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Monday, 26 March 2012

Frost Alarm

There are a lot of weather sites and gadgets around on the Net but none of them seemed do what this gardener wanted. Specifically, I'm always pushing the envelope with tender plants so I need advance warning of frosts. The British “Met Office” will warn me about floods, snow and possibly pestilence but not frost as such.
So, I decided to invent a Frost Alarm. This is how I did it:
  • Yahoo has weather services that present the data as XML files
  • The weather service reports the current temperature and a two day forecast
  • Plenty of time to get the cloches and fleece out.
  • The service needs a “Where On Earth ID” (I kid you not!) to identify where on Earth you want the weather for
  • Fortunately, Yahoo has another “API” for looking it up. I could have hard-coded my local WOEID but I was already thinking of sharing the Frost Alarm with the world…
  • So I put together the software in Delphi to lurk on Windows and pop up when cold was happening or forecast.
  • Being somewhat geeky, I added an optional little system to keep the software up to date automatically
Finally, I decided to release it as freeware. I call it a "Weather Alarm" just in case I decide to upgrade it to do more than just frost.  You can read a bit more here or dive in and download here.


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