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End of Chapala weather (sad)


lcscats
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CHAPALAWEATHER - 10/7/2007 to 10/7/2017
Yes, today is the 10 year anniversary for ChapalaWeather. It was Sunday the 7th we uploaded our first readings after arriving at Riberas. We've had our ups and downs, our fun and sadness. Max and I want to extend our sincere appreciation for allowing us to provide this simple weather site for your consideration these many years, we hope you have had as much enjoyment from it as we have in providing it. It's been a labor of love, even during the early days of poor equipment, worse 
connections from ISP's and intermittent power from the CFE.
Since 2/2013 we have had nearly 7 million visits from 142 countries. 
We never imagined serving more than a small local group of fellow travelers.

It is now with reluctance that we announce this is the final day for ChapalaWeather October 7, 2017. Later today will be our final posting, tomorrow we slip from being a daily presence to just a memory
 - this chapter ends - and the page is turned -
Again, thank you all for inviting us to share these past years, it was a great adventure. 


adiós mis amigos
Steve & Max the WeatherCat

(Somewhere in Texas, the road goes on forever and the party never ends!)

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56 minutes ago, Alpha1 said:

lcscats... Thank you for all your efforts! 

I don't believe lcscats started chapalaweather.net.  I think it was a fellow named Steve??  I think the OP was quoting/copying an email from chapalaweather. net.  

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Yes Steve did start the weather page and when he moved back to Texas maybe about 3 years ago he left the station with a neighbor who helped him run the station.  At one time he was planning to move back to the lake but sadly he has chosen not to and most sadly of all we will no longer have this great weather station with all of the important facts he accumulated over the past ten years.

We all will miss you and your weather station Steve. Thank you very much for this important web page.  You and your weather station shall be greatly missed.

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I especially loved the rain history and lake levels per year.  Thanks, Steve, for your service.  It was fun going to your site especially during the rainy season.  I am sorry to see it go.  It is like a friend passing.

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Say it ain't so, Steve.....

Adding our thanks and appreciation for the superb job you've done in offering this valuable service to the lakeside community, and to the world, for all this time.

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I have been without power for 24 hors and I have not had the opportunity to add my 2 cents worth.

I also will miss the weather site. I know Steve well and I understand his move back to Texas. I will miss the station. I hope someone will start another one with the same quality.

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Folks, thank you for your cards and letters:

So, you want to be "The WeatherGuy"? This isn't exactly like a BBQ smoker that someone "gives" you and you just take it home and light it up and start cooking steaks, it's a bit more expensive and whole lot more complicated and there's a serious time commitment included in the fine print. This is how it's been done for the last 10 years, could it be done differently? - absolutely, but this is what it took to provide ChapalaWeather to now.

I've not talked to Spencer yet, but here is, in part, what I will tell him, and anyone interested in doing it the way I did it to produce the results you clicked on each time you want to check conditions.

You start with some basic$, the Davis Vantage Pro 2 wireless weather station is $500 (min), add the solar sensor and mount, +$160. Add a dedicated laptop PC $500 running WIN 7 or 8.1 (I don't do WIN10 - ever). Next, some minor costs and serious considerations about where and how to mount the station. Add a webcam $200. As you see ChapalaWeather today it's a $1,300 equipment investment plus 3 pieces of software. The weather software is VWS, only $70. I use the CUTEFTP program, again, inexpensive. But, the program to create the templates you see when you click on Chapalaweather is a whole other world. The station is currently running on FrontPage 2000, yes, a 17 year old program that I've used for over 17 years, so I know it inside and out and the templates have evolved over 11 years. You've probably noticed they don't change much, there's a good reason, you change and you get a delivery from the great warehouse of unintended consequences, so again years of experience knowing how they work and most importantly - how to fix problems when they don't work, just as in VWS and CuteFTP. The intent was to convert to DreamWeaver, but it never happened. So, do you want to immerse yourself in a non-supported MS program? - that's a serious commitment.

The VWS software is pretty stable, even on WIN8.1, but not perfect, so let's run through a day assuming everything is up and running: Each day for 10 years the absolute first thing I look at is the weather site, whether I'm in Chapala, Buchanan Dam, Denver, NE, CA, Matehula or any other hotel along the way. I first focus on "Days Since Rain" and if it's =0 then I know it's rained since midnight and I need to upload the rain background to the site for the day. Next I manually update the number of days it's rained this year (most of the data on the page is automatic, some is not). I open the Rainy Days Calendar and enter ^vxv121^" in that days square and change the color to blue. This entire template is mostly manual and created at the beginning of each year, then preserved in the archive. That "tag" only records rain for that 24 hours, so tomorrow I need to enter the actual amount deleting the tag ^vxv121^ and of course, upload the copper background.

Next I look at the wind to see if it's either spiked off the graph, or if set at a high value from the day before needs to have the range reset. The graphs could be set to "auto range" but not with two values like speed and gust on the same graph. Oh, PS: don't try making changes during an update cycle happening 6 times an hour, so be aware of the time and how long you will be changing values or you'll jam the template and the FTP will show "no upload".

Of course I glance and the "Last Updated" block at the top of the page to make sure VWS is running and the FTP is properly uploading, if not I begin trouble shooting. I also copy a new flower to upload each day when the webcam ends at dark. Now, if everything is working, I can have my coffee and start my real day. And, this checkin routine happens several times a day and the last thing at night before the lights go out 365 days a year.

Currently there are 7,720 files making up the VWS folder. Probably at least 100 are graphics, so let's just say there are at least 6,000 files making up ChapalaWeather. Many are archives but many more are not, if a problem happens for whatever reason, then you start with the main db which is a huge spreadsheet over 55 columns wide and a new line added every 10 minutes, so at the moment, it's about 18MB and over 40,000 lines long - yes, depending on the problem at times you have to go in and do "surgery". There are also "Yearly, Monthly, Daily" .bin files which interact, sometimes it's necessary, if a problem happens (like a seed in the rain gauge causing bad readings) you have to go in and correct the db because among other things, it creates all the graphs you see.

At the end of each month I manually update rain amounts, averages etc at the bottom of the page. At 11:50PM New Years Eve (yes, I do) I am at the PC and download the complete VWS directory to preserve the last files created for the year. In the new year you do house cleaning of db's and files to control growth. New templates for the New Year are created - and of course there are the graphics for holidays, flag backgrounds and any special events to be recognized are done manually. The HURRICANE SEASON block is manually updated requiring a check with the national weather bureau for threatening storms. Of course week days we check, sometimes many times a day, for CEA Lake Level changes to manually enter.

Of course you'll need a domain, web host and site to upload data to on an ongoing basis (add that to the co$t column)

These are many of the main things done on a daily basis etc. So, you want to the the "WeatherGuy"? - when I said it was a "labor of love" I wasn't being facetious you can't justify it as anything less.

 

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Money isnt an issue as this is a good public service and hardware upgrades and a new CPU box with 12GB ram could help, I do have the location but not unlimited time so if I supply the goods who can help with their time? I can buy equipment, have broadband internet and have everything available in offices open to the public weekdays 8am to 4pm and battery backup.  Any takers who want to help?

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