FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

 

General

Why pay for this service, instead of just viewing free websites and webcams?
Why pay for this service, instead of just viewing free websites with forecasts?
Can I access your wind information on the web with a PC?
You you have Technical Support / Customer Service?

Subscription

How can I subscribe?
How is the subscription fee charged?
How can I unsubscribe?

Installation

Can I use BuscaViento on my iPhone?
Can I use BuscaViento on my Android phone?
When I install BuscaViento on my BlackBerry, it doesn't allow me to type the "+" sign before the user number.  What should I do?
I've changed phones.  How can I transfer BuscaViento from my old phone to my new one?
I've changed phone numbers.  How can I transfer my subscription to the new number?
Can I use BuscaViento on several phones at once?
The application takes a long time to start up on my phone, but on my friend's phone it opens quickly.  Why?

Wind Reports

What wind names do the abreviations stand for in the wind reports?
Why does the word "Calma" sometimes appear in a wind report, and then it's updated less frequently?
When I try to update the wind data, I get "Error connecting to the Internet".  What's wrong?

Spots

Why do the readings for STPERE seem to not match the real wind in Sant Pere Pescador?
Where are the BuscaViento wind sensors installed exactly?
I want a BuscaViento station on my beach.  How can I get one?
Do the wind stations ever fail or break?
I think a sensor is giving incorrect readings.  What can I do?

Alerts

Why aren't SMS messages used to send the alerts?  Isn't it more expensive to be constantly doing automatic updates?
Does leaving the application always running mean that it's always connected to the Internet?
How can I make the program NOT alert me from one or more spots, without having to remove them from my favorites list?
Why do I always have to do a data update first before activating the Alerts?
I press the # key to activate the Alerts, but nothing happens.  What's wrong?
I press the # key to minimize the application, but nothing happens.  What's wrong?

Fees

What does the subscription fee pay for?
How much do Internet connections cost on my cell phone?

 

 

General

Why pay for this service, instead of just viewing free websites and webcams?

There's an old saying that sums it up perfectly:  "You get what you pay for".  It's true that there are lots of free websites offering wind data from anemometers and webcams, but in the end their usefulness depends on many factors which are usually unknown:  Where and how is the anemometer or webcam installed?  Is it close to the sailing area and free of obstacles?  Does anyone keep it working and repair it when it breaks down?  Are the data really current?  Are the data reliable?

If something is free, that usually means it's not very good, or even if it is, that there's probably no one on the other end very motivated to repair it when it breaks because it will cost them money.  It's true that many websites are supported by advertising, but that's usually not sufficient to cover the costs of installing and regularly maintaining one or more weather stations.  Wind sensors require regular maintenance - they have mechanical parts which suffer wear and corrosion due to constant exposure to the elements.  Data communications from the weather station also experience frequent interruptions due to electrical or phone problems, and requiere constant monitoring.

From our experience, the vast majority of free websites display data from anemometers which are far from the beach (in airports or nearby towns) and in inadequate locations (on balconies or buildings with obstacles in one or more directions), and are frequently out of order for long periods until someone notices and decides to repair them.  What's worse, these websites don't offer the possibility of alerting you when the wind picks up, so you have be constantly checking them.  If you forget to check at the right time, you could miss a great day of sailing.

Convenience is also worth considering.  It's not the same to have to be constantly checking several websites in different formats and varying degrees of reliability using a PC, as to view reliable, current data from all the best spots on your cell-phone screen in a concise, standard format, wherever you are, and to receive personalized alerts when the wind picks up at your favorite spots.  For very little money (less than the price of a cup of coffee every 4 days), you can be always connected to the wind and rest assured that the data will be current and reliable so as to not miss a single sailing day.

If freebies are what turn you on, hang around surfing free websites.  But if you want to sail, trust BuscaViento.

Why pay for this service, instead of just viewing free websites with forecasts?

It's true there are a multitude of websites offering detailed wind forecasts in attractive formats.  It's also true that forecasting models are becoming more and more sophosticated and achieve what sometimes appear to be surprisingly good results.  However, we must not forget that forecasting models are far from being perfected and still have a large margin of error.  No matter how beautifully the data are displayed, it doesn't mean we can rely on them one hundred percent.

In particular we would say the following:  From our experience, forecasts sometimes (not always) get the tendency fairly right - that is, the windspeed, direction, and time of strong winds (caused by passing weather fronts, etc.) but they don't forecast moderate or light winds well, especially thermal winds, which are particularly relavant for windsurfing and kitesurfing here in Spain.  These observations are based on comparisons we've made of forecasted data and real data from our sensors on various beaches, and also on comments from many of our users who also check forecasts.  We frequently hear complaints from wind or kitesurfers who have trusted forecasts which never came true.  Forecasting models have simply not achieved the level of perfection necessary to reliably forecast moderate and light winds, which depend largely on local phenomena difficult to include in the models.

It should also be kept in mind that forecasting websites tend to display the data as if they were much more geographically localized than they really are.  Forecasting models compute predictions for regularly-spaced points on a map, like a grid.  These points are usually at least 5 or 10 kilometers apart.  On a particular website you may see a list of specific beaches like "Castelldefels", "Mareny Blau", "Riumar", etc. as if the data had been forecast for these exact beaches, when in fact they are displaying data for the nearest points on the "grid", which may be several kilometers away.  All you have to do is check the geographical coordinates of the computed points corresponding to each "beach" to see the difference.

Nevertheless, we don't want to completely dismiss forecasts, but rather recommend that they be used wisely and in addition to real wind readings.  It might be helpful to check out the forecasts to see the overall tendency expected on a particular day in order to be prepared, but later watch the real readings from BuscaViento to get it right.

Can I access your wind information on the web with a PC?

Currently, no.  For one thing, we want accessing BuscaViento to be convenient and portable for everyone - viewable in the palm of your hand from everywhere.  Not all of us work in front of a PC, but we all carry a cell phone we can pull out to check the wind anywhere, any time.  In addition, with a cell phone it's possible to reliably authenticate users, thus ensuring that there is only one user per subscription, which is vital for keeping the BuscaViento service operating with the same high quality as we have for the last 10 years.

Do you have Technical Support / Customer Service?

You bet.  You can call us at 627-95-95-88  or send us an e-mail to buscaviento@buscaviento.com any day of the year and we'll give you qualified, personalized, friendly assistance.  One of they keys to BuscaViento's success has always been the quality and availability of our customer service, which any one of our subscribers will undoutedly testify.

Cell phones are becoming more and more sophisticated, but at the same time increasingly complicated, meaning that sometimes you need a hand to install the application or correctly configure your phone to connect to our service.  We have broad experience with a wide array of cell phone models, so we can easily help you resolve any difficulties you might have.

We would also like to hear any suggestion you may have to improve BuscaViento or adapt it to your needs.  BuscaViento is intended to be useful, and many of its features were suggestions from our subscribers.

 

Suscription

How can I subscribe?

First, try out the application on your cell phone to make sure it's compatible, following these instructions.  You have 15 days to try it absolutely free.

Once the application is installed on your phone, you can subscribe at any time.  The subscription always begins after the free 15-day trial.  You can subscribe by filling out the suscription form on our website, or by calling us at 627-95-95-88.

How is the subscription fee charged?

The subscription fee is charged by automatic bank debit.  Not only is the the most inexpensive and convenient method for you, but also the safest method, since you always have a 15-day period to reject any automatic debit in the event of an error.

How can I unsubscribe?

In the unlikely event you want to unsubscribe to our service (due to injury, old age, or expatriation, for example), the procedure is simple.  Just let us know by phone or e-mail and we'll cancel your subscription immediately.

 

Installation

Can I install BuscaViento on my iPhone?

Of course.  We have a specific version for the iPhone which incorporates many of the amazing features of its touch-screen interface.   You can install it directly on your iPhone from the App StoreSM, or else with your computer from the following link:

Can I install BuscaViento on my Android phone?

Yes, you can.  We have a specific Android version which takes advantage of many of the amazing features of the Android user interface.   You can install it directly on your phone from Google PlayTM, or else with your computer from the following link:

Get it on Google Play

When I install BuscaViento on my BlackBerry, it doesn't let me type the "+" sign before the user number.  What should I do?

In the application's "Login" screen, your cell-phone number must be typed in the "User" field, preceeded by the "+" sign and country code.  However, BlackBerrys don't allow typing the "+" sign in this field for some reason.  It doesn't matter - just type your phone number WITHOUT the "+" sign and the application will still work.

I've changed phones.  How can I transfer BuscaViento from my old phone to my new one?

First, simply install the application on the new phone by following the usual procedure, just like you did on your old phone.

Then, let us know so that we can transfer your subscription to your new phone.  Otherwise, the system will block your access when it detects you have the application installed on two different phones.

I've changed phone numbers.  How can I transfer my subscription to the new number?

If you've also changed phones, first install the application on the new phone by following the usual procedure, just like you did on your old phone.

Then, let us know so that we can transfer your subscription to your new phone.  Otherwise, your access will end after the initial 15-day trial with the new number.

Can I use BuscaViento on several phones at once?

No.  The system only allows 1 copy of the application per user, meaning you have to choose a single phone you want to use it on.  Why?  This is an anti-copy mechanism, to prevent several users from sharing a single subscription, which would inevitably result in BuscaViento's disappearance.  BuscaViento has worked well for over 10 years largely due to user subscriptions, which cover the costs necessary to keep it working - equipment, telecommunications, installation, maintenance, travel expenses, system management, software development, customer service, etc.  If everyone were allowed to copy and share it, there would end up being many users who don't contribute, and BuscaViento would be unsustainable.  Even if you copied it to another phone belonging to you, it's impossible to verify that you end up using it yourself and not someone else.  For this reason, only 1 copy of the application is allowed per user.

The application takes a long time to start up on my phone, but on my friend's phone it opens quickly.  Why?

The speed with which each phone launches Java depends on the power of its processor.  The more multifunctional a phone is, the faster and more powerful its processor usually is.  A multimedia-type phone with a camara and music player needs a more powerful processor, so it can usually start up Java in less than 5-10 seconds.  A simple phone designed mainly for voice calls usually has a basic processor, and can take sometimes take over a minute to launch a Java application.  For this reason we recommend using the BuscaViento application on a mid to high-range phone so that it will be handier to use (especially if you're impatient to see if it's windy!).  In any case, once the application is open, it works pretty much just as fast on all phones.  If you have a slow phone, you can simply leave the application running and check the wind when you need to.

 

Wind Reports

What wind names do the abbreviations stand for in the wind reports?

On the first line of the wind reports the wind direction is displayed in international format (N, NNE, NE, ENE, E, etc.), and on the second line the common wind name is displayed, abbreviated to 3 letters.  The common names vary depending on the region, and in some cases have different names within the same region, depending on the exact location or the sport or profession in which they're used (boating, fishing, windsurfing, etc.).  For example, in Valencia everyone seems to have their own theory as to whether the SW wind is called "Llebeig" or "Garbí", and whether the "Llebeig" comes from the SW or the SE.  Based on our own survey, these appear to be the most accepted names in each region:

Direction Cataluña Comunidad Valenciana Murcia
N TRA Tramontana TRA Tramontana NOR Norte
NE GRE Gregal GRE Gregal GRE Gregal
E LLE Llevant LEV Llevant LEV Levante
SE XAL Xaloc XAL Xaloc JAL Jaloque
S MIG Migjorn MIG Migjorn SUR Sur
SW GAR Garbí LLB Llebeig LEB Lebeche
W PON Ponent PON Ponent PON Poniente
NW MES Mestral MES Mestral MIS Mistral

Why does the word "Calma" sometimes appear in a wind report, and then it's updated less frequently?

In general, wind is considered to start being "interesting" for windsurfing or kitesurfing with an average windspeed at or above 8 knots.  With 8 or more knots, the wind stations send updated information every 15 minutes.  Below 8 knots, the wind is nothing more than a promising breeze, which we indicate with the word "Calma" ("Calm") in place of the gust values.  It's not useful to update the data as frequently in this case, which would increase the communications costs unnecessarily.  But so we can keep an eye out in case the wind picks up, the information is updated every hour.

When I try to update the wind data, I get "Error connecting to the Internet".  What's wrong?

The most common cause is a phone incorrectly configured to connect to the Internet from Java.  Even though you can connect to the Internet with your phone's browser, this doesn't mean it will work from a Java application like BuscaViento, because on many phones Java and the Internet browser use different Internet profiles (sets of parameters) to connect to the Internet.  BuscaViento needs a GPRS connection profile, whereas most phones are usually configured by default to use a WAP profile.

If you have any difficulty configuring your phone, don't hesitate to call us at 627-95-95-88 or send us an e-mail at buscaviento@buscaviento.com  and we'll give you a hand.

On rare occasions there may be temporary failures in the mobile network or in the Internet which cause problems accessing our server.  If you thing the problem is not with your phone, call us and we can inform you of any network failures we are aware of.

 

Spots

Why do the readings for STPERE not seem to match the real wind in Sant Pere Pescador?

The wind on Sant Pere Pescador beach is different on the north end than on the south end.  For this reason, we have 2 sensors on this beach, so it's important to watch the right sensor for the section of the beach you're on.  Our STPERE sensor is in the Club Mistral in the Ballena Alegre campground, and covers the SOUTH end of the beach.  Our EMPURI sensor is in the Empuriabrava port, and covers the NORTH end of the beach, including the Aquarius and Gaviota campground area.

Especially when the wind has a NORTHERN component (NW, N, NE), the wind is usually stronger on the NORTH end of the beach, so it's better to watch the EMPURI sensor, particularly if you're sailing in the vicinity of the Aquarius or Gaviota campgrounds, since, if you watch the STPERE sensor instead, it will probably show a lower reading.  All other winds tend to produce similar windspeed readings all along the beach.

Why is the sensor on the south end called STPERE, and not the one on the north end?  Simply for historic reasons.  Back in the year 2000, before kitesurfing became popular, mostly windsurfing was practiced in the Ballena Alegre campground area.  We placed our second sensor there, and called it STPERE.  A few years later kitesurfing took off, and the north end of the beach became the main kitesurfing area when several kitesurfing schools opened in the vicinity of the Aquarius campground.  When we noticed that the wind was different on that end, we installed another sensor in the Empuriabrava port, and called it EMPURI.

Where are the BuscaViento wind sensors installed exactly?

What gives BuscaViento its main added value is that we measure the wind right on the beach in the sailing area.  Wind is a very localized phenomenon, so it's not the same thing to measure it right on the beach as to measure it at the nearest town or airport, or even on a building one row back from the beachfront.  Wind readings are of little use if you arrive at the beach find that the wind is completely different.  For this reason, we always place our sensors on structures either right on the beach, or else on beachfront buildings free of obstacles.  Typically these are windsurfing club structures, lifeguard huts, sailing clubs, campgrounds, port jetties, or beachfront hotels or restaurants.  But what we never do, as a rule, is install a sensor in an inadequate location just to say we have a sensor on a particular beach.  Until we've found a location from which to take good readings, we don't install a sensor.

You can see the locations of our sensors within a few meters on this map.

I want a BuscaViento station on my beach.  How can I get one?

We'd like to eventually cover all the best spots, so we appreciate any suggestions for new sensors.  But of course, installing and maintaining a weather station costs money, so it's essential that a beach be sufficiently in demand to cover these costs.  We keep a record of all requests we receive for new spots, and the most requested ones are the first candidates for a sensor.  So if you'd like a sensor on your favorite beach, just say so, and ask your friends to let us know too.  You can send us your request here.

Do the wind stations ever fail or break?

Just like any electronic or mechanical device, weather stations occasionally suffer failures.  Over the last 10 years we have developed many improvements in our stations to make them as failsafe as possible, but the occasional failure is inevitable.  The wind sensors have mechanical parts and are subject to wear, fouling, and corrosion from constant friction and exposure to the elements.  The stations' electronic components can also become damaged, especially by power surges caused by electrical storms.  We constantly monitor all of our weather stations to detect any malfunction and ensure their continuous operation, and we also depend on the collaboration of our users to notify us of some types of failures only detectable on-site.  We manage to resolve most problems by phone in just a few minutes or hours.  We make an effort to solve more complicated failures in less than 1 week.  However, on occasion there may be delays due to exceptional circumstances - power cut-offs due to construction work, difficulty in obtaining spare parts, the need for permission to access the premises, etc.  In these cases we notify users of the estimated repair time and recommend that other nearby sensors be used in the mean time.

I think a sensor is giving incorrect readings.  What can I do?

We constantly monitor all of our weather stations to detect any malfunction and ensure their continuous operation.  However, occasionally there are failures which are difficult to detect except right on the beach - low readings or incorrect direction readings caused by a dirty sensor, for example.  In these cases, the collaboration of our users is vital to detect and resolve problems as soon as possible.

If you believe that a sensor is giving incorrect readings, don't hesitate to let us know, but keeping in mind these pointers to avoid false alarms:

 

Alerts

Why aren't SMS messages used to send the alerts?  Isn't it more expensive to be constantly doing automatic updates?

For 2 reasons:   it's cheaper, and it's more convenient.

First of all, SMS messages are much more expensive than transferring data over the Internet.  If you consider that each SMS costs 15 cents, and each update typically costs 0.1 - 0.2 cents, you can do 75 - 150 automatic updates (each one of which can generate an alert) for the same price as a single SMS.  Of course, this is assuming you've signed up for a GPRS plan with no session connection fee (see our page about cell-phone rates).

Secondly, it's much more convenient and makes much more sense for the BuscaViento application to do the alerting, instead of receiving an SMS message in your mailbox.  This way, when you receive an alert, the application appears on the screen and displays the current wind data for all your spots in the same handy format as always, showing you which spots are windy, and alerting you with a specific sound you've chosen.  An SMS message, on the other hand, would appear separately in your mailbox and would make the same tone as any other SMS, and could contain information for just a few spots with no helpful formatting.

Does leaving the application always running mean that it's always connected to the Internet?

Not at all.  The BuscaViento application is a Java program which is stored in your phone's memory, just like a game.  It only connects to the Internet when you press the "Update" option to update the wind data, and then it immediately disconnects.

When you leave the application running with the Alerts activated, it only connects to the Internet each time it updates the data, at the interval you've configured in the "Alerts" set-up screen.  It works just like when you update by hand, but it does it automatically.

In any event, in order to minimize the cost, we recommend that you turn off the Alerts when you don't need them, like when you're already sailing, or on days you don't plan to go sailing.

How can I make the program NOT alert me from one or more spots, without having to remove them from my favorites list?

If you want to be alerted when it gets windy in some spots, but not when it's windy in others, just set a very high wind threshold for those spots you're not interested in.  For example, if you want to be alerted if the wind goes above 15 knots in BARNA, but you don't want to be alerted if it gets windy in CAMBRI, set a threshold of 15 knots for BARNA, and 50 knots or more for CAMBRI.  Unless a gale starts blowing in CAMBRI, you won't be alerted for that spot.

Why do I always have to do a dat update first before activating the Alerts?

For security (and by law), all cell phones are programmed to ask the users if they want to allow an application to connect to the Internet.  This prevents malicious applications from connecting without their consent and incurring unwanted costs.  Once permission has been granted for the first connection, the application can make the remaining connections without asking.

For this reason, a first update must be performed to grant BuscaViento permission for Internet connections.  Otherwise, the first time it tried to connect, it would get stuck on the screen that asks for permission.

I press the # key to activate the Alerts, but nothing happens.  What's wrong?

If the current time is later than the "End time" of the alert schedule you've configured in the Alerts set-up screen, the Alerts won't turn on.  If you set an "End time" later than the current time, the Alerts will turn on when you press the # key.

I press the # key to minimize the application, but nothing happens.  What's wrong?

On some cell-phone models the minimization option might not work, because Java works differently depending on the phone model.  However, many phones allow minimizing applications another way - with the "Back" key for example, or with a menu option.  Check your phone's manual and experiment to see if there's another way to minimize the application.

Even if there's no way to minimize, it's not absolutely necessary.  You can just leave BuscaViento running, since it won't interfere with incoming calls or messages.

 

Fees

What does the subscription fee pay for?

Our subscription fee helps cover all costs required to keep BuscaViento operating as a high-quality service Behind the cool screen, BuscaViento is a complex system requiring a great deal of work which goes unseen:

We've always made an effort to keep the subscription fee as low as possible so as to attract a greater number of users, allowing us to not only to cover costs but to expand and improve our system as well.

Think of it this way:  Surely you go to a bar and order a cup of coffee   somewhat regularly.  If you order one cup a day, at the end of the month you will have spent 4 times the BuscaViento subscription feeThat's 4 times cheaper than a cup of coffee, but it buys you much more fun.

How much do Internet connections cost on my cell phone?

The BuscaViento application updates the wind data on your phone using Internet connections.  The application has been optimized so as to spend as little as possible on each connection.  The cost of each connection depends on which mobile operator you have, the data plan you've signed up for with that company, and the correct configuration of your phone.  It is essential that you verify these items before you subscribe in order to avoid problems with your phone bill.  In the best case, using the BuscaViento application as much as you want can use only 1 - 2MB per month in Internet connections.  Don't hesitate to call us for any help on this subject.