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Category Archives: Personal

Off the turnpike: Hiking the Garden State

I am not normal. I am destined for a desk job in an air conditioned office, writing code all day, but on the other hand I love being outside in nature.  Hiking (Or short trekking, as if I had my way, the map and GPS would only be backup), rock climbing, kayaking, rafting, fishing, camping (Which I don’t get to ever do it seems) and now I’ve added geocaching to the list. I’m also damn proud of my state as I state here, the state is not everything people say, there are no toxic waste dumps, and everything is not off the turnpike, and there are hundreds of miles of hiking.

I recently moved into an apartment for college. If you follow me on twitter or know me, then you know more details about that and maybe the area. It’s in the New Jersey Skylands, or the Highlands, depending on your discipline., which is a prime spot for hiking. Just a dozen or so miles from the Appalachian trail (AT), which provides 72 miles of trails coming from New York State into New Jersey slightly North if High Point in Montague, down to Mt. Tammany, a 1526 foot peak. Across from Mt. Minsi, it ends the southern portion of the AT in New Jersey, and its a popular short day hike. Easily done in a day, even coming from points as far as Cape may, it’s one of the better hikes in New Jersey, but as I’ve come to find, not the best. I’m sure you may want maps and more info on these hikes, and I’ll list info for all hikes mentioned here at the very button of the page. Read the rest of this entry

New Jersey!

This is an essay I wrote for a History Of New Jersey Class. It’s mine, if you find it online while grading my homework, it’s because I put it there. Please enjoy it either way.

“New Jersey has it all. If you want something, look for it in Jersey. The best parts of New York in actually in New Jersey, the Giants and Jets play here, the Statue of liberty is ours, the our food will actually pass a health inspection. We’re the dinner capital of the world, and if you’re looking for a quick bite of each anywhere south of I-195, every town has a Wawa, which are magically places filled with amazing food, inexpensive coffee, and subs the New Yorker’s would kill for.

We have the shore, or beach as you probably know it, and the mountains, and a large pine forest called the Pine Barrens, and a third of the state is state or county parks. You’re never more than 20 minutes from somewhere to fish or hike and places to kayak or hunt aren’t too much further out of the way. In a long day, you can go from hiking in the mountains, to swimming at the shore, and still have time to sit down and eat at a 24 hour diner for dinner and take a trip down the scary Shades of Death or Clinton Roads on the way back home. And I guarantee between the music on at the diner or the radio in the car, you won’t go a day without hearing from any of the musicians from New Jersey, Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, My Chemical Romance, Senses Fail, or even the Jonas Brothers.

The parkway and turnpike will not get you everywhere and most people couldn’t tell you “what exit” they live near. Largely the State Highways are the preferred routes. Some like 57 are mostly scenic while others like 38 are built up. The roads have names but no one ever uses them. And it is never socially acceptable to say “The 57”. It’s 57, 295, 38. We’re in too much of a hurry to add the extra “the” to the roads. No matter where in the state you are, you’re never far from 206, which will get you to and from the beach area easily.

We also drive better than anyone else. Yes we might drive a bit fast, but the Stateys generally leave us alone for reasonable speeds, and some of us do forget an occasional turn signal, but when it comes to using jug handles and we always know what exit gets you where you want to go, usually be name and by landmark of the closest fast food restaurant.

As for the “Real” housewives and the ‘shore, most of them are New York transplants. New Jersey has everything, hoodlums and fist pumping jackasses are included in that, but are by no means a majority. Guess they came here because we really do have everything. If it weren’t for all the tolls to leave jersey and their inability to get a real job, they’d have left the state already.”

I’m from New Jersey and proud of it. Don’t like it? Get out of the state. This guy has the right idea.

The College Scam

My expedience as a New Jersey College student attending a local community college in (high) hopes to transfer seamlessly to a 4 years university.


People always joke about how community college is not a real school, and popular TV shows, such as community enforce that mindset.  In New Jersey, a law was passed where all credits earned in New Jersey must transfer to all colleges within the state, assuming the college your trying to transfer too offers the same course. Thats not exactly true anymore, but thats not BCC’s fault, as much as I’d like to blame them. Because of this law, many students choose to get their first two years of college out of the way at the should-be-cheaper community college, in this case Burlington County College. I choose it for the money and ability to work at a flexible schedule while going to school. I made a mistake. Read the rest of this entry

Viva la Open Web

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Today was probably the biggest day for the open web in a long time.

WebM is a new project, lead by Google, Mozilla, opera and many other web leaders, http://www.webmproject.org is their new home. WebM is a open web video project, using the newly open sourced codec VP8 by On2 technologies, owned by Google and released under a royalty free, open source licences today at Google I/O.

Currently Chrome, Firefox and Opera all Support WebM, in the latest nightly builds. Links below. Using the Matroska container (.mkv files) for holding the VP8 and Ogg/Vorbis.

Opera

Chrome

Firefox

EDIT: opera

WebM/VP8 is supposed to be the highest quality, highest compressions, best bandwidth usage and just overall the best codec out there.  Now that it’s open source, the codec debate should die. OGG is nice, but nothing compared to VP8. H.264 is pricey and not free/open anything.  Opera and Firefox previously supported OGG.  IE9 and Safari supported H.264. Chrome Supported both, but Chromium only supported Ogg.

On the first day, Opera, Firefox and Chrome (presumably Chromium as well) have put their full weight behind Webm. Chrome is the builder of webkit,  so presumable safari will join on board the VP8 bandwagon. The only Problem with this being the universal web video codec, is IE9 who has only said they will support H.264, but I suspect that will change in the coming days.

This just in: IE9 to support WebM/VP8


Screenshot of Firefox 3.7A running WebM on youtube.

Among the other goodies released today, are the Google Web font directory. Fonts hosted at google that you can click to embed into your own website. http://code.google.com/webfonts

Happy Surfing on the open web, No beach tags required.