Weather Check

If you have a linux OS the bash shell script below will tell you most recent temp, windspeed, direction, and rainfall at Everton, Sandy, and Biggleswade from local weather stations using weatherunderground. I crontab it, piping the results to mail -s ‘Current weather’ sock@madeup.com

 #!/bin/bash

function checkComponent() {

         aurl='http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID='$1'&theprefset=WXSTNDEL&theprefvalue=0&format=1'
       name=$2
       curl -s $aurl | tail -3 | tr '\n' ',' | awk -F, ' { print "NAME@ " (5/9)*($2-32) "C dp " (5/9)*($3-32) "C " $5 "@" $8 "mph " $92 "CurrentRain " $10 "in DailyRain " $13 "in\n" } ' | sed "s:NAME:${name}:" >> tempweather
 }

checkComponent IENGLAND82 Everton
checkComponent IBEDSBIG1 Biggles
checkComponent I90580822 Sandy

cat tempweather
rm tempweather

The Cost of the Olympics

The (current) estimated bill for the olympics: £9.375 billion

The estimated bill for installing fibre to 95% of homes in the UK: £9.5 billion

Ditch the Olympics, tell broadband suppliers to pony up £3.5 billion and the taxpayer will pay £6 billion, leave it to the telcos to manage and rollout, and we, 95% of the UK citizens, get some decent infrastructure before 2012.

Country gets an infrastructure that is, for once, up-to-date and not limping after the rest of the world; small athletics clubs and athletes get their funding back; and a colossal waste of time, effort, and money is not spent to benefit one small corner of the country that is already overpopulated and won’t know what to do with the “world class” mouldering monuments 10 minutes after the last Russian weightlifter leaves in 2012.

UK PLC needs fibre to the home (FTTH) for true video conferencing and 3d immersive environments, reducing the necessity to commute and to fly for business; allowing true telemetry for life saving operations when a surgeon cannot physically be with the patient. Just think of all the things we do now on our computers that leverage the antiquated DSL (Broadband) we have. If the speed was 200 times faster, 500 times faster, what new applications would we be using? Ask the Japanese, the Danish, the Dutch, the Romanians, the Czechs… everyone is either rolling it out now, or has already finished doing it. What have BT, still, astonishingly, guardians of our telco infrastructure done? Nothing. Same as in 1997 when I worked for a small company developing on-demand video and shopping through a set-top box and this astonishing technology called broadband (not such a small company now, but the employees got screwed on the shares, so plus ca change). BT kept saying they’d roll-out broadband, honest they would, so we tested in Hull. In Hull the locals had booted out BT and setup their own telco, Kingston Communications, owning and running the infrastructure themselves. Kingston loved it and set about converting all their exchanges as fast as possible. The maintenance of these new exchanges and the extra services available over them, meant that the ROI was quick, and that the reliability was much higher and maintenance cost much less. It also meant much less floor space was used.

The video-on-demand service has since been renamed, sold, bought, messe around with, etc, and was rolled out in a major UK city in 2005-ish using the same infrastructure technology… 8 years after Hull had video on demand. Despite its early start, BT were so slow to upgrade exchanges, it effectively killed broadband and, by extension, IPTV in Britain for 5 to 6 years for its own reasons.

I wrote this and saved as a draft about 6 months ago. Still stands.