Update 2012-12-18: The hosting arrangement for imaging turned out to be a fairly simple fix, thanks to sync’d cloud hosting. EWR is now fully back up and running (some secondary html pages may still need to be recoded for urls – these will take a while to trace out). We also took the opportunity to upgrade ISP speed by nearly 50%, which should reduce the occasional blockup due to polling collisions between the various program iterations running. We have a RAM upgrade coming for the main computer as well, which will likely be done sometime over the Christmas holidays.

Update 2012-12-15: While there remains a lot of code cleanup yet to do, server re-configuration has gone quite smoothly and is nearly complete. Performance testing will be the order of the day for the next week or two. SW Ontario and Eastern Ontario alert systems still need to be recoded.

Like most other website owners, EWR uses a third party hosting company to host the programs and data that users draw on. Yesterday, unannounced, our hosting company switched to Secure Socket Layer protocols across all of its platforms. This has had the effect of shutting down EWR, and the solution is not simple.

EWR uses program-internal FTP protocols to upload its processed data to the web for use by others. This software does not have SSL functionality built into it.
Temporarily, the hosting company has left a port open while we try to resolve this problem. Unfortunately, this solution also results in slow data retrieval from our domains, slow to an unacceptable level.

Our solutions are not trivial. We either have to change hosts, or look to changing how we get the data to the web. At present the software author has not indicated a willingness to address the problem from within the analysis programs, which may mean trying to use third party SSL FTP programs to move the data files. This introduces timing issues with regard to currency of the data available to users. For a functionality based on timely alerting of severe weather, this is extremely problematic, and since we coordinate this data flow over several simultaneous iterations of the programs and over several computers, the challenge to rebuild the functionality, appears, at the moment, to be huge.

Malware issues are the driver behind the hosting company’s changes, so simply changing hosts may only turn out to be a short term band-aid. Since EWR is a non-profit operation, there may be no quick fix. Consideration may be given to direct hosting on our own servers, but that is expensive and has a much high maintenance cost, and will not be a quick installation if we go that route.

The continued operation of Ephemerata Weather Radar is presently in doubt. Three years of development work has gone into integating EWR over several machines, social networks such as Twitter, and direct email alerting of subscribers. For those of you who use EWR regularly, we apologize for the imminent loss of functionality. Truly, today, I do not know if the Ephemerata Weather Radar Project has come to an end.