Saturday, February 21, 2009

Which iPhone App to use?

I just came in the door from a nice walk with Bella.  The day is sunny and there is no wind.  The “weather bug” app on my iPhone tells me that here in Toronto, at the Rogers Centre, the temperature is -5 and the wind is from the north west at 3 mph, which gives a windhcill of -7.  Didn’t seem that cold to me.   Funny thing about the iPhone is that there are many applications available which do the same thing.  I have 3 weather applications – all which were downloaded for free.  You might wonder why I need 3.   Read on and you will discover why.

The weather bug's current assessment seems to be at odds with mine.  Windchill?  I don't think so.  I need to check another source.
Describe Pic here
The Weather Network app says it is -7 with a wind of 6KM/h but it doesn’t give the windchill.  Hmm, no it seemed warmer than that.  The Weather network app is not as functionally complete as the weather bug, but sometimes there are accuracy issues in my mind.  Today is a case in point.

This app also gives me current, short term and long term outlooks (so more than provided by the weather bug).  This app  predicts a bit of snow (~1 cm) this afternoon.  The weather bug only gives me a forecast for each of the next 3 days and it does not forecast any snow.  Weather bug is clearly wrong here.  Weather bug also gives me a satellite map showing cloudcover (this same app shows radar instead on my friend T.’s iPhone – but I haven’t quite figured out to configure this) – anyway it has a map – so I need the  2 apps since they give me different functionality, both of which I need to properly assess the weather situation. 

Since the first 2 weather apps contradict one another in temp and precip. I decide to consult my 3rd weather app – the one that comes with the native iPhone.  I had originally decided that this app was deficient and had sought out the others at that point.  But it might break a tie, when the 2 other apps disagree in current temp.  Amazingly, it says the temp is -7 and predicts snow.  That seems a bit odd (and also strikes me as totally wrong having just come in from outside) since it says today’s high is to be -2 and low is to be -4 today.  -7 in my book is not between those two numbers.   I now remember why I don’t use this one.
Describe Pic here
 So it seems I need a 4th weather app and remember reading about the Weather Channel one being superior.  I download it and prepare for the final round of the competition of the weather apps, determined to delete the others once I finally decide which one is good enough.

I am impressed with the weather channel app as it seems to offer all the functionality and more compared to weather bug and the weather network.  There are tabs for current, hourly, 36 hour and 10 day forecasts.  I go to the current forecast first.  Wonderfully, the temperature agrees with what I think is closer to my observations when outside -4 wind from the S at 5 km/hr and mostly cloudly (I look out and see that the sun is now slipping under the clouds) with windhill -4!  Exactly as I had observed.  Reassured regarding the accuracy of information, I skim over the other tabs.  

Moving to the hourly forecast I see that they anticipate a change at 3pm to light snow along with a change in wind speed and direction.     Hmm, matches up with the CBC Radio forecast of this morning.  Good sign.  

Next I move to the 36 hour tab.  This gives me 3 summaries – today, tonight and tomorrow.  Looks like we are going to have occasional snow all night and that will turn into “snow showers” tomorrow.  New word for me, but tells me what I need to know.  They also hedge their bet by giving the odds for precip (80% tonight, 40% tomorrow).  

Skipping the 10 day tab (good enough to know they have this), I touch the map icon to see what that Describe Pic herehas in store.  WOW, a configurable google map which you can overlay either cloud, radar and a number of other weather measures to allow you to more closely observe the current situation in a particular location.     I pull up Las Vegas and see there is cloud cover from the west right over to Lake Mead, where there is none.  No precip – as I would expect.  Currently 7 degrees, they expect to reach 18 today under clouds.  I like this app.  I make Las Vegas a favourite and then add Phoenix and Titusville.

I see  2 more icons at the bottom: Video, which immediately pulls up a weather person doing the local weather. It is keyed to the location being displayed so I  decide to skip the detailed forecast offered for the west coast and change the display location Toronto to see what is offered.  It is a “Canada Forecast” covering the major cities across the country.  Good enough.   The last tab of significance gives an immediate view of any severe weather alerts which might apply to the location you are set to.  

I am convinced: the Weather Channel app is the one to use from now on!

I guess the iPhone makes up for a lack of precision and quality of the apps by having lots of them available so the law of natural selection will let those of merit float to the top.  I decide to delete all my weather app except the Weather Channel.  No more need for more than this one!
The Be Good Tanyas – An update

On another note of interest, I just heard the Be Good Tanya’s sing their Little Bird song on CBC radio.  They were featured on Molly Johnson’s morning show.  This is the 2nd time I have heard this group’s music played on CBC.  For those of you who have not heard them, perhaps didn’t read my earlier blog which provided a You Tube link to this “feel good” song” I have a widget with it on the lower left sidebar.  It is a great song – one I always go to if I need a “perk me up”.  The Be Good Tanyas have a CD out but I am not sure if it is hard to find or not – I suspect it might be.    They are a Canadian group from Vancouver, discovered playing outside of a Lilith Fair Concert.

Molly revealed today on the Morning Show, that there is a rumour circulating - The Be Good Tanya’s have disbanded!  I feel saddened if this is true.  They have such a sunny set of voices which make me feel good every time I listen to them.  I shall have to find their CD.  Maybe the issue is lack of sales which makes them disband.  

I have just now listened to a bunch more of their tunes on You Tube and selected this one to share with you.  It is not a feel good song but is a really nice tune none the less.

The Junkie Song:

If you like them you might want to check out another couple of other favourites of mine:

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