WIWX 8.0 - Strengthening the Core - May Newsletter
By Justin Poublon
May 3, 2019 - 11:21 AM CST | 171 0
Where have we been? In a development phase! Over the last month I've spent 98% of my time working on the website, youtube, and overall strategy. I didn't spend time on forecasts or social media. Can't wait to finally share what we've been working on!
Unfortunate Data Loss
First a bit of bad news. If you didn't see our last update; our web host A2 Hosting was hit by hackers and WISCONSINWX.com lost the last 2+ months of data! As a result you might need to recreate your member account. Read about the data loss here and how it may affect you! It's a blessing in disguise despite the temporary inconvenience. A bad deal but could have been worse. And who knows, maybe some of that data will come back a month or two down the road? Right now we need to move forward. We cannot wait.
"There's a Storm Coming, Mr. Wayne"
WISCONSINWX.COM, the facebook page and youtube channels are powerful engines. We know they run well individually. In the last six months I've figured out how to run the facebook page and website. We are still working on YouTube. I take comfort in knowing at any moment we can turn this thing wide open and blast away. But it comes with patience. Gotta hit at the right time giving yourself down time for balance. So I've been idling inconspicuously. Hiding away, keeping my head down, shutting my mouth. Blending in. Drawing no attention. Honestly hoping people forget about us for a little bit.
Wisconsin Weather is positioned perfectly for the 2019 storm chasing season. Poised and ready! Think about what can happen when we can get the trifecta of website, facebook page, and youtube working together!? I know it will yield incredible power. Power which helps us reach our dreams! Power to do something never accomplished before! I feel a storm is coming!
2019 Teaser Video
In case you missed it, Hunter Anderson created an awesome pump up video for 2019. Watch it below! Don't forget to subscribe!
WIWX 8.0 - Strengthening the Core
Now is the time. Let's shoot for the moon. My inspiration for WIWX 8.0 was to push Wisconsin Weather to the next chapter, a new level, and a place that nobody has ever been to. I gave myself the entire month of April to get this new direction right. Then the data loss occurred. Starting our new chapter in the midst of a data loss chaos was the challenge. I decided to split this update into two parts. The info I'm about to share with you is the first phase of WIWX 8.0 setting the stage for phase two next week. Phase two will be different.
I'm ready to end this development phase! I want to move back into weather forecasting, storm chasing especially, and execution of everything we've already built! To bring everything into alignment. To live more in the moment and interact with people again. There is a just a little bit more work left. My hope is this development phase will end with the start of the 2019 storm chasing season. Pivot hard out if this into something new and exciting!
There were 130 changes and improvements on this update. Here are the biggest ones:
- Advanced Warning System/WIWX Alerts - I mentioned the need for an alternative system to National Weather Service warnings, watches, and advisories a couple months ago. Now we have it. Storm Events are how we communicate weather at WISCONSINWX.COM. I've decided to treat storm event notifications like an early warning system. We have the ability to notify you days ahead of time so you will be able to anticipate disruption, prepare, and plan accordingly. My plan is to send alerts conservatively to start and you may not be alerted every time until we get the kinks worked out. This is just the first iteration and changes are possible in the future. You can sign up for these alerts on the locations tab on the account page. Still working out the bugs this weekend.
- Daily Forecast on Member Forecast - We now have the ability to write daily forecasts into our member forecast. This system was conceived in late 2018 but I pushed it back for one big reason. Daily forecasts are pretty much cannon fodder. I will continue to tweak the functionality until it compliments our storm event driven ideology. This is just the first iteration and changes are likely. Still working out the bugs this weekend.
- Member Forecast Upgrades - Integrated the Daily Forecast System and redesigned the entire page. Added forecast maps by date. Added thumbnail previews of our hand drawn maps. This page is about putting everything we do in one place so you can have the most accurate,detailed, and bad-ass weather forecast in the world! I've redirected most storm event links to this location. We now have the ability to add images, special text, line breaks, etc to storm event member only discussions. You will be served a disclaimer about the service when you first open the page. Just wanted to make sure expectations are clear.
- Home Page Services Redesign - It wouldn't be an update without changing the home page! I reverted back to old ideologies with the home page. We now have a list of our services. It looks really nice. Hope you like! I also improved the feature image and really like that too.
- Accelerated NWS Warning System - Active NWS warning information is now located in an accelerated lookup table. There is a ton of website code needed to organize and present NWS warnings and it created a log jam of requests. Very pleased with the performance boost we will get.
- Account Page New Tabs - You will notice two new tabs. I put locations preferences onto it's own tab. There is a membership tab which shows you membership details. Not sure I like the mobile layout so may need some style tweaks in the future.
- Terms of Service has been updated and can be reviewed here.
- Privacy Mode - I've decided to stop servicing the privacy mode. Just made things more complicated. I don't see the value right now but won't totally dismiss the idea in the future.
- Flood Warnings - We will exclude Flood Warnings from the NWS alert email service going forward. Doesn't work at the county level with too much spam even when down-throttled.
- Database Backups - I've started backing up our database multiple times per day to multiple locations. That data loss s**t won't happen again.
- Password Recovery - believe we've fixed a long time bug which caused an error after confirming you're new password. Please let me know if this is still happening to you!
- At the time of writing, I'm noticing bugs in our email and member forecast services. Will address these bugs this weekend.
If you have any questions, concerns or come across any critical errors, please contact us! You may need to clear your cache to see the new changes. Just hit Ctrl + F5 on your keyboard or clear cache in the settings of your mobile device!
As always, thank you for supporting our website! Talk to you very soon! Stay tuned.