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Thread: What is so difficult about a weather app?

  1. #1
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    What is so difficult about a weather app?

    I cannot believe that a simple thing like a weather app is hard to find.
    The app in the Software Centre is broken even though Launchpad says that it's fixed. When trying to add a location you get to "Apply" then it hangs and generates "Ubuntu had an internal error".

    indicator-weather 11.11.28-0ubuntu1.3
    I'm running a fully updated Ubuntu 12.04
    Code:
    $ uname -a
    Linux snappy 3.8.0-32-generic #47~precise1-Ubuntu SMP Wed Oct 2 16:19:35 UTC 2013 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
    I have reported this at Launchpad but I still cannot find a solution.

    On AskUbuntu there are various answers but none of these "weather" apps show me want I want to know.
    http://askubuntu.com/questions/14970...op-weather-app
    I want to know the wind speed and direction for the day. Where I live the weather is determined by the speed and direction of the wind and it changes quite often.
    The technical term for it is "hyper-oceanic". For the current wind direction I can look out of the window, I want to know what it's going to do later.

    Maybe I should learn how to setup Conky
    Any ideas? </moderate_rant_level>
    Last edited by coldraven; October 22nd, 2013 at 01:13 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: What is so difficult about a weather app?

    my-weather-indicator is pretty comprehensive.

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install my-weather-indicator

  3. #3
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    Re: What is so difficult about a weather app?

    Quote Originally Posted by Docaltmed View Post
    my-weather-indicator is pretty comprehensive.

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install my-weather-indicator
    You need to add the ppa first. It is not in the repository as far as I remember.

  4. #4
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    Re: What is so difficult about a weather app?

    ah, you are correct, monkeybrain. It's been a while and I forgot. It's the atareao repository.

    Code:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install my-weather-indicator

  5. #5
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    Re: What is so difficult about a weather app?

    Weather apps aren't especially difficult. I assume their apparent dearth is due to lack of interest. It's isn't unusual in FOSS for small single-purpose apps to be written more or less as learning experiences and then abandoned.

    Every one I've seen works the same way: Ask the user to identify a location, grab the current forecast/conditions from an online source, parse the text that's returned, and display it in a pop up adorned with cute weather images.

    A large number of shell script incarnations of these are scattered across the web that can be executed in a terminal. Not as pretty, but probably more informative.

    I just point my browser at a good weather site. Here in the U.S. it's one of the NOAA sites, in the UK it's the Met Office, and so on.

  6. #6
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    Re: What is so difficult about a weather app?

    One of the tough things is that free weather providers (like weather.com) will shut down their services, so there are some good weather applets/scripts out there that are currently broken until they're updated to a new provider. I had a tough time finding a good weather app in KDE, but at least the xfce weather app works nicely.

  7. #7
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    Re: What is so difficult about a weather app?

    I just use the ForecastFox plug-in for Firefox. It's very configurable. I get a few icons in the status bar at the bottom of the Firefox window.

    There are also a couple of "widgets" in KDE for weather. Out of curiosity I installed the "Weather Forecast" widget into the panel. It's fairly functional as well, though configuration was a bit mysterious to start with. If you right-click the widget and choose Settings, you'll see a dialog box with an empty field to specify the weather station to monitor. It turns out you need to type in a city name, then press Search to get a list of options.

    I use WeatherBug on my Android phone, which taps into a network of small weather stations. The one for my community is located at the high school about half-a-mile away; can't get much more local than that. My daughter attends college in Philadephia. The station for her is located at a private school across the street from her campus. Apps like the KDE widget rely on things like NOAA where the stations are at airports. For Boston, that's at Logan Airport which is out in the harbor and often has different weather from those of us more inland. There is a beta desktop WeatherBug app for Linux, but the site says it is currently not available for downloading.
    Last edited by SeijiSensei; October 22nd, 2013 at 05:26 PM.
    If you ask for help, do not abandon your request. Please have the courtesy to check for responses and thank the people who helped you.

    Blog · Linode System Administration Guides · Android Apps for Ubuntu Users

  8. #8
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    Re: What is so difficult about a weather app?

    Quote Originally Posted by Temüjin View Post
    [...]free weather providers (like weather.com) will shut down their services, so there are some good weather applets/scripts out there that are currently broken[...]
    Exactly. And most free providers (when available) offer different types of data. Also, data type and quality varies from continent to continent.

    So a developer has two choices: Either create a quite complex three-layer application (provider plug-in, abstraction, display), or create a very simple two-layer application (single-provider, display). No big surprise that after looking at the issues, most developers decided upon the latter.

  9. #9
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    Re: What is so difficult about a weather app?

    Commerical sites, like weather.com, have an interest in not making it easy for third-parties to collect and repackage their data. They want to make sure their ads get through.

    What I want more than an applet that provides the current conditions and a forecast -- I get that by plugging my zipcode into weather.gov once a day -- is something that alerts me to localized severe and dangerous weather. E.g., if a tornado or severe thunderstorm warning is issued near me, I want something to beep and popup. There are phone apps for this, usually from local TV stations, but I'm not aware of any on Linux.

  10. #10
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    Re: What is so difficult about a weather app?

    Thanks for all the replies and tips. Maybe I should just install bigger windows

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