A Sunset Flight

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A Sunset Flight

Looked outside this evening and saw a killer sunset and cumulous. That meant it was time to fire up the UAV, a Phantom 3 Advanced, and snag some photos and video. Ensure you watch the video in HD.

My DJI Phantom 3 on a sunset flight managed to capture some nice cumulous clouds, a cool sunset, a dog swimming, birds flying, and a guy in one of those innertube fishing things...


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Dark Sky app adds crowdsourced weather reporting

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Dark Sky app adds crowdsourced weather reporting

Lately there have been several weather reporting apps released touting the ability to crowdsource human-filed weather reports and access barometric pressure information from smart devices. Dark Sky integrated it in their latest release (last week) and will likely be the first successful private weather crowdsourcing solution. 

Dark Sky is very well positioned. They utilize paid and free data from various sources, both public and private, to operate a visually appealing app that otherwise performs on par with hundreds of other weather apps. The key words are "Visually appealing" and Dark Sky has no doubt capitalized well on their funky radar color table, unique global view and, of course, future radar and alerting.

The use of an app to gather information from its users for the purpose of resale is nothing new. In fact you'd likely be surprised to know the mPing app, a free NSSL app for iOS and Android designed for anyone to submit reports to NOAA agencies. That information you send to mPing is now being resold to those who mold raw data into usable formats. How much is that data worth? Last time I communicated with the OU Extension, they were asking $10k/yr for the output API (no call limit). Remember, this is for a non quality-controlled output that is not used by that many people. 

With your shiny new knowledge about mPing, imagine the potential for an app like Dark Sky to resell citizen-sourced data. Now consider how much more valuable this data would be if it could be QCd in real-time and resold. As of right now, Dark Sky appears to be utilizing the data for their own purposes, most likely to better hone their precip and precip-type alerting. My questions are: 

  • will Dark Sky expand their reporting to include severe weather or stick with just precip/precip type?
  • is there a business opportunity for someone who can combine all these reporting APIs, QC them and create a single, value-added output?

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LinkedIn is Boring

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LinkedIn is Boring

Nearly every day that I write about something here I post it on LinkedIn. I post on behalf of corporations as well and even encourage the upgrade to "premium" accounts for individuals in a sales capacity at $25/month. LinkedIn is marketed as a powerful tool for business people but other than its search capability to find users in a vertical I want to market to, the platform is useless. I mean seriously, go to your LinkedIn account right now and scroll through your timeline, then tell me how far you get before losing interest. Here's a textual version of my current timeline:

-Invite your friends to LinkedIn!
-Sponsored post from Webroot
-So and so is now following so and so
-People in your network have new connections
-See anyone you know? Connect with them
-Bill Combes likes this
-Jobs you may be interested in
-Visa shared:

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Tropical Depression Bill

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Tropical Depression Bill

Bill's center of rotation is 5 miles north-northwest of Ft. Worth as I write. Movement is 335 degrees at 7mph. Flash Flood Warnings are slowly being issued in response to rainfall occurring and expected. Still though, there is no certainty as to where rain bands will set up. Much like a snow event, Bill could bring 5" of rain to a location and 20 miles west of that spot only record a trace. 

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'Brown Ocean' to cause heavy flooding in Texas & Oklahoma

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'Brown Ocean' to cause heavy flooding in Texas & Oklahoma

Like the cute little meteorological terms that came before it, Brown Ocean now joins the ever-growing list of hype words for media. It's in good company with recents like 'weather bomb' and 'polar vortex'. It'll appear Dr. Marshall Shepherd is who we can blame for this one (although the term was coined long ago):

Now that I've written the key words for SEO, lets get down to non-meteorological business and look at some pretty maps. We'll start with the Weather Prediction Center's QPF map for Days 1-3 which clearly indicates that those in DFW will commute to work by boat:

Now to drill down a bit more and look at the region that will be affected. Here's the NAM model and it's thoughts about track and total rainfall. Note that it spares the DFW area:

And finally, here is the GFS model which clearly hates Oklahoma, specifically Tulsa:

This has the potential to be a nasty flooding event with so much of N Texas and Eastern Oklahoma already saturated. 

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Eastern Oklahoma Flooding Risk

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Eastern Oklahoma Flooding Risk

After record-breaking rainfall for May in Oklahoma, June has stepped to the plate with huge rainmakers inching through the state since late last week. This time rain is falling on heavily saturated ground. 

The Daily Averaged Fractional Water Index at 2 inches map displays the 24-hour-averaged soil moisture at 2 inches (5 cm) under native sod for the previous day. Fractional water index ranges from 0 (completely dry) to 1.0 (completely saturated). 

The Daily Averaged Fractional Water Index at 2 inches map displays the 24-hour-averaged soil moisture at 2 inches (5 cm) under native sod for the previous day. Fractional water index ranges from 0 (completely dry) to 1.0 (completely saturated). 

Some big rainfall totals are on the way.

Hopefully the OKC metro area will be spared given the rough time we've had in this area related to flooding. Tulsa might not be so lucky. We'll have to see how this pans out as the system (Tropical Storm Bill) is just now coming onshore as I type this.

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The 2015 hurricane season - by the numbers

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The 2015 hurricane season - by the numbers

For the 2015 hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 - November 30, I have listed below some of the more prominent guesses from both public and private organizations. 

Some notes 

Tropical season peak conditions: Sept 8-10 based on climatology
Named storms: winds of 39 mph or higher
Hurricane: winds of 74 mph or higher
Major hurricane: Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher

NOAA is predicting a 70 percent likelihood of 6 to 11 named storms , of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes, including zero to 2 major hurricanes. I'm not sure anyone could be more vague but butts are certainly well covered given a 30 percent swing as well as a moderate spread between high and low guesses. 

NOAA is predicting a 70 percent likelihood of 6 to 11 named storms , of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes, including zero to 2 major hurricanes. I'm not sure anyone could be more vague but butts are certainly well covered given a 30 percent swing as well as a moderate spread between high and low guesses. 

A total of 9 named storms, 5 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane are expected this season, according to the forecast prepared by The Weather Channel Professional Division. This is below the 30-year average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

A total of 9 named storms, 5 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane are expected this season, according to the forecast prepared by The Weather Channel Professional Division. This is below the 30-year average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

With 8 named tropical storms, 4 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane predicted for the Atlantic Basin this season, AccuWeather.com's long-range forecasting team anticipates two or three of these systems to make landfall in the United States.

With 8 named tropical storms, 4 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane predicted for the Atlantic Basin this season, AccuWeather.com's long-range forecasting team anticipates two or three of these systems to make landfall in the United States.

CSU's Philip Klotzbach and William Gray estimate that 2015 will have 8 named storms, 3 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane. Note: this is the June 1 outlook which includes Ana.

CSU's Philip Klotzbach and William Gray estimate that 2015 will have 8 named storms, 3 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane. Note: this is the June 1 outlook which includes Ana.

WeatherBell kept it simple and to the point. Named Storms: 7-9, Hurricanes 3-5, Major Hurricanes: 1-2.

WeatherBell kept it simple and to the point. Named Storms: 7-9, Hurricanes 3-5, Major Hurricanes: 1-2.

Conclusion

It'll appear most everyone kept things reined in. I do this blog entry each year and generally there is one outlier that really want's some nasty tropical activity to happen. Not in 2015 though! I'll write again post-season and see who wins, although the organizations with large spreads should be disqualified...

 

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There are two types of salesmen...

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There are two types of salesmen...

From a corporate management perspective there are two types of salesmen. Ones who get it and perform well in their position, and ones who work harder than is necessary to make it appear they get it. 


Let's break this down

Salesman #1: You never hear from salesman #1 because he is working current leads, seeking new leads, or closing a sale. Only occasionally will salesman #1 require attention and that's for the purpose of being involved in education on a new product or to assist in creation of materials that will help him succeed further. 

Salesman #2: This guy spends the majority of his time shuffling around leads and plugging numbers. He occasionally falls into a sale here and there but for the most part, he concerns himself with others and blames them and their work on any lack of performance on his part. Note: Salesman #2 tends to sell things that do not exist or are far enough outside the box that an excruciating amount of time is required to complete the sale.


This is your fault

You create salesman #1 by incentivising him handsomely. His job is to sell products and services and he is a Type A personality who is capable of performing all his duties with minimal management. He gets a reasonable % of every sale he closes and a small residual for recurring contracts. This makes him customer service oriented for existing customers and hungry for more sales and more earning potential.

You create salesman #2 by paying him a base salary he can live on without making a single sale. He is happy with his income level and not at all motivated to work toward more; a stagnant situation at best. In fact, this salesman is taxing resources of others in your company in his effort to appear busy and on top of his game. Salesman #2 is a corporate virus.


In conclusion

It's time to restructure the team. As a manager it's easy to make yourself believe you have the best people in place. Afterall, you selected them yourself and you want them to succeed. This is a terrible organizational decision and is costing you countless dollars every minute they continue to drain on other employees and your payroll. Cut the rope, let them loose and they'll land on their feet somewhere else. Worried they will draw business away from your company in spite? Stop. Should they jump to a competitor rest assured they will perform at the same level they did for you.

Salesmen are a dime a dozen and learning curves for even the most technical sales jobs can be overcome within a few weeks of hire with proper attention and training. 


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The blog is on the move - again

Seems about once per year since I started blogging over 10 years ago, I seek out the latest and greatest and move all my material and then create a blog entry about how damn great that new platform is. 

Like everyone, I started with blogspot and used it regularly as it was the best platform around for at least a few years there in the beginning. Then, for me, came wordpress, then Joomla, then back to blogger, then to tumblr, then wordpress, then medium, then back to blogger, and now Squarespace.

Yes, I've completely killed my SEO and yes, some formatting has been lost between my very old posts and ten-years newer technology powering blog platforms today. That's okay though because nothing really motivates me to write more than a new platform on which to do it.

So let's talk about Squarespace. Holy hell is it cool. I've been needing to bring together my websites in order to associate them with me and this is the ultimate platform for such a thing. The integration of all my social accounts was seamless and even pointing my domain from godaddy was a cinch. In addition, I can quickly grab a stock photo for an editorial or the site itself, I can insert just about any component anywhere within my text, or in this case, blog post, and everything just happens in the background. Things like image resizing and overlaid text colors that automatically contrast. I'm impressed and the items mentioned here are only the beginning.

If you haven't already, check out Squarespace. As a second, much easier solution for blogging, Medium.com is probably the easiest option out there and could very well overtake some of the bigger social platforms with time. Never know!

 

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Is Medium The New Twitter?

As this will be my first self-authored post actually written on the Medium platform, I have to ask myself if this is the answer for those of us with more than 140 characters of subject matter on our minds.
I've been drawn here no fewer than a dozen times over the course of the last three weeks, following links from various social media. I didn't need another blogging platform, after all, I already have a blogger account and many years of blog posts archived there… Then I logged in to make a comment on another’s post. Next I linked to a post from a news story, then a PR from a company I support, then a link from my own blogger blog. Now this.
Here I am again weighing my options regarding a switch. See, I tend to get bored with most platforms after a year or so. I like to move my content around. Seeing as Twitter is the only social platform that makes sense to me as a personal and business user, Medium could be the only platform that makes sense to me from a personal and professional blogging perspective.

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Flood Water Anyone?


This is how far water made it up our fence back in May when Oklahoma was dealing with flooding. The night of this event we received 6.91 inches of water in our backyard. Insane.

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Hanston, KS Supercell Footprint

I'm late to the game on this evening's severe weather happenings so great detail you will not find here. What you will find is a graphic I think is cool as hell. But first, here is a radar screengrab from RadarScope of the Hanston, KS supercell:


And now, here is the hail swath from WDT's HailExpress HD which is ultimately an algorithm that does all kinds of calculations within the radar data to determine where hail fell as well as its intensity. 
Check out what it has outputted for this supercell:


I'm guessing this has a lot to do with the fact that the cell did not move much. Regardless, this is a rarity and worth noting tonight.

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State of the Community

I have really enjoyed taking over Stormtrack and watching it slowly awaken from its social media induced slumber. It seems many have missed the days of talking about the weather with like-minded individuals. Many more have realized that half their social followers could give a rat's ass less about their weather hobby. Stormtrack is alive again.

We've spent a lot of time and money bringing the website as a whole onto a new platform. The platform is fresh, expandable and fun. We've spent a time and half more money and hours moving the site from a host who has difficulty keeping his equipment running, into the Amazon Cloud. This process has been, and is currently, underway.

Yeah, there's still some dipshits who have a total disrespect for the system and very obviously for me as the owner, but I think most people appreciate the effort the staff has put in and overall direction of the site. There is one thing that will never change with the chasing community and that's the self-served, self-righteous among us. The talk about their reputation, they talk about their accomplishments, they talk about why they are better than everyone, yet they are rarely anywhere to be found beneath a supercell. Some live nowhere near the plains and have absolutely no plans to chase, yet there they are on a chase forum. I cannot imagine being so bored - but I can imagine my tolerance level will be quite low where traditionally staff and ownership has been conservative with these types.

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