Keep track of local and remote weather conditions with The Weather Channel Desktop

Keep track of local and remote weather conditions with this must have Windows Utility

WCD-01

Having local and remote weather at your fingertips is part of what makes the internet the internet. I mean, how good would the internet be if you couldn’t find out if it was gonna rain today either at the places you live and work, or where you were going to travel to? Its actually kinda silly… Its for this reason that I find tools like the Weather Channel Desktop so important, and a must have on your Windows desktop.

The Weather Channel Desktop provides one-click access to current weather conditions, local temperature, severe weather alerts, hurricane updates, maps – including radar and other precipitation tracking tools – ad well as hourly and10-day forecasts. Your local temperature is placed in the system tray, and many functions are accessible via this tray icon. An always-on connection keeps you informed of weather changes and allows you to plan ahead.

The Weather Channel Desktop is one of my most favorite applications. I often have a long commute to work and knowing what weather conditions I will encounter during that commute is very important in preparing for the day. While I really like what the app does, its graphs and maps, the fact that its adware supported and comes with some apps that I didn’t necessarily want installed when I installed the Weather Channel Desktop is a bit frustrating. However, these apps are easily removed via the Programs and Features Control Panel App. This is the only real blemish on what otherwise is one of the best system tray apps I’ve ever used.

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Natural Hazards Notifications with Earth Alerts

earth-alertsEarthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, tropical cyclones, wildfires, landslides, are natural hazards from which you want to stay away. But what if there is an app that can monitor these hazards almost in real time? Nevertheless, this would be a solution for the ones living in dangerous areas. Especially if you live in the U.S., Earth Alerts is the perfect tool for taking in consideration the natural disasters that might occur in your area.

Earth Alerts is a one man project that started back in 2005. It is a single application for monitoring multiple types of natural hazard events using online resources provided by organizations such as the National Weather Service, U.S. Geological Survey and Smithsonian Institution. All types of notifications, reports and images gathered in a single U.I., provides the user with enough information regarding natural hazards from his area of living.

eartalerts

Unfortunately the app provides full information only for the US territory, although there is an option to choose any location from around the globe, this is not sufficient to create a complete report. Using all kinds of public feeds, the app performs a cyclic update process at various time intervals. The drawback here is that sometimes the update process tends to be “permanent” without delivering the desired information especially if you choose another location outside US.

In case you are interested more on weather information, Earth Alerts is not the perfect solution for you because it does not provide an extensive weather data. The app includes only basic weather tracking, current conditions, local forecasts and radar/satellite imagery. But if you are fascinated by the power of nature or if you are interested of keeping track of natural hazards around the world, Earth Alerts is a suitable product.

download Earth Alerts

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Keep track of weather on your PC with Weather Bug

The weather is often a funny thing. No one ever, EVER seems to get it right until its nearly right on top of you.  However, keeping track of it, knowing what the weather may be, is something that most everyone wants to know.  This is one of the biggest reasons why I like Weather Bug. It’s a multi-platform weather utility.

Weather Bug desktop helps you keep track of current, local weather conditions, extended forecasts, and severe weather alters. Its animated Doppler radar maps are exceptionally valuable in severe weather conditions, as are its satellite and temperature maps.  The best thing about Weather Bug desktop is that it works on just about any computer you can throw at it.


On the Windows side, Weather Bug has its traditional desktop app, but also desktop gadgets for both Windows Vista and Windows 7 Side Bars.  On the mac, Weather Bug Alert for Mac provides live temperatures and desktop alerts. On both platforms ,you’ll have access to live, local current conditions, 7-day, hourly and weekend forecasts, animated radar and maps as well as severe weather alters.

Weather Bug is a great application suite. It provides a great service and very valuable information. Its gadgets, may or may not be working any longer, as of this writing, Microsoft has ended support for its Side Bar due to security concerns.  The rest of its components, however, are fine and again, provide valuable information.  This is a must have app on any Mac or Windows PC.

download Weather Bug

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Windows 8 Release Preview Review

Microsoft has released the final peak at Windows 8, with its Release Preview. Let’s take a quick look at what’s been updated and see if Windows 8 is any better now than it was in the Consumer Preview.

Introduction
Microsoft released Windows 8 Release Preview on 31-May-12.  The sooner than expected release of the new software is supposed to add on to the stability, usability, etc., of the new operating system.  Based on my interaction with the software, I have a great deal of doubt that the new release of Windows 8 Release Preview, is in fact, a step forward.

From what I’ve seen so far since installing it over Windows 7 Ultimate on my Asus Eee PC T101MT convertible, touch netbook, the software has taken a huge step backwards in quality. After the initial install, which required not only the removal of Microsoft Security Essentials, most of the Asus T101MT bundled software and specific T101MT utilities that didn’t have Windows 8 upgrades yet, had to be removed in order to get the software to install.

Even after that, I still had to force the display to push 1024×768 resolution by default with the handy registry hack I mentioned last time. Without that hack, none of the Metro apps but Control Panel would run. Even after that; I bumped into a few interesting problems that are worth mentioning.

Installation
I’m going to mention this more than once, as it’s important to note – after installing Windows 8 Release Preview as an upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate, I blew the machine and rebuilt it with a clean, vanilla install of Windows 8.  Here’s why…

Windows 8’s PIM Metro Apps, specifically, Mail, People and Calendar, wouldn’t run.  However, it seemed that their Live Tiles still updated themselves and cycled through data, which I found confusing.  It’s clear; however, that the services that Windows 8 makes use of to feed its Live Tiles is separate from the Metro App’s ability to run, regardless of the minimum screen resolution requirements.

What I found the most frustrating about this, and I’m sorry I didn’t capture screen shots of it, was that the Metro Apps failed without any real reason. The error message they generated did contain a More Info link that directed me  to Microsoft Answers (Microsoft’s Windows 8 support site); but once you sign in with your soon-to-be-rebranded Windows Live ID, you got an error message from Microsoft Answers indicating that you weren’t authorized to view the noted data.

Really?!?  I’m not authorized??  Thank you. That’s just too awesome…

I also found that the Camera Metro App also still generated the BSoD it had in the Consumer Preview.

I got fed up.  I decided to blow the machine back to factory fresh and then reinstall Windows 8 from scratch, replacing Windows 7 Starter Edition with a clean, vanilla install of Windows 8. This would effectively nuke the PC (leaving the Windows 7-based recovery image) and make my T101MT a native Windows 8 PC.

With the PC in an upgraded condition, it was clearly unusable. The PC had wouldn’t run  Mail, People and Calendar. It was impossible to trouble shoot due to my not-authorized status with Microsoft Answers, and the camera still would not work.

With a clean Windows 8 install, the PC is usable, but it feels very unfinished, especially when compared to Windows 8 Consumer Preview.  The upgrade experience with it was much better than with Windows 8 Release Preview.

Continue reading…

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Keep the stuff that you love right on your desktop

Widgets… an easy and fun way to manage your daily activities. They can be used for a variety of functions, including alarm clocks, weight loss guides, news aggregators and many more. Of course, you may need a system that can help you manage all of your widgets, which is where Yahoo! Widget Engine comes in.

One of the major advantages of the service is its impressive graphics, which not only look nice but also provide a clear environment for displaying your widgets. Users can also enjoy a number of different skins, allowing you to completely customize your widget engine to suit your own personality.

The various widgets are all run from one program, the Yahoo! Widget Engine, although when they are opened they each appear as individual windows on your computer. Although this makes it easier to focus on one particular widget at a time, it does mean that widgets can soon begin to clog up your computer and take up space. It’s really just a matter of personal preference – if you don’t mind having a number of widgets open at once, then it is a good system to use.

Read full review | Download Yahoo! Widget Engine

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Keep your schedule close and keep an eye on the weather with CalendarPal Desktop Calendar

I live and die by my calendar. When it’s wrong, I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time. When I don’t have the right information or my calendar is not up to date, everything is thrown off.
A mom with a busy set of young children, a busy student, or a busy business man…everyone can benefit from CalendarPal. It’s a personal desktop calendar and organizer for Windows systems.

Read the full review | Download CalendarPal

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A good looking widget for your desktop that shows the time, date, 5-day weather forecast and your pictures slideshow

Created by the same developer who made the gorgeous widget for Windows Seven and Vista, HTC Home, (which we reviewed in the past), today we’re going to present another good looking widget that you might like. It’s called Metro Home and can display on your desktop the time, date, 5-day weather forecast (including the current one) and your pictures slide-show.

Read the full review of Metro Home|download Metro Home

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HTC Home – a gorgeous animated clock and weather widget for your desktop

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got the big clock and weather forecasting widget on the screen of your Android-powered phone. I’m talking about HTC Sense Clock and Weather Gadget in case you’ve got a HTC mobile phone. Otherwise, there is Fancy Widget and Beautiful Widgets on Android Market which looks and works quite the same. Now, if you like one of those, why not to get HTC Home widget for your Windows desktop?

Find out more reading the full review of HTC Home or downloading HTC Home

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