Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Stormtrack Transition Update #3

We are officially in the third week of transition and things are moving along quite nicely.
The new website will be, for all intents and purposes, complete by mid week, at which time we will concentrate fully on content population of items outside of the primary database, i.e. FAQ, original ST mailings, wiki, etc.

I offer mad props to Mark Blue who has put the most time into this effort. Also, the design and idea skills of Dan Robinson have been essential. Thank yous also go to Patrick Marsh for PDF parsing a gazillion copies of the Stormtrack periodical. Scott Bennett has been a huge help with domain and server-side fun and Jesse Risley continues to assist with text items. Skip Talbot has been concentrating on the podcast I'm sure many of you have tuned in to watch over the past four weeks.

My internal goal upon Tim's announcement was to have a new site ready to launch prior to NSCC and now I'm ready to make that official. At this time I see no reason why we will not launch prior to that event. I will save teasers for my next transition post but suffice it to say, you'll be happy.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Snowfall in Oklahoma next Sunday?

Time for the hype! Amazingly enough, the GFS has placed snow in Oklahoma on Sunday, Feb 1 for the previous 4-5 days. Since then the Canadian has fallen in-line, with the outlier being the ECM. They are in order below for your viewing pleasure.

Sure, it's 7.5 days out and this is the exact type of thing meteorologists crucify people like me for doing. I'll eat that crow when it's time.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A snow map that Google made ugly

Quick map I put together for WDT social today. Interesting to see how Google "enhanced" my image as I imported it through the Blogger system. Time to go play with photo settings cause this isn't good. 
HERE is what it's supposed to look like.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Stormtrack Transition Update #2

We have everything installed on the new server and are now customizing and getting addons to where they talk to each other properly. For those curious, the forum platform we went with is Xenforo. This is an extremely flexible and stable system that gives us the ability to modify as needed to exploit new technologies as they emerge.
We are updating the FAQ, terms, rules, etc. in the background as well. I think you will be pleased with the changes. Our goal is to provide a more concise set of information that does not require extensive interpretation. 
This is a huge undertaking and I want to continue to recognize the staff here at ST. What a diverse group of individuals with outstanding backgrounds for pulling something like this off! Also, a huge thank you to Dan Robinson for his ongoing help with design and coming up with several new features on the new site. 

That's all the business for now... Let's have fun!
So in the process of this transition, a new logo was near the top of the list of things to update. I took the old school ST logo to a design contest website I commonly use for my projects. The thing about online graphic designers is they often do not quite understand the project, other times there is a language barrier. Here's the original image guide I provided them along with basic instructions to modernize it:

We had over 100 submissions to the contest and these were among the ones we *didn't* pick - for obvious reasons:

Nothing says come to our site and talk about storm chasing more than a dude on a horse roping what appears to be a newspaper clipping...

I guess this one might appeal to the climate change people?

It's a bird - It's a plane!

I don't have anything to say about this one...

Anyway, I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me offering suggestions for forum features so far and I continue to invite anyone to message me with ideas, questions or concerns. Remember, this is your website!

I'll update again soon.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Stormtrack transition update #1

From my post at Stormtrack last evening:

I wanted to take some time this evening to bring members up to date on the transition progress. First, I want to thank each of you who have been active recently. This is a huge incentive boost for those pounding keys in the background.  
Accomplishments thus far:   
Tim and I agreed last week upon a transition plan that is beneficial to us both for the short term. ST still resides on Tim's original server although a new server has been acquired with absolutely ridiculous stats, redundancy, etc. This monster has been set up as a staging server on which we are actively building the next Stormtrack. I aborted mission on service from the cloud. It's simply not necessary at this time.  
ST staff remains largely the same with Tim Vasquez, Jeff Snyder, Skip Talbot, Patrick Marsh, Mark Blue, and Jesse Risley (in no particular order) returning from the old guard. I have invited Scott Bennett to join us as well and he accepted. Brandon Sullivan and Scott Weberpal have resigned their positions in order to free up some time.  
I cannot say enough wonderful things about this volunteer crew. They have been awfully busy during their time away from their respective jobs. They are committed to building a premier platform for the community. A sample of what everyone is up to:
  • Patrick has fixed the email notification issue that had been plaguing the board for quite a while. This fix enables all notification services, including password recovery to again function properly.
  • Jesse is in the process of retooling some of the standard text around the place. The idea will be to convey anything from forum descriptions to terms and conditions in fewer, more precise words.
  • Skip is tackling several different items, one of which is the design for the outward-facing landing page for the new website. We'll change it up a bit and are positive you'll like it. But I can't tell you anything else!
  • Mark is taking on a lot of the backend customization of the new content management system as well as working on the server-side details. This in addition to keeping me in line with his project management style.
  • Scott B. will help with the particulars of the actual launch of our new website. He'll also help with customization of some modules within the new CMS. I cannot give a solid launch date yet because the guys listed above will kill me; but lets go with "a few weeks" and then see where we land.
Needless to say, we hit the ground running and are all very excited to introduce you to the new Stormtrack. In the meantime, please keep posting and keep spreading the word about ST! Oh, and make sure you have your profile updated and your username and password memorized or stored. You'll need these!
I'll update again soon.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Maybe some snow next week in Oklahoma?

I doubt it but it's okay to hope, right? All this cold weather is here to stay for a bit. We might as well have a bit of snow to accompany it!
Here's a look at what won't happen next week: