Active Alerts - an early warning application

Active Alerts
By Ryan Blundell on 8 Jun 2011 12:38 pm EDT
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The National Weather Service provides forecasts and warnings for the United States. Its official task is to provide “weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy.” Recently, with the number of tornados and flooding that have tragically affected so many people, being alert and being prepared is key. In BlackBerry App World, an application called Active Alerts was recently released. Through Active Alerts users can learn of current alerts and what to do in response to the situation.

These alerts can be filtered through various options which include; location (by choice or by GPS), type, severity and type (you know, in case you want to ignore tornadoes or fires). Users can then decide what interval to use when refreshing alerts. Once set up, you can then navigate through the specified alerts. Details will include all of the affected locations, effective date/time and probability. Tapping into the power of notifications, Active Alerts can cause your Blackberry to sound a tone or vibrate when the alert is of an extreme and/or severe nature. It’s another level of personal security you can use, especially if you live in an area prone to such disastrous activity. Active Alerts is available for $2.99 from BlackBerry App World.

More information/download Active Alerts for BlackBerry smartphones

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Active Alerts - an early warning application

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The problem that I have with BeWeather is that the alerts take so long to come through. The other day, it was 30 minutes after the weather service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for my area that it finally came through on the BeWeather app. That happens all of the time. If this alert app is more timely, then I'm all for it.

Unfortunately I have to agree with you. I say unfortunately not because of you :) but because I love BeWeather. However, like you wrote, the "push" weather alerts don't seem to be pushing over BIS until it refreshes...which I thought the point of push alerts was that you didn't have to wait for it to refresh.

Exactly. I love the app, overall, and it's one of the few BB apps that gets raves from Droid/iOS users as the best weather app out there. Part of me wonders if there is a setting that I need to adjust, but I've played with the different settings and it doesn't solve it. The document support is limited so most of the settings on the app aren't even explained.

RIM hasn't exactly created many incentives to draw in developers. Look at the crap that BB users have to choose from. To me, what adds insult to injury is that we're even being charged relatively high prices for this crap.

The good thing is that this is an easy fix. Tech users are fickle. The minute QNX hits and the app market expands in the right way, BB users will come back. People still care a lot about BBs, which is why we're all so frustrated with this company. That's actually a good sign. We want them to do well but RIM keeps failing to deliver, which leads to frustration. I just hope RIM wakes up before all this anger dissipates into apathy. Once all the frustration ends, then you know RIM and the BlackBerry product line is in trouble.

It's the developer, not RIM. They chose to charge $2.99 for the app, so either deal with it, or don't buy it at all.

I'm perfectly fine with WeatherEye and WxTO on twitter for giving me INSTANT alerts as they happen.

I'm dealing with it and I'm not buying it "at all." I also addressed how I felt this whole situation was at its root an issue that's been fostered by RIM. This is an end result of an incompetent and myopic business strategy. I know it's the developer charging the fee, genius. I can't believe you chose to write a response to a five-message thread without reading the whole thing. I have students like that too. They're usually the ones who don't make it.

You can also get free weather alert emails or texts from weather.com (Thanks BigBadWulf!)

I do realize if you're on sprint you might not be able to get the texts...but you could still get the email alerts (just as fast).

And as a volunteer first responder, let me say this: a NOAA weather radio in your house is really the best way to go. You get the National Weather Service warnings and watches at the same time your local fire dept/EMA or these weather programs get them, and as we've seen this spring, in a killer tornado seconds can make a huge difference.

while NOAA weather radio is great, what are you going to do when you are away from it?

your BB smartphone is always with you and Active Alerts can be programmed easily to give you a distinctive notification.

For those moments I'm not at home, free (not 2.99) weather emails and sms from weather.com work just great, thank you very much.
the weather.com emails and texts are set up as contacts, and so again, for free, I have distinctive notifications.

....but there's nothing like having a specific weather alert from a dedicated weather/alert app go off on the phone when a severe weather event is occurring. With the alert being sent via e-mail/text it has the potential to get lost with the other chaff and not stand out from the non-urgent items.

I would love to see BBscanner made to work with weather apps.

On bbscanner you can pull up NOAA streams for locations.

It's a thought

thanks for your comments and feedback.

2 things to keep in mind:

1) Unlike *other* weather apps, Active Alerts give many more alert types and categories beyond severe/extreme weather. By monitoring moderate and minor levels you can get an earlier warning (which gives you extra time to prepare in case of tornado, for example)
2) You can monitor the whole state instead of just one specified location. This way, you are more aware of what's going on around you. Again, in case of tornadoes, which can change paths unpredictably, it's important to monitor a wider area than just a specific location, and start preparing if areas around you are getting affected.

Add to this Active Alert's ability to sort the alerts by severity, date, type, location, filter the results by location and severity, set notifications, GPS location finder, and you have a very competent app with unique abilities which are not currently available in any other app.

Why is there even a price on this app? I can't believe how high companies place priorities like profit over safety.

Feel free to write an application to rival this one, and make sure you don't charge anything for your time and efforts. I can't believe how many people think their safety isn't worth $3.00!