Instant Aviation Weather Anywhere

How would like you like to get weather information like this…

EGOV 250950Z 17014KT 9999 FEW017 SCT170 BKN250 16/11 Q1004 BLU NOSIG TAF EGOV 250736Z 2509/2518 17012KT 9999 FEW022 PROB30 TEMPO 2514/2517 7000 -RA BECMG 2516/2518 BKN018


European Radar
European Radar



…instantly on any device?

With one free app and another free account, you can.

It works by combining your AutoRouter account with the new Telegram Messenger app. Here’s how to get it set up:

    Go to and open a free account
    Download Telegram Messenger for all the devices you want to use
    Associate Telegram with your mobile telephone number
    In Telegram, search for “autorouter” (it’s a bot) and send it a message
    It will reply that it doesn’t know who you are because you need to link the Autorouter account with the Autorouter bot
    Tap on the safety pin, find yourself in the contacts list, and send it your mobile number

It should all be configured now, so try sending “radar” to the autorouter bot and get back something like the first image in this post. If that works, try “sferics” to get lightning strikes or “EGLL” to get the Heathrow weather.

There are tons of commands available. If you enter one that the bot doesn’t understand, it replies with the list of supported commands. Since it doesn’t understand “help”, that’s what I use to remind me what’s available.

    Supported commands:
    EOBT – delay or bring forward next flight plan to hour and minute UTC.
    CANCEL – cancel the next flight plan.
    ARRIVAL – send arrival message at hour and minute UTC.
    WX – METAR/TAF for airport with given ICAO ID.
    NEAR – get METAR/TAF near ICAO airport
    NOTAM – NOTAMs for airport/FIR (add ordinal for details)
    PLATES – AIP plates
    SUBSCRIBE – subscription management
    GRAMET – vertical route profile
    SIGMET – European SIGMET
    SFERICS – lightning strikes
    RADAR – rain radar
    SATIR – infrared satellite
    TOPS – infrared with cloud tops estimation
    MSLP – mean sea level pressure analysis
    SIGWX – significant weather
    TEMSI – European TEMSI forecast
    AIRSPACES – Active airspace information
    RADARSLOVENIA – Slovenian rain radar
    NORDICSWC – Scandinavian Significant Weather Chart
    DWD – German Met Office products (subscription required)
    Send your location for METAR/TAF in the vicinity

For a complete explanation of how to set it up and the commands available, go to the Autorouter site.

One more thing – if you have an account with the German Weather Service (DWD), perhaps because you have an ADL120 installed in your aircraft, you can get images like this:


Revive Dead SSD

Got a dead SSD? My 256GB boot drive packed up yesterday. I tried reformatting it in Apple’s Disk Utility and in the Terminal, and also tried in Windows 7. All efforts to format failed, and eventually the drive refused to mount.

I got this from Crucial Support: plug the power cable into the drive, but not the data cable, leave it for 30 min, unplug for 30 seconds and repeat. After two power cycles the SSD may come back to life – mine did!

Reset iPad Backup/Sync

Several times lately when I’ve tried to sync my iPad it’s failed to complete the backup stage, even after 10-12 hours. If you force-quit iTunes and try again iTunes will skip the backup with the error message:

“iTunes could not backup the iPad “Chris’s iPad” because a session could not be started with the iPad”

I did a little research to find a solution, here’s what works for me:

  • Quit or Force-Quit iTunes
  • Delete your old backup: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup
  • Delete all files from ~/Library/Lockdown and /var/db/lockdown
  • Reboot Mac
  • Reboot iPad (hold Home and Power buttons until Apple logo appears)
  • Run iTunes
  • Select Reset Warnings and Reset Cache in iTunes Preferences > Advanced

Hope this helps someone else.

The iPad’s Here!

The iPad
The iPad

I picked up a trip to New York last week, four days after the Apple iPad was released. The SoHo Apple Store only had the 64GB models in stock – luckily that was the one I wanted. I also bought a second AC charger to keep in my travel bag, a Belkin case (they’d sold out of the Apple one) and a dock.

I’ve now had a few days to set it up and play with it. It is simply a wonderful machine. Reading on its LED screen is a joy, photographs look fantastic and there are already something like 2,500 iPad specific apps available. I imagine I’ll be carrying this more often than my MacBook Pro.

UK prices and release date haven’t been announced yet but the iPad is expected here by the end of April. The 3G and WiFi-only models should both be available then. I’ve obviously got the WiFi-only model, but despite the lack of GPS, it always seems to find my location. On the move I’ve got a Three MiFi to provide mobile internet access. Three are replacing it with an unlocked version this week which I plan to use overseas.

Here are some images and screenshots of some of my favourite apps:

Broadband Speeds

We’ve been back in the London flat for a few weeks and the broadband speeds have been variable. Over the weekend my trusty Netgear DG834G router was reporting a connection (to Zen Internet) of 5617 kbps but the broadband speedtester on was reporting actual download speeds of only 1027 kbps i.e. only one meg. Time to try to get some improvement.

Searching through the thinkbroadband forums I soon came across references to, a site dedicated to ADSL and broadband. There I found this page which explains the different kinds of BT telephone sockets and how to disconnect the ring wire if you don’t need extension sockets in your property. I duly disconnected the orange ring wire and fired everything back up. The router connection speed jumped from 5617 to 6653 kbps but the speedtest result jumped up to over 4000 kbps! Quite an improvement!

Speedtest Results
Speedtest Results

I’ve now got a BT Broadband Accelerator on order, which may improve the speed even more, and, since I’m in a Virgin fibre optic area, I’m thinking about signing up to Virgin Media’s XXL 50Mb service.