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A Tale of Might & Magical Teamwork: A Mac OS X Weather Application Review

By Cate Defrise
Posted Saturday, July 31, 2004

Once upon a time, a clever guy named, Matt came up with this simply brilliant idea for an app called Meteorologist, that allows you to choose several cities and display their current weather conditions on your menu bar or dock or both. He began working on it and it became a very solid and strong program, but he soon realized he could no longer go further with it as his life was getting in the way of its completion and maintenance. Fortunately, the project didn’t die there. He threw it up for grabs in the Open Source community at Source Forge and it landed in the hands of a small group of compassionate developers that came to his rescue and teamed up to continue his legacy--in all of its glory as well as its trials and tribulations.

This group called themselves, “The M Team.” You know, sort of like, "The A Team. "Okay, I lied. They actually called themselves, “The Meteorologist Group.”

Back to Meteorologist! Meteorologist is a free weather program for OS X. It allows Mac users total control over their weather viewing enjoyment, including simultaneous interlaced weather reports from multiple weather servers worldwide. In other words, this program is cool.

So you say weather is too boring? Think again, my friend. There’s a reason why weather.com is among the top 100 sites (out of 4 BILLION sites, give or take a few thousand): inquiring minds wanna know the weather!

Meteorologist allows you to see the weather of cities of your choice directly on your menu bar or dock, and you can name them whatever you want. I prefer the menu bar because my dock has gotten too cluttered lately. It’s so easy to find Meteorologist and it’s so accessible. For example, I’ve chosen Nice, France because it’s near to where I live, Culver City, California where most of my family is, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey where my sister lives and Lille, France where most of my in-laws live. I just look up at my menu bar and it has the outside temperature with a cute matching icon. (Right now "chez me" it’s 57°F at nearly 8 PM, showing an icon with little gray clouds. I could change it to Celsius if I wanted too.) This is utterly helpful to me because it helps me decide things such as how long of a walk I can take with my dog, or, in case of rain, that I shouldn’t really go out at all.

For some reason, it’s also comforting to know the weather conditions of my loved ones. It’s sort of like your Buddy List on iChat or whatever chat program you use. You see buds and family online and chat sometimes but it’s just reassuring to know that they’re there whether you chat with them or not. You know what I mean? Knowing their climate somehow let's me take part in their lives (somehow in my crazy way) even though I can't be there in-person.

You can see a 3-day forecast of these places too, great for planning part of your week. All of this information is current and changes accordingly if necessary by accessing the closest weather server. For instance, I can see that it might actually snow in Upper Saddle River on Tuesday! I know now I can plan to tease my sister about it because she hates cold weather. See, how indispensable Meteorologist is?! Don’t even ask why she lives in New Jersey.

Meteorologist doesn’t stop at the temperature; it also gives a current account of wind, humidity, dew point, pressure, clouds, forecast and the last time information was updated. However, the pièce de résistance has yet to be announced in this review!

Yes, the most innovative and clever characteristic about Meteorologist, and my personal favourite feature, is its ability to alert you in cases of severe weather conditions! How does it do this you ask? I’m glad you asked because here is the answer: You can choose how you’d like to be alerted with the following options (and you can select as many as you’d like): 1) via email; 2) a Beep; 3) Play a song that you can select from iTunes; or, 4) have the Meteorologist icon bounce violently in the dock.

Of course, having said that, I’ve yet to receive an alert, which is probably a good thing—because receiving an alert could mean, for example, that there’s an imminent tsunami ready to inundate this area in 30 minutes with millions of tons of the Mediterranean crushing everything in its path.

Despite this gloomy scenario, I still think this app is awesome, and so the story and review shall end happily ever after.

Meteorologist is a freeware and work-in-progress by The Meteorologist Team (as well as the Open Source community) at Source Forge Note: You must have internet access to use Meteorologist.

Rated 4.5 out of 5

About The Author
Cate Defrise is a journalist and Mac fan based in the South of France.