Comparison of public weather forecasts for Adelaide

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

If I want what I consider the most accurate forecast for Adelaide, I'm going to refer to the Bureau of Meteorology forecast. There are a number of other weather sites on the Internet, so let's see how close their forecasts are to what I'll call the "official" one.

Note, temperature is measured in Celsius in Australia, so those are the units I'm displaying. Out of interest, 42°C is equivalent to 107.6°F which is equivalent to hot!

BoM Forecast

PRECIS FORECAST FOR ADELAIDE
Issued at 5:00 am on Monday, 31 January 2011

Monday               Max 42   Dry. Sunny.

Tuesday     Min 24   Max 33   Fine. Mostly sunny.
Wednesday   Min 20   Max 34   Fine. Mostly sunny.
Thursday    Min 22   Max 34   Fine. Mostly sunny.

wunderground.com

http://www.wunderground.com/global/stations/94672.html

Predicting 37°C

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weather.com

http://uk.weather.com/weather/today-Adelaide-ASXX0001?fromSearch=true

I went to the UK version of weather.com as that seemed to be the easiest way to get the temperatures in Celsius.

Forecast: 40°C

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accuweather.com

http://www.accuweather.com/en-us/au/south-australia/adelaide/quick-look.aspx

Forecast: 42°C

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theweathernetwork.com

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/weather/ausa0001

Forecast: 32°C

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weatherbug.com

http://weather.weatherbug.com/Australia/Adelaide-weather.html?zcode=z6286&lang_id=en-au

Forecast: 33°C

Looking at the screengrab, I can see why they're called weatherbug.

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So as you can see, most of these have absolutely no idea.. I can only presume they are throwing darts at a dart board with the numbers they come up with. Accuweather seemed to be the closest to the Bureau's figures.

And as it turned out, Monday did get to 42°C, so the BoM was on the money.

WP7 Apps–the value proposition

Saturday, 29 January 2011

I've noticed something interesting recently with some of the paid apps appearing in the Windows Phone 7 marketplace. For apps that are essentially just a front-end for publicly available free data, I'm wondering why you would want to pay for them?

For example I chose to publish my Internode Usage app for free (just updated to version 1.1). As I don't have to pay to access the data (Internode make it freely available via a web API) I figure unless the app adds significant additional value then why shouldn't my app be free too?

The same principle applies to the second WP7 app that I've been developing – "Aussie Toilets". It is based on data published by the Australian Government, and as they've already published a free iPhone app, the idea that I would try and charge for basically the same thing on a different platform doesn't seem logical (I'm assuming my app is similar, I haven't actually seen the iPhone one).

You see, for every paid app that uses free data there's a threat looming - another app that uses the same data but which is free. So if a paid app is to be commercially viable then it really needs to stand out – add significant value to the original data (eg. visualisations, interpretations), and stand above any free competition.

There is one reason I can think of for some apps being paid which would otherwise be free. It's related to the fact that developers only get 5 free app submissions per year (but no limit to paid apps), so there is an incentive to publish paid apps (especially considering the penalty for failing app certification for a new free app).

So my challenge to the WP7 developer community – innovate and provide real value, and make the best of an impressive platform. Deliver quality apps, whether they are free or paid. But if you expect me to pay for your app, make sure the value it provides is worth at least the value you are charging for it!

Servicing SQL Server vs Visual Studio

Thursday, 27 January 2011

It's interesting to consider the approach that the SQL Server team take to servicing their products and contrast that with the Visual Studio team.

There are currently 3 versions of SQL Server covered under mainstream support (4 if you count extended support for SQL Server 2000 SP4 until 9th April 2013):

and we know that 'Denali' is in the works as the next version.

Current service packs include:

In addition, 'Cumulative Updates' are also released at regular intervals, and most impressively these also cover multiple service packs for the same RTM versions. As the name suggests, these updates contain all of the hotfixes released since the applicable release. For example the latest cumulative updates include:

You can go to http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sqlreleaseservices/ to see all the details.

Now contrast this with current mainstream supported versions of Visual Studio:

There's been single service packs for 2005 and 2008. There's also currently a beta for the 2010 service pack. To the best of my knowledge they've never released additional service packs for any of the '.NET era' VS versions.

Additional updates are released but in very much a piecemeal fashion. It's up to you to look trawl through the items posted to the Connect site or on MSDN and do your research by then trying to look up KB articles as the original descriptions aren't always that descriptive.

I guess what I'm saying is it wouldn't it be great for the VS team to take a leaf out of the SQL team's book and provide a greater commitment to servicing their existing products as well as innovating on the next release – provide proper cumulative updates for current VS releases.

Passed 70-506

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

I've just learned that I passed another beta exam!

The nice thing about this is that it's turned out to be quite relevant to the Windows Phone 7 development I've been doing.

This should mean I now gain the following certification:

Tour Down Under 2011

Sunday, 23 January 2011

imageOn Friday, I got up bright and early at 4.45am so that I could get down to Norwood for the 6.30am start of this year's Challenge Tour for the Tour Down Under. Well ok, it was early but I wasn't feeling particularly bright at that hour!

The course was 135km, winding up through Gumeracha through the Adelaide Hills following the Onkaparinga valley then to Mt Barker, Macclesfield and Meadows before finishing at Strathalbyn.

WP_000075Once again I rode with my Dad, and this time he was definitely setting the pace!The only thing that could slow him down was a puncture on Gorge Rd, and me trying to keep up. My other problem was in getting ready and driving to Mum & Dad's in the dark to meet our lift I managed to leave one of my bike gloves in the car – which meant had to ride with just one glove (a bit less comfortable but was ok).

WP_000077WP_000078We left Norwood just as the sun was rising, and headed off at a nice pace. Dad had done a trial of Checker's hill a few weeks ago and suggested we'd be better off taking the detour. I'm glad we did and heard that many who attempted it ended up having to get off and walk up the hill.

There were regular drink stops, and the major rest stop at Oakbank was well prepared. Even when they ran out of Powerade, they managed to find some more supplies quickly.

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Even in a crowd of 7,500 cyclists, Adelaide being what it is you're bound to bump into someone you know. Here's Paul (also member of Sevenfold) enjoying the stop at Oakbank. I also bumped into Grant, who I worked with years ago way back in my SysAdmin days. He said there was something distinctive about me to make me easy to pick out in a crowd.

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The weather was very kind – it was a mostly fine day but stayed quite mild which was a big relief to me! The wind was quite blustery but was quite refreshing, except for the final downhill run into Strathalbyn where it was pushing us around a bit.

We completed the distance in 5 hours 50 minutes and even though my preparation had been very limited leading up to the ride, I didn't feel too bad. Having said that I was glad to finish and my behind was about done with sitting on a bike seat for a while.