Local students invent tsunami warning software

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Two students from the University of Technology in Sydney have developed a desktop application to warn of impending tsunamis.

Two students from the University of Technology in Sydney have developed a desktop application to warn of impending tsunamis.

Marcus Schappi and Christian Kent were inspired to create their "Tsunami Warning Widget" after reading an article by tech writer and author, Robert X. Cringely.

Written days after the 26 December South-East Asian tsunami disaster, Cringely's article discusses the viability and relative ease of constructing a tsunami warning system by using existing seismic data.

The application was completed in a single night with "two pizzas and a six pack of beer", Schappi said.

Schappi explained that there are two parts to the warning system. The first is a PHP based web application that pulls data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tsunami warning bulletin and converts the information into an RSS feed.

The second part is the widget itself, which simply takes the RSS feed and displays the information on the users desktop. The widget is designed to use the JavaScript runtime engine Konfabulator (www.konfabulator.com) and runs on Windows 2000/XP or Mac OS X systems.

The widget can be downloaded from http://download.progsoc.uts.edu.au.

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