Sunday, February 07, 2010

Cool New Weather Forecaster

I like the wireless weather forecasters that double as clocks and show the forecast for the next few days. Here is a "review" I wrote back a couple of years ago.

I recently bought an upgraded wireless weather forecaster from ambient at Best Buy. Here is a link to the product on the Ambient web site. It has only been one day but I really like it a lot. The old ones required 2 AAA batteries (which seemed to die out more and more frequently as the device got older) but this one you just plug into the wall. You can dial up or down the brightness on the device which is cool because it might be eerie at night if too bright. This one also can see 152 cities so you can scroll across the country.

The "knock" on these devices is that reception can be spotty; it can go days without updating (although the clock always stays correct). It has only been 1 day but reception has been good so far, and hey it only cost $100 at Best Buy so you can't expect the world.

There is a feature that allows the device to receive text messages; kind of a gimmick but if you gave one to someone who doesn't do much text messaging it might be a cool feature (I think that they charge for them, I haven't read through the manual yet). Also they get kudos for at least including a decent manual; most products don't even bother anymore or it is written in an unintelligible manner. Actually I tried it and it accepts only email messages (their clock radio accepts text messages - you get a specific device with a URL attachment at and it shows up right away on the device - it comes with 20 of these for free but you can buy more online, it is a bit expensive.

One element of the ambient devices is that they like to use "color" to give you, at a glance, an understanding of some key elements. For example their stock market devices are "green" when the markets are up and "red" when they are down. This device has a color on the selection wheel based on color; the weird thing is that it starts at this "pink" color in the 20's, then goes to the blues, and then up to the reds way up in the 80's and 90's. You'd think pink would be a hot color, but they are just humoring us, I guess.

Since whenever I buy something I look at the reviews online I figured I should start putting up online reviews for stuff that I buy that is at least reasonably expensive to help others. Kind of a pain but it also seems like a bit of karma payback, as well. One thing that surprised me about the device is that it was a "plug in" not battery powered so I put that in my review; it impacts where you can place the weather forecaster so I figured I'd at least highlight that.

The sad part, of course, is that every day looks cloudy on the forecaster here in Chicago. I need some SUN! Can't wait for this winter to be over, already.


Dan from Madison said...

I see those snowflakes on Tuesday as well, we are supposed to get 6-10 inches up here. Won't that be fun to drive up in?

Dan from Madison said...

As a side note, I have tried my damndest this year to overcome my winter "blahs" and have been successful so far. I have intentionally been running outside if it is 30 or above (and not windy) and I have really enjoyed it. I have also been doing other things outside, more on that to come in the next few days here on the blog.

I have a week in San Diego in late February and that will be a welcome break.

Carl from Chicago said...

CRAP. I didn't think about that. I will have to check the forecast and maybe bag all of Tuesday from a work perspective to make sure that I make the game.