NOAA/Google Weather Maps

When I was a kid, we listened to the local radio station for updates on impending snow storms. Next came storm tracking updates from the local broadcast TV news with updates on the half hour.

While at UMF in the early 90’s, one the computer center staff created a program that rendered raw NOAA satellite data over an image of a Maine map. We could see real-time satellite maps of a comming storm – if you counted the 30 minute rendering time on a 286 PC and nearly as long downloading the data files over the university 56k line.

Later, I remember hovering over weather.com for updated views and reports.

This morning, we are on the bleeding edge of Web 2.0 as the boys hover over the NOAA’s beta display . Their NEXRAD maps use a composite of Google Maps, radar images and weather warnings complete with animated time loops.

Now, if they could only do real-time Street View of the storm so I know when the plow trucks have blocked in the end of the driveway!

31. December 2009 by admin
Categories: General | Leave a comment

Email to SMS Gateways

Most major cellular carriers provide an email address for each user that will forward email as a text message to their phone. I have been digging around to find providers local to my area (central Maine) with the idea of creating a SMS prayer list tool.

Just so I don’t lose track of these:

Alltel – 2125551212@message.alltel.com
AT&T/Cingular – 3215551212@txt.att.net
Boost Mobile – 3215551212@myboostmobile.com
US Cellular – 3215551212@email.uscc.net
Nextel – 3215551212@messaging.nextel.com
Sprint PCS – 3215551212@messaging.sprintpcs.com
T-Mobile – 3215551212@tmomail.net
Verizon – 3215551212@vtext.com
Virgin Mobile – 3215551212@vmobl.com

There is a huge list available here.

04. December 2009 by admin
Categories: General | Leave a comment

Good Morning, Daddy!

Just about every morning, one or both of my two youngest boys wakes us up to crawl in bed for a morning snuggle. It is pretty easy to predict how the day will go for them by how they act in those early morning minutes. If they are whiny, or argumentative, or sullen, it’s going to be one of “those days”. If they are cuddly, or silly and playful, or asking about what they get to do today, it is likely to be a good day.

The sovereign LORD has given me the capacity to be his spokesman,
so that I know how to help the weary.
He wakes me up every morning;
he makes me alert so I can listen attentively as disciples do.
– Isaiah 50:4 Continue Reading →

25. November 2009 by ChrisJ
Categories: Devotionals, Prayer | Leave a comment

StumbleUpon Alternatives for Your Firefox Bookmarks Toolbar

If your a StumbleUpon addict like myself, chances are, you have gotten “You have seen all your topic here pages. Explore others…” as a result of pecking at the “Stumble!” button like a demented, tic-tac-toe playing chicken.
While reviewing more sites can add a little spark back into your stumbles, it’s a bit of a “cart and horse” problem if the main way you find interesting sites is through StumbleUpon. It seems some alternatives are in order. If you are using Firefox, drag any of the following links to your Bookmarks Toolbar:

  1. Random Wikipedia – Wikipedia provides a special link that will pick an interesting article for you to read – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
  2. Random Del.icio.us – Del.icio.us provides a link redirecting you to one of it’s more recently added links.
  3. Random Google – If you have Google Web History turned on, this link, http://www.google.com/searchhistory/items?op=rec_rd&cd=ifb&hl=en, will take you to a random link related to your previous surfing history. Google provides the same functionality through recent version of their Google Toolbar.

There are also StumbleUpon-like services out there, like SpinSnap and Youlicit, but I like keeping the above links around for a quick, random-link fix.

13. December 2008 by admin
Categories: General, Learning | Leave a comment

Dugg up – When old blog posts come back from the Dead

I am on the tail end of the effects of appearing on the front page of Digg. I hadn’t posted in a while (major new job, new church building, new home group, etc., etc.) so I was a bit off guard when I got an email from my shared hosting company, saying they had disabled my front page due to excessive CPU usage (load average of 70, mostly my fault).
Like a good programmer, my first thought was “What has changed?” quickly followed by the recollection that WordPress 2.6.3 had released a few days ago and I updated it last night.

I would now like to take a moment to ask for forgiveness from the anonymous WordPress developers who’s names I took in vain and accused of being far less talented than they actually are. I am deeply sorry and it won’t happen again. I hope…

It wasn’t until I got WP-Super-Cache installed and the site back up, that I took time to look at the stats. Over 8000 hit in a few hours and rising quickly!
Continue Reading →

26. October 2008 by admin
Categories: Learning, linux | Leave a comment

timekpr Grows Up ( or “Why I Love Open Source” )

Back in February, I had the need to limit the amount of time my kids spent on a shared Ubuntu box. I cobbled together a simple script that would give a warning then shutdown the user session. It worked for me (made my kids unhappy, tho’), but I knew it could be better. Dispite my full knowledge it was a cheesy little script, I posted it on my blog since it fit I need I had as a Dad that I thought others might have.

Well, a number of folks have commented, posted bug fixes and enhancements, even translated it to Hungarian! A few hours ago, one of the folks that had offered others help and enhancements on Ubuntu Forums, Even Nedberg, posted a comment to the old blog entry that he and a friend had converted the script to Python and added a GUI and other cool enhancements.They have even set up a project at launchpad.net to make the code more accessible.

Wow! I have been pretty busy this summer, and couldn’t have hoped to provide these types enhancements, but thanks to the spirit of open source and the need to “scratch an itch”, ‘timekpr’ has grown up, and is on it’s way to becoming a really useful (and needed) tool for the Linux desktop.

.nedberg and forger – Please take this blog entry as my permission to use the name ‘timekpr’ and any code or ideas in the original script (please don’t take the bugs, I’ll keep those!) and just go wild. I know parents will greatly appreciate you efforts!

28. September 2008 by Chris
Categories: Coding | Leave a comment

Writing on the Door Post

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. – Deuteronomy 11:18-21

I recently read how modern-day Jews still follow this admonition by attaching something called a mezuzah, a small box or scroll shaped container attached to the front door frame containing a small roll of parchment inscribed with a prayer from the Torah called the Sh’ma and one of the names of God, Shaddai. ( “God Almighty is sufficient” ) Continue Reading →

30. August 2008 by ChrisJ
Categories: Daily Living, Featured, Scriptures, Witness | 6 comments

Sing a New Song – Really Loud!

I was stumbling some blogs (ouch! I seem to have a bad buzz word infection!) and ran across this this of 12 Ways to turn a bad day into a better one. There is some good advice near, but the one I focused in one was:

3. Sing in your car.

And sing as loud as you can. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to frown while you are singing?

I had to laugh. It’s not a secret that I am among the ranks of the harmonically challenged. I am also called to serve in a fellowship that has a talented worship team and a strong focus on musical worship. Now, nobody has an expectation that everyone be on key, we all know that the focus of our worship is to bring a sacrifice before the King of kings, a sacrifice of our praise, our hearts, and our lives. But… there is something to be said for not sounding like a crow entering adolescence.

With that in mind, I have been changing my drive-time listening habits from preaching/teaching radio to worship and contemporary Christian music. So, if you pass a blue VW Bug blaring out a mix of Third Day and a tom cat in pain, it’s just me, giving God what I have, if not what He deserves.

18. August 2008 by ChrisJ
Categories: Daily Living, Worship | Leave a comment

Firefox 3.0 is coming! (finally!)

The folks at Mozilla.org have finally pick a release date for Firefox 3.0. As a Ubuntu user, I have been using the betas and release candidates for a while, but, for those not as willing to live on the edge like myself, mark “June 17th” on your calendar as the day to head over to pick up a copy. While your waiting, sign-up to help set a Guinness World Record for the most downloads of a software package in 24 hrs.
Of the tons of enhancements and new features, I would have to say some of my favorites are the faster, more standards compliant rendering engine, one-click bookmarks, and easier plugin searching and installation.
Now, I can’t wait for the new Javascript Just-in-Time compiler (Tamarin) to give some of those rich web apps a kick in the pants.

13. June 2008 by Chris
Categories: General, linux | Tags: | Leave a comment

Get Out of Jail Free Card

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. – Proverbs 22:7

My wife and I are big Dave Ramsey fans. If you not familiar with his top-rated, 3 hour-a-day radio program, his 3 NY-Times best selling books on personal finance, his Fox Business Network TV show, or his down-to-earth, biblically based financial advice, you have a couple of things you need to do:
First, get out more often! Second, go to his site, http://www.daveramsey.com, find a local radio station that caries his show and get a copy of his “The Total Money Makeover“.

After facilitating a couple of his Financial Peace University classes in our home, wrestling with budgets and bad spending habits, falling off the wagon and getting back on, we are finally free of the bondage of school loans, credit cards, and car loans. With the exception of our home mortgage, we are debt free! Continue Reading →

05. June 2008 by ChrisJ
Categories: Daily Living, Featured | Leave a comment

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