It’s been a while since I posted about the weather apps I use but it’s time to update with the times. Some apps have disappeared, some were bastardized while others have become personally indispensable.
I’ve broken out my list between websites that are open for everyone and apps (some of which may require subscriptions).
I had three portable MiniDisc recorder/players growing up in high school & college, and I still have the latter two. The format wasn’t the coolest but for the age where music was being downloaded from some… back alley websites it was a great way to copy it on the go and modify playlists without having to re-record an entire tape.
I was able to listen to whatever I really wanted while on bus rides, or even record music from someone else’s CD player or cassette player.
When I was dabbling in music and writing it on my computer I wanted to share it as I heard it on my computer. Although MIDI is a standard file format for recording/playing music, the engine and sound samples are not. A program I wrote them in called MusicTime had a more robust sound catalog and so I was able to output these to MiniDisc and play them on the sound system in the band room at school. When playing them after school a classmate exclaimed “You wrote that?”
I did not know that there were kiosks in Japan similar to the Famicom Disk System where you could download music. Another shared history between Nintendo & Sony.
My last memories of MiniDisc were in college working at the WMSR radio station. Most of our prerecorded audio was done on MiniDiscs. There was a recorder and player in the production studio as well as in the main studio. The systems were tied to the soundboard so when you tapped a button to go live with a source the music would play and only play that track. However, by that time, MP3 DATA CD players were also in use and easily made and that’s what I used to bring music or prerecorded audio from my computer to the station. I also was rocking out my first iPod by that time and loved it.
I should break out my MiniDiscs and see what I still have recorded on those bad boys. I would imagine they are just as susceptible to disc rot as other optical media.
If you consider yourself a professional photographer, or you just enjoy a nice morning or evening walk there is a website called SunsetWX that can predict how beautiful the next sunrise or sunset will be.
The founder loves meteorology and photography and found a way to combine those interests through SCIENCE!
They also have a Twitter account to follow to get an up-to-date sunrise/sunset forecast in your Twitter feed.
I am a weather geek and as a weather geek I’ve compiled a few of my favorite sites just for you to get accurate weather updates. What I’m about to provide you will be better than weather.com or the default weather app on your mobile device.
Weather Underground – This is my go to site. Weather Underground1 collects data from thousands of personal weather stations, and provides a ton of data at a glance. Their WunderMap feature can show storms, temps and more. Their mobile apps are also very great.
Dark Sky – My second go to, Dark Sky started out as a mobile app for iOS focusing on down to the minute predictions for precipitation. It was fairly reliable. After that they created a very cool site called forecast.io which incorporated the accurate precipitation predictions along with forecast data, and climate history with the time machine. Now they’ve updated all that with beautiful design and maps.
Ventusky– A map based web app that shows all kinds of weather data present and historical on a map.
WeatherSpark – WeatherSpark can provide all kinds of historical climate data for an area that can be used for predicting if it will be rainy, windy, or more for any time of year.
Weather Underground has been around since the 90s. They were bought out by the Weather Channel, which was in turn purchased by IBM for all of their data collection. ↩
Retro is in and nostalgia is a powerful drug. I love certain retro designs and art, whether it be the “future” fonts of the 1970s or 8-Bit graphics. Limitations in past technology produced qualities or artifacts that could be considered inferior – like pixel art in computer graphics or light leaks in photography. Should these imperfections be preserved and used as a form of expression or will they die over time?
Instagram brought the flaws and quirks of analog photography to the smartphone era. It got overused and ushered in a ton of other filter apps. I love Hipstamatic. I like the aesthetic quality of old cameras. Some people don’t even know that some of these filters have origins in old personal cameras of 60s, 70s, and 80s. Minecraft uses pixel textures for everything. Those qualities then in turn have an entirely new origin in style.
Is there a name for these imperfections? We use retronyms to distinguish older technology from new. You could use retro, or lo-fi I suppose. I think there needs to be a term for these effects. You see them becoming more prevalent in film or TV. The VHS type haze used in the film Kung Fury is an example. And now when you look at a movie like Alien that takes place in the far future, the computers look like they’re from the 70s – because they were.
What I’m trying to define is a term for when a movie debuts in 2016, and then uses computers from the 70s for some type of artistic reason, whether it be a period film or not.
There’s an app for that
It’s ironic that we are using computers to emulate older technology. Some of my favorite examples of these types of conversions are:
Hipstamatic emulates old cameras and films, but puts a modern twist on them.
Restrospecs emulates old gaming systems and color palettes. Even the 1-Bit glory of the Game Boy Camera.
Playscii is an ASCII art editor. It’s when graphics were made of text. It also applies a CRT haze.
Glitché is an app that applies deconstructive effects that look like glitches or errors.
Decim8 is similar to Glitché and it allows you to completely decimate photos with intentional glitches.
What’s higher than hi-def?
As our technology improves, and we move from 1080p to 4K, megapixels to gigapixels, and so on, will we try to emulate the technology limitations of today for the same effect? Cursive is on its way out the door. I theorize there will always be an affinity for such stylings, but for how long?
Music is still released on Vinyl for the warm sound of a technically inferior technology. Several indie video games are made in the style of 8-bit or 16-bit gaming systems. Is this a passing fad? Will we look longingly for the sound of an mp3, or PS4 game in the future? I honestly don’t know.
I love this term. It can be used often for life. ↩
I realized the other day that I hadn’t posted any non cameraphone photos since October, and truth be told, I haven’t taken many. I don’t know why. But it’s inexcusable , and I owe it to myself to take more. I believe that will change shortly this weekend.
I love my iPhone, and I really love Hipstamatic. And I know that those apps that make your photos look… hipster-ish (even though that’s not what the “Hipsta” stands for in Hipstamatic). But even though the iPhone takes better photos than most cameraphones, it’s still pretty crappy, so applying an analog (digital) filter helps compensate for its inadequacies with an unpredictable touch. At least that’s how I look at it, and I like experimenting with it. But it’s time to move on to Summer, and some awesome pics.
Ah yes. The iPad has come. I seriously thought the internet was going to crash just covering it’s announcement and release. So what is it? A tablet computer, a giant iPod touch, or a plate to make fresh salsa? A little of all those really.
When it was originally theorized that Apple was making a tablet computer , most mockups showed a tablet computer running the Mac OS X. In January when it was finally announced, and that it would be running the iPhone OS, and the reception was chaotic at best. Why would they release a giant iPhone? Doesn’t Apple know that people want to run Photoshop on a touch interface? I want to word process on it too!
Hype soon took over regarding how this was the future. This was computing going forward. I think that statement can be misleading. We aren’t going to abandon the keyboard and mouse anytime soon. Not when we’re working. But we will when we are consuming. The internet has so much media… and we must consume it all! This is the gap the iPad fills.
Surprisingly, a good number of people who have laptops uses them most of the time just to surf the web. Why do that on something that only has 2 hours of battery, a full keyboard, and a crappy trackpad (unless you’re on a MacBook). You could have 10 hours of battery life, something easy to hold, and very small and portable.
It’s a media consumption device at it’s best. You aren’t going to use this to write articles (even though Apple is bring iWork to it) , you aren’t going to do massive photo editing with it, and it certainly won’t replace pen and paper.
Final thought. I got to play with one… it’s fast, nice to read on, and wonderful to hold. If you have a desktop computer, and want a laptop… mostly for browsing… get an iPad. Will this changes things? Yes. This is the newspaper/magazine of the future… and it’s here now!