Monday, September 17, 2012

Dual Pol Sites and Tiny Fixes

This should be a week to get a lot done... a lot of little things.

The current mode of operation in my head is to take care of a few scattered issues with a few of the projects that have been worked on recently. Notably this means issues with mobile satellite products, a few numerical model quirks, and a few random other items. These little tasks need to be knocked out so that all of our attention can be put toward Surface and Upper Air products.

One of the bigger, "little things" I've taken care of today is allowing several sites to display Dual Pol data that have recently been upgraded. These dual pol upgrades tend to happen for only 2 - 4 sites at a time, often take a week or two go into effect, and then roughly another week before our scripts start properly creating the images. Because of this I have the php scripts on the web end restrict access to these products until we know the upgrade has taken effect. But it has been several weeks since I've been able to peruse our sites to find out what sites are now ready with dual pol data. Turns out many have come online recently, making me look like a slouch.

Here is a complete list of recently added Dual Pol sites; KRGX, KLRX, KNKX, KDAX, KMAX, KGGW, KHDX, KEPZ, KABR, KDLH, KMPX, KSRX, KLZK, KLTX, KGYX, KCBW, KTYX, KCCX, KILN, KFTG, and KDMX. A total of 21 sites.

If you ever catch a site that has recently received the Dual-Pol upgrade but we aren't allowing access to the products, let us know using our Feedback page. Never hurts to give us a heads up. I often have a dozen other things on my mind that might be distracting me from making that small change.

Other tiny fixes; I'm going to finally work up a way for mobile users to switch between flanis/janis loops. At the very least for ones that use overlays. Which basically means satellite and radar products (excluding NEXRAD data). I'll be fixing some broken links in our Links page.

Then, as mentioned, we start major work on analysis products.

A note about our staff: It may not be readily apparent, but our staff consists two full-time professors, two official part-time staffers, a (contracted? fuzzy on the details) part-time remote staff member, and a couple IT consultants and administrators. Of this small staff, only myself has been tasked with the primary priority of designing and maintaining the website. The rest of the staff have other priorities that at times take precedence over product maintenance and development. Faculty needs to teach. Only one of our system administrators is technically paid, the other graciously offers his time and help (sparingly, of course) for free. Needless to say, we all have our plates very full. But we all remain considerably excited about this website. Since our site offers access to vast amounts of meteorological data for free, where others charge the user, our work feels very rewarding. We do this because most of us are forecasters at heart and we enjoy having fun tools at our disposal. We also firmly believe that giving students access to this data is a critical part of their education.

Long story short, we all scramble like crazy to do work quickly and do it well to maintain a unique, multi-faceted, undergraduate meteorology program along with a one-of-a-kind meteorological data and academic website. It's a tall order. But we do it every day.

With that said... sometimes... an occasional burn-out is to be expected. ;)

That's why I attempt to keep communication with users open. That way we give you, for a moment, the opportunity to be part of our staff. Your feedback is always a welcome contribution.

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