Sunday, December 2

Whether you can trust the weather . . .

Sunday. A lovely sunny day ahead of a forecast week of rain, humidity and possible thunderstorms. A good day to head north for lunch with some of the family at the Motor Yacht Club at Toronto.

But what to wear? What's the weather likely to be? That should be easy – I've set up an iGoogle home page which displays all sorts of information including weather forecasts.

I'm a news junkie, so it displays headlines from the ABC, other Aussie sources, BBC World Service, New Scientist, and a few others. Then there's the calendar, the clock and date display, world clocks, a currency converter, and a search box which takes you straight into Wikipedia. Even a memo pad where you can list your jobs, right in front of your eyes where it keeps nagging at you.

Really useful, and easy to set up, tailored to your individual interests. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Not so sure about the weather forecasts, however. I've set it up for Sydney, Newcastle and Perth, with current conditions as well as forecasts for today, tomorrow and the next day, each with a little pictograph and what I expect is a forecast temperature range.

For today in Newcastle, at 7.44am the iGoogle forecast showed a current 19°, already above the forecast 18°/15° range. The Bureau of Meteorology at 5.15am had issued a forecast of a 24° max.

For tomorrow, Monday, iGoogle shows a 21°/18° forecast for Newcastle, while the BoM predicts a 30° max.

From time to time, I've compared BoM and iGoogle forecasts, and this sort of discrepancy is not unusual. Perhaps it would be better to add , plus the bureau's relevant regional page, to the Favorites list in your internet browser.

Even the news headlines seem well behind – since 4am, at least, the ABC radio news has led on an al-Qaeda attack on an Iraq village which left 14 dead. But the only place it's to be found in the headlines on my home page is the BBC.

Perhaps that's not Google's fault. Perhaps the news organisations which provide headline feeds to iGoogle need to lift their game.

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