Website back to normal, finally

March 7th, 2016

Begin rant.

(No) Thanks to the Storm Prediction Center, my Web host (Lunarpages), and especially Google, parts of this site have been broken or completely non-functional for quite a while.

SPC changed their outlooks last year, to add “Marginal” and “Enhanced” Risks. In addition, the NWS changed the location of SPC’s “points” file, which my Severe Weather Outlook page uses to create the outlook table. Those problems were finally fixed (more or less) today. The problem with SPC not closing their points (but leaving them open at the edge of the United States coast or border) remains, so sometimes the risk levels are misinterpreted.

A few days ago, Lunarpages updated PHP and MySQL, among other things. That broke this blog, my photo gallery, the Looney Tunes list, and probably other stuff that’s in the Private section that I rarely use anymore. They did, at least, include warnings and instructions on how to fix the problems that resulted. So, that didn’t take too long to fix, but was more complicated than their e-mail suggested.

Finally, Google last year removed important functionality from It was previously quite trivial to display a GPX or KML file directly on that site just by including it as a parameter in the URL. Now, there is a seriously complicated API involved, and GPX files are particularly hard to display. Thanks to Leaflet (JavaScript library), OpenStreetMap, and others (including hints from various on-line help pages like Stack Overflow), I’ve finally gotten something usable on-line for my Travel pages.

End rant.

Website update: Other Sites

July 12th, 2012

I finally got around to updating the “Other Sites” page. As is explained at the top of the page, dead stuff was removed, and a few items were added or updated. The page is still far from what I envision it to be…eventually.

News page: major update

March 9th, 2012

Lunarpages says that someone hacked their DNS, which appears to have disrupted my site’s access to, and the various weather services derived from it. During the investigation to see if anything else was affected, I noticed that my news page wasn’t working right. After some further investigation, I found that the format of CNN’s and Yahoo’s news RSS feeds had changed. So, I looked at my code, and found that it used old-style (PHP4) XML parsing (the expat parser, to be exact). Today, I rewrote that part of the code to use DOMDocument, after discovering that the simple XML reader in PHP doesn’t appear to handle these files. Now, CNN works, and BBC still works (it worked the old way, too). Unfortunately, it appears that Yahoo’s changes are incompatible with my format, so I have–at least temporarily–removed Yahoo! as a news choice.

I hate freezing rain/drizzle

December 16th, 2008

…but here it is again. The drive home this morning was delayed by scraping ice off the car windows, and then by (necessarily) slow traffic. Why can’t we have more snow and less ice? Oh wait – I’m a meteorologist. I know why we can’t….

Website Overhaul

November 27th, 2008

I had considered getting a CMS (Content Management System) for this site, but decided instead to simply overhaul the XHTML and remove language support. That should make it much easier for me to add/change/delete content as needed. And, to go with the newly fixed-up pages, there is a brand new logo:
New logo

This replaces the previous logo:
Older logo

As I write this, the “overhaul” is a work in progress, and it may take a few days to get all the pages (excluding the blog and gallery) converted. The overall appearance of the site will not change much, but my ability to manage it should be greatly improved.

iPhone Test

November 23rd, 2008

This post is just a test to see if I can post to the blog from an iPhone. If you’re seeing this, it worked!

New Travel Page

August 11th, 2008

As of this evening, there is now a page on this site that shows selected travel that I’ve done (obviously, this is intended for friends and family, and is unlikely to be of interest to anyone else).  For now, only the recent trip to Spain is shown, and (for now) the travel page and the associated data are still kind of “rough.”

Speaking of Spain, it was a wonderful trip.  Stu and I spent about a week and a half touring mainly the southeast part of Spain, especially Lorca, Cazorla, Salobreña, and Granada.  Since we flew into – and out of – Madrid, we also drove between Madrid and the southern part of the country. Photos are also available (and have been for several days) in the photo gallery.

Lufthansa geography game

February 11th, 2008

Got this in e-mail: Played it three times today, and this is the result of the third try:

The game mainly tests your knowledge of European geography (cities). I do not live in (nor have I ever visited) Europe, but I do have a geography degree. 🙂

Ice Storm

December 12th, 2007

Well, my power finally came back on this evening. The ice storm last Sunday night/Monday morning took out electricity in my neighborhood at about 6 a.m. Power was restored at about 9 p.m. today, after about a 63-hour outage. If I remember correctly, the second-longest outage – in the nearly 15 years I’ve lived here – was about 8 or 9 hours, after a late-October severe thunderstorm mowed down about a mile’s worth of power poles about half a mile to the east. Of course, this website is hosted in California, so our ice storm had no effect on it. Apparently, the fires and mudslides in California haven’t affected it, either. 8)

Akismet – one month later

October 26th, 2007

It’s been exactly a month (30 days) since I installed Akismet on this site in an effort to reduce the impact of comment spam. In that short time, Akismet has flagged nearly 1,300 spam comments! 😮 Only a couple have made it through to regular moderation (nearly all comments are moderated). Spammers: 😛