there's an app for that

Beloved Houston weather website launches new app

Space City Weather's new app tracks humidity (yes!). Screencap via Space City Weather

If necessity is indeed the mother of invention, Houston is oddly lucky that longtime Houston science/tech writer Eric Berger was compelled to launch his Space City Weather website.

Departing the Houston Chronicle, Berger realized that in the city, "a calm, rational approach to weather reporting works really well," he told this writer in 2016.

For six years, devotees have flocked to his site on the daily for that no-nonsense, rational reporting (no "wishcasting," as he calls it, here). Now, Space City Weather has reached yet a new milestone with the launch of a clever, Houston-centric app.

The just-launched app is available on Android and iOS devices; fortunately, few differences exist between the two platforms. As pointed out by Dwight Silverman on the site, users can choose from one of five zones closest to them for forecasts and conditions: Houston (Bush Intercontinental Airport), Hobby Airport, Conroe, Galveston, and Katy.

Users can find three simple screens. At the top of the initial screen are current conditions, the hourly forecast, and most-recent Space City Weather posts. Scrolling down reveals a seven-day forecast and the current radar from the National Weather Service.

Push notifications are also available and the creators stress that no ads, in-app purchases, no tracking or hoovering of your personal information exist." We gather diagnostic data to make sure the app is working properly, and that's it. We respect your privacy," Silverman writes. (Much appreciated.)

Hair day planning locals will love that this whimsical app finds humidity sharing equal billing with the current temperature atop the home screen.

With Version 1 in the books, app creators urge users to report bugs as updates arrive. If the app explodes in popularity in the same way as the parent site did (we'll go ahead and call it now), the forecast is clearly bright for Space City Weather.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

. Photo via Getty Images

CruxOCM, a startup with a significant Houston presence that specializes in robotic industrial process automation for energy companies, has secured even more business from energy giant Phillips 66.

The value of the deal wasn’t disclosed.

Houston-based Phillips 66 has agreed to expand it use of CruxOCM’s pipeBOT technology to cover even more pipelines. The pipeBOT technology is designed to improve the safety and efficiency of control room operations for pipelines and reduce control room costs.

CruxOCM and Phillips 66 launched a test of pipeBOT in 2020.

CruxOCM, based in Calgary, Canada, says pipeBOT is engineered to decrease manual controls through intelligent automation. With this technology in place, the fatigue of control room operators declines, because as many as 85 percent fewer manual commands must be entered, according to CruxOCM. Therefore, control room operators can focus on higher-level tasks.

“At CruxOCM, we empower control room operators with modern software that enables the autonomous control rooms of tomorrow, within the safety constraints of today. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with Phillips 66 for many years to come,” Adam Marsden, chief revenue officer at CruxOCM, says in a news release.

Founded in 2017, Crux OCM (Crux Operations Control Management) established its Houston presence last year. Also in 2021, the startup raised $6 million in venture capital in a “seed extension” funding round. Bullpen Capital led the round, with participation from Angular Ventures, Root Ventures, Golden Ventures, Cendana Capital, and Industry Ventures.

In 2019, Angular Ventures and Root Ventures co-led a $2.6 million funding round.

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