User talk:IlyaHaykinson/Archive1

Due to time constraints I won't be able to do much on Wikinews in the next couple of weeks. I think we need to revise the article stages process quite a bit, and you've expressed some interesting ideas on that. I would like to ask you to take the lead here. Please edit Wikinews:Article stages (maybe rename to "Article development") and suggest an alternative model.

One idea that could work for now is to simply allow editors to add links to stories anywhere, and to subsequently tag stories with different objections. Stories with unresolved objections could be moved to the "Editor tasks" box which could be separated into the different types of objections (NPOV, incomplete, etc.). The review process could be done away with for now, or replaced with a process similar to w:Wikipedia:Featured article candidates.

But these are just my quick thoughts on the matter, and again, I'd like to ask you to experiment with this.--Eloquence 20:43, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Sure. I think I can try to do this. I'll have more free time starting in two days and will spend some of that time trying to organize a few coherent ideas. Thanks for your vote of confidence. -- IlyaHaykinson 20:57, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Ahem, I've gone ahead and made some drastic changes to Wikinews:Article development and the index pages. Please take a look.--Eloquence 03:55, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Categories edit

My personal view is that each story should have a date, location, and subject category. It should be fairly obvious for each article which location and subject sub-categories they should be placed in. I do not think that all articles should automatically appear in their respective continent or major subject categories though, it really depends on the importance of the story.

For example: there are quite a lot of Judo articles at the moment, they obviously should go in the Judo category, but I don't think any of them are of sufficient import to appear in Category:Sports. Whilst the project is small it doesn't matter if every article goes in every subject for which it is applicable, but if Wikinews grows having every sports story in Category:Sports will result in a bit of a mess.

That's just my two pence worth. Categories are difinately something we need to draw a policy up on sometime in the near future. Rje 01:08, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Barnstar edit

 Administrator Lyellin awarded this barnstar to me for the weather report. I must share it with you for developing the first versions of our automated, weather data-gathering tool, "WeatherChecker".

Thanks Ilya!

DV 06:17, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Thank you for getting the news project going and inspiring me to help out! -- IlyaHaykinson 06:20, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Sorry- I didn't realize the connection or I would have popped on here too... and it's Lyellin... the Administrator only means I can delete and ban people, nothing more, nothign special. Lyellin 15:45, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Stylebook issues edit

Davodd, thanks for working on the stylebook. But to reduce duplication of similar information, you might want to either merge or somehow integrate with Wikinews:Style_guide and Wikinews:Content guide. -- IlyaHaykinson 01:08, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I'm going to attempt to integrate all of them into one article and redirect the others to the main space. Davodd 01:14, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Main page layout improvements edit

Hi Ilya,

I set up a sandbox for the Main Page to illustrate an improved layout that addresses some of the issues a number of our readers have had with navigation and readability.

Please check it out and let me know what you think on the Main Page sandbox discussion page. (I also listed some of the reasons for switching to this new layout on that page.)

One of the issues I wanted to point out to you specifically is the width of the weather map. It turns out the reason the main page has such a large minimum width is that the weather map is dictating the minimum cell size for the main table that holds each of the major sections.

So, I'm going back to the Photoshop underlay and removing all of the city names, and then going back to the Illustrator CS file to replace all of the city labels in a larger typeface, which will allow us to reduce the size of the weather map down to the size shown in the sandbox, while still being legible to our readers. Moving the city labels from the Photoshop underlay into the Illustrator CS file will also allow us to make the cities dynamically visible in case WeatherChecker skips a city due to a missing report, so we won't have any more city names with missing dots.

While I'm at it, I'm also using a star symbol and a seconday typeface family for all of the cities which are capitols, and also adding labels for the major oceans.

Anyways, I hope we can reach a consensus on the main page sandbox, to solve the serious navigation and readability issues with the current main page design.

Happy holidays.


DV 20:54, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the comments on Main_Page/WideSandbox3. I replied to your comments over there.

Dateline in article title edit

My primary purpose for including the date in the title is the limited namespace; although each article is automatically dated, there can be only one "President Addresses Congress" article. Ever. But you could have a new one every day if you add the date.

The logic for the date preceding the article title is just a personal habit; computers will automatically date-sort your files if you precede the file title with YYMMDD. The date could just as easily be after.

Pipes are easy to implement. So headlines and links can be any text you'd prefer. And the search will still find the article title without the date. - Amgine 07:14, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

<grin> Thanks for the response! I can certainly understand some of your arguments, though I am ultimately unconvinced. I am also not aware of a specific written article naming policy. But then, I'm having considerable difficulty locating *any* wikinews policies. In the meantime, I will avoid adding dateline info to titles by not adding new articles for a bit. - Amgine 08:26, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Problems with image cache affecting weather report edit

Hi Ilya,

Well, I've tried using the "current" and "previous" scheme, as requested by Monet from the German Wikinews, (and to avoid having to update the links template everyday), but image caching seems to be defeating my efforts.

Half the time I click on the weather, I get an image from yesterday or two days ago, and I have to hold down shift or control-shift to force the cache to purge and retrieve the latest image.

I believe most of our readers are probably being served the day old images, which is making the weather appear outdated.

I see there is a way to construct a "purge" link I could place on the weather page, but that seems a bit much to ask of the casual reader.

Do you have any ideas? Or should I go back to using image file names with embedded dates, to force the latest image to show up?


DV 03:51, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Follow up on your main page layout ideas edit

Please check out Main_Page/Sandbox3 and Main_Page/WideSandbox3 once again.

I added more lead stories per your example provided in the Sandbox4.

I'm thinking about making a jumbo version for 1600x1200 monitors, in which case we would have a "jumbotron" icon next to the small and large icons in the nav bar. The jumbo version could have the More Stories as a second main column to the right of the lead story column, and move the developing stories column down underneath the lead stories area.

I've asked a few other contributors to join the discussion on the wide version's talk page.

DV 08:52, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Weather location changes edit

I also noticed Delhi was missing, so I changed it to New Delhi a few days ago.

In addition to Oslo, we've also been missing Athens every time, Almaty sometimes, and sporadically Kinshasa.

I also wanted to add a few out-of-the-way locations as well, (perhaps in the Artic/Antartic and the Sahara) to register some more extreme temperatures for the expanded temperature gradient.

Hopefully one of us can track down an online source for a map of the airport locations. Some countries have so many airports that aren't named by city that's it's like picking a needle out of a haystack to find the one you're looking for, unless you have a map on which you can plot lat/long numbers.


DV 15:59, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I've actually been using to find the codes. It's not a bad resource (though not a map, it does index by city name). -- IlyaHaykinson 18:26, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the tip. It looks like there is only one airport serving Athens, the one that is always broken. I guess we will need to choose an alternative city for that one. I will update the ".wcheck" file and e-mail it to you for archival purposes once its ready.
By the way, it seems like the Commons will only let me upload text and certain formats of image files, but not anything else. How are we going to archive these materials other than on our local machines? Do you want to host them on the WeatherChecker site?
DV 18:54, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
What about storing it inside <pre>...</pre> tags like so? -- IlyaHaykinson 19:05, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Great. I didn't know you could do that. Perfect for the ".wcheck" file. Do you want me to make a subpage under your WeatherChecker page? — DV 20:01, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
That works. Also if you want, you can move the WeatherChecker page itself to be a subpage under Weather, something like Weather/WeatherChecker. -- IlyaHaykinson 20:41, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

possible copyvio? edit

A big chunk was added to Tsunami Help/Aid Agencies/Europe, and summary was "copied from"... Most likely copied from another wikinews page, but... could you double check? or I will if I get caught up here. - Amgine 21:02, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

It seems to have come from w:Donations_for_victims_of_the_2004_Indian_Ocean_earthquake so it's fine license-wise. -- IlyaHaykinson 23:05, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Someone wrote earlier that we can't copy text from Wikipedia, because they have the stricter GFDL license (that requires author attribution, for example), while we're still editing under a PD license.
Are you sure we can really copy from Wikipedia?
DV 05:25, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Depends. If a link is provided, then the authorship chain is considered still valid. - Amgine 05:27, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Weather update edit

Hi Ilya,

I updated the WeatherChecker application with the following changes:

  • Added variables to automatically update the date and time.
  • Added variables to control the visibility of the Fahrenheit and Celsius legends.
  • Updated the version number to 1.6.

Please update the installer and change log on the WeatherChecker web site, as well as the Change log here on Wikinews when you have a chance.

As for the current selection of cities, I updated the map artwork, variable list, and ".wcheck" files to include the following additional cities:

  • Barrow, Alaska
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Singapore
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (replaces Stanley)
  • Wellington, New Zealand

Also, Lagos and Addis Ababa stopped working today, but I'll give it a day or so to see if this is a temporary reporting glitch.

By the way, I thought about moving the WeatherChecker page onto the Weather page, but then it would be in the article namespace, wouldn't it? Is there some other non-user and non-article namespace to which we could move the page? Could we create a "WeatherChecker" namespace?


DV 06:59, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Awesome changes. New installer built, posted. Change log updated.
We could move this to something like Wikinews:WeatherChecker — that might be better than a whole new namespace.
Also: I've looked at the original METAR data; worst-case it's not too horribly difficult to parse. I confirmed that it wasn't just Capescience's web service that wasn't returning data for some places (like Stanley, Falkland Islands) — there wasn't raw METAR data for that station either. There's also weather forecast data in TAF format (similar to METAR) which we could in theory use if we wanted to show future weather. -- IlyaHaykinson 09:26, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I like your idea of bypassing CapeScience and downloading the data from NOAA ourselves, however, the METAR data is not strongly typed. I found this link that accepts codes for locations outside of the U.S., but it's not clear how this data could be used by WeatherChecker. Wouldn't we need to re-create all of the "capesceience.cs" routines to add the strong-typing required by WeatherChecker? For example, I'm planning to use the "phenomenon" member field for sunny/cloudy conditions.
I'm motivated to look into using NOAA directly, because the live Capescience site is down this morning. (By the way, when the site is down, WeatherChecker generates an unhandled exception in one of the "capescience.cs" routines, because those functions don't have exception handlers. I would have added exception handlers myself, but there's a warning at the top of the file that states it is auto-generated. So to avoid overwriting such changes whenever the file is updated, wouldn't the updater need to merge any added exception handlers each time?)
Anyways, we are at the mercy of the CapeScience site at the moment, so the next Weather report will be delayed until their site is back up.
DV 18:26, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Hello again. I made more progress on the WeatherChecker application:
  • Added resizing rules to allow the layout to resize with the parent window.
  • Updated various buttons and text labels to use more concise names and standard dimensions.
  • Moved UI elements around to better organize the layout.
  • Added "Phenomenon" text field and label, and updated its value when a station is clicked in either the Available or Selected station list. (To be used for Sunny/Cloudy icons.)
  • Added the station identifier to the alert message when attempting to add a previously selected station to the Selected Stations list.
  • Changed the member field name of the "_load" button to "_loadCountries".
  • Updated version number to 1.7.
Please update the screenshot, the installer, and the change log on the WeatherChecker web site, as well as the Change log here on Wikinews when you have a chance.
By the way, the CapeScience site is still down. It will be interesting to see if they are working over the weekend, otherwise it won't be back up until Monday. This site outage is a good reason to consider using NOAA, as NOAA probably has personnel monitoring their own site 24x7.
DV 19:37, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Released, new screenshot (temp until capescience comes back up). Thanks for moving the page, by the way. I'll do some more investigation of parsing NOAA data (perhaps there are .NET libraries built for this already). -- IlyaHaykinson 02:45, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Moving to NOAA for Weather updates edit

Well, a full day has gone by, and CapeScience is still down as of this writing. There is no notice of when it will be back up again either.

I'm still a bit hazy on how to get started on using the NOAA data. Can't we just use the XML class that WeatherChecker is using for output to read the data in from the NOAA site?

If so, then parsing isn't really the issue, so much as hooking into a different site that doesn't appear to have the same high-level interface as CapeScience does.

Please let me know if there is any general programming task I can help out with, so we can get up and running again ASAP. I'm not sure how to modify WeatherChecker to access the XML on NOAA, but if you can figure out that much, I am eager to jump in and help continue the coding effort from that point forward.


DV 12:15, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, I'm very disappointed in the capescience web service, but I guess it's better to use the data we get from the source, after all.
Reusing the current code won't work, because the data returned by the NOAA is not in the same format at all.
I've already started researching the parsing of METAR and TAF data, and I think that it can be done without too much difficulty. Unfortunately we can't use the XML feed from NOAA because it's only available for locations within the United States (darn it!). The METAR parsing will take some time, but perhaps I can do it in phases (i.e. I think I can make it pull out the temperature fairly easily).
We will likely be able to continue using the .wcheck file as a list of pre-selected stations to query, but the method of query will have to change to be over FTP or HTTP instead. Additionally NOAA doesn't provide a good list of stations per country, but there's a text file on the web with a list of all of them that I'll link here when I find it again. Maybe later we can write code to parse that file.
Let me see how far I get when I get started today, and perhaps then we'll divide the coding work. -- IlyaHaykinson 20:06, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Actually it's going fairly well, since we don't need all the available data. I've checked in code that will parse the METAR data enough that you can get the temperature.
Check out the new code. It's not yet hooked up to support clicking on the individual stations, but if you just Import the .wcheck file, and click Run Report it seems to produce a valid report. Let me know how it goes for you! -- IlyaHaykinson 22:00, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Wow, that was fast. I will "CVS Update" right now and try it out. — DV 07:15, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Did you forget to commit the "WeatherParser" files? An error alert appears when I open the solution, and the WeatherParser project is marked as "unavailable". — DV 08:00, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
No, it's all committed (and now parses cloud cover and phenomena, too). Loading countries and station selection still won't work till we figure out a better source for a list of stations (and thus make the code completely independent from the non-functional capescience).
If it's not showing up for you, make sure you run the cvs update from the root weatherchecker directory (not just the directory with the solution and project files, but the one containing it). -- IlyaHaykinson 09:29, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the tip - WeatherChecker is building on my dev machine now. It sure is a lot faster now isn't it?
However, I'm wondering about the data integrity. For example, I don't believe it is really 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit in Churchill, Man., Canada. It's usually below freezing at night in that location, so this number seems like an error.
I'm double-checking some of the other temperatures against the Weather Channel just to see if there is a more general problem.
As for generating a list of all available cities, can't we just use the codes from the ICAO website to generate the list ourselves? I could just go through each letter of the alphabet and copy all of the cities on the ICAO list into another .wcheck file that we could use as the "Countries" source, couldn't I? — DV 10:12, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Here is the first test image I generated with the most recent changes:

Test image for NOAA-based WeatherChecker
Churchill is the only one that seems messed up so far. I'll let you know if I spot any others.
DV 10:31, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I think the Churchill thing was a complete fluke: perhaps their weather station got set up next to a space heater? :) It's returning temperatures below freezing now. As far as I understand capescience would have provided the same temperatures as NOAA.
As for countries — it might be more difficult that this since there's thousands of these stations. I'll do some research on this. -- IlyaHaykinson 16:49, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
OK, Churchill is back to freezing their buns off :), so I posted the latest maps on the main weather template.
I went back to the ICAO site and I think I could copy and paste all of the entries into a text file in about an hour or so, however it's missing the longitude and latitude coordinates. It would be nice to have coordinates, as we could then allow WeatherChecker users to choose random locations and then composite their choices onto a topo map underlay directly within the application.
I see that the CapeScience site is back up this evening. Unless you have a better idea, I've started running an older version of WeatherChecker and generating a ".wcheck" file for each country's list of locations, from which we will be able to compile a worldwide list of our own, for use in the new NOAA-based WeatherChecker.
However, this will probably take many hours, so if you come up with a better idea, please let me know!
By the way, do the phenomena fields being parsed from the NOAA data have the same possible values as used on CapeScience? It sure would be nice to finally have cloudy/sunny/rainy.
Regards, — DV 06:33, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)
For your evaluation, I sent a zip file to your gmail account, containing the station profile data for all of the countries beginning with the letters A-B, ending with Brazil. I also added all the stations for the United States. Please let me know if we can use the files I sent you to build our worldwide station database, in which case I will continue building the remainder of the database in the same manner. I estimate it will take one or two hours to compile them all in this manner, so please let me know if you have a better idea.
DV 07:15, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I've found the recently-updated station list: see the links at I will the new weatherchecker loading this by sometime end of day Friday. I will take a look at my Gmail in the morning. I suspect that we can just pull data out of this NOAA file rather than you or anyone else doing this manually.

As for phenomena: the weather report of type MetarEntry includes an array of phenomena (of type Phenomenon) which expose what should be the same properties as the capescience service (it is based on the same data, after all). For the "sunny" part you'd have to check the amount of clouds (the entry also exposes an array of CloudCover objects) to make sure none of them were what we'd consider overcast. For "rainy" you'd be considering the phenomena.

Also, I looked into forecast data. I'm going to go pay a visit to the atmospheric sciences folks at UCLA to get the final word on this, but as far as I can tell we're not ever going to be able to get free temperature forecast data for the entire world for free (though it is available for the United States, I think). -- IlyaHaykinson 08:04, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Well, that's quite a time-saver!
Looking around on the site at the link you provided, this text file seems to have all the stations in one big list, however some of the stations are missing their four-letter codes and have dashes instead of a code.
However, I checked a number of the stations we are currently using and they were all there, so perhaps some locations simply don't have four-letter codes?
DV 08:55, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I think these are other stations that don't have airport codes (because they aren't at airports). I don't think we can get METAR data for them anyway. There's also this file which is just the locations with ICAO codes, which I think now may be easier to use for our purposes. -- IlyaHaykinson 19:59, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Good detective work finding the Almaty bug.
I will update and try it out now.
By the way, is there online documentation to explain the contents of the station profile entries, for either of the station lists at the links you pointed out previously? I was able to make out the name, code, long/lat coordinates, and the altitude, but there were some other numbers in many of the entries that are mysterious. — DV 09:45, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The original page I pointed at had documentation on the format (well, at least on the fields.. the parser actually had to be forgiving because not every line adheres to the format). The new version of WeatherChecker supporting only NOAA (and completely support it this time) has now been released. -- IlyaHaykinson 09:56, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)

OK, it looks like the additional identifying fields aren't too useful. Thanks. — DV 23:57, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)

WeatherChecker version 1.8 edit

I just tried out version 1.8.

When I chose Update from the File menu, WeatherChecker crashed, looking for a file named "stationlist.txt" on my disk, at a path much higher up in the directory tree in my dev "R" disk.

Then I couldn't launch WeatherChecker at all, it just threw an exception each time.

I deleted the "stationlist.txt" from the debug directory, and ran successfully the second time.

I may have narrowed down the cause of the problem - if the user clicks Load Countries before choosing Update from the File menu, WeatherChecker gets confused.

However, now WeatherChecker keeps trying to refer to a path in my "C:\Documents and Settings" directory and will not run a third time. (Strangely, WeatherChecker referred to a path on my "R" disk the first time.)

I will try running the installer, but there must be a way to run WeatherChecker from within the development debug directory?

Unless I'm confused about your intended design, to avoid the above described bug, perhaps we could simply change the Load Countries button to instead perform as an "Update Countries" button, and not have the separate File menu? If the station list file was already present on disk, the countries could load automatically each subsequent time WeatherChecker is run, and then the user could click "Update Countries" only if they suspected they were out of date.

One other possible issue - the one time I was able to run without the exception, I noticed the numeric long/lat coordinates were at "0, 0" for a number of the stations. I browsed through the stationlist.txt, and didn't see this issue in the source data. Perhaps some of the station entries are malformed?

In any case, you've made great progress, and I am eager to try out the Phenomena once the station loading issue is ironed out. Please let me know if I can relay any more info to help sort out what is going wrong with the station loading.


DV 23:57, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)

OK, I just found another copy of "stationlist.txt" under "My Computer" and an alias to it in "Recent Documents". Apparently, if one opens the "stationlist.txt" in note pad, an alias gets created in "Recent Documents". If the user then chooses Update a second time in WeatherChecker, the path to the alias on the "C" drive is apparently injected into some global search path that is used to find the "stationlist" file, and then WeatherChecker gets confused.
At least that is what appears to be going on.
Anyways, I was able to confirm that the stations which have "0, 0" for their long/lat coordinates in WeatherChecker do not appear that way in the "stationlist.txt" file, so perhaps the station profile entries are not consistently formatted enough to make reliable parsing possible?
DV 00:07, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I found the source of the problem. As you correctly pointed out the Update/Load functionality was confusing, though I chose to remove the Load Countries button (there are too many buttons in that window as-is now). There was also an installer problem that was writing some parts of the app into the actual start menu: better testing after releasing would have fixed this problem. Version 1.8.1 should work without these file-not-found problems.
Thanks for finding the problem with the coordinates. I'll look at it at some later point (or perhaps you can take a look at it — it's likely a problem in the regular expression in the StationList parser. -- IlyaHaykinson 05:46, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I enjoy a good regular expression puzzle, but I'm receiving the following message from tiredbrain:

cvs [update aborted]: connect to failed: A connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or established connection failed because connected host has failed to respond. Error, CVS operation failed

I tried waiting a few minutes to no avail. The web site appears to be up, so is the CVS repository on another server? Regards, — DV 07:04, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Never mind. It's working OK now. — DV 07:21, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I just tried it from two computers (though on the same network) and it worked without a problem. The machine that hosts both cvs and the web site is at a professional data center in Fremont, California, so it shouldn't actually be unreachable ever. The machine's uptime is 129 days. However, I think there's been a change in my secondary DNS server. I'm trying to fix that, but meanwhile you could either add
to your c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts file, or try again every so often hoping to end up on the primary DNS server which does have the right configuration. -- IlyaHaykinson 07:26, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Your server wasn't at fault. My internet connection was not configured correctly that one time. I've never had a problem before or since, so no problemo.

WeatherChecker image generation edit

World temperatures on a globe?

OK, so I'm thinking it's fairly important that we make progress on automating the web image generation, as another step towards a fully-automated report. (The long-term goal being that the weather report will be posted automatically even if everyone is on vacation.)

One idea I'm trying out is a world globe projection of the weather map.

There would be spinner arrows on the left and right side, that would allow the reader to spin the globe left or right, so they could see temperatures anywhere in the world, while still seeing their region of interest within a global context.

One big benefit of this type of presentation is that it would solve the real estate issues we have with cities (especially in Europe and the U.S.) being spaced too closely together.

In this example, the city labels are a bit too big, and I need to restore the polar regions (they're currently chopped off in the version of the topo map that we use for our reports).

Anyways, the main technical impediment is to figure out the projection of longitude and latitude coordinates onto the surface texture, which shouldn't be too hard.

Then, WeatherChecker would need to have some compositing routines thrown in to allow it to build up the layers of the map.

This would also allow WeatherChecker users to select arbitrary cities.

But first I'm going to see if I can help chip in on why the long/lat coordinates are at zero for so many of the cities in the station list. The regular expression is a bit cryptic, but I've got my trusty regular expression documentation close at hand, so we'll see who can fix it first!


DV 09:38, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Wow, this looks really neat! The only problem I potentially see with this is the initial view: we probably wouldn't want to have the United States shown by default. Also, were you thinking of the spinning etc being in Flash or just a number of separate images? However this looks really awesome and I think it'd be a great way to present the current report and future forecasts if we ever figure those out. -- IlyaHaykinson 16:21, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I was thinking of a series of images. We can't use Flash because it isn't open source, right?
As for the default view, perhaps we could start with a new angle, offset by 90 degrees each day?
By the way, the parsing appears to be working correctly. There are two pairs of long/lat coordinates for each station in the list, and many of the stationlist entries are missing the second pair, which is causing the 0/0 readout. According to the docs, the second pair appears to be the "air" coordinates, and the first pair is the "ground" coordinates, so I suggest we switch to using the ground coordinates.
If you agree with this change, please let me know, I would like to change both the generated string when the user clicks on an entry, as well as show the long/lat in separate numeric fields at the bottom of the window, where a new user control will eventually hold a dynamically generated graphic.
DV 23:40, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I like the idea of the series of images offset by 90°, it's compact and very cool looking. We could in theory use Flash: I don't think there's any rule against using non-open-source tools to display data, but there is more of a problem in that not everyone has Flash installed. So perhaps images are a safer way to go.
As for parsing, you are right: it was picking up the air coordinates. That was definitely a bug, as my intention all along was to use the ground coordinates: I fixed the regular expression and some code and released an updated version of the app.
Feel free to change the parsing or the app in any way that works best for you by the way. For the control displaying the dynamic image do you mean that we should move to doing the image manipulation internally, or still via Illustrator? -- IlyaHaykinson 06:40, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the update! Those coordinates will prove useful.
I was reading in a book with a yellow and black cover (forgot the title) that C# forms can have a user control which displays a graphic generated by the application. On this basis, I was thinking we could have WeatherChecker generate the composited graphic itself, without using Illustrator. Of course, I first need to determine the U, V projection using the long/lat coordinates, but that's what my goal is.
I understand that posting to wikis can be automated as well. Does this mean that WeatherChecker could eventually post the generated image onto the Commons and update the template links as well?
For now, I'm making pretty good progress on the projection calculations, I just need to learn more about adding user controls to forms under C# to be able to try it out.
DV 11:31, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Category:Continents query edit

Would you mind if I changed Category:Continents to be Category:Regions? We may get flack on calling the Middle East and Oceania continents. -- Davodd | Talk 20:32, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Actually this is a great idea. I think I've even advocated for this before. Besides, there isn't really agreement as to what is a continent (see Continent). So please do go ahead and change it to Regions! -- IlyaHaykinson 20:39, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Sysop status granted edit

Congratulations, you should now be a sysop, which gives you the ability to delete and protect pages, ban users, and quickly rollback vandalism, all in accordance with policy. Let me know if you have any questions, or if there are any problems.--Eloquence 03:31, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Thank you (and thank you to other Wikinewsies for your trust) -- IlyaHaykinson 04:31, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
You've earned that trust. Regards, — DV 07:10, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Squeakfox's comments edit

How come the deletion notice on [[Use of wikipedia articles creates deletion chaos?Squeakfox 21:47, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Dear Ilya. There was never any suggestion that Security PostNews could not use the Honduran article. What they were not allowed to do was claim it as there own--Squeakfox 20:30, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I think that according to the concept of public domain, they actually can do that. Attribution to the creator is not a requirement of material that is in the public domain. I think that we should transition to a different license, but that's a different story. -- IlyaHaykinson 21:49, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Thought you might want to take a look-see? - Amgine 04:54, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Remove sortedstories? edit

As an admin, could you remove template:sortedstories from the Main Page (I think it's listed under a slightly different name there). I feel we really need to cut the main page size; it must be quite a burden for modem users. Moreover, ss is largely dead - no-one is actively updating it and most of the stories on it are positively ancient. I think it should be removed for now, at least until we become busier and a better system is developed. Dan100 (Talk) 11:37, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I agree that sortedstories is dead and needs to be removed. However, there's been a somewhat-active effort to create a new homepage layout at Main Page/WideSandbox3 that should probably get voted upon first, so that we can fix the homepage for good instead of having simply a temporary fix. -- IlyaHaykinson 20:19, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I'd just be bold and remove sortedstories for now. The discussions on a new layout seem to have stalled somewhat. To be honest, I feel there is very little wrong with the current Main page - the latest news is clearly listed, as is the editor tasks. Weather directly below the pair. Dan100 (Talk) 19:11, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Largest jet... edit

I know you're the guy who marked it for speedy so perhaps you feel you shouldn't delete it yourself, but if I were an admin I'd do it! I think you should just go for it while we have so few admins around. BTW I just marked for speedy a dupe of that page. Dan100 (Talk) 19:05, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I deleted the dupe already. I was contemplating deleting the Largest passenger jet showcased (as well as America a democracy or a demoncracy ?) but want to give it time until perhaps another admin reviews it. If there's no other admin that deletes it by 5pm pacific time, I'll take care of it and note the action on Wikinews:Administrators. -- IlyaHaykinson 19:17, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

English Help edit

Please take a look at: Brazilian President brother passed away. I need some help with English language. The article is short and it can be fast checked. It can be published as soon gets correctly written. Thank you very much. -- Carlosar 11:29, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Help in article edit

Would you please revise and criticize the article Brazilian President meets President of Colombia? Thank you very much. -- Carlosar 10:17, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Wikinewsbot and WeatherChecker edit

I'm looking forward to seeing the first task automated by Wikinewsbot.

For updating the weather, the GeneratePageList would just have a reference to the WeatherMapLinks template, right? It would be nice if it could also update the German site - would I have two "bot wiki=" sections, or would it have to be in a separate file and executed as a separate task?

I'm modifying WeatherChecker to generate U, V coordinates using the Equidistant Cylindrical Projection. Wikipedia provided the math in an article that has a reference to the same satellite image we have been using for the weather report:

The following equations describe the mapping of geographic coordinates in terms of latitude φ and longitude λ onto the x and y coordinates of a point on the map. from its latitude φ and longitude λ (with φ0 and λ0 being the latitude and longitude in the center of map) and k being an approriate scale factor at the equator:


I'm still figuring out how to set up a user control on which I can use drawing primitives.

In C++ with HWNDs, I would grab a ref to the window's DC so I can use Win32 GDI calls, but it's not clear how to do that in WeatherChecker.

Are there other raster and text drawing primitives that are used with user controls in C# forms?

Two graphics primitives are required - one to draw a string of text in a given font, size, and style, and another to act as a blitter that can composite PNGs loaded from disk at a given location. With these capabilities, we could have WeatherChecker generate the web images entirely on its own, which could then be posted by the new Wikinewsbot.

So far, I found this example on the code project site, it has some of what I'm talking about, but I'm not sure if it can use PNGs with alpha.

I also found this alpha blending example on the same site. Alpha blending is required so we can get clean edges on the temperature dots. However this example is showing separate windows, and I'm not sure that is what we want to generate a final composited image suitable for output as a JPEG.

If you know of any other links I could check out (or if you think the book you mentioned previously would help) please let me know.


DV 03:04, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Following up, I also found this series of tutorials on transparency in C#:
However the author makes the statement, "...a word of caution: I’m no C# guru", so I'm not sure if he is way off base for the best way to composite elements together for an image to be output in C#.
Some of the other examples I've found so far create alpha-blended elements in separate windows, which is not what I want in order to output a single composite image. These latter examples seem to work on a single surface, so I plan to work from these examples unless you advise otherwise.
DV 03:34, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I just got back from the book store, where I picked up "Beginning ASP.NET 1.1 in C#". This book has a section on dynamic graphics with an example of loading an image, compositing something on top of it, and then saving the image back out.
I'm adding a user control with the satellite image as an underlay to WeatherChecker right now, which will plot the long/lat coords of the selected cities onto the map, and a Save button which will save the image as a JPEG.
I'm hoping that once you get Wikinewsbot working, we can also add a "Post" button which will post the result to Wikinews.
DV 07:20, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
OK, so I just committed changes for WeatherChecker 1.9 into the CVS repository, that add a map with one dynamically generated rectangle (just as an example) on top of the satellite image underlay, as well as buttons for each stage of generating the weather report, along with a fifth "Batch All" button that is supposed to do all four steps in one batch process.
If you think there are too many buttons, I added four new menu items for the four individual stages of preparing the report to the File menu, so feel free to remove those four buttons if you don't like them.
Each of the four new buttons has an ellipsis after its name to indicate that a dialog will appear - this is where the user is supposed to enter their name and password in a yet-to-be-added sign-in dialog.
One problem is that the image file "Underlay.jpg" is supposed to be in the destination executable directory, but I couldn't get CVS to allow me to check in from within that directory, so I checked the underlay image in under the same directory as the "app.config". Somehow "app.config" is copied into the executable directory when WeatherChecker is built, so if you can make that change for the underlay image as well, I would appreciate it, but please tell me how its done, because I need to check in other images for the temperature dots as well.
DV 08:59, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I just fixed a clipping problem with the map painting method when refreshing underneath a dialog, plus I changed the code to keep the underlay for the map image around for the lifetime of the form, as the image will be dynamically regenerated using this underlay, so there was no point in allocating and disposing of it just on the paint event. — DV 10:17, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
More progress to report - the Export Image button now writes a dynamically generated JPEG out to disk, and the Post button writes an image with what will be a generated name to disk, with a TODO note where the code to post it to Commons should be added. — DV 13:48, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
One last update before I go to sleep - I added a sample, dynamically generated temperature dot that is generated in celsius and fahrenheit versions. When you click the Post button, a C and F version of the image file is generated and both versions are then written to disk with a name suitable for posting.
Up next... using the long/lat values to plot temp dots for the selected cities!
If you get a chance, please take a look at figuring out how to modify the build to copy the "Underlay.jpg" and "TempDot_Mild.png" files from the "WeatherChecker" directory (where the "app.config" file is located) to the executable directory. I am really curious how that is done.
Thanks. — DV 14:54, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

DynamicPageList extension edit

Yes, I checked it out on your development installation this morning. However, there seems to be a bug: the ordering by timestamp is actually in reverse timestamp order at the moment. At least, that's how it appears to me. There are a couple of solutions that spring to mind, but I think the best option is to solve it in the SQL. Can you post the code someplace? - Amgine 16:47, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

An odd weather-related item edit

Which I thought you might be interested in knowing of. It appears to be at least nominally related to wikimedia... - Amgine 01:51, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

You're right, it's part of Kate's Tools, I think. It queries the U.S.-only web service. -- IlyaHaykinson 03:03, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

#Wikinews is hopping! edit

There's a lot of activity this morning, as the new lang.wikinews people start to explore. Many questions/admiration for the weather graphic. I don't know enough about it to explain? - Amgine 17:58, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

A milestone for WeatherChecker edit

This announcement wouldn't have been possible without your help.

Now anyone can make their own weather maps using WeatherChecker!

Next up - regional maps for Europe, Australia, the Americas, etc. This will address the problem where readers request cities that are too close or overlap other cities on the World map. The regional maps will be zoomed in views of the World map that allow a larger selection of cities within each region.

Regional maps should be quick to implement, after which I'll finally start using the "Phenomena" reporting.


DV 18:05, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)

By the way, in case you tried WeatherChecker 1.9 and the map looked funny, it's because the ".wcheck" file was revised since the version I e-mailed to you (the version posted here on Wikinews at Wikinews:WeatherChecker/wcheck is up to date). For your convenience, I e-mailed the latest version to you along with a few other notes of interest.
DV 06:46, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Replied over email. -- IlyaHaykinson 09:59, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Other langs edit

could you add the other lang pic to the top of the wikinews main page, in the same way as it is on most other wikis. Thanks The bellman 00:09, 1 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I notice you created this article. I think this should become Central America and Carribean, because the Caribbean doesn't have aplace, and Central America is tiny. Any ideas? Squeakfox 00:38, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

You're right. At the same time, the title "Central America and Carribean" is a bit long. Maybe the Carribean is large enough to break it out as a top-level region? -- IlyaHaykinson 00:43, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Template:LocationLatestNews - fork edit

I was having trouble editing through the levels of templates at South America (which is now redirecting to Category:South America) and decided to create something based on your template, Template:RegionalNews, which I think is a little more user-friendly. You can see a mock-up at South America/Temp. - Amgine 20:08, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Recent WeatherChecker changes edit

Hi Ilya,

Thanks for taking a break from your other projects to help out with the new user control for the map in WeatherChecker.

Now that the double-buffering is working, the flicker-free updating is helping me to sleep better! :)

I sent an e-mail to you at your gmail account, describing some problems with the new user control in the form designer. Luckily, these problems do not happen in the executable, so it's only an issue when trying to use the form designer.


DV 07:54, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I, Davodd, hereby award you the Wikinews Trophy for fostering a welcoming atmosphere for new users and being generally supportive of new ideas even when they conflict with your personal tastes.

Google date edit

I'd put in on the 17th cos while it had been removed from the 16th, when I went to put it back on Latest news it had become the 17th UTC. Hardly matters though. Dan100 (Talk) 01:51, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Thanks edit

Thanks Ilya. I see you've recieved the Wikinews Trophy for being so welcoming - you certainly deserve it. CGorman 23:31, 19 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Thanks! I've been looking at your edits and I'm sure you'll make a great administrator. Thanks for being a great Wikinewsie! -- IlyaHaykinson 23:32, 19 Feb 2005 (UTC)
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