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Home > June 2003 > Reviews

On a clear day, you can see forever, as long as you have a window. The predicament that I face is that my office is one of the many in our building that doesn't have a window. Not a single one. Not even a very little one for ventilation or anything.

So, not only can I not stare at the things that are going on outside of the building instead of doing work, I have little to no idea of what the weather is like out there. Has it started to rain? Snow? Is there a tornado ripping through the underbrush towards our unsuspecting office building?

Thankfully, there is Meteorologist to save the day. Meteorologist is a weather program that sits nicely in either the menu bar or the dock in Mac OS X. It can be configured to display at a glance the weather conditions as an icon, the temperature, and the city the forecast pertains to (in the menu bar only). This makes it very handy to glance at the icon before you go outside and realize that it is pouring rain and you forgot your brolly.

Meteorologist was initially developed due to problems experienced with a similar app, WeatherPop. Early in its development, Glucose was not exactly quick to fix problems that crept into their application, so other developers took the opportunity to write their own solutions to the problem. Matt Fahrenbacher's solution was, by far, the best of the bunch. Within a couple of versions, it had most of the features that WeatherPop was sporting, was more stable, and, most importantly, was free, as opposed to WeatherPop's shareware model. Meteorologist quickly gained a following, not only because of its features, but because Matt was so responsive to the community. There were numerous times where I saw improvements suggested in the comments section at VersionTracker, and within days a new version of Meteorologist was released that included the improvements, or at least a subset of them. And, all the while, Meteorologist has remained a free program, although Matt does ask for a donation if you find the program useful.

For keeping up with the weather, Meteorologist does a bang-up job. It sports an impressive list of features. You can display the weather information for numerous cities around the globe, with weather from three different sources. Meteorologist can access the extended forecasts for locations up to 8 days from the current day. All atmospheric data can be displayed in its menus, including temperature, humidity, dew point, visibility, UV index, and precipitation percent. It can display all values in either Standard or Metric units. Meteorologist will also download the latest radar image from the selected weather source. All of this information can be viewed either from the menu item, or by control-clicking on the dock icon.

Adding to the view of Meteorologist as a truly useful tool is the recent addition of Weather Alerts. This option checks for any weather alerts for your area and alerts you by either beeping, playing an MP3 file, shaking the dock icon, or emailing you. To know about weather warnings when you don't have easy access to a radio or television is really good peace-of-mind.

One of my favorite features of the program is the ability to show multiple city conditions in the main menu. At the touch of a button, I can see what the weather is like where my parents live, where my favorite uncle lives, where my brother is stationed, and in a couple of European cities where I only wish I lived.

It makes for a great vacation-planning tool, as well. As the departure day draws nearer, you can keep track of the weather forecasts for multiple destinations and decide whether to pack light or to pull out the winter coats. To be quite honest, I have yet to find anything wrong with this application. It is lightweight, feature-packed, and unobtrusive. The only possible quirk is a tiny jump in CPU usage when it updates the weather. But, this is nothing compared to WeatherPop's complete hogging of all available processor time to update its forecasts.

Some people just don't really care what the weather is like outside, or would just as soon go outside and experience it first hand. This app may not be for them. But, for those of us that can't always do that, Meteorologist delivers the goods. Keep up the good work, Matt.

Matt Fahrenbacher



OS X 10.1 or later


A very small, feature-packed weather app, that lists for the low price of $0. What more could you want?


No matter how I try, it refuses to make Julienne Fries.