I’m fairly interested in the weather, mainly thunderstorms and tornados. So I end up following the radar fairly closely, even if there’s not anything in my immediate area. Your typical weather sites will have an animated radar image that gives you an idea of where it’s raining and where it’s not. But the big deal with doppler radar is that you can also read speed and direction. This will help you assess the severity of a storm. It takes a bit more effort to locate these radar images.

I use PYKL3 (Android) to let me easily view the precipitation radar (what you see at most sites and is technically called “base reflectivity”) as well as the velocity (typically the storm relative velocity). You’ll immediately notice that the images that the app shows you are not as “pretty” as the ones that you’d see on the evening news. This is actually because your typical radar image has been lightly filtered to make at appear better and cleaner. What you see in PYKL3 is what comes directly out of the National Weather Service’s WSR-88 radar sites. It’s actually much higher resolution that what you see elsewhere.

How good is the resolution? I’ve been able to pay close attention to the timestamp of the image, my position on the map (provided by GPS) and the velocity that the storm is moving at and could accurately tell when the vehicle I was in would be going into and out of heavier rain. It was a very interesting experience (please make sure you are not driving as you do this).

A few years ago I discussed Adblock Plus. At the time this was a great tool, but it has become somewhat bloated and will now allow advertisers to bypass its filters if they pay Adblock Plus.

The replacement is uBlock Origin. It does the same ad blocking (right down to using the same curated lists of what to block) as Adblock Plus but is much more lightweight. You can read a lot more how it is quicker and less of a memory hog, as well as all the ins and outs of using it at their wiki.

Windows 7 added some nice features that help you to arrange windows on screen. But I find that WindowSpace does an even better job. Even though I usually work with dual monitors, I find myself needing to put windows side by side, top and bottom or maximize them vertically. By dragging a window or resizing a window to any edges of the screen WindowSpace accomplishes all of these tasks. But it gets better. If you want to snap windows to one another, even while resizing them, just get them close and window space takes care of the rest. The final feature that I find comes in handy from time to time is being able to make any window always on top. Typically I do this with either calculator or notepad. All you need to do is click the icon in to corner of the program, then use the new WindowSpace menu to make the program always on top.

Google has an entire office suite online called Google Docs. You can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations completely within your web browser. I find this great for stuff that I need to have access to from many computers. All of the apps have nearly all of the features that you’ve come to expect from a desktop application, and a few that you just can’t get. For example, there’s a widget in the spreadsheet app that will mark up a Google map with a list of location’s that’s in your spreadsheet. This is a fun little toy to play with in my spreadsheet that tracks all of the traveling that I’ve done for work.

Bonus Tip: You can use Google Docs from your phone. Any phone can view documents, and some higher end phones can even make edits to documents.