Wednesday, May 18, 2005

we've moved to wellingtonista.com
head over there for the latest stuff. cheers.

the death of the British Weather Symbol

sit London. sit. staaay. good city.The BBC has, of this week, started using the Weatherscape XT graphics package created by Wellington-based MetService (the only commercially run state weather forecasting service in the world, wouldn't you know?).

You'll see the new graphics if you tune into the hourly weather updates on BBC international. They'll look familiar to New Zealand viewers who have been seeing the 3D 'Flybys' and 'Hovers' on TV1 and TV3 for the last few years, but, for the Brits, and, indeed, a decent proportion of the rest of the world, this sort of technological wizardry has come as a bit of a shock. From the BBC 'Have your say' page, come these quotes from dismayed Brits...

Sorry but the constant zooming around makes me feel seasick and leaves little time to digest what is going on in any one region before zooming off somewhere else.
Ian Kirk, Poole, UK

The old symbols were clear and well understood by everyone (including the visually impaired) - now, this smudgy fudgey mess makes it hard to work out what is going on, and the motion around the country is sick-making.
Stuart, Edinburgh, Scotland

Sorry, I don't like it - I want clear concise information. What on earth is the point of doing pseudo 3D maps? If the weather was 3D I'd understand it but I'm not a pilot - I have my feet firmly placed at ground level. 2D is just fine, very clear and very concise. Another example of technological madness.
Stuart Quick, Manchester

"If the weather was 3D"? Really. (And we hope the people getting motion sickness from watching a short 3D animation on telly get whatever problem they're suffering from seen to.) All this, and dozens more complaints, after just one day of broadcasting. Ahh, the Brits. Did anyone mention 'national stereotypes'? No, thought not.

Our favourite quote was from another discussion forum running red-hot with criticism of the new system, where Chris, a man presumably au fait with the vagaries of English weather, laments...

cloudy, maybe rain, although it might snow. Or, potentially, sunshine.Does this mean the death of the British Weather Symbol? You know that black cloud with a bit of sun behind it and a rain drop and a snow drop coming out of it? It covered all bases that one.
Anyway, also keep an eye out for more Wellington-based creative-IT successes in the near future, with Sidhe Interactive going from strength-to-strength in the highly competitive console games market (a new release due from them soon for the PSP handheld), and some company called Weta Workshop is involved in what looks like to be quite an interesting project out there in Mirarmar.


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