight: I need to learn how to dance. I’m really starting to come to the conclusion that this skill could be incredibly useful. Currently my only reactions to music are bobbing my head and, in the case of certain techno songs, moving my hand up and down slightly in reaction to the beat. Some songs, such as “Embrace” from Ryan Farish’s Selected Works package, feature a subtle record-scratching phenomenon that I attempt to replicate as well. In other words, as I walk down Calhoun Street listening to my iPod, I’m sure I make plenty of people nervous. Learning to dance as a normal person — i.e. not appearing as if I’m suffering from a seizure — could be useful in further advancing my social life.

Tonight I’ll be attending a seminar concerning crisis communication. I’ll be very curious to see if the Internet is mentioned at this seminar, because as we saw a month ago with the impending landfall of Tropical Breeze Ernesto, the blogs came alive and often outperformed the “traditional” media outlets (television in particular) on delivering the facts in a short period of time. If the Internet doesn’t enter the conversation — which, honestly, I’d be surprised if it were left out — I will make sure to bring it up.

On an extremely nerdy note, The Weather Channel playlist this month is one of the best I’ve heard in a long time. I’ve heard two selections from the new Ryan Farish album Everlasting, including “Together We Will Conquer” and “Young At Heart.” Plus, it appears “Last Train Home” by the Pat Metheny Group is in the list this month, which is awesome. I have yet to hear it in the Local Forecast but that song is one of my favorite jazz compositions.

I hope everyone enjoys their Thursday — one more day until Friday…