Re: DIFAX Alternatives

Jeff, et al,

My one cent. (All I have...)

Some facts:

        o  have been numerous problems with the fax feed.

        o  is older technology

        o  data standards are not very high resolution

        o  data formats are very standard and well known.

        o  Cornell, the FAXs are received by computer, manipulated through a 
FAX->PS filter, and, printed on a laser printer.

        o  data on the maps/tables appears to be gleaned from a common data 

        o  data can be sent directly to a FAX machine.

For thought:

        o  data is just one more format to handle individually by the computer 
people, 'cuz, it probably comes in on a computer, not a stand-alone fax machine.

        o  data is a well-known data format, but designed for analog 
(telephone) transmission at 9600 baud.

        o  distributed data delivery network with multiple potential data 
delivery points (ex. IDD) is probably more reliable than a single data 
location. (Assuming data is being generated and collected 100% at the source.)

        o  precise graphics (higher     resolutions) can be handled by other 
types of data formats (ex. PostScript, .gif)

        o  on computerized data is nearly universal.  A separate Fax feed 
usually does NOT help during a data outage, 'cuz, the data is received by 
computer, anyhow.

        o  from common data sets, the fax data is only a representation of 
data, probably already on your computer.  (ex. data from a MOS model run)

        o  data reception is flex able enough to post-process a 
PostScript-ready map file from data received and send it to printer, AND, 
produce fax data format and deliver it via modem to your local FAXs, AND, 
more...  Most of us, have computers capable of handling this.

As I said, one cents worth.  I'm not sure how the commercial world  will handle 
the data.  (If Alden can't hire someone capable of re-programing  the voice 
message on the answering machine . . .!)

A couple of rules from data-base normalization (for efficient and  flex able 
data storage.)

         "DO NOT store redundant data."
         "DO NOT store calculated data."

On general computer science principles, it appears DIFAX should be replaced.


At 12:39 PM 7/26/00 -0600, you wrote:
DIFAX Community,

The NWS has informed Unidata that it will give a six month notice to the discontinuation of the DIFAX products. That is why the word "eventually" was used. We do not know when that 6 month warning will be given. Another option we are investigating is delivering the Wisconsin products via the IDD to aid in the speed and timeliness of the delivery of these products.
Thank you for your comments,

-Jeff Weber