YoWindow Shows Your Weather on a Screensaver You Choose

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The big room with the blue ceiling can be a scary place. Free screensaver YoWindow 2.0 shows you what it's like out there from the comfort of your cubicle or mancave.

YoWindow gives you an image of the world outside, without requiring that you actually visit it.
YoWindow is a combination screensaver and weather reporting tool. By default, it presents an image of a simple farmhouse in a field, just as it did in the previous version. The weather conditions are overlaid on top of it, so rain will thunder down, trees will blow in the wind, and snowflakes will drift downward, as appropriate. Sunrise and sunset occur on schedule, based on the location you have provided. The moon is shown in its proper phase and position in the sky. A grazing horse may wander onto the screen, and clouds (if called for by the forecast) sail across the scene. The $10 YoWindow Unlimited offers two more such "animated" screenscapes, an airport and a tropical beach, with more promised.

In addition to the stock image, any picture with a sky component can be used. Users have contributed dozens of such images, all prepared for use with YoWindow. I liked one called Cabrera, a ruined castle on a rocky hill; others include cityscapes from New York or Hong Kong, or various outdoor locations. When one of these images is chosen, the same sky effects occur--darkening, lighting, storms, and so on--but there is obviously no animation. I found I liked the static image + weather effects better than the animated screens. Tastes may differ, of course.

YoWindow allows you to select several locations, so you can check the weather in many places. Here's where I found some problems--the default "Add Location" menu item did not work for me (Repkasoft is looking into the bug), and using the "Manage Locations" dialog, while it did work and I was able to add several places, from Anchorage to Tokyo, had some odd glitches with items sometimes duplicating.

You can slide YoWindow's timer back and forth to see earlier weather or to look ahead at forecasted conditions (3 days in the free version, 6-9 days in Unlimited), and choose your own local weather provider if you don't like the default. YoWindow gets current weather from METAR, a network of weather stations primarily located at airports, and uses the National Weather Service for forecasts.

YoWindow is free, and while it may not have all the features (tornado alerts, and so on) that some other weather tools have, it's more of a screen saver with benefits than a serious tool for Weather Channel addicts. Check it out, and upgrade to Unlimited if you want additional animated images.

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