Life With a Plugin, Episode 4: MCE Weather
A lot of plugins are developed because it could be a very simple feature which is for some reason omitted from Media Center itself. That's the feeling I get when I think of MCE Weather. It's probably one of the simpler features that can be very useful and yet easily displayed/controlled from the 10' UI. Fortunately for us, developers exist with the desire to fill the gaps of Media Center, and this one happens to save you from having to actually watch the Weather Channel.
MCE Weather is a Media Center plugin designed to give you weather for a single or multiple cities at your fingertips. The program provides access to a large number of cities and weather data worldwide, and allows you to view the data both via text & graphics. Just as the news provides, so to does MCE Weather allow you to view a 5-day forecast. You can add multiple favorite cities, so if you're a frequent traveler, it's an easy way to prepare how to pack.
|Weather Strip is easy to find
||5 Day forecast|
Above & Beyond
I know what you're thinking, how much really can be done with a weather application? But the developers have done a good job of trying to include anything you could imagine with their application. One of the coolest is their satellite images. You can select from a multitude of satellites (again, worldwide) and view a number of different satellite sources--for example, you can view the temperatures across the United States with a colored map, just like you see it on the news!
In addition to that, you can also make slight modifications to the UI, via changing the color, or even the default view that you're looking at. You can view by your current temperature, 5-day forecast or just look at the satellite images.
As with MCE Browser, the main complaint I have with the software is that it's still based on the older HTML platform for Media Center plugins. While it works perfectly well on both XP Media Center and Vista, as well as Extenders, it's not nearly as seemless an experience as with MCML plugins.
|Satellite Images, just like TV!
Grade: Approved for Everyday Use
MCML shortcomings aside, MCE Weather is a fantastic application which covers most weather facts you would ever need or want to find from the Weather Channel itself. This particular app hasn't changed in a while, so while it's not the newest, it is very reliable and has worked well for many for quite some time. If you like to know the weather, it's really a no-brainer.
Creator: Christoph Buenger