WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

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jm2014
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WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

Unread postby jm2014 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:33 pm

Hello everyone,
I am new to these forums and still learning about SGI systems in general. My knowledge of SGI systems came from me growing up watching The Weather Channel, particularity learning about their WeatherStar XL systems. I am currently on the hunt for more info or any machines having WSI's WEATHERProducer and ShowFx installed. I did see one for sale back in 2008, http://forums.nekochan.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=16718898&p=7283263&hilit=WSI#p7283263, and these software suites were used extensively by The Weather Channel since the 90s and recently retired back in December 2016. They were the data hub for all their weather info, tv graphics, and web maps.

This piece of software was distributed commercially from 1995 to about 2008, originally running on Octane2 machines, there was also a RedHat version available from about 2002 to 2008, and was later replaced by their TruVu Max programs, which run on a Windows environment. Another program called TruVu Titan, a rebranded version of TrueView Interactive(SkyTracker), was run on RedHat and was the first HD capable weather graphics program by WSI. The company (WSI) was later bought out by IBM and is now called "The Weather Company", which now hosts weather.com.
This software is now considered abandon ware, all trademarks have expired, and very little info is available.

I am hoping someone here knows a little more about this or any suggestions for tracking down this piece of software, as I am extremely desperate to get my hands on the glory days of TV weather.

My hope is too find the software, or source code, and remake all of their graphics with current weather data. Granted it will need a lot of finessing, as data sources and formats have changed over the last couple of decades. I am not sure if anyone here has any connections to WSI or knew someone who owned this piece of software, but I will keeping hunting until I find it. Very unlikely the source code was deleted and is probably stored somewhere.

Thanks for any help you can provide!

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Krokodil
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Re: WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

Unread postby Krokodil » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:29 pm

If you do find it, make sure you hold onto it tightly, because you may never find it again.
:Octane2: - :O2: - :Octane: - :Indigo2IMP:
Alphaserver DS10 - 466MHZ
Sun Ultra 5 - 440MHZ.

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Intuition
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Re: WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

Unread postby Intuition » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:09 pm

Didn't we see one more of these show up on Ebay in the last year or so?

I seem to remember posting on a thread about this same type of weather system o2.

SiliconClassics post here with some regularity, he may have more info for you.
Image O2 - 300mhz
Image O2 - 400mhz :1600SW: 1600sw
:Octane: 2x400mhz :O200: Origin 200 2x225mhz
aka Casey Christopher

jm2014
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Re: WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

Unread postby jm2014 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:50 am

Intuition wrote:Didn't we see one more of these show up on Ebay in the last year or so?

I seem to remember posting on a thread about this same type of weather system o2.

SiliconClassics post here with some regularity, he may have more info for you.

Thanks for that! I will definitely keep looking. Hopefully one pops up shortly but these are rare machines.

JacquesT
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Re: WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

Unread postby JacquesT » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:01 am

:Octane: wip build - Currently 2xR10000 250Mhz, 640MB RAM, SSI graphics, 18GB 10K RPM HDD. Lucent and HD fan mod.

jm2014
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Re: WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

Unread postby jm2014 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:38 am

JacquesT wrote:Like these?

https://youtu.be/ukdWKPeBSps

No, that was another program sold at the time. I'm looking for weather producer and looks like siliconclassics has bought one. I don't know if he still has it. I am dying for that piece of hardware and if he was willing to sell the O2 or somehow legally copy the software, I will be thrilled! I grew up watching the weather and this would be my childhood in my possession. I don't know how much he'd be willing to sell it for but, if it's 500+ I'm going to need a few weeks as I do have other expenses.

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SiliconClassics
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Re: WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

Unread postby SiliconClassics » Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:38 pm

Hi, unfortunately I sold that O2 almost a decade ago but I'll try to track down the buyer for you to see if he still has it.
Silicon Classics on: YouTube | Twitter | Google+

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Re: WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

Unread postby sgi-enthusiast » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:25 am

Hi JM2014,
I have been tinkering around with a couple of O2's which were purchased from a national broadcaster here in Australia a few years ago.
I recently got them out and after some trouble with the disk drives (now replaced) they are operational. The software isn't the WSI you mention but is Weather Central (Genesis).
I thought I would respond to your post so you (and others that are interested) could see an operational system.
The configuration is for Australia but you just load the base maps for the country/state/region you are in for localisation. The typical hardware configuration is one O2 is the 'On Air' system, a second is the 'Render' machine and a third 'unseen' device is called 'Metline' which may actually be hardware from Weather Central or something else that feeds in the live data, which I unfortunately do not have.
Here's a couple of photos I took the other day.

The background screen on the O2
BackScreen1.jpg


An Example Video File
MapOnScreen.jpg


The Output feed to a TV
MapOnTV.jpg


Building the initial maps in Protean
Protean-Map-open.jpg


I am unsure how this compares to the WSI package you mention but it does give an example of how these systems work.
Regards
Andrew

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Re: WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

Unread postby sgi-enthusiast » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:32 am

I neglected to mention that these seem to require a fairly well configured system. Here is a photo of the 'On Air' system. Render has an identical configuration.
OnAir-specs.jpg


Cheers

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Intuition
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Re: WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

Unread postby Intuition » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:08 pm

These are pretty darn cool. :)

Top end o2 as well.
Image O2 - 300mhz
Image O2 - 400mhz :1600SW: 1600sw
:Octane: 2x400mhz :O200: Origin 200 2x225mhz
aka Casey Christopher

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vishnu
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Re: WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

Unread postby vishnu » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:28 pm

I've posted about this before but what the hay, this time I'll just upload the image: An Indy used to track radiosondes (weather balloons) at Kwajalein, aka the Reagan Test Site aka the Pacific Missile Test Range:
Attachments
Weather_Station_08.jpg
Weather_Station_08.jpg (89.38 KiB) Viewed 85 times
Project:
Temporarily lost at sea...
Plan:
World domination! Or something...

:Tezro: :Octane2:

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Irinikus
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Re: WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

Unread postby Irinikus » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:02 pm

My O2 R12K 400MHz is also clocking at 401MHz, that’s interesting! (Very nice system buy the way!)
Image ................................... Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
Image ................................... Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
Image ... Image
Image ........................ Image
Image ........................ Image Image

jm2014
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Re: WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

Unread postby jm2014 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 2:33 pm

Yes these systems required extensive amounts of processing and graphical rendering power. This is why WSI and Weather Central chose Silicon Graphics because they were the only systems which could give a reliable 30fps NTSC output, not to mention 3d graphics rendering while simultaneously decoding weather binary data and place onto a 3d earth. This changed around 2003 when 64 bit processors came out, and since SGI was dying, WSI moved to a RedHat environment since their programs were Unix based, cutting costs on purchasing proprietary units and allowing broadcasters to render more graphic intensive movies, especially the transition to HD between 2005 and 2008. Weather Central went to a Windows environment and followed a similar path as WSI. They were later bought out by WSI, which became The Weather Company and killed all of their products while taking patented algorithms from Weather Central and integrating it with their Max Environment solutions.

sgi-enthusiast
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Re: WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

Unread postby sgi-enthusiast » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:32 pm

Hi Vishnu,
I realise I'm drifting from the original post but I thought your photo on the weather balloon tracking station was quite interesting. Having worked at several facilities in our region myself, I thought you might like this photo below.
100_0538_UN-SAT-HUB.JPG

This Sat Hub is owned by the United Nations and is used to monitor 'seismic' events in the south pacific but is actually used for monitoring nuclear activities in the entire region.

sgi-enthusiast
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Re: WSI WEATHERProducer and Showfx

Unread postby sgi-enthusiast » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:47 pm

jm2014 wrote:Yes these systems required extensive amounts of processing and graphical rendering power. This is why WSI and Weather Central chose Silicon Graphics because they were the only systems which could give a reliable 30fps NTSC output, not to mention 3d graphics rendering while simultaneously decoding weather binary data and place onto a 3d earth. This changed around 2003 when 64 bit processors came out, and since SGI was dying, WSI moved to a RedHat environment since their programs were Unix based, cutting costs on purchasing proprietary units and allowing broadcasters to render more graphic intensive movies, especially the transition to HD between 2005 and 2008. Weather Central went to a Windows environment and followed a similar path as WSI. They were later bought out by WSI, which became The Weather Company and killed all of their products while taking patented algorithms from Weather Central and integrating it with their Max Environment solutions.


HiJM2014,
I find this to be interesting. So many UNIX-based software vendors made the switch from the expensive proprietary hardware platforms (SUN, SGI etc) in the 2000s to the low-cost/no-cost offerings available in the LINUX world but now seem to have switched from that to the Windows platform.
If the object of the exercise is to reduce costs and subsequently sell your product cheaper, why would you move back to a single OS owner?
Is it a result of brute-force marketing, or is it simple laziness of IT people that just don't want to learn anything different?
I personally have seen so many systems 'ported' to that platform at horrendous cost with either no real performance gain and/or it has suffered from reliability problems.
It's all now 'cloud is the future' well haven't we come full circle!
Maybe it's my 'jilted' perspective after 33 years in the industry!
Regards


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