Skew-T Meteorologist in Kansas City

Termux

Screenshot of Termux
Screenshot of Termux

Termux is an Android app that provides a terminal emulator and Debian-like Linux environment. Smartphone screens are relatively small compared to a laptop or full computer monitor but screens continue to improve making terminal use increasingly viable. My Google Pixel XL has a 5.5 inch screen running at 2560x1440, the same resolution as one of my desktop 27 inch monitors.

Vertically the terminal is restricted to 57 columns but is surprisingly usable with the on screen keyboard. Held horizontally and paired with the Logitech K380 Bluetooth keyboard, it is an excellent text terminal. Features abound, from an API exposing hardware remotely via ssh, to style support including Powerline fonts.

Thursday Afternoon Storm Chase

Supercell over the Manhattan, Kansas airport
Supercell over the Manhattan, Kansas airport

Leaving work a couple of hours early, we drove as far west as Florence and Junction City, Kansas. We ended up following several tornado warned storms but high precipitation reduced visibility.

Radarscope depiction of KEAX after the heaviest rain past Kansas City
Radarscope depiction of KEAX after the heaviest rain past Kansas City

On the way back east to KC, a very strong conglomeration of storms caught up with us. For the last 40 miles or so incredibly heavy rain made it nearly impossible to see the non reflective lane markings and slowed most drivers down to a near standstill on the freeway. One of the cells that passed just 10 miles or so from home produced hail over an inch in diameter.

Smithville, Mo.

Quincy, Omaha, and Kansas City Railroad caboose
Quincy, Omaha, and Kansas City Railroad caboose

The Quincy, Omaha & Kansas City Railroad served Smithville from 1890 until 1939 with passengers and freight. The town maintains a replica caboose from the last train to roll through town.

Smithville Lake trail
Smithville Lake trail

April Food

Lunch at Gram & Dun
Lunch at Gram & Dun
Bánh mì from Bun Mee Phan
Bánh mì from Bun Mee Phan
Tortilla española at La Bodega
Tortilla española at La Bodega
Veggie burger and deviled eggs at Westside Local
Veggie burger and deviled eggs at Westside Local

GPS Clock

For some time I had sought out the ideal clock for the bedroom. Like many I've switched to using my smart phone as an alarm, but I still have the need for a clock to quickly find out the current time. While I've had clock radios that worked well, it proved difficult to find the ideal combination of features. Specifically I was seeking an LED display of twenty four hour time that set itself, eliminating the need to adjust for daylight saving and making the power outages I was experiencing a non-issue. The latter feature of automatic time setting proved especially difficult, as I was living in Fairbanks, Alaska at the time, outside of the signal range of the inexpensively received WWVB atomic clock backed time signal.

Peak signal coverage estimated for WWVB time signal
Peak signal coverage estimated for WWVB time signal

Already interested in the growing microcontroller hobbyist market, I looked into what time keeping parts might be possible. I had thought of perhaps having a NTP backed ethernet or wifi connected device but at the time few components were available offering network interfaces and they required significant work to implement. I ended up going with a GPS reciever, something more frequently used for position information. The GPS system relies on very accurate time keeping, something a small receiver can take advantage of as well. Connected to an Arduino and a large digit display through a breadboard, the clock proved a very useful project that continues to work well to this day.

GPS Clock
GPS Clock

GPS devices have improved over time and the chip in the clock I ultimately created is able to display accurate, 24 hour time within seconds after being plugged in. I never have gotten around to enclosing the device so it continues to look like a science experiment, many years after it was first put together.

Arduino powering the clock
Arduino powering the clock