Author Topic: August, 2005 - Featured website  (Read 7145 times)

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August, 2005 - Featured website
« on: October 29, 2006, 01:00:46 AM »
John Norman’s weather web site, Lighthouse Weather, serving the West Paterson, New Jersey area, came into existence in December, 2001. Since then, John’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by the weather community. Davis Instruments recognized John’s efforts in November, 2002, by naming Lighthouse Weather as their “favorite new site” in their “Weather Club” e-newsletter. Not bad for a site that had been live for less than a year! Now, John can add the honor of being named the Featured Web Site of the Month for August 2005, as nominated and selected by his peers!

John’s weather site is fueled by his Davis Vantage Pro 2 Plus (which adds solar and UV sensors), which replaced his trusty first generation Vantage Pro. His temperature and humidity sensors enjoy extra accuracy due to John’s providing them with a daytime-aspirated radiation shield. John feels that “you’ll not find a better station in the price range that borders a pro station.” John also has a live weather cam (including a nice view of his landlocked lighthouse) and a Boltek lightning sensor.

John uses Ambient’s Virtual Weather Station software along with Ambient’s WeatherFlash add-on, and he performs web design magic with both of them. John’s “Virtual Vantage Pro” that displays very-nearly real time updates with Weather Flash is a sight to behold. It’s worth a look – and is much easier to understand by viewing than by my feeble attempts to describe it, but here goes – John uses a background image of his Vantage Pro console, and places live data graphically on the “Vantage Pro’s” screen, just where it appears on the real console.

For web page design and development, John uses Microsoft’s FrontPage to build the framework of his site, then hand codes for tweaking and fine-tuning. He also uses Adobe’s suite of graphics products.

John started his web site because, well, it was “easy for him to do.” John designs and hosts web sites, and wanted to provide a nice public service for his community and area. Not only that, of course, and perhaps an unintended consequence, but John’s site gets visits from all over the world, and serves as an inspiration to us less-talented web page designers!

His site is indeed unique, and he’s a stickler for that approach. John took no particular inspiration for his web site, but came up with its unique design and layout all on his own – a true sign of a highly talented designer, as far as I’m concerned!

John has no specific plans for the future of his site, but thinks that if he gets bored with the current design or has one of those middle-of-the-night inspirations, he’ll just trash this design and produce a completely new one. He says that it wouldn’t be the first time…

Lighthouseweather contributes data to the CWOP program, to Weather Underground, and to Weather For You. He says “Why not try to broaden our hobby?” Why not, indeed?

John first got interested in weather as a kid, then had his interest fueled while boating and being a part of the United States Coast Guard. Weather is certainly a big factor in any maritime endeavor, and John’s interest and knowledge undoubtedly served him well.

Lighthouseweather has had at least 44,880 visitors when last I looked. The number of visitors Lighthouseweather gets is rewarding to John as are the many nice comments left for him on his site. He’s also amazed by some of the visitors he gets – like NOAA, the military, and other branches of the government. There’s no question that Lighthouseweather has a broad appeal!

John’s advice for the burgeoning weather hobbyist is quite sound. He recommends, “Start out by not buying junk. You’ll just waste your money because you’ll get hooked and want something better. That’s not to say buy every gadget available. Start with a station you can build on. Then most of all: Read! Learn! Read! Learn! Did I say “read”? Seems people get so excited one they get their stuff, they want to be like everyone else that is already established. You must learn to walk before you run.”

His advice for someone starting a weather web site or improving the one they already have is equally sanguine: “Eye candy is always nice, but not necessarily important. Do not overload one page with tons of graphics. Do not make the pages scroll longer than a few side bar scrolls, keep graphics sized properly and compressed to speed page loads. Try to be concise so as not to confuse John Q. Public.” Well said, John!

John Norman, a quiet man, is 47 years old and self-employed. He worked as a field technician and supervisor for more than 21 years, and is currently looking for a new, full-time job. John is married and parents a dog and two parrots. He’s interested in high tech electronics (weather certainly makes a good hobby choice, John – no shortage of high tech gadgets!) and computers. He loves photography (make sure you take a look at his outstanding photo gallery), collecting and firing weapons, and military memorabilia. John is also into amateur radio – often a very complementary hobby to weather. He hold a General Class license, and the unique and very appropriate “vanity call” WX2YOU. Fairly recently the FCC began allowing amateurs to select their own call signs that still adhere to the geographic and license categories appropriate to the licensee, and John couldn’t have selected a more apropos call – “Weather to You!”

Congratulations, John, and, on your very well-deserved and inaugural selection as’s Featured Web Site of the Month for August 2005!!!!!

Writeup by Gary Oldham, posted Mon Aug 01, 2005 10:18 am on original
Ken True/Saratoga, CA, USA main site:
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