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I try to avoid going unprepared into the big room with the blue ceiling. Weather Watcher Live (free) allows you to check on conditions in that strange place called "outside" without actually exposing yourself to it, or even having to move.
Weather Watcher Live first asks you where you live, then locates many nearby weather stations and taps into those you select. It then provides a plethora of data about the weather, including temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, and much more, including the useful "feels like" temperature, which takes into account humidity and wind chill. Small taskbar icons show the current temperature and weather (and there are several options for formatting), or you can click the icon and bring up the full-featured application.
In this mode, Weather Watcher Live provides you with a lot of buttons to click and pages to view, but it does so in a non-standard way. There isn't even a close box on the window; you must click the down arrow icon located on the right of the "menu." I'm not sure what's gained by ignoring the Windows look-and-feel guidelines; while it's good to not force a program into an interface which doesn't suit it, there's nothing in what Weather Watcher Live does which requires a non-standard interface. Different for difference's sake doesn't impress me.
Weather Watcher Live allows you to select from a large variety of maps, and display them. Sometimes, it will display the maps in their own windows, other times, it opens up your browser to show them. The locally displayed maps insist on being on top of the Weather Watcher Live application window, which can be slightly annoying.
Weather Watcher Live has a nicely configurable system for alerting you to oncoming weather disasters; you can set it to only "go off" if it encounters specific keywords, or to not go off if it encounters them. It also allows you to set the alert sound, so if my computer ever begins barking "Danger, Will Robinson!" I will know that bad weather is a-comin'.
Ultimately, most of the information Weather Watcher Live displays is drawn from various Web sites such as Weatherbug, and you can ask, "Well, since it's only good if you've got an Internet connection, why not just go online?" Simple! Weather Watcher filters the information according to your preferences, and consolidates it one place for much easier perusal. It's also a lot better for it to remind you of the oncoming hurricane than for you to spend your time obsessively reloading weather sites.
Note: The installer will ask you to switch your search engine to Ask.com. If you don't want to do that, be sure to uncheck that option if you decide to install this program.
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