Another Broadcast For Slooh

The image at the top of this entry shows some of the asteroid’s movement through the sky. We captured this with Slooh’s telescope in Chile. You’re seeing an object the size of an aircraft carrier from millions of miles away!

I hosted another broadcast this morning PDT for Slooh.com. Near Earth Asteroid 2014 HQ124 won’t hit Earth, but it will be in the neighborhood the next few days. That’s good reason for us to go live.

The image at the top of this entry shows some of the asteroid’s movement through the sky. We captured this with Slooh’s telescope in Chile. You’re seeing an object the size of an aircraft carrier from millions of miles away!

After the broadcast I stopped to ponder our own technological achievement. We had participants on from the East and West Coast, plus England and Australia. We used images taken in Australia and Chile.

We had the right experts and pictures with lots of insight, coordinated in Hartford, CT where our producer/director sits.

We’re about to make a huge technological leap which should bring up the quality of our transmissions greatly. Noticeable change.

It’s all pretty exciting and, for me, nerdy fun.

How To Get Connecticut Snowfall Totals

Doppler Versus Snow

This time of year there’s a steady barrage of incoming messages looking for Connecticut snowfall totals. Some folks are curious. Others want to make sure their plow contractor isn’t overcharging, or they’re plow contractors who’d like to charge more!

The info isn’t easily obtained, especially for smaller towns. If you’re looking for Connecticut snowfall totals, here’s where I go.

The most complete source is the Connecticut Department of Transportation Weather Roundup. These are collected every two hours at DOT yards across Connecticut. Because of the methodology used the cumulative snowfall total is always more than what’s actually settled on the ground.

The National Weather Service splits Connecticut between three Weather Service Forecast Offices. That makes things more difficult. You’ll have to look at all three Public Information Statements to put the info together.

Shoreline counties: National Weather Service Forecast Office, Upton, NY.

Hartford, Tolland and Windham Counties: National Weather Service Forecast Office, Taunton, MA.

Litchfield County: National Weather Service Forecast Office, Albany, NY.

Snowfall and other weather data is often critical in accidents and contract disputes. For those more exacting cases when just numbers on paper (or a screen) aren’t enough I provide forensic meteorological services for attorneys and insurance companies.

The TV Model Is Broken

I love television. I’m a student of the media. It was incredibly important in shaping who I’ve become.

TV’s model is broken.

There were seven channels in NYC when I grew up. Most cities had less.

No remote control. No DVR or VCR. You watched it when it aired. If two shows you wanted to see aired simultaneously–tough.

In 1960, Gunsmoke finished the season in first place:

1 Gunsmoke CBS 40.3 rating 65 share

That’s 40% of all homes and 65% of those homes where the TV was turned on!

Last week’s number one entertainment show was “Big Bang Theory.” It had a 5.1 rating.

In those more innocent days you had to be careful not to get hit by the falling bags of money! Not today.

Before WTNH was sold in 1985, Geraldine Fabrikant wrote this in the New York Times:

The jewel in the ABC-Capital Cities package is WTNH-TV, the Capital Cities station affiliated with ABC, that covers the New Haven and Hartford markets. Its 1984 net revenue was $24.9 million, and operating income was $14.6 million. That meant operating profit margins of 58 percent. During the past five years, the margin has never been lower than 58 percent, and it has been as high as 62 percent.

They took in $25 million at 8 Elm Street for an operation that cost $10 million to run!

Those days are long gone. Though the broadcast networks and their affiliates are still the dominant force, their audience is a fraction of what it was.

Technology has been the difference. The pie has been sliced into many more smaller pieces.

Whether they take advantage or not, most people are currently equipped to see shows without benefit of television. We’ve got computers and tablets and smartphones and they’re all very capable of video playback.

I knew Saturday Night Live was going to be good last night because I read tweets from the East Coast. Why did I have to wait to see the show? Only because it breaks television’s business model!

The same with this afternoon’s Cowboys/Redskins game. It wasn’t on in SoCal. I wanted to see it and did… don’t ask. Free and easy access to all the games breaks television’s business model.

We need local TV. We need local news and other local programming (scant as it is), but won’t have it for long unless TV stations find a new business model.

I can see a future where shows will stand on their own without a station or network. Netflix productions are a step in that direction, but why do you even need Netflix?

TV’s current model is broken. The more viewers realize it, the harder it will be to hold back the tide.

Very Tiring Day

We are home.

Doppler, Helaine and I are on individual sofas. Each has a blanket or two. Two of us are prone.

No pity party. This is self imposed. It’s been a very long day.

2:45 am to sleep. Helaine’s alarm at 5:45a.

By 9:30a we had dropped off Stef, ditched the rental car (world’s bluest Dodge), and boarded our plane.

There is one non-stop to Hartford. It leaves early. She had middle seat down. I took middle seat back.

As we were walking through Bradley, Helaine noted how long it had been since we’d landed during daylight hours? Maybe never.

Luggage quick. Roncari, quick, efficient.

God, I loved the HOV lane this afternoon. We zipped down I-91 while the single riders stopped and went.

I am tired. We are tired. Even Doppler is tired.

We had a few days without thinking about the move. Now we begin the push. Under two weeks to go.

St Patrick’s Day Parade One

Because we were at the back of the line-of-march our wait was the longest. We watched other units return to their vehicles and drive home before we left the staging area.

St. Patrick must have been a cool guy. He gets two parades in Connecticut and his birthday is still a week away! Why do Hartford and New Haven hold their St. Patrick’s Day parades this weekend even though the actual St. Patrick’s Day is next Saturday? I have no clue!

The Hartford parade was this morning. FoxCT had a float (aka-flatbed truck with our air staff) going which meant a quick turnaround from last night’s 11:00 PM news.

I was home at 12:20 AM, in bed by 3:30 AM, awake at 7:45 AM and back at the station by 9:15 AM. That’s when hurry up and wait began.

Let’s face it, there is no monumental undertaking like a parade without some hurry up and wait. Because we were at the back of the line-of-march our wait was the longest. We watched other units return to their vehicles and drive home before we left the staging area.

As predicted it was cold! I arrived in Hartford with the temperature in the mid-30s and a chilling breeze.

Helaine found my “union suit,” red thermal underwear that covers shoulders to calves. Bless you Helaine.

Our float didn’t leave the Capitol until about 12:20. The streets were packed. I snapped photos while my colleagues threw plastic bead necklaces to the crowd.

We do it again Sunday in front of a larger crowd in New Haven. I’m ready.

The Women At Subway

“Kathmandu,” I asked? That’s the extent of my Nepalese knowledge.

They’ve opened a new Subway a block from work here in Hartford! All the freestanding buildings must be gone because this one is shoehorned into the convenience store that’s already shoehorned into the Mobil station. Judging by the inventory there are a lot of stoners nearby.

The women behind the counter looked West Asian to me. They have an interesting accent–difficult to pin.

“Where are you from,” I asked?

Are you supposed to do that? I’m just inherently curious.

The answer was Nepal.

“Kathmandu,” I asked? That’s the extent of my Nepalese knowledge.

Turns out they’re from Dhulikhel. I hadn’t heard of it either. One of the women spelled it, then when I couldn’t quite understand her pronunciation of the individual letters, wrote it out.

That was enough for a Google search on my phone and the photo you see on the right. There are fewer than 20,000 people in Dhulikhel, but it’s got a Wikipedia entry!

They gave me a few more towns to search. I did when I got back to my desk.

I love this about America. We are from everywhere.

Imagine what cultural shock you must go through making the transition from Dhulikhel to Hartford. Could two places be more different?

“Why did you come to Hartford,” I asked?

Neither seemed to know.