Watching Clouds - Joshua Schank's Blog

Welcome to Watching Clouds - Joshua Schank's Blog! This blog of mine was created because I enjoyed reading The Times and Travels of Nolan, a blog created by my friend Nolan Meister back when we were undergraduates in the School of Meteorology at OU. This blog will be a collection of my favorite memories and will not follow a particular theme. I hope you enjoy them and thank you for reading!

Watching Clouds - Finishing Senior Year at OU

As of this post, this upcoming Friday marks my final two weeks as an undergraduate in the School of Meteorology at OU. Being home while I finish my degree remotely has been somewhat tough with the change of where I learn and do my homework as everything must be done online from the comfort of my own home. I also miss my fellow classmates and fellow OWL members as I prepare to step down as OWL's Director of Development. Lucky for me, my obligations for OWL are very easy to do online as my main duties revolve around the OWL website and continue development of new products. I only regret I never got to reinstall the WRF model back on the server.

Watching Clouds - The Beginning of My Time as Director of Development for OWL

I am writing this post as a record that may be used by an OWL's Historian when they update the History of OWL page, and if you happen to be a member of OWL who is visiting my website I would like to welcome you as a former OWL member and Director of Development!

I was asked by OWL President Nolan Meister to lead HOOT, OWL's development team, and rebuild OWL's website during the spring semester of 2019, my junior year at OU. I had just finished serving as Director of Shifts for a year where I showed dedication to maintaining OWL's technology. At the time I had built a primitive website through OU Create where I practiced writing forecast discussions and viewed weather data uploaded by the same weather station that uploads to this site. The OWL website at the time was basicly nonexistent as server updates in 2015 lead to the slow collapse of the website, and HOOT's last two members graduated that year. So, at the end of the spring semester, before taking finals, I began work on the OWL website and started with the temporary Wordpress site that was being used as a proof of concept by previous directors. After spending a couple of days with it I decided to scrap it and build a website from scratch with the scraps of code and external css, js, and jquery scripts I could find on the server during previous attempts to rebuild the website before they created the Wordpress site.

Real progress on the website happened during the summer before my senior year, especially during the months of June and July, as I had to stop work on the website to focus on finals and complete some summer work to raise some money for my senior year. I started with the home page and learned how to use external css style sheets such as bootstrap 4.0 to quickly format all the pages of the website so they shared a similar theme/style. The first pages I created with the help of then Historian Bruce Pollock were the social media page and the OWL board page. Also, during that time I helped Bruce find some of OWL's history by using the Wayback Machine on the internet archive website to view the old OWL website from 2015. My main goal the rest of the summer was to recreate the forecast discussion page that I saw on the old website and finish the login system for the website before school began mid-August.

I finished the first version of the discussion page at the beginning of August and the OWL board, especially Nolan, loved it, but I quickly discovered that having to log into the OWL server to directly edit the webpage was difficult for members to learn without me walking them through all the steps several times. These steps proved to be difficult because most of our members did not have experience working with HTML code or Linux commands. So, I set out to create a system that once members logged into the OWL website they could edit the discussion directly on the webpage. It took me a week to write the javascript and php code to make it happen but I completed it for the offical first week of OWL shifts.

That wraps up my brief summary of the beginnings of my time as Director of Development for OWL. If you want more details about my time as director you can read the archive of my blog as director at Developer's Corner - Between the Code. This is an archive of the OWL website that lives on this website.

Watching Clouds - New Job and Changes to the Website

Today, I have recieved my Final Job Offer Letter confirming my appointment to position of Meteorologist, 1340-07, at the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office (NWSFO) in Barrigado, Guam. My office start date is January 04, 2021 and part of me cannot wait to go to Guam and learn more about tropical weather and how to forecast it. A part of me is also a little nervous to be moving way from my family and friends, but I have experienced similar feelings before when I decide to go to the University of Oklahoma for college to get my B.S. in Meteorology.

If anyone has been looking at my website in the past couple of months and wondered why I have not been updating my forecast discussions since October now you know part of the reason as I been busy filling out paperwork for the job while also working for my uncles at Barr Construction. My website will soon be updated with a blog dedicated to my time in Guam, but I am unsure if I will change my forecast discussion page to focus on Guam (since I will be a forecaster making forecast for Guam anyways for my job) or continue making forecasts for NW Missouri when I have free time. I hope all my friends will keep in touch with me though I will be far away and I hope everyone will keep checking my website to stay up-to-date with my latest adventure.

Watching Clouds - Website updates

Progress on my website has really slowed since I graduated from OU. This website was always a hobby so I am not surprised I have not made any changes or been working on projects for the website. That not to say my website is not being used to help others. My good friend Nolan Meister has been using the server space for my website to host his own blog that he created while we were in OU and you can read his blog at: The Times and Travels of Nolan - Documenting trips I’ve taken and places I’ve seen. My website is also being used to help continue the development of the OWL website and act as the training ground for the HOOT members who now maintain it under the leadership of Victor Alvarez, a good friend of mine and the first true member of HOOT when I was its leader as Director of Development for OWL and was trying to rebuild it. Victor is now OWL's Director of Development and I am amazed how he has built HOOT even more than I could imagine. You can see the testbed for the OWL website at: OWL/HOOT Testbed.

Watching Clouds - Website updates for 2022

This is a really short update post, but I have made some minor changes to the picture slideshows that can be found on different pages of my website. The slideshows in the past were automatic and changed the picture every 5.5 seconds, but you had no way to pause the slide show. With the new improvement, you can now pause the slideshow my hovering your mouse over any one of the the dot at the bottom of the slide show which shows which image in the sequence is being shown. These dots can be used to jump to a particular photo. The same can be done with the navigation arrows that allow you to move to the previous or next photo. That right, you can now also manually navigate the slideshow as well with this update. I hope this little update proves to be useful to anyone who is still looking at my website from time to time.