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New Jersey Scuba Diving

Bananas!

New Jersey Scuba Diving

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June/July 2017

Added new Manasquan Inlet Artificial Reef and some other reef updates. Finally found the 'secret' GPS numbers of the Tamaroa.

November 2016

Download some reading for the winter:

October 2016

Added a Top 40 page listing the most popular subjects, according to my web counters.

Nautical Measurements & Navigation is now its own page, with lat/lon to distance/bearing calculators.

The Ida K was actually SC-1282, and participated in Operation Overlord - the invasion of Normandy in June 1944. Who ever thought this pile of junk had that kind of history !

Huge Hungry Glass-Smashing Fish
I always liked this cartoon

New policy on GPS numbers.

September 2016

Major overhaul of beneath-the-skin framework code.

The tugboats and "GA Venturo" pages now much more interesting. Also, How to Make a Reef.

Replaced phpBB with MyBB. Added search boxes to end of all pages.

Updated Artificial Reef section. New sites and GPS numbers (!!!). All vessels now listed by their real names, many with expanded histories.

Added a "Bookshelf" - all the references listed in the various sections of the website, gathered together in one place. Also cleaned-up all the individual 'References' pages.

Collision At Sea - a page I've been thinking of doing for a long time.

   Bananas

New book on the discovery of the U-550:Where Divers Dare

Where Divers Dare
The Hunt for the Last U-boat

by Randall Peffer

[ excerpt ]

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


August 2016

Hidden History of Maritime New JerseyHidden History of Maritime New Jersey

by Steve Nagiewicz

[ excerpt ]

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Finished the story of the Redbirds.

Went through the 'Gear & Training' section and updated a lot of pages for new technology. This was long-overdue.

July 2016

Increased font size as much as practical for mobile devices - a lot more work than it sounds - every page had to be checked for the resulting formatting glitches, and I'm sure I'll be finding the ones I missed for a long time to come. Increased some spacing to make links more 'finger-friendly'. The site now works quite nicely on a tablet, and tolerably on a phone. With modern high-resolution displays, it also works better on a real computer.

I also made the sliding menu work better on small displays. It now follows you in a lazy way when you scroll manually, so you can see the off-screen part. You can summon it immediately by tapping in the water column. The menu tab is also a little smarter - fewer clicks to get around. Added a nag screen for phone users.

That's as far as I can go for mobile devices. More than that would require rebuilding the entire site just to ruin it for screens that are too small to display anything well anyway. I'm not going to do that.

Also added some more book excerpts from Gary Gentile's Popular Dive Guide Series. Here is the full list:

These are terrific books that every diver or maritime enthusiast should have on their shelf.

Global counter topped 1 million since May 5, 2015, so I reset all the page counts.

June 2016

Addressed some problems with Google. A few new dive boats.

August 2015

May 2015

Found the original files and re-rendered my swim-through of the Redbirds in "high-def" - well, the original 640x480 anyway, that's all the camera would shoot back then. It's still pretty cool stuff:

Swim Around Redbird Subway Cars Reef - Artificial Reefs - New Jersey Scuba Diving Diving the Redbird Subway Cars Reef off New Jersey, 5 years after they were sunk. A swim over, around, and through several of the underwater subway cars. These cars are now no more than scrap heaps, but back then they were pretty interesting.
The soundtrack is just me huffing and puffing to push the camera rig in front of me with both hands, while going in and out of the cars with just my fins for control. Didn't crash into anything either, but I never used a tank of air so fast. I was back at the surface empty in about fifteen minutes.

April 2015

Checked browser compatability & html/css - site now works with all late versions of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, and Internet Exploder 11, on Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and IOS platforms. Incapable browsers are now blocked.

A Guide to Fishing & Diving New Jersey Reefs
A Guide to Fishing & Diving New Jersey Reefs
NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife, 3rd edition pdf

Includes GPS numbers for all reef sites.

Download your copy here. This invaluable book has been out of print for years.


Major overhaul under the hood - much easier to maintain now. This site is huge, and was originally done in Microsoft FrontPage, an excellent product in its day, that Microsoft bought, ruined and then killed, in what might have been a dry run for what they have done to all of their other products. Five years ago ( remember Vista? ) I switched to a Mac and never looked back. But the site's files - hundreds of them - were all full of now-useless FrontPage junk, and I despaired of what to do to take it forward. So it stagnated.

After looking at everything from Wordpress to Drupal, I finally had a brainstorm and wrote my own framework - in one php file. Now the site is easily managed with just a text editor - no database. And the transition - involving hundreds of files - could be automated to the point where it only took a few hours of determined hacking. All files are now php, with seamless redirects from the old html addresses. You might notice that almost nothing seems to have changed, but actually, everything has.

Structural updates:

New content:

The solution I eventually came up with is one that turns modern web publishing on its head. A system like Wordpress or Drupal stores small amounts of data in a sql database and then invokes tens-of-thousands of lines of code to get it back out - just to say "Hello World", in the most complicated and buggy way possible. This site has a huge amount of data - moving it one piece at a time into a database was out of the question. Besides that, I am quite expert in Wordpress, which is actually another reason why I wouldn't want to use it for this. Then I got my bright idea.

I kept the data in the text files where it already was, and have them invoke a very simple framework around themselves, to give the site its formatting and structure. This is something like the way Wikipedia works. All editing can be done with a text editor, I use TextWrangler, which has multi-file search-and-replace capabilities and a lot more. The data files are almost entirely bereft of all the usual html clutter - very easy to work on. The 'framework' is entirely separate from the data and likewise very easy to work on. The last piece of the puzzle is a decent ftp program - Filezilla does the job well enough. The more I fiddle with my "framework", the better and more flexible it becomes.

A little automation really goes a long way. All the repetitive elements of the site are now machine-generated. That includes almost all of the page layout and formatting. Automation also makes it easier to build a better link structure, so that related pages link to each-other. I also came up with a novel way of using CSS that allows for very neat html coding.

The only thing I am putting my faith in is the php engine, which one hopes is debugged and hardened enough by now that njscuba.net won't someday turn into a Russian porn site when I'm not looking. Even if it does get hacked, it is easily restored from my safe backup files. And the php engine is being very lightly used: without dozens of database queries for every page, the speed impact is negligible.

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Disclaimer:

I make no claim as to the accuracy, validity, or appropriateness of any information found in this website. I will not be responsible for the consequences of any action that is based upon information found here. Scuba diving is an adventure sport, and as always, you alone are responsible for your own safety and well being.

Copyright © 1996-2016 Rich Galiano
unless otherwise noted

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