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Summary:

Weather apps on the Mac are sorely lacking. You generally have to use a Dashboard widget to find out the latest weather conditions in your area. In searching for a decent desktop solution, I found that many of the major weather/news publishers provide Dashboard widgets but […]

Weather apps on the Mac are sorely lacking. You generally have to use a Dashboard widget to find out the latest weather conditions in your area. In searching for a decent desktop solution, I found that many of the major weather/news publishers provide Dashboard widgets but none of them provide a simple Mac desktop app. Until now…

Roughly a year ago, the folks at Weatherbug released a public beta of their Weatherbug Alert for the Mac. It’s a simple menu application that provides links to your local weather conditions.

With this application, you specify your current location and Weatherbug does the rest. You get links to the local forecast, radar and any severe weather alerts, right from the menu.

img_mac-alert-ss

Weatherbug Alert Menu showing the different options

And when there is a severe weather condition, you are then notified via the menubar:

img_mac-alert-bar

Weatherbug Alert Menu showing the different options

There are other weather applications available. If you perform a search on MacUpdate or VersionTracker, you get pages of them. However, as I mentioned earlier, the majority of them are widgets for the Dashboard.

The nice thing about this Weatherbug Alert app is that it’s available to you within any application with just a quick glance at the menubar.

I think the folks at Weatherbug could take a few steps to really improve this application. Here is my wish list:

  1. Display the current radar in the menu (a small icon that I can click to see a much bigger live map).
  2. Display the forecast in the menubar or within the menu of the application (user configurable).
  3. Allow me to specify multiple locations to monitor weather conditions elsewhere (I like to know the weather for places I frequent in my business travel).

I am sure there are many more features that could be added. The best thing about Weatherbug Alert is its price: free. And, although it has been a little while since the product was updated, at least there has been some active development of the application (testing with Leopard).

Do you have a preferred weather application? If so, please let us know in the comments.

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  1. Check out weahervane…it gives you a 5 day forecast when you click it’s icon in the menu bar.

  2. I also recommend WeatherVane.

  3. Or WeatherDock, which has been around for ages. What advantage does WeatherBug have over either of these apps?

  4. My personal desire is for something between this and the standard weather widget. Apple’s weather widget hasn’t changed since it was debuted and is lacking in several ways, but the only alternatives (like this one) seem to be tailor made for weather nuts or people foolish enough to live in hurricane alley who want all kinds of bells and whistles that the average user (IMO) doesn’t need or want.

    I don’t want a radar map or links to weather-oriented webcams, but I would like to see the Apple weather widget at least be more visually accessible and I’d like to see it’s functionality blended with the clock widget on the iPhone. What’s the point of having an iPhone widget display the time in various cities around the world and a separate weather widget display the weather in those same cities? On the iPhone this takes up two spots on the home screen for what is essentially one thing.

  5. Weatherdock is awesome. It’s great that there are so many weather apps. If you don’t like the way one works, try another.

  6. I’d be very wary of Weatherbug-it’s been my experience that it’s adware. A quick googlesearch of weatherbug+virus yields 117,000 hits and I know of many people who have learned to HATE this “free little app”. Just my 2 cents…

  7. I use WeatherDock:

    http://www.weatherdock.alwintroost.nl/?id=52

    It allows you to have weather info in a normal window, in the menu-bar, in the dock, on your desktop, or just one of them … and has a whole range of other options as well as giving you easy access to the coming week’s weather, nights and days.

    I’ve used a ton of weather info programs, and this is the one I really prefer.

  8. i like meteorologist.
    http://heat-meteo.sourceforge.net/

    it resides in the menubar and, with the free version, you get icons and an extended forecast (for multiple cities too!).

    with the paid version, you can get live radar images and such.

    my 2¢

  9. Matthew Bookspan Monday, February 16, 2009

    @everyone thanks for the tips on WeatherVane & WeatherDock. I will check them out.

    @Bobby – I think this was related to the Windows version of Weatherbug when it used to be very ad-heavy (some said adware). The Mac version doesn’t have any ads.

  10. if I want to see what the weather is outside, I generally use …….

    windows

  11. Weather dock, tells me temp and conditions, (in case I don’t have windows!? ha ha ) click it drops down 5 day forecast with wind conditions and all.

  12. I’m also concerned about the ad-heavy nature of Weatherbug. Even the current Windows release is borderline-malware; how does the company propose to make the Mac version freeware without that baggage?

  13. Samuel Herschbein Monday, February 16, 2009

    WeatherSnitch:

    http://www.sofweb.com/

    Been using it for years, 8 locations in my menu around North America. Great for a free app, I’d like to see easier to navigate menus (less interaction to get to details).

  14. Andrew Bednarz Monday, February 16, 2009

    For Australia, you need something that uses the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, as all other sources are not accurate enough.

    http://www.radocaj.com/TheBom/ is excellent – but it is a dashboard widget (which suits me fine)

  15. Matthew Bookspan Monday, February 16, 2009

    @Raven – not sure. The current Mac app is a beta.

  16. I’m a big fan of Panic’s Stattoo, which overlays “capsules” on top of your desktop. I use one capsule for the local weather. I like it because it doesn’t take up valuable menu bar real estate, and looks nifty.

  17. why are all the ads on the ‘appleblog’ for dell machines and microsoft ‘ware?

  18. WeatherDock is a memory-hog, *DEMANDS* that you run it in the dock (er, no thank you — I want it in the menubar ONLY), and is UGLY.

  19. Weatherdock has a preference to turn off the dock icon.

    Weatherdock isn’t perfect, but its the best of a bunch of bad options.

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