What I’m Working On

Note: I know a lot of people are linking here looking for my fake hurricane photo. You can find it by clicking here. When you’re done, you might enjoy the rest of my blog, starting with today’s entry.

I found a very cool applet called Weathergraph. The idea is to chart a graph of temperature, windchill/heat index, and wind on 4 graphs; daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Because of a graphing database tool call RRD, the database stays the same size even as the graphs ingest more data.

If it were only this easy.

The program required installing a Perl (Perl is an interpereted computer language heavily used in web applications) module call Geo::Metar and RRD Tool. So I won’t become a pain in the butt to my webhost, I decided to install these myself… local to my site. I bet if I knew Perl or even Bash scripting this would have been easier.

Perl modules don’t want to be installed locally, and when they are… they cry.

There’s a concept in Linux (which is what geofffox.com runs on) called ‘superuser’ or su. I don’t have that privilege on this server. That means there are lots of things I can’t do. Many of those would make all of this easier.

I got it done, but please don’t ask me to retrace my steps. I have no idea!

Immediately, I realized I didn’t care as much about windchill/heat index as I did in dew point. No problem. Just rewrite the program.

Again, I don’t know Perl. But, I’ve come to the conclusion that most computer languages are very similar, and with the help of a few books, I think I figured it out.

Unfortunately, every time a graph was plotted, the dew point and temperature were the same. No good.

Back to the program. If you’ve never seen what computer programs look like, here’s a small sample:

$req = new HTTP::Request GET =>


$response = $ua->request($req);

if ($response->is_error) {

$failed[$i] = $response->as_string;




if ($response->is_error) {

for ( $j = 1; $j <= 5 ; $j++){ print $failed[$j]; } die;

I’m still not 100% sure (because once this program gets running it takes a significant amount of time before it will actually plot a graph) but it seems like the problem was in the windchill/heat index routines. I had turned all mentions of windchill/heat index into dew point, but didn’t realize the program still wanted to apply the rules of windchill/heat index to the dew point. And tonight, there is no windchill or heat index.

I pulled that section of code from the program.

This may be way beyond me. Who knows? I am nothing more than a 53 year old ‘script kiddie.’

When the graphs go ‘live’, I’ll post an announcement. I expect to have one for each ‘official’ weather station in connecticut and maybe a few others. Each graph will cost me 233 Kbytes of my limited space.

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