Tids and Bits


Finished up some fixes to my NOAA Metar Microsummary tonight, including:

  • Fixing the wind parsing code to handle AUTOmated and CORRected METAR reports
  • Munging the visibility parser to handle fractional visiblities (i.e. “1/2SM”) correctly
  • Parsing (and removing) variable wind direction reports (i.e. “12315KT 300V340 4SM”)
  • Reformatting the reporting of visibility to be “vN” over “NSM”, saving valuable toolbar space

New version is available here.
Sadly, the ugly webpage remains.
Myk was kind enough to review my microsummary and noticed that the auto-installing code on the webpage had a bug in the Javascript, so if you couldn’t get it to work before, click the link above and give it a try that way, if you’re interested.
This new version is much better anyway.


Speaking of microsummaries, Shawn Wilsher commented
Here I was hoping that NOAA had microsummaries. Sadly, the METAR reports are a bit much for me.

I heard that sentiment a few times, actually.
(Possibly?) unsurprisingly, much of the National Weather Service’s live ground weather data comes from these encoded METAR reports. Since airports have to do them, it’s an easy way to get predictable weather data every hour from all over the country, observed by trained weather spotters (aka “air traffic controllers.”)
Point is: we all use this data all the time; most of us are just unaccustomed to seeing it in this format.
The good news is the munging the microsummary does to save space on your toolbar actually makes it much easier to read; I replied to Shawn with a crash course on METAR reading.
If all you want to know is “How windy is it, how cloudy is it, and is the visibility obstructed by anything like haze or rain showers or ice pellets or volcanic ash,” this gets you like… 100% of the way there.
And let’s face it: who wouldn’t want to know when their visibility is going to be restricted by volcanic ash.


I’ve had no less than two people comment on the fact that in my VCS Shootout post, the last picture looks like Mercurial is getting pummeled by ClearCase.
I don’t know how people are thinking that, since there are clearly numerous little red spiky… thingies being shot at ClearCase… who is on the floor… getting hit by them.
Besides, as I mentioned, this was merely a screenshot from that round of fighting. We all know Mercurial could kick ClearCase’s ass any day of the week. I honestly don’t even know why we even bothered with that matchup.
(And of course you missed it Shaver; we all knew that round was such a joke, so you left to get us all beer. Remember?!)