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Is it going to rain? (goingtorain.com)
114 points by jwilliams on Nov 27, 2008 | hide | past | web | favorite | 70 comments

hey, that's my site. it's been up for a while but it got posted to stumbleupon the other day and has been seeing a ton of traffic. glad it's of use to anyone other than myself.

i made it one day after being annoyed with all the junk on weather.com. i just wanted a simple answer whether it was going to rain so i knew which car i could drive that day.

I really dig the simplicity - in the app and in use. We have a dynamic IP that's not even remotely tied to our location (Hughes Net Satellite) and so it seems to get reset every time we get a new IP. Any way to implement some cookie to save the zip code?

The 'helvetica' included with nearly all X servers is a terrible bitmap that maxes out at 16pt. Some windows installations also have a similar crapfest.

I recommend using font-family:"helvetica neue", arial, sans-serif;

This would make a perfect Iphone app. If you aren't going to make it, would you mind if I did?

i'm not sure how it would really be an app; the page renders fine on mobile safari so couldn't you just add the bookmark to the home screen? i could probably add a apple-touch-icon.png file so it has an icon instead of a crop of the webpage.

you should also have a "what should i wear today" with either a long/short shirt, jeans/shorts, and yes coat/no coat. less work i need to do :p


Where do you get the data?

maxmind for the ip geolocation, google for the weather

simple and neat. Great app.

- The weather details could be a slightly more bold.

- It is not intuitive to press enter when i click to change the location though.

- Does a google gadget exist for this so that i can put this on my iGoogle page?

It picked my location perfectly, but then gave me a temperature in Fahrenheit. All you need now is to match locations to measurement standards (ie. US, UK and that one other country imperial, all others metric).

Just goes to show that it's not easy to match location to measurement standard: you would be wrong if you picked Imperial measurements for the UK, unless the person viewing the page is of a certain mindset and born before about 1975.

I was raised in the UK, and used celsius. Now I live in the US and have learned to use Fahrenheit.

On a related note, I was very annoyed that Yahoo Weather will allow you to either choose centigrade and kilometers per hour, or Fahrenheit and MPH, but not to mix and match. Insane.

IMHO The UK is slightly more complex than that. When it's hot, we use Fahrenheit - "It's almost 100℉ out there!. When it's cold we use Celsius - "Brrr! -7℃"

Probably best to show both.

More importantly, the UK is far simpler than all the others.

The answer to "is it going to rain?" here is always "Who knows? Probably... can't really say. It looks sunny outside, but it was raining this morning so it might rain again later today."

Living in the UK, can't say I've ever seen that. Celsius all the way!

How fast is your temperature in the UK?

i changed it to default (on your first visit, before you have a cookie) to celsius for anything outside of the us. when you click on the answer you can toggle between celsius and fahrenheit and override whatever it picked.

thanks .. much appreciated.

Ah, that makes it perfect.

You've earned a little spot on my bookmarks toolbar.

That, and I think its going to snow here, not rain :P

goingtoprecipitate.com seemed like too long a name :)


With unicode domain names, you could have preticipation?.com, although it may look a mess in non-Firefox browsers.


Oh, that was subtle.

I grew up in a metric place, in bay area now - But I can never get an instinctive feel for temperature unless its told to me in metric.

Would be nice to switch between C and F. I'm in Atlanta, but I prefer to see temperature as degrees Celsius.

It's always nice to meet progressive Oompa Loompas

But some of us want to see the temperature in Fahrenheit no matter where we are, such as expats or travelers.

Or even more simple. US (you could add Belize): fahrenheit. Every other country: celsius.

AFAIK the UK uses celsius mostly.

Undocumented features from the HTML source:

  try /XXXXX for a specific zip code
  or /tomorrow for tomorrow's forecast

Interesting. Nice find.

Question: I've always wanted to see today's temperature in terms of yesterday's, so like, "it's going to be 5 degrees warmer." Anyone know if this service is already offered somewhere?

Looks gorgeous. Has anyone built a startup addressing how hard it is to properly search if an idea already exists?


But that site has the "enter your zip code" wall, a wholly unfriendly stumbling block for a non-US user to be faced with on any site. (You'd be surprised how many people, erm, "live" in 90210 on signup forms!) goingtorain.com somehow detected my precise town and told me straight.

I live in 90210 in most forms on the net.

(Okay - and my name is often George Bush or Bill Clinton)

Bah! Silly BevHills holds nothing on Schenectady, NY. http://benfry.com/zipdecode/

I hear ya. My name is Bill Gates and I sign up to an unheard of amount of services from my apt in the 90210 area. Thank god for the great spam filter I have on my personal email: support@microsoft.com, I get alot of spam there for some reason

yeah goingtorain.com wins. It has location detection and you can use it outside the USA, which is handy for me since I've only spent 0.04% of my life there.

I am a lover of putting 90210 as my zip code though, I did it by reflex to try out umbrellatoday.com haha

I agree that there's a logrithmic scale between usage-required and annoyance perceived. ie, that one click is a huge difference compared to literally doing nothing (but hitting a bookmark, or maybe it's your home page).

However, umbrellatoday has txting ability; which is not on goingtorain.com.

I love the simplicity of goingtorain. But, umbrellatoday wins out for me because it rarely rains here in LA. It isn't worth me checking each day, so umbrellatoday's text message options seems great -- now let's see if it works.

Nice job! I saw a similar service called umbrellatoday too.

A month or so ago we ( http://sleep.fm ) launched wake up to ur weather report. We speak the weather to you upon zip code entry/alarm time passing.

Thought I'd share via the relevancy of this post. Congrats on your launch!

I like how simple it is, but it definitely needs an RSS feed. Seeing as they're using some sort of IP geolocation, it would be cool if the forecast 'followed' me in the feed when I switched locations.

That would be pretty pointless considering RSS feeds are cached.

I think "pointless" is going a bit overboard, it's up to the client to decide how long to cache a feed, and the cache policy for the feed should use normal HTTP conventions - the Last-modified, If-modified-since and Expires headers.

If the feed expired in 60 minutes that would be enough to update for changing locations.

I bet it breaks on google reader, and similar browser-based feeds.

I love this site. Last year I posted an idea on my blog that was a collection of extremely simple sites where you get instant answers to questions like this. Is it raining, did the Cubs win today, is the stock market up or down, etc... Cool to see this one in action.


Matched my location to a suburb. Failed to have data for that suburb though - only for the capital city. (and only for today - /tomorrow doesnt work)

Also - saying that it will "maybe" rain in Melbourne is a bit of a cop-out - considering we are famous for having 4 seasons in a day (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Seasons_in_One_Day)

I only wish http://www.doineedajacket.com/ would look as clean and lose the clutter (ads, discussions, blah, blah, blah). However, I still prefer it because it gives a reason for needing a jacket (it's chilly, rain etc) and works across the world.

In the Netherlands we've got http://www.buienradar.nl, pretty cluttered with ads but it's more accurate than a 'maybe' :) You can see when rain clouds are approaching your area; almost 'real time' ;)

Yeah Australia's Bureau of Meteorology has radar images online as well: http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDR663.shtml

Shows actual rainfall though, not clouds, so it can be grey and dark outside but look clear on the radar.

Nicely done - except it says it won't rain, so I looked outside - no wait it is raining. From other comments looks like Google's fault though - but still: putting that my emphasis on one aspect of the forecast and then getting it wrong ...

Check out http://www.weather.gov/xml/ for another source of weather data.

How does it know where you are?

geolocation. Info. on wikipedia.

In summary: A reverse-DNS search through the DNS system combined with more information from geolocation DBs can usually pinpoint location to within a few miles unless the user goes to some lengths to hide it (ie. use VPNs, tor, ip spoofing, etc...). Several free databases available if you want to do this yourself.

It isn't that accurate outside of the USA.

Actually, unless you're on AOL or a handful of other IPs, you can geolocate too >99% accuracy to a country level for free. See this: http://www.maxmind.com/app/geolitecity .

The city accuracy outside the US is not great.

It's fine for me to the precise town, but I'm on a static IP and someone's probably put it into one of the databases in the past.

At work, opening Google Maps zooms you straight to the exact work address. Now that's spooky.

I'll join the crowd. Worked for me: Manila, Philippines. No data available about the weather though: "i'm not sure what the weather is like in Makati,PH"

Worked for me too! Gurgaon, India

Worked for me. Berlin - Germany

Works for me. Lisbon, Portugal.

Worked for me (Waterloo, ON)

An automatic email if it is going to rain would be handy.

Umbrellatoday.com sends you an sms at 7am if it's going to rain on that day.

lol @ div#prophylactic

Nice and fine, but here in Europe, in times of satellites, you might sit in another country as your ISP, so the actual location might differ quite a bit.


matching ips to locales is not new.

how insightful, sir! this forum is indebted.

No indeed it isn't, nor is pointless commenting on news stories. This post was of another minimalist .com that serves a single purpose without the extra noise or cruft other sites that provide that information carry.

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