This site features several of my hobbies, but my main focus is on Weather, Astronomy, and 3D environments (worlds). 
 
Weather has always been a hobby of mine since I was 7 years old. When I got a little older, I remember having a Lionel Weather Instrument set (neon lights on a cardboard display panel) and a plastic wind vane and anemometer that my dad helped me put together and wire. 
  
I also remember having to count how many times the neon light at the center of the display panel flashed in 30 seconds, then had to look on a chart to get the average wind speed.  In addition, a sling psychrometer was used to get the wet bulb reading. Geesh... seems like just the other day. 
  
Now I have a Davis Weather Monitor II up on the roof, and am doing pre-recorded as well as live weather broadcasts on the web, and using software like Interwarn, Digital Atmosphere, Virtual Weather Station, as well as a radar program called StormPredator.  I am also a CWOP member, with my weather information for my station showing up on http://www.wunderground.com as well as on http://wx.findu.com/CW2148.  You can see me occasionally on
www.livestream.com/jodec 
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Astronomy is another hobby of mine.  I remember having a 2 1/2 inch Refractor Telescope back in late 1972 and looking at the sun with the solar filter that was included.  Also included with this scope was a moon filter, which cut down on the bright glare, especially when the moon was full and very bright.  I could also observe a few planets like Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, some Galaxies such as the Andromeda Galaxy, Globular Clusters, Open Clusters such as the Pleadies, and also the M42 nebula in the constellation Orion. 
 
In 1976, I purchased a Celestron 5 Telescope for $595.00.  It was a larger (5 inch mirror), and much better than that 2 1/2 inch Refractor.  It had a built-in clock drive, and also an attachment that allowed users to add a camera to it for timed exposures.  I have some photos on this site that can be viewed by clicking on the Astronomy link at the top of this page. 
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Virtual World creation is a relatively new hobby that I got into in April of 2001. 
 
Adobe came out with a beta version of the 3D World Creator.  It was an open beta and anyone who joined the forum and was interested in being a beta tester simply just downloaded a beta version of the then called "Builder".  When I started with this, I the version I think was Builder43, or possibly Builder38.  At this point, I'm not really sure. 

I found this rather interesting, so I kept up with it, and got to know other people through the forum messages as well as the chat-enabled homeworld that was created by the Adobe Atmosphere Development Team.  We all got to know these guys, and later nicknamed them as "zombies" because they all put in so many hours of dedication and hard work fixing the errors we found, as well as adding new features that were suggested by the beta testers.  This helped make a product that would have revolutionized the way businesses could sell products or interact with customers in a 3D Store environment for example. 
 
Unfortunately, the "business world" in some ways were far behind in thinking outside the traditional box as it were, so this software, which many of us thought of as technology ahead of its time, didn't seem to gain interest in the business world. 
 
Any prospective customer for example, could enter a chat-enabled Virtual store, walk through this store, and click on 3 dimensional products in that "store" which would then open up a small browser window describing that product, while the customer could view it from different angles, etc.. 

It did not seem to catch however, so eventually further development of Adobe Atmosphere was discontinued in December of 2004.  Adobe Atmosphere (Builder) is no longer available, however the Player Plugin can still be downloaded from Adobe's FTP site.  A download link is provided on my 3D Worlds Page. Click on the "Atmosphere" link in the main menu to access the page. 
 
Other 3D Virtual world developers came up with different software packages.  One such program was called Blink3d by pelicancrossing.  This program was the closest in similarity and ease of use to Atmosphere, but unfortunately Blink3d also met its demise.  Several other programs were rather complicated to learn -- that is, the learning curve was rather steep, and there were very few if any tutorials.
 
I was lucky enough to request and receive the free open source version of the Atmosphere Collaboration Server in July of 2004 before the entire Atmosphere project was discontinued.

I did virtually nothing with the source code at that time because I needed a Linux Operating System to compile the source code and run the program.  
 
I got myself a copy of Linux and installed it on an older PC in July of 2005.  Installation was successful, but I knew nothing about the Linux Operating System. 
 
My first attempt at installation placed it in terminal mode.  This mode was similar to the old Microsoft DOS system.  At the command prompt I entered "dir" and pressed the enter key.  It gave a directory listing.  This is all I knew about Linux.  I needed to know more commands so I got into my Windows XP computer and did a search on the internet for "Linux Commands".  This gave me some great resources, so I began to teach myself Linux.
 
In the process of experimenting, I messed up the installation, so had to reinstall Linux.  This time I chose the Gnome Desktop option, and the installation was again successful, and I did not have to use the terminal Linux commands.  The desktop was similar to Microsoft Windows environment, and this made things much easier. 
 
My next step was to decide which directory to place the zipped source code file, learn how to unpack the server source code, and learn how to compile it.  I had no idea what to do at this point, so back to Windows XP and another search of the internet for information. 

Found gunzip, tar, and make. Interesting stuff, but what the heck was "make"!

I started reading up on this and experimenting and learned lots of methods.  Finally I was able to run the compiler, which was quite simple actually. 

My first attempt at using the 'make' command was rather interesting.  I got screen after screen of errors such as "undefined", "undeclared", "incompatible point type", and lots of other error messages.... I thought to myself -- Yikes, what did I get myself into here... How do I declare, or define, and what the heck is an incompatible pointer type?  Remember... I knew nothing about the C Programming Language. 

Back to Windows XP internet search... Again, found lots of valuable information, and eventually was able to understand what the C code meant, and to make a very long story shorter, was able to correct most of the errors in several souce code files. 

Finally compiled the source code and even though there were still some small errors like -- 'unused variable', the code compiled and I was able to actually run the server. 

Tested this with a "Testworld", and was able to chat with a friend in another location.  It even worked with me using 2 instances ( two open Internet Explorer browsers on my Windows XP and accessing the same world) successfully, and literally chat to the other instance, and vice-versa.  The communication interface worked without any issues. 

This was great news, however there were still two functions that never worked during this early time.  The functions were... 1. The server could not retrieve a control file from my website, and 2. The server could not create the Public Worlds Log.  I gave up on these because I had no idea what the program flow was.  There was no flow chart that came with this open source code, so I just used it as I described above. 

I was contacted by one of the beta testers from the U.K. in September of 2005, and he asked me if I could send him a copy of my version, because in his version, the shared objects function was missing, but in my version, it was working.  Since he had his version from Adobe which was different than mine, and he had already signed the Adobe Licensing Agreement as I also did with Adobe, I sent him a copy of what I had.  As a result, he fixed his copy, and sent me a copy of what he had along with a few other files that I did not have.  These extra files, actually helped me in finally being able to create a webpage that showed a listing of any world that had visitors in it along with the number of visitors.  I had to first fix the routines that were supposed to access the websites and look for and download the control files.  The control files were simple text files that contained a description of the 3D world along with password encrypted code, contact information, category, whether the world was public or private, a headroom number, default avatar, approved avatar, etc.

The server would then create a file with information found in this control file, then read this file and create an internal listing of password codes and other information that was used in creating the world.log file.  The files that I received from the beta tester in the U.K. helped tremendously in enabling me to get the entire server to work.  Interestingly, by me sending him a copy of my version, he was able to fix his version and shared that with me, so in short, we both helped each other.

It was not until the summer of 2012, that I began to take another look at the source code.  I was determined to get this program fully functional, and since I now had abit more time to work on it, I was able to correct that "incompatible pointer type" error after finding an example error and solution that actually fit the same problem I had.  The server still could not retrieve the control file, and in fact, the server never ran the code that had this function in it.  Somehow, a line of code seemed to be missing, but I had no idea what was missing.

After a few weeks of frustration trying to figure out what step was supposed to take place, I realized that an area of code to retrieve a file from a website was located in another section of that same source code file.  I simply copied that section and place it within the same routine, and lo and behold, the file actually got retrieved!  This was a very good sign, however the server still could not create the "Public Worlds Listing".

At this point, I looked at a file called "lsworld.c" and found a section of code that I recognized as the function that created a temporary file with the information in it that would be displayed in the "Public Worlds Listing".  I knew at this point that I had to place a "jump to" or an appropriate C function, to call that other function in the 'lsWorld.c' file.

Back to Windows XP internet search for "how to call a function".  Found just what I needed, and place the following code in a source file named "HTGlue2.c" at the location that would force it to execute this next function, which should have taken place at this point.

The line of code was simple: "lsWorldUpdate(lss, 0);"  Originally, this code was missing.  That was the reason why the world.log could not be created.

This solved the problem.  The world.log was created, and this file is used as input to one of the perl files (worlds.pl) that I got from the individual in the U.K. and the server was able to create the "Public Worlds Listing" page.

Problem solved after 8 years... but remember I did not touch this software for about 7 years or so, and I did not work on this every day in 2012.  All in all, I was lucky if I spent between 7 to 11 hours each week in getting all of this to work.

I have shared my fully functional version of the server with a few of the former beta testers, and anyone interested may download a free copy.  See the Atmosphere Tutorials Page' under the 'Atmosphere' heading in the Main Menu.

I have some of those worlds on this website, and they can be accessed by clicking on the Atmosphere link in the main menu link at the top of the page.  Remember... you will need the player plugin installed first and Adobe Atmosphere only runs in Windows with Internet Explorer verion 6 or greater.  It will also run in Firefox with IE Tab installed, and probably Google Chrome with IE Tab installed there also. It has also been known to run on a MAC with Windows emulator for some people.

I have created some tutorials on this program. There is even one on how to unpack the source, compile it, and run it. I have included a compiled lsServer.lx86 in the packed copy called "AtmosphereServer1.tar.gz".

The tutorials can be found under the Atmosphere link in the main menu at the top of this page.

Once in a while when I'm in an Atosphere World, people stop in for a chat. Always around Halloween, the old Atmosphere Community from the Beta Testing days, get together (last done October 29th through 31st. in 2011), and have an Halloween Party in a newly created world that is chat enabled. We did not meet in 2012 or 2013 due to time constraints of most people and/or lack of interest... perhaps both reasons.


The demise of these two great programs makes me wonder if I should ever get involved with any future products like them, because one wonders if they too will meet the same end.