New Windows 7 Sidebar Gadget for your desktop

Ever wish you could have a small window on your desktop that displays the current weather conditions and a view of the sky in Didsbury Alberta?

Your wish has been granted!  If you have Windows Vista or Windows 7 computer, just download the Windows Sidebar gadget and install. That is it!

NEW UPDATED VERSION 2 – Download here:
Version 2 posted October 4, 2012.  See below how to uninstall previous version.


To make this happen, I get a bit of help from Weather Underground to provide the weather webpage “sticker” and David Ryan (who created the original desktop gadget).  I then completely modified the gadget so it automatically connects to my weather station.  Current weather data and skycam are supplied and copyright by BlueVista Ventures.

Can you trust the download? Yes, I’ve checked over the code that makes up the gadget and it was all clean.  Therefore, it was safe for me to use and modify.  You can view the contents of the gadget download by renaming the download file to and then open the file and view the files within it.  Disclaimer: But I still need to state that I hold no responsibility if it causes any problems to your computer and you need to use it at your own risk.


Step by Step Instructions

  1. Click on the download link and select Open or Run.  You can also Save to your computer and double click the download file:
  2. Select Install when asked:
  3. The new Weather SideBar will appear on your desktop.
  4. After it is installed, if you close it by accident or it doesn’t open automatically, just run the “Desktop Gadget Gallery” under the Start Menu.  The SideBar gadget is called DidsburyWeatherDesktop, just double click it from the Sidebar windows
  5. If you wish to move the gadget on your screen, just hover the mouse over the top right corner of the gadget and click and drag the dotted box (see image).
  6. To close, click the X.  The wrench has no configuration changes, unless you wish to display a different webpage. Resizing doesn’t affect the weather gadget size.
  7. If you wish to uninstall it, go back to the Desktop Gadget Gallery and right click the gadget and select uninstall.



iPhone/Android Current Didsbury Weather

Do you wish you could get current live weather conditions (updated every 15 minutes) for Didsbury on your mobile phone?  Now you can, just follow these steps:

iPhone (Excellent app!):

  1. Download the free app:
  2. Run the App, and select More and enter your home city: Olds AGDM, Canada (unless you have the GPS on)
  3. Select the wind anemometer button (top right corner) and select “Valarosa Crossing Didsbury IALBERTA158”
  4. The current conditions are now from this weather station.
  5. Select Map button, then Stations menu and add Personal Stations.  You can also see my webcam here as well.
  6. Add Overlays and custom icons here as well.
  7. If you sign up for a year membership from WUnderground, you can get rid of the ads.


  1. Download the free app:
  2. Steps to use should be similar to the iPhone. (have tried this yet)

Android App (not as good as the iPhone app, but it sort of works)

  1. Download the free app:
  2. Run the App, and select More and enter your home city: Olds AGDM, Canada (unless you have the GPS on)
  3. Select the wind anemometer button (top right corner) and select “IALBERTA158” or Search for a Personal Weather Station by typing ‘PWS:IALBERTA158’ in the search bar.
  4. Tap the Star button to save it as a favorite.
  5. Tap Menu and Favorites to view this stations weather conditions.


15 Minutes too long to wait for current conditions, then I have two options that are minute by minute conditions:

  1. Use: , updated every minute
  2. Use iPhone app: (Android version always crashed on me, so skip it if you use an Android phone).  Select the {+} button and search for Didsbury, AB or Valarosa Crossing.  This app doesn’t provide any forecasting, just current and basic historic data.



New Station online

The new weather station is now broadcasting current weather information to the Internet.

Upload your bookmarks to:

Currently I’m going to use the Davis WeatherLink website to make the information available.  In the coming days, I’ll start uploading to WUnderground Weather site to provide access to historic data and graphing.  Also WUnderground now has a very nice iPhone and Android app that can display my weather station with forecasts and radar images.  I’ll provide information on setup once this is ready.  I’ve also enabled the skycam image.  This image is uploaded every 5 minutes and is point West NorthWest.
Current Image:


I have plans for additional content and formating of the data which I’ll continue to work on when I have time.

Enjoy – Jeff

Major Changes in the works…

There will be some massive disruptions to the live weather conditions over the next few weeks.  The new weather station has arrived and I’m in the process of getting it setup and configured.  This is just in time as the old one which has been in operations since February 2005 has become very brittle.  I was gently cleaning a spider web off the anemometer just last week and ended up breaking one of the wind cups.  Lucky some Crazy Glue fixed it.

After a fair bit of research and consideration about mounting options, I’ve mounted the new anemometer 6+ feet above the roof line with a full 360 degree reading.  Old one was mounted on the fence which had poor reading from the south.

I’ve gone with a satellite mounting bracket with a PVC extension tube with a wood insert.  Didn’t want to put holes in the roof and didn’t want to create a lightning rod. I’m monitoring the setup as there is a little bit of sway in winds over 20km/h.  The base is very stable up till about 3-4 feet in height.  Currently the new wind reading have had better accuracy.

I’m still working on placement of the rain bucket and temperature module.   I’m also testing a new “skycam” setup and will hopefully have a eye to the sky with the new site.

The current Live Weather Conditions site is still displaying the data from the old station.

Stay tuned, Cheers Jeff


Creative view of wind patterns flow in USA

View large amount of data quickly and meaningful can be difficult to do.  Some bright minds have come up with an interesting way in showingcurrent wind flow over  the United States.  Just need a Canada version now.


Check it out here:

Sample Image (Website link has animated version):

Updated current conditions website and software

A while back I decided to ditch the old site templates and setup that I used to run the “Olds Alberta Weather Station” site. Reason, my weather station hardware is nearing retirement and the software used for the site only works with that weather station.  So rather than reworking the templates and setup for the new location, I’ve dumped it and will start fresh.

I’ve decided to try Cumulus from Sandaysoft as the weather station monitoring software.  I had looked at it back in 2007 or 2008, but to move off the FreeWX-Wi was too much work at the time.  The big benefit for me now is Cumulus supports multiple weather stations, so I can change to a new weather station (hopefully in the coming months) without having to recode the website.  Another big benefit with Cumulus is its nice starter package of web templates.  Without much work, the main site is up, a fancy gauge version, and an iPhone site.  I’m still missing lots of the data that I use to show, but I can slowly build upon this.  With my current time to this project very limited over the last year and foreseeable future, this allows me to share the current weather conditions without a lot of work.

Because I’m not running the web server in my home anymore, the uploads to the main website is not every minute, but every ten minutes.  This is due to bandwidth issues with the graphs and html pages.  The Silverlight desktop version only uses a small text file, so that file I can upload more often.  I’ll probably eventually run it in-house again, but for the meantime, this is easier to support.  The likelihood of disconnect between the weather station and the web site is much greater now, so watch the conditions date and time.

Happy weather watching, Jeff


Warm Winter

Couple of website for historic data view that I’ve been using for a while and thought I would pass them along to you.


Data for graphs below were provided from Alberta AgroClimatic Information Services.

Click on image to enlarge.

The average temperature this past winter has been a good couple degrees warmer than the historic average.

Looking at the lowest temperatures…


Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day weather predictions have been going on for centuries.  The following information is from the book “Weather Wisdom” by Albert Lee (ISBN 0-385-01770-7). The date February 2 originally was known as Candlemas Day which began in the early days of Catholicism as the feast of the purification of Mary.  This date for  was believed to be a “weather breeder”, a period of change in which future weather patterns are set.

February 2 in our neck of the woods was a clear sunny day.  So according to weather folklore,

“If Candlemas Day be fine and clear,
We shall have winter half the year.” 

With our winter so far being very warm and pleasant for the most part, guess we are due for winter weather.  So this probably means spring will be colder than normal.


Spotlight Project:A History of the Sky for One Year

A very intriguing project done in San Francisco with time lapse photography and weather patterns. Each square displays the day’s sky video in sequence with all the other days that year.  The mosaic becomes a beautiful moving display of art created by nature.


Technical information:


View HD version, click here and then select full screen:

Live Didsbury Weather now Online!

After being offline for almost 1 year, I’ve got the old weather station back online – sort of.

I’ve ran into glitches, delays and mainly lack of time to put into this project.
One of the biggest challenges has been placement of the sensors. The anemometer isn’t properly positioned and will not give accurate measurements. The rest is fairly accurate, now.
The big stop in getting back online was placement of the computers and the weather station. The USB extender I had planned to use was unreliable and after a month of trying to get it to stop crashing the system, I gave up on it. Currently the laptop sits beside the weather station, but this configuration cannot be permanent.
Also, the station is now 6 years old and when I had it down, I found that the solar rechargeable batteries have expired. Replacement cost $150. So I’m now investigating a new replacement station.
Also the software I’ve been using, FreeWX-Wi, has stopped development and no more fixes will be issued. I was having problems with one temperature sensor not reporting correctly in the software. So I need to try implementing a new software package.  For now I’ll continue to use it to display current conditions.

So where does this leave me. Pondering over a new more accurate weather station and a shiny new site and setup.

Until then, the site will offer basic data information updated every minute.