April 06, 2020, 03:17:13 AM

Author Topic: 'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview  (Read 604 times)

Offline ivuWeather

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'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview
« on: January 07, 2020, 10:07:04 AM »
Hello all!

I wanted to introduce myself and a project I've been working on that I think you all might be interested in.  I checked with the admin here before posting and in no way mean this as spam.  I'm hoping for your honest feedback.

I have been heartbroken to see what TWC has done with the LOT8s and the discontinuation of WeatherScan (for the most part) and wanted a replacement.  So two of us spent the last year working in our spare time on developing something similar without being an emulator.  It has the feel of WeatherScan but uses no copyrighted materials at all and adds some features they didn't have.

It's called ivuWeather (pronounced 'I View Weather') and it features:
  • Current Conditions
  • Local and Regional Radar
  • Satellite
  • Storm Prediction Center outlooks *
  • 4 Periods of text forecasts
  • Extended Forecast
  • Almanac Data
  • All Weather Alerts *
  • Real time severe weather coverage *
* items with a star only show if active for your area.

I'd be very anxious to hear this group's thoughts on the project.  If you'd like instructions for how to test it on your FireTV device (we will be launching as an app there) please sign up at http://www.ivuweather.com and instructions will be sent right away.

If you'd rather just preview it on the web you can visit http://app.ivuweather.com/index.html and enter your zip code.

It's still somewhat a work in process but we feel we are nearing completion.  Please let us know what you think.  We're dedicated to making this a viable alternative for those of us who miss being able to see the weather in this format.

Thanks in advance!
Scott
ivuWeather


Offline TWCAidan!

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Re: 'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2020, 01:43:05 PM »
That Looks Great! Can't Wait to see more stuff in the Future!  :yes:  :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:
TWCAidan :)

Offline luesjo12

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Re: 'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2020, 01:48:14 PM »
This app is amazing! Can’t wait to see what comes of this once it is officially released! This is definitely a great alternative to TWC and Weatherscan. I do wish that the location selection wasn’t so specific, as the location selection is a bit odd. The app asks me to select areas that are 10+ miles from my ZIP code. Other than that, this is pretty solid already.

Offline Everblack

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Re: 'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2020, 01:52:37 PM »
Just dropped in to say that this is tremendous work, your hard work hasn't gone unnoticed. I, too, am disappointed with the direction of The Weather Channel as of late and run my own IntelliStar 1 system to make it a bit more bearable during longform programming and that jazz (speaking of jazz, where is that?)

Speaking about the ivuWeather project, it does its job very well! It using NWS data is a huge plus as it's precise as it can get IMO. People rely on the Internet these days (mostly apps on phones) and not television to get their weather, so it's right in that neighborhood.

No complaints at all on desktop -- on mobile the crawl below does judder, but I don't expect optimal performance on that front.

Awesome work on this, I'm going to keep tabs on the project and see how it progresses.

EDIT: Low Power Mode was on my iPhone at the time of testing -- it throttles the CPU/SoC therefore the juddering crawl. It's all good now.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2020, 02:05:08 PM by Everblack »

Offline TechKitten

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Re: 'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2020, 02:10:20 PM »
I gave it a go, not on a Fire Stick, but in my web browser, and its simply beautiful. It ran well enough, got accurate weather data, and looks good. I'll definitely use it more.

Offline ivuWeather

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Re: 'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2020, 02:20:35 PM »
Thanks for the kind words, everyone!  I really appreciate you taking the time to check it out.  Here are my thoughts on a couple of things mentioned:

  • We do use NWS data.  Fortunately, we have been able to build out the servers to ingest and store it so we are not very reliant on the NWS servers themselves which tend to have capacity issues during severe weather.
  • The location choosing has been something we've gone back and forth on.  The reason it offers that second selection with all those locations is that in some areas of the country the zip code encompasses a *huge* area.  We're hoping to be more specific than that.  We want it to be local to you - whether you live in a tiny town or a big city.
  • For those of you looking for Smooth Jazz - Once the app is up and running press the left arrow key on your keyboard or Fire TV remote.  It will open a menu.  You'll see an option there to change the music to smooth jazz.
  • That ticker at the bottom has almost been the death of me.  We're using a video game engine to get the graphics to the point they are.  Getting that crawler running smoothly has caused us to evaluate half a dozen different engines.  You wouldn't think so but it turns out a smooth crawling ticker is incredibly difficult.  The one we have isn't perfect, but it's as close as we've been able to get.

I'll be sure to keep this group updated as we make changes and might even run a couple of polls asking for what we should be adding next.

Thanks again everyone for the kind words.  If you think of things we should add please don't hesitate to let me know.

Take care!
Scott
« Last Edit: January 07, 2020, 02:22:53 PM by ivuWeather »

Offline Everblack

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Re: 'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2020, 02:50:07 PM »
Thanks for the kind words, everyone!  I really appreciate you taking the time to check it out.  Here are my thoughts on a couple of things mentioned:

  • We do use NWS data.  Fortunately, we have been able to build out the servers to ingest and store it so we are not very reliant on the NWS servers themselves which tend to have capacity issues during severe weather.
  • The location choosing has been something we've gone back and forth on.  The reason it offers that second selection with all those locations is that in some areas of the country the zip code encompasses a *huge* area.  We're hoping to be more specific than that.  We want it to be local to you - whether you live in a tiny town or a big city.
  • For those of you looking for Smooth Jazz - Once the app is up and running press the left arrow key on your keyboard or Fire TV remote.  It will open a menu.  You'll see an option there to change the music to smooth jazz.
  • That ticker at the bottom has almost been the death of me.  We're using a video game engine to get the graphics to the point they are.  Getting that crawler running smoothly has caused us to evaluate half a dozen different engines.  You wouldn't think so but it turns out a smooth crawling ticker is incredibly difficult.  The one we have isn't perfect, but it's as close as we've been able to get.

I'll be sure to keep this group updated as we make changes and might even run a couple of polls asking for what we should be adding next.

Thanks again everyone for the kind words.  If you think of things we should add please don't hesitate to let me know.

Take care!
Scott

Thanks for the update, Scott. Just wanted to address a couple of things from my previous post that seem unclear.

- As indicated in my edit, crawl runs smoothly on mobile now. For those of you experiencing the same issue, Low Power Mode was on in iOS. Turn that off, things should be gravy. At least it's fine on my end, that should be of some comfort to you.

- I'm well aware of the smooth jazz (which is a great addition!) That remark was really targeted toward TWC as they opt for production music, and while it's good, it can get repetitive.

Looking forward to more updates.

Offline luesjo12

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Re: 'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2020, 07:13:26 PM »
As Everblack said, thank you for the update! I just wanted to just add that the reason I brought up the location picker is that entering my local ZIP code (78501) does not bring up the city it is for, which is McAllen, TX. I have to pick locations that are about 10 or 15 miles away from me, instead of just selecting the city which that ZIP code belongs to. I hate to nitpick, but just wanted to share my observation. Thank you again for your contribution and for your help!

Offline ivuWeather

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Re: 'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2020, 08:04:30 AM »
Everblack and luesjo12 - I sure hope neither of you felt I was bothered by your feedback.  Just the opposite - I'm very happy to have it.  There have only been a few people who have seen the project so far and I'm anxious for additional opinions and suggestions.

luesjo12 - I'm concerned about what you mentioned with your zip code.  To be honest that sounds like a bug and I want to get it addressed.  I'll take a look and see what I can figure out.  McAllen certainly should be in there as a city.  I appreciate you letting me know.

Thanks again, guys!  I really do appreciate any feedback.  Even negative feedback is OK.  We really are committed to doing whatever we can to make this little app of ours as useful as possible.  In order to do that we need other opinions besides our own.  After staring at it for hundreds of hours over the course of a year you develop a type of tunnel vision that sometimes makes things hard to notice.

Scott

Offline ivuWeather

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Re: 'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2020, 02:40:49 PM »
luesjo12 - Thanks again for the report on your zip code and the missing city.  It helped me discover an inconsistency in the data for places and correct it.  You should see McAllen now.  It's also correcting / adding almost 600 other places.

I appreciate the heads up!

Take care!
Scott

Offline luesjo12

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Re: 'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2020, 06:17:37 PM »
Thank you again! As for the feedback, I am happy to help and Iím very thankful that you have let us test out the new app.

Offline TWCC_DJK5555

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Re: 'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2020, 08:26:43 PM »
I had no idea WeatherScan was gone.
Men of war make peace

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Offline crazybangles

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Re: 'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2020, 11:41:06 PM »
Weatherscan isnít gone, just removed from several cable companies

Offline Jonathon

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Re: 'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2020, 12:33:34 AM »
Everblack and luesjo12 - I sure hope neither of you felt I was bothered by your feedback.  Just the opposite - I'm very happy to have it.  There have only been a few people who have seen the project so far and I'm anxious for additional opinions and suggestions.

luesjo12 - I'm concerned about what you mentioned with your zip code.  To be honest that sounds like a bug and I want to get it addressed.  I'll take a look and see what I can figure out.  McAllen certainly should be in there as a city.  I appreciate you letting me know.

Thanks again, guys!  I really do appreciate any feedback.  Even negative feedback is OK.  We really are committed to doing whatever we can to make this little app of ours as useful as possible.  In order to do that we need other opinions besides our own.  After staring at it for hundreds of hours over the course of a year you develop a type of tunnel vision that sometimes makes things hard to notice.

Scott
I am one of those who has seen this in action, and Scott has done a tremendous job with this app. I was actually the one who suggested the different music playlists, and some other tweaks and additions that have been introduced since it was launched in beta. Seeing that you've implemented some of my suggestions was very exciting to notice!

This project has nowhere to go but up, and I have a feeling that it will become quite a success once it's out of beta. :)

Offline ivuWeather

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Re: 'WeatherScan' like app now in beta preview
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2020, 04:55:23 PM »
Thanks again for the kind words, everyone.  Jonathon - you are right.  We've been able to incorporate a number of your suggestions into the app so far.  We're continuing to work on additional features and bug fixes.

Speaking of which we've just updated the beta.  Here are the changes:

  • New threaded implementation of our real-time updates.  This helps cut down on the screen pausing or hiccuping when the app is getting new information (warnings, radar, sat, etc.).  Those updates now happen in their own thread and then appear in the app the moment they are issued.
  • Added snow squall warnings to the 'EAS' mode where we read the warning and leave the radar up until the warning expires.  We now enter that mode for Tornado Warnings, Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, Flash Flood Warnings, and Snow Squall Warnings.
  • Revamped the 'EAS' mode so that a new/updated storm warning coming in will only interrupt the one being read if it's more important.  For instance - if a severe thunderstorm warning is being read and a tornado warning comes in, it will interrupt.  It will read the tornado warning first, then go back and re-read the severe thunderstorm warning that it pre-empted.
  • Changed wording on active alerts screens to show midnight and noon rather than 12:00 am and 12:00 pm.
  • Added the temperature trend to the extended forecast.  For instance, if temperatures are expected to fall through the day you will see a down arrow next to the high temp for that day.

I sure appreciate all the kind words and hope everyone can continue to test the app for us and provide any feedback or suggestions.

Thanks!
Scott
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 04:57:14 PM by ivuWeather »