Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Dock" Catering Club here in Bloomington. I calibrated
the compass by turning the truck in small circles,
which surely looked insane to passing traffic, and now
I'm testing the cellular modem connection which seems
fast and stable. About to drive out of town and see
what I have to do to lose it. So far so good!
Sunday, February 15, 2004
Tailchasers and my blog simultaneously using a
web-interface email while on a wifi connection--LOL.
Not that there's any reason to believe it won't work.
I'm just being a geek.
Some news on the connectivity front for me. First,
obviously I have a wi-fi card. I was preparing a
class presentation a week ago last Thursday, and was
worried about how 'low-tech' it would be compared to
the first two presentations in the weeks prior, where
my peers brought an audio recording of an interview
with the subject, then a video documentary the next
week. I was planning only handouts.
I told my friend Kay about this, and she said,
"There's probably a dozen interviews on the web." She
was right, and I found them--but all were streaming
audio, which I don't know how to save. Then Kay said,
"All the classrooms have wi-fi." So I threw together
a webpage slideshow, linked the streaming audio, and
ran out the next morning to buy a $50 wifi card, which
will now entirely sabotage my writing career. Am I
too old for OU Met school? LOL!
Anyway, the presentation was a big hit.
Then, in Denver last weekend, I was lucky enough to
receive a Sprint Connection PCS card (I'll withhold
some details since this is going to my blog) at no
charge. This is a PCMIA card that utilizes a network
Sprint is mounting on their existing cell towers. At
the moment, they have the best coverage for this type
of 'low-end broadband' of any carrier. Current speeds
for the card are up to 144kbs with an upgrade to 300k
expected within 12 months. Coverage is excellent
along highways and major roads in Oklahoma, all along
287, and the Texas panhandle. It's sort of like a
super wi-fi card, but utilizing a different
Jeff Gammons has uninterrupted connectivity across the
Everglades with this card. I think it will be most
useful at the motels (most major towns are covered)
and will eliminate the frustrating problems of Super 8
phone systems on days that libraries aren't practical.
It should provide a much faster way to upload pics to
webpages at night, and download vapor loops in the
morning without taking so long that the loop tries to
refresh before its completed. Vapor!
Also, as I've mentioned before, I installed the
Ositech King of Hearts cell modem that I purchased one
year ago when I mistakenly thought my US Robotics
modem was on the fritz.
One problem is that I only have two PCMIA slots for
these three cards. I suspect the wi-fi card will be
the least useful while chasing (usually works only in
coffee shops or stray networks nearby--though Best
Western plans a full rollout soon), but my idea now is
to swap out the wi-fi card and Sprint card as
necessary and hope the computer doesn't object to all
this. I'd like to reduce my reliance on the cellular
modem to whatever degree that's possible. Analog cell
is the most expensive, slowest, and least reliable way
to connect to the net.
I think we're seeing multiple technologies converging
toward constant wireless high-speed connectivity.
This is the main reason I don't see the XM satellite
system as making much sense. Jeff Piotrowski's
demonstration was fair, and some of the products are
impressive, but it seems like the wrong time to invest
heavily into proprietary hardware running proprietary
software to access a proprietary data stream. If it
were $300, maybe, but $1000? No way.
Concerning power outlets, I intend to wire both ham
radios directly to the car battery and thus free up
one cigarette outlet. I can use an inverter with this
open outlet to power a chase partner's laptop and cell
phone or whatever. Steve and I will look like a
Monday, February 09, 2004
Yesterday I returned from the 2003 National Stormchasers Convention in Denver. I had a blast hanging out with old pals like Jeff Gammons, Chris Collura, Jason Foster and others. The guys used their digital cameras and wireless broadband connections to update websites with photos, both to Weathervine.com and Stormtrack. Here's the report I sent to chaser newsgroups this morning:
"This was the best conference I've attended. Every speaker was prepared
with practical chase information from case studies and video presentations,
amazing imagery, and great stories from the past. There wasn't a single
talk that wasn't illuminating. I took dozens of pages of notes.
At Friday's icebreaker, I had a great chat with David Hoadley about the whys
and wheretofores of this obsessive thing we do, and he is one of the wisest
men I have met. Tim Marshall talked for an hour about his hurricane
chases, something I've not frequently heard him discuss. Among Saturday's
highlights was Tim Samaras's presentation of the probe deployments of June
24, 2003, Tim Marshall's review of several 2003 chase cases (all but one of
which I chased, too, so particularly useful for me), Al Pietrycha's May 15,
2003 case study, Steve Hodanish's excellent talk on Colorado chase
parameters, and Howie Bluestein's summary of his multi-faceted chase
On Sunday, Roger Hill had a roster of great tornadoes to display, and David
Hoadley delivered an amazing recap of his career, showing fax-generated,
hand-drawn weather maps from the 1950's along with the old movie camera he
used (still functional!) and some great new cartoons. David gave a moving
tribute to chase pioneer Roger Jensen (including the story of Gene Rhoden's
remarkable efforts to help Roger relocate to Tornado Alley toward the end of
his life), and a sense of perspective for the rest of us to take on the road
this spring. How can you tell that David is still a great chaser? Well,
later in the afternoon, he showed up with the rest of us at Tim Vasquez's
Forecasting School--as a student! He said he was always eager to learn
Other talks, including Jon Davies, Dr. Greg Forbes, Dr. Joe Golden, Dr. Josh
Wurman and others were substantial as well. Dr. Wurman had some cool data
as usual and brought two DOWS for us to inspect.
We left a lot of beer and pizza in Room 620 (hey, I told you guys!) and
brought away three new catch phrases for 2004. Coming to a 2 meter
frequency near you this spring we have: "It's T-Time!", "Make Forbes get the
beer," and the already classic "Where's the horses? Let's get married!" I
will leave those for the community to ponder.
If you didn't get to go, buy the video--it will be WELL worth the cost.
Thanks to Tim Samaras, Brad Carter, and Roger Hill for making the long wait
for May more bearable."
Sunday, February 01, 2004
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT...COLDEST TEMPERATURES IN YEARS NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE INDIANAPOLIS IN 530 AM EST SAT JAN 31 2004 JANUARY WILL END WITH THE COLDEST TEMPERATURES IN MANY YEARS. AS OF 5AM THE TEMPERATURE AT INDIANAPOLIS WAS 10 DEGREES BELOW ZERO. THIS SET A NEW RECORD LOW FOR THE
DATE. THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS -8 SET IN 1936. THE LAST TIME IT WAS COLDER THEN THIS WAS FEBRUARY THIRD IN 1996 WHEN A LOW OF -11 WAS RECORDED.
***INDIANAPOLIS WAS NOT THE COLDEST LOCATION IN INDIANA. AS OF 5AM TERRE HAUTE WAS AT 15 BELOW AND BLOOMINGTON 22 BELOW. $$ HAINES ***