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Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Weather

This app opens into a lovely, colorful weather report. Right off the bat, you see the current weather (as though the full-screen background photo didn’t give it away). There’s the five-day forecast (Figure 4-48). In a panel on the right (past the tutorial section, if you haven’t hidden it), you see the hour-by-hour forecast for today, so you can see exactly what time your softball game will get rained out.

More features appear when you open the App bar.Places lets you enter cities or Zip codes whose weather you check often.Weather Maps opens animated maps (see Figure 4-49).Ski Resorts could be an app in itself: It’s a live table of snow statistics about every ski resort known to Microsoft.And World Weather shows current conditions in major cities.

Figure 4-48. More features appear when you open the App bar. Places lets you enter cities or Zip codes whose weather you check often. Weather Maps opens animated maps (see Figure 4-49). Ski Resorts could be an app in itself: It’s a live table of snow statistics about every ski resort known to Microsoft. And World Weather shows current conditions in major cities.

Most people probably never bother drilling past this screen, but there’s much more to do here. For example, you can choose the right arrow () to check out the next five days’ forecast. Or you can choose the expand-o-triangle () to open up a new row of details—wind speed, visibility, humidity, barometer, and the predicted highs and lows. You pilots know who you are.

But the most surprising part of the Weather app is the more complete weather station that lurks beyond this opening screen. If you scroll to the right, you’ll discover additional blocks like these:

  • Hourly forecast. The Hourly column that appears on the main screen is actually only the left end of a wider Hourly display.

  • Maps are cool visual representations of current meteorological data for the whole country: radar, regional temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, severe weather alerts, and so on (Figure 4-49).

    Tip

    If you hit the button, the map goes full-screen and animates. It shows you the last six hours’ worth of whatever you’re looking at: cloud cover, precipitation, temperature, and so on. Zoom in or out to see a different area of the country.

    These are animated weather maps, showing the last six hours’ worth of cloud movement, precipitation, and so on. (It’s the same display you get when you hit the button on the Maps display, as described above.)They’re really pretty amazing.

    Figure 4-49. These are animated weather maps, showing the last six hours’ worth of cloud movement, precipitation, and so on. (It’s the same display you get when you hit the button on the Maps display, as described above.) They’re really pretty amazing.

  • Historical weather. This handy graph shows you a snapshot of your current location’s weather history. The big graph shows temperature, rainfall, and snowfall (depending on which of the three round icons you select beneath it). The little table at the right gives you stats like the average high and low for today’s date, the record high and low for today’s date, and monthly averages for rainfall, snowy days, and rainy days.

  • Advertisement. There’s also an ad at the far right. Thank goodness you have to go out of your way to find it.

There is, by the way, a table of contents for these different data blocks. You might never even find it if you didn’t zoom out:

  • Touchscreen: Pinch two fingers on the screen or trackpad.

  • Mouse: Move the mouse so that the horizontal scroll bar appears. Hit the tiny button at lower right.

  • Keyboard: Press Ctrl+minus key (hyphen).

In each case, the Weather app “shrinks” down into five stacked rectangular bars, representing the main weather screen (Bing Weather), the Hourly Forecast, Maps, Historical Weather, and Advertisement. Each takes you directly to the corresponding block of tiles without your having to scroll.

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