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Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

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Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Graeme Baird » Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:34 pm

Can we PLEASE have a webcam that actually works?!!!
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Geoffm » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:45 pm

The downtime is pretty minimal. People only notice when it is down, not when it is working. There's a whole bunch of variables affecting it at the MGC - their power connection has been flaky this year. The internet has gone down a few times. People have unplugged it by mistake. The lengthy interruption in the spring was entirely a personnel issue, and it took us far longer than it should have to replace the broken computer which drives the weather station, and therefore the web cams. For that I take some blame (it took a while to disagnose the computer fault), so it should not happen again, not an interruption of that length.

I can do some fixes remotely when there is an issue, but not all. The problem today involved me making a couple of calls to the MGC, plus an email to the person who originally installed the weather station. I get a more or less instant email notification when they go down, so - as long as I am checking my email - I tend to be on the case pretty fast.

Of course, we could abandon the MGC location (which costs us nothing) and put up a Holfuy one on the MGC launch - the same type as used at Sarn and Clatter. But this would cost the club a significant amount of money, and there would be a very high risk of vandalism/theft, which doesn't exist for the cams housed at the MGC. It would also be a lot of work to do, and the club would need to find people willing to do that. I wouldn't be involved in it.

If you look at the overall picture we have access to four webcams, and the weather station, at the MGC (only one of which is the LMSC's); we have one at Sarn and one at Clatter, both LMSC owned. The two static cams we have had since 2011. There has been downtime. But it is still a good system.

Now, having said all that, I'm not entirely happy with the back end setup at the Mynd (the interface between the weather station and the cams) and I am thinking about redoing it when I return to the UK.
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Geoffm » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:52 pm

Actually, just to add on to this - we also have the LMSC WhatApp group, set up by Roy, and it would be incredibly helpful if people on the hill would post current condition reports, as another way of informing people - site reports both for the Mynd and our other sites. This is an extremely valuable resource, very underused.
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Geoffm » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:53 pm

And, of course, there are the weather forecasts.....
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Roy Dade » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:56 pm

Following on from Geoff’s comment we do have an LMSC Chat Group on the Telegram App. Other clubs such as the DSC and PSC also have bespoke chat groups for reporting site conditions. The LMSC chat group tends to be used less for reporting site conditions due to the cover we have with webcams (Mynd, Clatter and Sarn).

If anyone on the chat group is going anywhere else please feel free to post site reports. If necessary I can start a new chat group purely for site conditions?

Regards

Roy
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Geoffm » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:48 am

Thanks Roy. I don't think we need another chat group - one should do for both people saying where they are going, what they think is the right site, and the conditions when they get there. It just needs more people to use it.The more who post on it the more useful it becomes. It might be worth plugging it again on the FB page, though it has nearly 100 members at the moment.

Also, my apologies for calling it a whatsapp group! I meant Telegram, of course!
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Graeme Baird » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:08 am

Take New Years Day for example-Several pilots flew at Fairbourne, and Glyn Jones flew at Rodney's Pillar. I think some pilots don't want to say where they are, in case of overcrowding. I sat at home all day in frustration.
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby David Broughton » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:45 am

Apart from Geoff & Dave Thomas' regular prediction (thanks guys!) I don't think you can rely on anyone in this club to tell you where they are going or where you should go - it's just not that kind of club!

N Wales members often post their plans for the day on their forum and some use a Message group but it's a smaller club & much more convivial in my view.

PS - I'm as guilty as anyone for keeping quiet about my plans. Not for any sinister motive - I generally can't be bothered or, if it's marginal, I don't want people to have wasted trips if I prove to be wrong.
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Geoffm » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:45 am

Do you post site conditions when you go out?
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Roy Dade » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:32 am

The Telegram Group has been used to do the odd site conditions report but looking over the messages there are more asking for and offering advice on where to go on a particular day, especially those unfamiliar and travelling distance to get here and some of the clubs newer members.

I’m a member of the DSC site conditions group and it’s pretty active and well disciplined as is the PSCs.

I’ve flown mostly at the Mynd and Sarn this year so unless the cameras and weather stations are known to be not working there seems little point in posting conditions except to say flying is going on or not? Like others I turn off the notification ping when messages come up to minimise the distraction.

There is always the issue of giving advice and conditions changing or becoming hazardous so there is some personal responsibility taken on when posting?

I’d suggest there is scope for a club night on weather forecasting covering tools, hints and tricks?
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Graeme Baird » Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:42 pm

Roy, this club doesn't have club nights any more - ask Chad what his opinion is? After all, he is on the committee!
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Roy Dade » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:56 pm

We had a good club evening back in Dec Graeme, Dave Thomas organised a great session on XC flying. I was suggesting a similar session on weather forecasting?

Regards

Roy
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Brian Sanders » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:21 pm

As Geoff says, I have set up an automated monitoring system so Geoff is notified quickly when the our webcam image feed stops working. Unfortunately the reliability of the power, internet connectivity, and gliding club server and software? appear to be the bulk of the issues since the server rebuild. In fact, I can't actually recall being told in the last year or two of any issue of downtime being related to the actual webcam, though perhaps others can comment on the root causes of the outages at the gliding club. All I can constructively suggest is that we all work together to identify the main root causes of these outages and eliminate them - I am certainly up for giving whatever help I can to assist. Perhaps it might turn out to be as simple as putting the router and power plug in a locked cabinet away from unwanted hands, adding a UPS battery or providing an extra power socket for the cleaner to do the hoovering so they don't unplug the router ! Don't laugh - I've been involved in commercial incidents that have come down to stuff like this !
Anyway - on a personal note, I'd like to thank Geoff for his tireless efforts trying to keep this up and running !
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby David Broughton » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:14 pm

The problem is inter-reliance on the MGC. The problems won't go away until we have an independent system at the Long Mynd.
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Geoffm » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:15 pm

Thanks for the kind comments Brian.

Actually, whilst sitting on the beach today in the hot sun (I had to get that in), I came up with a plan.... the main weak point (other than people simply unplugging the plugs which say "Don't unplug this under any circumstances!") is one which I can eliminate, and I will start discussing this with the MGC tomorrow. Both the cams and the weather station very rarely give problems. It's the computer to which they are connected. This is the root cause, and I did hope the replacement computer we put in place in the summer would have fixed it for good, but apparently not. I can bypass that computer, but I need to get the agreement of the MGC. It has undubtedly been more flaky in the last few months, and I am getting a bit tired of it, as are people at the MGC on the occasions when I can't fix it remotely (like today), and it requires a physical power off, power on, so I have to phone them and get them to do it.

The fix requires some software changes which are easy enough, but also I'm considering getting a different weather station.

Bear with me! It won't happen overnight, but it will happen, not least because I am getting fed up having to do quick fixes.
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Geoffm » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:39 pm

"The problem is inter-reliance on the MGC. The problems won't go away until we have an independent system at the Long Mynd."

No, that's not the case. The problem is when I took over the MGC web site, and some responsibility for the cams (of which the LMSC cam is just one) and weather station there I knew the existing system had some faults, but it worked fine most of the time, and it simply wasn't worth the effort to replace it. So I left it in place. But now is the time to review that. Now, if the LMSC wants to set up a brand new Mynd web cam and weather station somewhere else other than at the MGC, there is obviously that option, though I would not be involved in that.
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby David Broughton » Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:47 pm

"No, that's not the case"

I don't really see how you can justify that statement when the Mynd webcams aren't working again today but Sarn & Clatter are!
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Geoffm » Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:38 pm

Look, if anything, the problem is me, the fault is mine, not the MGC's (unless you assume I am the MGC.... which they might take exception to). I basically have an informal overall responsibility for the cams located at the MGC, and the weather station (and full responsibility for their website). I didn't install the weather station, and, as I said before, I left that system in place because most of the time it worked. Clearly, it has been getting worse, and apart from anything else is beginning to take up a lot of my time. When the computer which the weather station connects to was replaced in the summer, I thought that would fix the issues. It did temporarily, but they have got significantly worse recently. I missed the outage today, until Dave mentioned it, because I didn't get an automatic notification for it.

I am pretty certain the problem lies with the computer to which the weather station is connected. But to check that, I've made a slight change to the LMSC webcam, which now bypasses that computer, uploading the image somewhere else. For the moment, it will have no weather station data on it, but that is still on the windsock image.

I emailed the chair of the MGC earlier today (before I knew about today's problems), and also the person who originally installed the system, saying we needed to make fundamental changes to it. Irrespective of what the LMSC does, I will be making those changes.

If the LMSC wants to forget about the MGC setup it will need to buy a Holfuy, at around a grand; find somewhere to site it; and pay ongoing mobile costs, assuming you can get a location with a good connection. None of this is impossible, of course, and if you want the LMSC to consider that, you should let them know (not me, since I'm not on the committee).
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Geoffm » Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:04 am

Actually, forget that last sentence about you contacting the committee. You're right, we should replace the system. I'll email the committee now.
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby David Broughton » Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:08 pm

Long Mynd - ALL SYSTEMS GO! Good work Geoff (maybe we don't give you enough praise when things go right!).
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Geoffm » Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:26 pm

Thanks Dave, much appreciated. But you're right in what you said before, and I am now actively looking into a separate (additional) system. It won't happen overnight, but hopefully will soon.
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Geoffm » Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:10 am

Update:

1. I have just done a temporary fix, so the current position is that:

a) The static web cam images are updated every minute, but do not have weather station data overlayed on them. They are time stamped below the image. The timelapse webcams, which are completely separate from the weather station, are working as normal.

b) I've changed the display of data from the weather station. The original, overall summary, which was broken, and which failed again overnight, is removed, for the moment, and the data is displayed differently. Not as good, but does show wind speed and direction. Please let me know if you are on the hill, and this is not accurate, though it does seem to be roughly consistent with the Sarn and Clatter info. Beware of caching issues, i.e. make sure the images are the current ones by refreshing your browser.

I'll monitor this for a while to see if it is working correctly.

2. The committee is now discussing a replacement, a Holfuy as used at Sarn and Clatter.
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby David Broughton » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:09 am

Now we are really confused !!!!!!

Graeme's Apple is showing webcam pics (N&W) with data embedded.

My PC Win10/Chrome is showing pics with no embedded data.

My pics look more "right" than Graeme's as his was showing daylight on the Mynd this morning when it was still dark!

The detailed data & graphs seem to be showing OK.

Any ideas?
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Brian Sanders » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:04 pm

Sounds like a problem with Graeme's browser cache. There are some suggestions on how to troubleshoot and resolve these issues at the top of the webcams and weather page on the website.
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Re: Problems With The Mynd Webcam.

Postby Geoffm » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:16 pm

Graeme is looking at myndcam.com. Don't use this. The web cam images on there are incorrect. The definitive images are those on this LMSC site (or https://www.midlandgliding.club/weather-information/). Also, apart from the temporary incorrectness of the images, myndcam.com is an external site, to which I don't have edit rights, so when we want to publish additional weather station related info - e.g. on caching issues - this only appears on the LMSC and MGC sites. Same for the additional cams we have - the two time lapse cams, and Sarn and Clatter. Only on LMSC/MGC.

The committee is currently discussing a new weather station for the Mynd.
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