Hi guys, new member, first post, yada...
Just thought I'd tell you about my experiences with the brand spankin' new Boltek StormTracker PCI which Santa delivered to me early. It's gonna be a long one, so if you're not interested, feel free to ignore me.
My buddy Dale has had a lightning detector for a while and he's been nagging me to get one for almost as long. Gotta admit, I like my weather stuff, and I even have a wee AWS of my very own. It's an Oregon Scientific WM-918, had it for years!
So long, I can't even recall when or even how I got it. But that little thing just keeps right on truckin' so I can't complain.
Anyhoo, coz we're headin' out way earlier than usual this year, the missus must have asked Dale what she could surprise me with this Christmas. Instead of telling her to buy me an outboard motor (and a boat to go with it), he of course said I was desperate for a lightning detector. What a guy, huh?
Yeah well anyway, I got me a Boltek now. What are ya gonna do, huh?
But dang, if this thing hasn't grown on me! It sure doesn't look
look like a whole lot. An ol' PCI card with a couple of chips, and a funny little black box hangin' offen the end of a network patch cable. Don't the simplest things sometimes bring the most pleasure?
So it's installed. I had a spare mini-ITX board sitting around doing nothing. Luckily it's an older model with a PCI slot, so it does the trick real good. Then I hung that ol' antenna whatsit up nice and high off a attic rafter, and got it facing northwards.
Ya know, that's when I figured out these things don't go doing a hang of a lot on their own!
Dale came by to inspect his new early Christmas present to himself, and to find out why it wasn't online yet. So I told him.
"You mean your wife didn't buy NexStorm like I told her to?"
Seeing as how neither she nor I knew what that is, the answer could only be, "No Dale, she didn't".
Off we went to cyberspace and to Astrogenic's website in particular, while he sung the songs of praise for NexStorm. And I must say it looked
real good. Very slick and professional. Seeing those other lightning detectors online was kind of interesting, maybe even exciting, in a weather fetishist kind of way. Not that I'm a weather fetishist, mind. No, I reserve my precious fetishes for other things, thanks all the same.
But I digress.
The thing of it is though, as slick and shiny as NexStorm is, I couldn't see a whole lot of info about the stuff my new lightning detector was detecting. Well, woulda bin detecting had there been any to detect. I'm talking about real, actual, honest-to-goodness lightning, okay? No fetishes here.
Ol' Dale snorted (I'm not kidding...he sounded like a horse with a cold!), and dismissed my concerns, then began singing a hymn of worship about NexStorm. (Or maybe he was saying a prayer to the God of lightning, you can never tell with Dale.)
"Dale", says I, "What other software is there for this thing?"...Coz I foolishly assumed there must be a booming cottage industry of homebrew lightning detection software out there. Well who wouldn't, right?
"There's only NexStorm, so gimme your credit card and I'll buy it right now!".
Heh. Yeah, right. Not even my missus gets my credit card. Why don't I give her my golf clubs while we're at it? Just ain't gonna happen, nosirree, Bob. So I tell Dale I need to think about it some more, which only causes ol' Dale to make more horsey noises. It was only a matter of time before he began tossing his mane and stomping his hooves.
But I was saved by the cellphone. His cellphone, and his missus, calling to tell him he can't play no more and has to go home for supper. And he did, after ordering me to buy NexStorm. Which I didn't. Not until after supper, anyway.
Google time! I ask the Oracle of Google "Boltek +lightning detector +software", and lo, the Oracle did foretoldeth something which confuseth me even more: "Lightning/2000"...
And then Dale called, wantin' to know iffen I'd bought NexStorm yet. So I said I hadn't, and listened to a horse spitting at me. When he finished, kind of, I asked him about "Lightning/2000", which just caused him to spit a whole lot more.
"It's crap! Don't waste your time! Buy NexStorm!"...So of course I didn't.
What I did do was click the link and went to the An-in-o-qui-si (HUH?!) site, and I looked at what I found there, and when I saw the screenshots I went "Whoa, it's 1996 again and I'm looking at my first Geocities webpage!"...Yeah, I laughed some, what are ya gonna do, huh? The colors, man...those funky ol' colors!
But I kept looking and reading and it began to dawn on me that even though it kind of looked like it was coded on a ColecoVision by an LSD-addict, Lightning/2000 had the goods! In spades. Buckets of spades, even. Thing is, even though at first glance Lightning/2000 looked cheap, it wasn't. It cost more than the fancy-pants NexStorm. What to do, what to do...I went to bed.
But now it was time to go visit the inlaws out of state. No time left to worry about the Boltek, I got much bigger concerns now. Pre-Christmas time. At the inlaws place. Oh, how the time just flew by. Not. Ah well, ya gotta do these things, right?
On our return, what do I find in my mailbox? It's a copy of NexStorm! From Dale! He bought it for me. Dale has been my best bud since 1975. We saw 'Star Wars' together like 20 times. Our families went on vacation together. He has never
bought me anything, ever, period. Not even an icecream. Surprise!
Yeah, I installed it, I configured it, I configured the remote server, and I watched nothing happen. Because there was no lightning, anywhere. Not around here. So I called Dale and gave him the good news, and he whinnied like a palomino who's been hitched to a post while being forced to watch the brood mare take a shower.
"What's the URL?" he demanded excitedly. So I told him. "Nothing happening! Are you sure you set it up right? Maybe you didn't set it up right. I bet you didn't set it up right. I'm coming over!"... Click.
And so around 3 attoseconds later I hear the unmistakable sound of hooves at the gallop outside my door.
Dale pounces on my computer and starts fooling around with it, which is kind of scary because he's about as computer literate as an anvil.
One time, he opened up his computer's case and found the unplugged wake-on-LAN cable which was attached to his network card. It wasn't plugged in on account of the fact that his motherboard didn't have WoL functionality, but that didn't deter him for a second: here's a loose cable and it's supposed to be connected to something, and he's gonna connect it, by golly, even if he has no idea what it is. So do you know what he did? He plugged the cable into the first empty socket he could find. The plug on the cable didn't fit real well (the cable had two wires, the socket had three pins), so he forced it in, ever so gently. Network cards, motherboards, and network switches don't take kindly to having 12 volts pumped into them, which is what happens when you connect a WoL cable to a fan header. True story.
I'm digressing again.
Anyhoo, Dale played around and then agreed that it's all hunky-dory, accept for the lack of lightning. He sat back and beamed
with delight. He loves NexStorm, he really does. But as much as I admire it, there was still some stuff missing, aside from lightning. Just gimme the facts, man.
Then I made a mistake. I mentioned Lightning/2000. Suffice it to say that Dale doesn't love Lightning/2000. For one thing, people won't flock to my website to view my Boltek and NexStorm in all their glory, the way they do his.
The thing is, I host Dale's website. That's kind of what I do for a living among other stuff. Naturally I don't charge Dale for the privilege, and now that he bought me a copy of NexStorm, I probably owe him money. Yeah, but here's the thing: Dale's site gets around 4000 hits per day, and at least 3990 of those are Dale checking in to see how many hits his site has received. It's not exactly Wikipedia, ya know? And I told him so. "WHINNY! WHINNY WHINNY WHINNY WHINNY!"
We drank some brews, shot some pool, then he cantered home. Trotted. Staggered maybe.
Beer is great with peanuts and chips, but ladies leave your credit cards at home. Trouble is, I was
home, and so was my credit card. I bought Lightning/2000. It felt great, and I slept well that night, but my wife was on the couch when I woke up in the morning. Isn't beer just the awesomest?
So now I have Lightning/2000. But where's the Java applet? How do I display my lightning prowess online to the admiring hordes? The answer is that you can, but it's not quite as elegant as it is with NexStorm. Truth be told, that functionality feels a little bit like a kludge. Maybe an afterthought. If your main concern is with displaying live strikes online, you're probably better off with NexStorm.
However, if you want to know everything
about those strikes, then in my opinion Lightning/2000 is for you. Well, me anyway. And it's dead-on accurate: I compared the data with those broadcast and published by professional weatherology dudes near and far, and Lightning/2000 did itself proud. NexStorm not so much.
My take? When it comes to shiny, to polished, to "Oh wow, that looks awesome!", NexStorm is almost over the horizon. You don't buy Lightning/2000 to get glitz. Thing is, I'm a guy who likes numbers, and raw bits-n-bytes. That's what you get from L2K. Definitely a little raw, for sure. Certainly software for fetishists, I reckon.
Oh, I almost forgot...A night or three ago, when we was drinking some more, Dale reminded me that he generously bought that copy of NexStorm, and I'm so darn lucky, not to mention ungrateful for not using it and worshiping it, and stuff. And I had to admit he was right. It was real good of him. So after he left, I whipped out the ol' credit card again. There's a copy of Lightning/2000 headed for his mailbox.
Did I mention we was drinking..?
Hope you enjoyed the story, and if you didn't, well, why did you keep on reading it this far?