If you are here because of my alert on Weather Planet, welcome. I have been surprised by some of the ratings it has been getting, so can only think that there is some issue, be it a bug, or wacky UI problem, that is causing some folks some headaches. Please let me know what they might be as I am starting to work on the next rev and would like to make it an elegant and fun (i.e., not frustrating) app to use.
Update (and mini-FAQ):
Thanks to all for the kind words and taking the time to respond. I’ll try and answer the most common remarks here, then personally for very specific items.
Q: How about showing the cloud motions over time?
A: This is the most common request, and could only be done in one of two ways. The user (you know who you are), would have to keep their phone or touch on constantly through the day to fetch enough images to make a usable animation. The other way would be for me to do a lot of server backend stuff to generate animations then ship them down to the client software. Most wouldn’t want to do the first, and I don’t have the time or the experience right now to do the latter. Not to mention that that would be a fairly large file.
Q: Nice software, but the clouds are blanked out sometimes. What gives, dude?
A: I’m glad you asked. If you get a partial cloudmap with another part just white or gray, that’s coming from the weather satellites or at least the ground stations that receive the original images. So nothing I can do there, I personally see it about once every week or two. The other issue is with a completely blank earth. I have seen only once on my iPhone, but every week or so in the simulator. It is very hard to reproduce to track it down. A simple exit and restart slaps the software back into shape though. It is on my list, and I check it almost every day in the dev system to see if it happens again.
Q: The dark side’s too dark, even with ambient light.
A: I think I see what you mean. I added the ambient light to increase the cloud visibility, but I see that some of the “darker” landmasses still are invisible such as that Europe thingy. So I’ll add a feature to turn off the dark entirely.
Q: Can’t this sucker scroll to my last position?
A: It was on the original feature list, but I just ran out of time. Enough of you kind folks have requested it so it will be at the top.
Q: I get tired of the &&*#% messages asking if it is ok to use my location!
A: That’s a system issue, the iPhone generates those messages on its own. However I notice that it stops asking after a while. I don’t know what the algorithm is, but I’ll see if there is a way to minimize them.
Q: I would love higher resolution earth images.
A: So would I! But the iPhone’s graphics hardware had a limit on the resolutions of the images it can use (1024×1024). This has been increased starting with the 3GS and the 3rd generation iPod/touches. For the older gear there are work arounds, but it’s messy. For the newer gear, I should silently switch over to using the better images.
Q: Weather Planet is like, really really awesome! Do you have any other software with the same level of awesomage?
A: Glad you asked! Check out Grand Tour-3D and Distant Suns. You’ll be glad you did.