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Announcing warnJS – the internet emergency broadcast system

I don’t know if you have ever huddled in an internal room with your children during a tornado warning, but it is one of the most unsettling things I have experienced in my life. While unsettling, it is equally relieving to know that you are in the best place you can be before it hits. There are many ways we become aware of impending weather emergencies – the emergency broadcast system on TV and radio, weather apps or text message services on our phones – but one media provider seems left out altogether… the Internet.

It seemed silly to me that the most versatile medium mankind has ever known wouldn’t have a solution that made the dissemination of this kind of information quick, easy, and unobtrusive. So I went to work.

I used my 8 machine cluster (96 cores and 384GB of RAM altogether) complete with memSQL to build a rapid IP-geolocation lookup coupled with NOAA’s real-time weather warning updates. Out of this was born warnJS. It is a completely free, ad free, no attribution link, snippet of javascript that any webmaster can install. When a user visits the site, if their geolocated IP matches a current warning area, a notice will display at the top of the screen with a link to NOAA’s page with more detail. It is that simple. No frills, no gotchas, just a quick, simple way to disseminate incredibly important, timely information to the right people at the right time.

For this to work, to be of any value at all, I need a lot of webmasters to install it. It is already running here at thegooglecache (check the code and look for a.warnjs.org/a.php). The more installations, the more likely someone in the path of the next tornado will catch this message in time. All I want is to get the info out there.

Thanks! Please visit http://www.warnjs.org to install and give it a whirl!

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