iPhone Weather Review Blues
Hey, did you hear about this new weather app? It’s fantastic! It lets you choose between Futura, Helvetica, Univers, Avenir, or fucking Akzidenz Grotesk! And it mimics the design of a Dieter Rams hairdryer!
Oh, and it also tells you the weather.
When was the last time a “review” of a weather app bothered to test the damn thing against real-world data? Here is iMore’s comparison of weather apps. It is, literally, a comparison of screen shots. I want something a bit more scientific.
This was on my mind this morning when I opened my first screen weather app, Today, which said it was 38F and sunny, and then checked the new glamour boy of the iPhone weather app ecosystem, Forecast.io, which said it was 26F and lightly snowing.
My guess is that both are right and wrong. I definitely know it was not snowing, and the temperature across the other five apps I checked were all in the 23F to 28F range. I don’t begrudge the apps their disparity — forecasting weather is really difficult, as it combines climate, time series data, and complicated spatial modeling — but I would love to know if one of these was more right more often than the other. A one day check does me no good. And unless I buy my own little weather station and spend two weeks comparing apps against this data, I’m lost.
Millions of people use a weather app every day, yet we don’t have an objective features comparison a la Brett Terpstra’s crazy-ass text editor chart, let alone anything with the data-intensive accuracy tests I’d love to see. Maybe this is what I should do on nights and weekends for the rest of my life?
Weather is hard and evaluating accuracy is hard. Quoting the PR release blog post is easy and spending 10 minutes to tool around with an interface is easy. And in the end they get the same number of clicks and the same number of ad dollars. I get it. There’s nothing to be gained by doing it right.
But a boy can dream. And personally, I dream in Idlewild.
> Apparently, a glitch in the update is erasing the user’s entire book library from their iOS device.
Well, I guess that’s one way to do it.
CES 2013: Here’s the first iPhone 5 battery case… finally
So finally after all this time, there’s an iPhone 5 battery case, and it’s not from Mophie, but from iBattz.
Great. As if it wasn’t enough that my last name sounds like the online moniker of a teenage wiccan, it now also refers to a portable power solution to energy starved mobile devices.
What goes around…
If you look at your iPhone when its face-down you’ll notice that the camera and the flash face “up.” Fortunately, Apple thought through how to use the flash to alert the user when a message has been received. You’ll find this brilliant feature under Settings > General > Accessibility. Scroll down to “LED Flash for Alerts” and turn it “on.” The camera flash will now blink when a message comes through but no where near as bright as when the flash is used while taking a photo.
What’s great about this “brilliant feature” is that it is completely stolen from RIM, and it’s something that Blackberries used to get made fun of for having.
Back in 2010, Gruber posted a link to this story which said that the “blinking red light” was one of three reasons why people stuck with their Blackberries. Gruber said this was “just nutty.” I disagreed. The red light was about the only thing I missed from my Blackberry — I found it a very useful notification option. And saying so got me linked on Daring Fireball, which was pretty alright.
Thing is, now I’d never turn on this feature. Now it seems like it’d be annoying. Moreover, I never go more than 15 seconds without checking my iPhone anyway.