A few days’ worth of observations

Into The Sunset

Random observations made on an approximately three-to-four day blogging hiatus that involved a great photowalk (the above photograph and two new images in the titlebar rotation being products of said photowalk; you can find the rest in my Flickr set), an epic lazy day spent with Windows 7, and other day-to-day snippets:

Infrastructure Weather Weather Station

Yep, I’m Moving

After four great, unforgettable years living downtown, I’m going to be moving deep into the heart of West Ashley to a one-bedroom place near the river. My last day down here is May 31; I’ll be relocating briefly with the parental units to the Creek for a few days while I wait for my new apartment to open up.

This likely doesn’t matter to most people, except for those who follow my weather station closely. I hate it, but the weather station will be ceasing operations Thursday afternoon for the foreseeable future, and for good in that location. It’s been a fantastic experience providing conditions from my backyard for two years, but the reality of my situation — moving to a complex — dictates that the station can’t continue for now. Perhaps in the future, when I own something and will be firmly entrenched in it, will I be able to restart operations. I may have located a foster home for the station, though — more details to be announced later.

My focus on user-generated weather content is changing. I’m now focusing on what can be done with streaming media and interactivity; I’m already doing some of that now at Ustream and, when it’s up, Twitter. Both ventures have been pretty successful so far. I’m going to expand on that soon and probably spin weather off from here into its own domain as time goes on, more than likely. Stay tuned — it’s going to get really hardcore soon, especially with hurricane season knocking on the door.

It’s going to be weird, though, not knowing what the exact temperature is at my house at any given time. I’ve gotten so, so, so used to that over the years…and now I won’t have it anymore. Here’s hoping someone takes the torch and runs with it.

Weather Weather Station

Return of Wind Reporting!

The new anemometer is installed in a slightly higher place, so I’m hoping for at least a little bit better accuracy in wind reporting (still a tough proposition without getting on the roof of the house, which is pretty much impossible considering I’m renting). Let’s hope this one lasts at least three months…


Anemometer update and Tuesday

I got my replacement anemometer in yesterday…and of course, during the only real time that I’ll have to get it all set back up, the rain will be here. I’m going to try to see, weather permitting, if I can get things going again on Sunday. That’s going to be a fairly big job, though — we’ll see what happens.

The rain is definitely inbound. NWS has it pegged for “after midnight” — here’s hoping it holds off for at least a little while so I can get to work reasonably dry. I have an umbrella there, which is a plus. So far, the rain does not look like it’s moving all too quickly, but we’ll see what happens. Don’t think I’m going to activate the radar for this one — makes the main PC somewhat sluggish at times, especially when I need to dive in and do analysis of my own.

If you haven’t already, I urge you to read Brian Goode’s blog about the Tuesday weather non-event. It’s a great explanation of why broadcast meteorologists reacted the way they did to the threat — the data was pretty solid. I certainly appreciate the perspective and transparency Brian brings to the process through his blog time and time again. I do find it hilarious how people get all up in arms when the weather is less worse than predicted — isn’t that a good thing? As Brian put so well, the media did not tell the schools and cities and stuff to start closing up shop. They just reported what they saw as the situation, and the situation evolved and changed throughout the day to end up being very much in our favor.

Weather Weather Station

Limited weather reporting for a couple days

A large tree branch decided that I needed a break from reporting weather from my station for a few days, falling on my anemometer during a storm today and taking it out. Worse, the nose is broken off of it. The nose has a weight in it, which keeps the anemometer right on track. It was reasonable to replace, so I went ahead and ordered a new one. Therefore, don’t expect much from my station for the next few days. It’ll be a good chance to do maintenance on that machine anyway. I should be back reporting by next week.

Weather Weather Station

Weather station update

So among the casualties of the severe weather today were apparently Nightwind’s serial ports — I came home to find that everything had rebooted, but Nightwind was unable to communicate with the station at all. After trying a few things — including resetting the station — I moved the console to healer for testing and found it picked up pretty much immediately. I moved it back to Nightwind and it was receiving corrupt data — no good. The hilarious thing is that healer — the crappy Dimension that I railed against not more than three posts ago — is now running the station flawlessly, with no phantom windspeed readings or anything. Go figure, right? I hate it for to happen this way, but it’s nice seeing my original plan carried out. :) So, Nightwind will rejoin the other servers, and the much quieter healer will be sitting relaying the conditions to Wunderground and AWEKAS. (It also will continue to serve as a backup domain controller and DNS box.)

Regular commenter NotMyBest2Day passed along a radar composite of the storms exploding over Charleston today. It takes a bit of time to load, but it’s worth it to see all the energy move ashore. This one really reminded me of the disturbance that dropped all that rain and that extreme lightning over downtown last August.

The forecast is more of the same for tomorrow, from that disturbance that’s still sitting offshore. Let’s hope it winds down by the weekend!

Best Of Infrastructure

How I spent my Saturday night

Folks, this is going to be a long story, one that I’m certain explains my eHarmony results. Please, grab a cup of coffee spiked with the liquor of your choosing (you’ll need it), sit down, and dive into my tale of Active Directory chaos. It’s a bit geeky, but I’ll try to explain stuff as I go along.

As Per Whatever

The silence is deafening…

A lot’s happened since I last had a few spare seconds to breathe and blog. I turned 23, Facebook opened up, and I have some…erm…”baseball” news to share. How about we work backwards, starting with…

The “Baseball” News*

Let’s see here…so there’s this batter that I’ve been having some trouble putting away. It’s been like a 20-pitch at-bat in the bottom of the 9th with the score tied and the bases empty. We ran the count to 3-2 about 10 pitches ago, and it’s been nothing but foul tip after foul tip ever since. All this time, I can’t help but think there’s been someone getting loose in the bullpen in the event I can’t retire the hitter — and sure enough, the manager had me intentionally walk the batter and is going for the righty warming in the ‘pen to try to finish it off. Yep, I’m done — maybe next game, whenever that will be. I really don’t want to be sent back to the minors to work on my…erm…”mechanics” again.

Reflecting on this pitch sequence, I must work harder to not lose batters so early in the count (especially if I get ahead), and I have to throw more sinkers to induce ground balls so I don’t lose an inning’s worth of effectiveness on one hitter. This is definitely a problem I’ve had throughout my career.

I exited the game to the tune of “I Will Lead You” by Filter. Oh, how I wish it had been “Fair Weather” by Trammell Starks instead.

* Where “baseball news” is actually something a little more abstract, but nonetheless an epic struggle, that was discussed at the Lowcountry Blogs meetup last Sunday.

The Facebook Platform

The new Facebook platform, which launched overnight Thursday, solidifies Facebook as much, much better than MySpace. I can now let people preview Days of the New and Ryan Farish tracks on my profile, I can show them what I’m listening to thanks to the unofficial plugin (they were asleep at the wheel and usurped by a high school freshman — how ridiculous is that?), and I can FINALLY rearrange the Notes feature to a more prominent location so more people will read The Blog. (At least, when I update it.)

If you had asked me a year ago whether Facebook was going to be a “social operating system” as some have called it, I would have said you were nuts. These people are creative as hell, folks, and I applaud them for remaining independent. They are a real shining star in the Web 2.0 ecosystem.


I turned 23 on Tuesday surrounded by good friends and great times. The beer flowed a’plenty and it was a great night. Age 23 is already ushering in some exciting changes — more on these when I get a little more leeway to talk about them.

There’s more going on, though. Today I got my birthday present from my parents installed — new speakers all the way around in The Cougar. It’s nice to finally be able to listen to my music in the car cleanly. I rarely drive, but when I do, it’s typically for a decent distance, so it’s nice to get away from those OEM speakers (21 years old, FTW!) that were blown to shreds. Let’s hope they’re up to the task of pumping out a steady stream of Days of the New, Ryan Farish, and whoever else decides to grace my series of mix CDs. This kicks off a summer of the work on the car. The next step is to get the air conditioning replaced, then replace the exhaust system and get a new paint job on it. It won’t be cheap, but I can swing it. Owning a car is cool when you actually own it (and the taxes are $10, lol). And people wonder why I don’t go buy a new one…

Happy one-year anniversary to my weather station. A year ago today, I started reporting conditions from my old place on Felix St. as a test run. I learned a lot that day — particularly the bit about not putting the thermometer in the sun. It was kind of funny when I rushed the thermometer back in the house at about 12:45 that day in order to cool it off. (You’ll see the unusual dip on the graph.) Needless to say, it did NOT get to 99 that day. :) The station began serving conditions from my current place on Ashley shortly thereafter, and has done so since, and will do so into the next year. It’s been a very, very useful tool over this last year, and I’m hoping to expand my capabilities very soon — I think we’re just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this whole weather thing.

The goal is to get back to a more regular blogging schedule in the next few days. May has been a traditionally light blogging month — the weather’s usually nice, so I’m usually out a lot — kind of like I hope to be out at the beach tomorrow, this time armed with much more sunscreen than before. But yes, you’ll be hearing more from me soon.

My thanks to our troops past and present — your sacrifices will be remembered and honored on Memorial Day.

Site News Weather Station

More weather station updates

Today was a nice, cool, rainy day, so what else to do but work on my weather station?

After further review, I decided not to use Virtual Weather Station. It’s a very good program, but for my particular hardware (the La Crosse WS-2315), it wasn’t good enough. I’d miss up to six updates from the station until an update made it to the Weather Underground server. This was true when I was using the Linux box, and also turned out to be true with VWS, even when doing tweaks to the communication frequency and enabling Rapid Fire every two seconds.

I discovered a great freeware called Weather Underground/Heavy Weather Uploader. It primarily uses the Heavy Weather software supplied to interface with the La Crosse console to upload the data to Weather Underground. This happens very infrequently, though. Recent versions of WUHU (as it’s abbreviated) also permits one to interface directly with the La Crosse console, bypassing the Heavy Weather software altogether. This gives me the results I want — when the station receives new data, the Uploader transmits new data to Weather Underground, and updates it. It truly is real-time, now, and a vast improvement. My only complaint is that the current iteration of WUHU does not transmit exact wind speed/gust data; instead, it rounds it up to the nearest whole number; WTF? I want at least one decimal point of precision. I hope they fix this. Other than that though, this thing is really rocking.

In any event, I decided to quickly do up a teaser page for, the latest in a long line of subdomains hanging off It offers a quick link to the Rapid Fire page that Weather Underground provides for real-time stations such as mine. On the long-term radar (pun not intended) is a PHP METAR parser of some kind so I can generate my own conditions page, among other things, so won’t be a teaser page with deprecated HTML forever. ;)

By the way, the temperatures today were amazing, and at one point, I had over an inch of rain in an hour — a nice, soaking rain. And a “high” of 75 was a great change of pace from 100+ degree heat!

In any event, if you’re in Charleston, please pass the word around about weather.jwsdotcom — I hope to turn this into something really cool soon.


Station upgrades completed

My weather station’s upgrades have been completed. I’m now giving the trial version of Virtual Weather Station a shot — we’ll see how this goes. So far, so good. As a result, the station now updates every eight seconds (versus every minute) and provides a little additional METAR data courtesy of Charleston International. If only I could afford my own ASOS station…:P