Cool Toys Pic of the day – Umbrella Today

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Umbrella Today:
http://umbrellatoday.com/

I have such mixed emotions about this app. Basically, I’m a bit of a country girl, and this is a real city folk app.

When country folk check the weather they want to know a LOT about it. If there are high winds or tornadoes, tell me what wind speed, what  direction, what kind of shifts, how fast is the front moving, how many miles per hour, how many minutes until it reaches me, what is in the  path, what preparations should be taken to protect valuables (people, property, plants, animals) that are in the path, etc*. If it is cold I  want to know not just how cold it is in real temperature, but what is the wind chill, the direction of the winds, how many seconds to  frostbite for exposed skin, visibility, how icy is the ground surface, etc. When I moved to Michigan, that first summer there was a tornado  outside of Ann Arbor, where I live. I thought I had moved to the place with the stupidest weatherman on earth, since Fox news kept saying  repeatedly, “Tornado sighted outside of Ann Arbor,” but never said which side of Ann Arbor, had it touched down, how fast was it moving,  or anything useful.

But I’ve lived in Chicago, too, which is primo city-folk territory. In Chicago we measured the cold by when the downtown suits became furs, and all most folk really wanted to know was whether or not they needed  to carry an umbrella or wear a coat. That’s it. Other than that, they were indoors or taking public transit or driving. Seldom did you need to wait outside very long without shelter.

So, if all folks really want or need for their own daily weather information needs is:

Umbrella? Yes/No

then, why not simplify things to give them only the information they really need? There was a small debate about this at #SOLO10 earlier today. (SOLO10 = Science Online London 2010.) @attilacsordas and @mrgunn were talking about  minimum information standards becoming maximum information standards,  and how high or low the bar is set needs to be defined by the community the information is serving. Well, the folks at ThoughtBot seem to have already been thinking along the same lines. Umbrella Today answers that one, very simple, yes or no question about the weather, and does it via web or iPhone, and will send you daily alerts via email or SMS (texting).  Take the one thing you really want to know, and make it astonishingly simple and obvious to find out. Pretty darn obvious, now that someone else has thought of it, isn’t it?

* This is also why I absolutely LOVE the Weather Underground and find it vastly superior to Weather.com, but that is a discussion for another time.

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2 thoughts on “Cool Toys Pic of the day – Umbrella Today

  1. Here in Amsterdam we spend a lot of time on bicycles so it is always wise to take a head to toe rainsuit with you rain or shine

  2. LOL, Leighton, I agree 100%! I also tend to dress ‘defensively’ with regard to the weather, erring on the side of caution and flexibility. Smart person!

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