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Thursday, December 3, 2009

TwitterMail is history...Well take it from here...

After working out some bugs, we've got the Tweets going again from our server - WITHOUT the use of "TwitterMail".

TM was becoming such a pain in the a**. The guy just DOESN'T seem too concerned at all about what happens with his system, and he's not up on keeping people updated with the latest, so everyone would always find Tweets going through TM would just STOP...for DAYS at a time...with NO explanation. Then they'd just start right back up again. And all last night, we discovered that apparently TM was queing bulletins being sent and holding them for later. Only when later came, they BOMBED us with dupes of one particular Zone Forecast Bulletin that lasted from 7:52pm last night until about 5am this morning. That was the last straw.

So with the new means of tweet distribution having been worked out, I have REMOVED TwitterMail from the equation entirely, and we are now sending tweets to Twitter completely of our own. We no longer have the advantage of TM's HTML buffering of our bulletins, which made long bulletins prettier to view, but we can still get them out in multiple 140-character "packets". I would rather deal with this than with TM's LONG-long downtimes and tweet bombings, and reading the owner's stupid comments on his contact page.

The Local Storm Reports were a nice convenience which viewed well with TwitterMail; but unfortunately they don't format well under Twitter's API interface, so I'm going to stop sending those. If anyone REALLY wants them, I can send them to your email.

At any rate, looks like we've solved the problem with TwitterMail.

Barring Twitter itself going down, we look forward to much less downtimes or problems, now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Looks Promising...

Noticing some bugs. Some bulletins not making it through because the Twitter API interface completely trashes any messages over the length of 140-characters. Experimenting with some settings. But some bulletins ARE getting through.

Will continue to work on this.

TwitterMail is STILL down. Heh.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Trying something new with Twitter...

Okay, trying some new stuff on the AC-EMWIN server end. We'll see if this works better with Twitter. If so, we won't have to rely on TwitterMail anymore and the downtimes should disappear - unless twitter itself goes down, which is rarer.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

RRR! Twittermail down AGAIN!

TwitterMail seems to be down yet AGAIN. This is getting to be a regular thing. I'm going to have to look into alternate means of getting EMWIN messages to Twitter so that we don't have to deal with this kind of stuff.

I have an idea in mind. Looking into it right now.

Looks like TwitterMail is just going to have to be removed from our use. They're just not dependable or reliable enough.

Will keep everybody posted on what we'll be doing to keep things going, here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

ACEMWIN Twitter Page Again Operational...

Looks like TwitterMail came back up again at about 7am Eastern Time. So things are yet again right.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Twittermail down again...

Twittermail seems to again be down, so AC-EMWIN tweets to Twitter aren't working, right now. This seems to have been going on for the past two days, now. Twiitermail occasionally does this, with no explanation as to why, and no word as to when it will recover.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Series of Listgroups - The ACWIN Project...

ACWIN stands for the "Alachua County Weather Information Network". It is a series of listgroups designed to bring weather bulletins to Alachua and surrounding counties. It will cater not just to Alachua County, but now to other surrounding northern Florida counties as well.


Each county will have three lists, created to cater to: general weather bulletins, severe weather bulletins, and civil emergency bulletins.

Users will be allowed to subscribe to each bulletin they want individually, without being forced to take everything we offer at once.

Before, users in surrounding counties were on their own. Alachua County had a SKYWARN program, and a bulletin distribution system which catered to them; but the surrounding counties had nothing, because they were smaller and there just wasn't any interest or support. We've tried to help them out by supporting them. That is what this new suite of email lists is designed to do.

For more information about the ACWIN Project, see alachuaskywarn.org/acwin .

New means of subject line handling in listgroups...

Working with Danny Lloyd this week, I convinced him to add a new feature to WxMesg software which allows concurrent use of both Product identifier abbreviation and full product name in the subject line. Before this, subjects either had to use the product name only (such as "ZFPJAX") or the full product name (such as "Zone Forecast Product"), but they couldn't do both at the same time. This new feature facilitates listgroup usage. Now we can send bulletins that can be sorted by the "topic" name (which happens to be the product identifier, such as ZFPJAX), while still identifying the bulletin. For example:

"ZFPJAX: Zone Forecast Product"

The listgroups are only concerned with finding that topic name in that subject line. That is, they hunt for the topic name in the first few characters of the subject. Once found, anything AFTER that is ignored. So we can get away with adding the full bulletin name after the "topic"/product identifier. Note that we were even able to throw in a colon (":") after the product ID. :)

We can also include product/watch/warning issuance/expiration times, now, if we want to. Example: "ZFPJAX: Zone Forecast Product [00:00Z - 08:00Z]". For right now, this feature will only be used, however, for special situations.

This new feature is now being utilzed in both the ACEMWIN-HURR-L and ACWIN-* listgroups.

For more information on ACEMWIN-HURR-L, see alachuaskywarn.org/emwin/acemwinhurrl .

For more information on ACWIN, see alachuaskywarn.org/acwin .

Friday, July 10, 2009

HUGE Changes to ACEMWIN-HURR-L Hurricane Bulletins List

The ACEMWIN-HURR-L list was created on July 16, 2005, The list serves the latest hurricane bulletins to the public. Yesterday, after many weeks of researching Listserv and EMWIN software documentation, major changes were finally implemented to the listgroup, now allowing users to pick and CHOOSE which hurricane bulletins they want. Before, users were forced to have to receive them all. When the season got busy, the listgroup would often end up ovewhelmed. No longer. Using a Listserv software feature called "topics", users may now turn on or off bulletins at thier own WILL. Users will greatly appreciate this new capability.

The list receives the latest hurricane-related bulletins from the Alachua Co. EMWIN Project's EMWIN server. The EMWIN server receives weather bulletins hot off of the GOES-10 weather satellite located high above the earth in geosationary orbit. As soon as weather bulletins are issued by NOAA, the NWS ,the SPC, the NHC, and other various weather centers, they are immediately transmitted to the satellite, and then bounced back down to the earth for other ground stations to receive. The Alachua County EMWIN Project owns such a ground receiving station. Whenever the NHC issues hurricane related bulletins, they will appear in this list as soon as they are sent down from the satellite. Subscribers to this list will receive Atlantic-region hurricane-related bulletins.

Testing of the new changes is complete and everything seems to be working fine, and the listgroup is again ready for public use.

Here are the "topic" areas that are now available to choose from within the ACEMWIN-HURR-L listgroup:

PWSAT: Tropical Cyclone Surface Wind Speed Probabilities
SPFAT: Storm Strike Probability Bulletin
TCANT: Tropical Cyclone ICAO (Aviation) Advisory
TCDAT: Tropical Cyclone Discussion
TCEAT: Tropical Cyclone Position Estimate
TCMAT: Marine/Aviation Tropical Cyclone Forecast/Advisory
TCPAT: Public Tropical Cyclone Advisory
TCPSP: Public Tropical Cyclone Advisory (spanish)
TCUAT: Tropical Cyclone Update
TCVAT: Tropical Cyclone Watch/Warning Product (VTEC)
TWDAT: Tropical Weather Discussion
TWOAT: Tropical Weather Outlook and Summary
TWSAT: Monthly Tropical Weather Summary
CHGHUR: Tropical Cyclone Objective Guidance
STDCCA: Satellite-derived Trop. Disturbance Summ. (C. Carribean)
STDECA: Satellite-derived Trop. Disturbance Summ. (E. Carribean)
STDWCA: Satellite-derived Trop. Disturbance Summ. (W. Carribean)

All new users are automatically subscribed to ALL of the above bulletins. However, you can turn some OFF at any time if things seem to get just a little too "busy" for you.

For a detailed description of each of the above bulletins, see the NHC's Text Products Description page at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnhcprod.shtml.

Another new addition to the listgroup is the archiving feature. The listgroup is now being archived. This means that users can now also peruse past hurricane bulletins. To view these archives, see:

ACEMWIN-HURR-L IS A READ-ONLY LIST. In other words, users may not post to the list. This list is for the dissemination of hurricane-related bulletins only. The list owner/moderator is Todd Sherman (

For more information abnout the listroup, see


Todd Sherman / KB4MHH
ACEMWIN-HURR-L Listgroup Owner

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Two things regarding new lists at the UF Listserv that the AC-EMWIN Project will be creating:

First: The currently existing ACEMWIN-HURR-L listgroup has been running for a while now. We've been sending the latest Gulf & Atlantic-related hurricane bulletins to it. At this time it is set up to receive all bulletins in the one list. SOON however, this will change, and we'll set up the list with a few "default" bulletins for people to receive when they first subscribe, and quite a NUMBER of OTHER hurricane-related bulletins that users can turn on or off at their OWN command.

Second: We'll soon be adding quite a NUMBER of new listgroups - one for every county in the North Central Florida area. Each group will receive bulletins for that county ONLY, and the user will be able to choose from a NUMBER of various weather related bulletins that they can turn on or off at their own will.

The counties will include:
Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafeyette, Levy, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee, and Union.

Weather bulletins to choose from (in EACH LIST) will include:
Area Forecast Discussion, Coastal Waters Forecast, Hazardous Weather Outlook, Short Term Forecast, Surf Forecast, Zone Forecast Product, Special Weather Statements, Severe Weather Statements, Thunderstorm Watches/Warnings, Flood Watches/Warnings, Tornado Watches/Warnings, Red Flag Warnings, Local Storm Reports, etc., etc.

I think people will like this arrangement. As for the AC-SKYWARN Email Alert List, depending upon what users think, that list can either keep distributing the bulletins that it is, or we can cut it down to news and announcements regarding SKYWARN and AC-SKYWARN only, and let these new lists handle the bulletins task. We'll tackle that when we get there.

Let us know what you think of this new idea.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Added additional bulletins to Twitter feed...

Added the following bulletins to the Twitter feed:

AFDJAX - Area Forecast Discussion
FTMJAX - Free Text Message - Radar outages, weather radio transmitter outages, etc.
PNSJAX - Public Information Statement

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Local Storm Reports

Does anyone think LSRs (Local Storm Reports) would be useful in the AC-EMWIN Twitter feed? I CAN send those.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Found source for 1-minute refresh for Twitter...

Thanks to Charles Roop for this...

One of my worries over Twitter being useful as a weather bulletin dissemination tool was the fact that you don't see new bulletins unless you manually refresh the screen, which kinda forces you to sit there at the computer.

Thanks to Charles Roop for mentioning TweetDeck, which is an application you can use to see new posts by setting the application to refresh up to once every minute.

To download the application, go to http://tweetdeck.com.

(Thanks, Charles.)

AC-EMWIN Twitter Account Created

Created Twitter account for the Alachua County EMWIN Project. The hope is to be able to send severe weather-related bulletins to the AC-EMWIN Twitter acct so that people can make use of them there, too. Currently, we send bulletins to cellphones, pagers, and even web sites.

I've just set up the EMWIN software to send some bulletins there, now. I've set it up to receive the following "products": ZFPJAX (Zone Forecast Product), NOWJAX (Short Term Forecast or "NowCast"), DAY-ONE SEVERE and SPOTTER ACTIVATION statements from the HWOJAX (Hazardous Weather Outlook), SVRJAX, TORJAX, SPSJAX (Special Weather Statement), and SVSJAX. Bulletins will be sent using shorter abbreviated text to fit more on the screen at a time.

The DAYONE SEVERE statement is a line from the Hazardous Weather Outlook which gives spotters a heads-up as to what the day's expectations are for severe weather. The HWO gets sent out multiple times a day.

The SPOTTER ACTIVATION STATEMENT is another line from the HWO which let's spotters know whether or not spotter activation might be called for in your area. Again, being attached to the HWO, the notice is sent out multiple times a day, as thoughts change and are updated.

I sent a test message from Outlook last night. Twittermail received it okay. A few bulletins were sent by the EMWIN software, too, overnight. They were received, as well.

There is a 160 character text limit with Twitter. HOWEVER, the rest of the messages are not truncated and permanently lost. The rest of the message can still be viewed by simply clicking on a URL link right there. So that's a plus. Looks good so far. Seems to be working.

This IS an experiment, though. I'm doing it to test the usefullness of this idea. There ARE a few downsides so far that I am noticing:

1. Seems Twitter must be manually refreshed. Bulletins are time sensitive. To be useful viewers have to be able to see them as soon as they come in. I don't think Twitter has an auto-refresh on incoming bulletin. I think you have to do it yourself. Still researching...

2. There seems to be a delay of a number of minutes from time of issuance from our EMWIN software (which issues the bulletins often faster than the weather radio does). That could matter. Bulletins are distributed faster on the ACSKYWARN Email Alert List faster than they appear to be being issued, here. Then again, I may be being too critical. Ultimately, it's up to the end user and what HIS OR HER ideas are for the usefulness of this. Maybe they PREFER these kinds of things to email. Who knows.

Hopefully people will find some usefulness for this and if there appears to be enough interest then I will continue it. I'm already also entertaining ideas for doing this for all nearby counties surrounding us, as well.

I welcome user thoughts, comments, and ideas.

Alachua County EMWIN Project

Alachua County EMWIN Project
Free Weather Bulletins!