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Everything posted by -CJ-

  1. Wise words. I cannot say I'm in one of these groups. I really like geocaching because it takes me to interesting places. Visiting a Robert Capa photo gallery in Budapest made my day, not finding another couple of magnetic micros. However, geocaching is the game where one needs to use GPS to find caches, and this is not a private opinion of some group, it's stipulated at this website as the very core of geocaching. Can I say that since I visited the gallery I played geocaching? No. I can say this only after I searched for the mentioned containers and found them. We probably should not put these values against each other but combine them.
  2. Still it's the core of the game, no?
  3. I like the way you provide arguements. I apologize for being not exact. Geocaching is not about just visiting interesting places. Simply traveling to interesting places without searching for anything hidden is different from how geocaching is introduced above. I would call this hobby tourism. The main arguement against virtuals is that they can easily "virtualize" the attitude to the geocaching and change the core of the game. As for the quality, a virtual is much easier to "place" than a traditional cache and typically they don't need maintenance. This is the way to lower standards.
  4. Isn't it interesting that each time virtuals are discussed people use examples of really poor traditional caches to compare them to virtuals? Why such a low standard?
  5. "Virtual + great place is far better than traditional + poor place". Yes, good place is better than poor place. Why did we switch to places?
  6. Of course but it's a phone, different service, you still pay nothing for GPS. It's not an advantage of a handheld over a smartphone. Vice versa, if you use smartphone you have more functionality. At whole, I think that the situation has changed - comparing to early days of geocaching. At that time it was obvious that one had to buy a GPS receiver to play geocaching. Nowadays many people already have smaptphones equipped with GPS modules. So, the question has changed from "what GPS receiver I should buy?" through "is my smartphone good for geocaching or I need to buy a handheld device?" to "I've used my smartphone for a while, what will I benefit from buying a handheld?" Old-school cachers who love their handhelds sometimes appear to be quite sceptical to this approach and this can be observed in discussions about "smartphone caching". I'm a person of the same sort I think, with over 25 years of hiking experience, like my good old handheld and occassionally test handhelds for one well-known GPS developer. But the world of GPS technologies has changed since that wonderful days when geocaching was young
  7. As I said, these are "pure" virtuals - by their status on the site. There are numerous "seasonal virtuals": these caches are traditional in summer season and turn into virtuals for winter season. Besides, the majority of traditional caches have "virtual questions" for different situations, e.g. "if the cache is missing..." or "if you ran into any problems while getting the container from its hiding place...", etc. You probably won't believe but they even allowed logging a virtual cache as found if you know the answer to the question but visited the place before the cache was published. Even before geocaching was introduced. So, if you spent time with your parents 20 years ago in a tour and they made a photo of your family beside some monument, and in 2013 there appeared a virtual cache with the question like "how many figures are depicted in the monument", you can use your photo to count figures and if your answer is correct you can log this cache as found. It's not about the percentage of virtual caches. It's about attitude to the game. With virtuals people believe that geocaching is about visiting interesting places and marking them as visited. Call this Waymarking or give it any other name but this is not geocaching. Of course, I didn't mean that this scenario is the only one that could happen. Just an example. What about mentioning other geocaching listing sites? Is mentioning of other websites an issue at this forum? I hope it's not because if I do it it's definitely not for any advertising or promoting but as part of exchange of experience and knowledge among geocachers.
  8. Thank you both for your interpretations. And yes, the term is quite new to me though now I understand I've used such tricks at different caches that I owned before. In most situations however I tried to suggest "assymmetric" solutions. For instance, at one cache there was a set of 12 coordinates leading to 12 different points at the perimeter of the object (an abandoned sanatorium) so cachers could go and check them one by one. However if they paid attention to a couple of small details they could understand that the whole set was a puzzle and if they solved that puzzle they had only one correct solution as a result. Other 11 spots were dead ends with no additional clues. It wasn't any homework, everything was expected to be done in field. No one has ever complained about this part of the puzzle (the whole puzzle cache was much bigger) to be frustrating. It was their own choice whether to use brute force or try to think a bit deeper. I don't see much fun in red herrings where e.g. there are 12 variants and no one of these 12 variants could be chosen as preferrable by any logic. So yes, I also don't like solving such brute force tasks in field (neither I like them at home, actually). However if it is supposed that some time of thinking could lead me to correct answer I would say the CO prepared his quest wisely and if I had to find several red herrings to find in field before I caught the idea I would be happy and my only regrets would be that I wasn't as clever as I could be
  9. I didn't catch the idea, sorry. What monthly fee for GPS usage you need to pay having a smartphone?
  10. I suppose people may define "red herring" different ways. What you're describing sound more like what some have describe here as "decoy caches". To me, a red herring in the context of a puzzle cache would be an intentionally embedded piece of information that would lead the potential solver down a path that eventually leads to a dead end. For example, a cache owner might include a link to a web site that appears to be related to the puzzle. The potential solver might click on the link then start looking for clues that would help solve the puzzle but it would just be a dead end and offer no helpful information that could help solve the puzzle. The link is the red herring. I feel I didn't catch the idea. In my example the note in the cat container with false puzzle/coordinates leaving to the pig container (which is dead end) is not the red herring. In your example the link to the website that leads to the dead end is the red herring. The difference is that in the pig cache there's some vague clue that could (or could not) be helpful and in your example the "bogus" website has no information at all. Is this the difference? Does "red herring" means it leads to the "absolute" dead end? Or did you mean that red herrings were supposed to be posted online?
  11. As a cache hunter I prefer red herrings (and puzzles at whole) that are all in field. Solving puzzles as a homework at my computer doesn't make me happy. After all, aren't red herrings close to what we call treasure hunting? Imagine how short would "Captain Grant's Children" be with only one solution given!
  12. I wouldn't say that "don't have to have an app" is a big plus for a handheld GPSr. Handhelds have software pre-installed. Typically you have no choice but to use this software. With smartphones it's way easier. You can try different software for positioning/mapping/geocaching and choose what you like. Many of these programs are freeware or have freeware versions. I don't think this issue to be a can of worms. Nikon vs. Canon has been can of worms With the choice between a handheld and a smartphone it's no more such an important issue nowadays I believe. Many people already have smartphones and I'd say these devices are OK for geocaching in cities and short trips in the country. The biggest problem is battery life and I used to solve it with a portable charger that works like a charm. Of course if we talk about walking for longer distances, for two or more days away from civilization, or in some really difficult conditions (mountains, backcountry skiing, etc.) I would definitely take my handheld there.
  13. Oh, you call them Red Herrings. New idiom in my vocabulary. In one of my caches there was a statuette of a cat and a note inside one of the intermediate containers. At all the previous steps there were also different animals: hens, dogs, etc. Old McDonald had a farm. So, it was the cat. The note listed coordinates of the next step with some really simple math to calculate the spot. It was about 300 meters away through really thick forest. If one solved the task and got to that location successfully he/she could find another container with a statuette of a pig inside The attached note said: "Cats also lose their heads sometimes". The trick was that the cat was the only statuette in the series which could be opened with a twisting movement so its head was off and there was another note inside the cat's body with the correct coordinates for the next move.
  14. Skiing is a menace for married couples too. Imagine how many ski fans in history met their new partners when enjoying their sport! In "Practice" TV series there was an episode when a woman seeked assistance of a lawyer when she put a lawsuit against some company that sold cigars. She claimed that cigars had ruined her marriage. Her husband was non-smoker but after he was fired he was under stress and started smoking cigars and spending much of his time in clubs for cigar smokers. She won, BTW, with a sum of about 270 thousand dollars for the company to pay her just not to take this case to the courtroom. I know, I know, it's Hollywood Groundspeak should not worry about that
  15. It was a good lesson for me when I took my oldest daughter to mountains for the first time in her life (she was 5). We planned a hike for 8 days but walked pretty fast and almost completed our route on the 5th day. We did only one mountain pass and there were still several places worth visiting in the area. However I decided to end our hike because I monitored the kid and noticed that she got enough emotions and more days would probably make no good. (Though we both were in perfect physical condition and the weather was fine). I still think I was right. We spent the remaining three days to visit our local "North Skansen" in Kizhi (where one has to get by boat since it's on an island) and walk around beautiful Saint-Petersburg. Kids usually need the surroundings to change often. Years passed and we found ourselves in situation when we were deeply in the Siberian taiga, one day walking along the dirty narrow path to civilization. It was raining, and we walked for 7 hours with one stop only, kids got completely exhausted but they were already prepared. As I noticed afterwards, their attitude to mountains and hikes didn't change. Well, this was not the best day probably but no regrets. The only bad thing about this day was that I had to entertain them with funny stories, so it was 7 hours of non-stop talking about everything I could remember As for geocaching, last month I traveled to Budapest with my younger daughter (now 12) and we managed to find good number of caches. I twice ran into situation when she felt too tired and talked like "do we REALLY need to search for another one?" I remembered the previous experience and had to re-plan next days so we had chance to switch to other activities more often. Once I just brought her back to the hotel early so she could enjoy some rest and read her favourite books (while I was running for caches, of course ) I don't think that if I tried to make geocaching fans out of my kids I would ruin the family as it was described in the first post in this threat. However it's likely that they could be disappointed with the game. Luckily, after Budapest trip she said: "The only thing I regret is that the trackables we discovered were not as nice as those you brought from Ireland last month"
  16. I think I can say what could happen because virtuals have never been banned at our national geocaching website so I have real life examples in front of me. The worst thing IMHO are not "just for numbers" powertrails - you would have them in any scenario. It's more about cache quality and changes in the core of the sport. In our story, the described "Lincoln-Disney" criteria soon was widened to different situations when it seemed difficult to a CO to place a cache - for example, if the place was muggled or it was too much snow. So, it became a nice option to place a virtual and don't care about learning stealth techniques or preparing clever hides/containers. It also seemed easier to place a virtual instead of thinking about a cache as of an all-seasoned hide. There appeared numerous "alternative questions" for traditional caches: e.g. one could approach the hide, see it was muggled (or didn't find it) and answer a "virtual question" instead of posting DNF/NM or calling the CO (or just searching better). After some years there grew a generation of cachers who got enough experience of very simple virtuals and half-virtuals and used to think they all caches must be of the same sort so they didn't need to put any efforts in hiding and/or searching. The statistics for the website currently shows that virtuals are 1/3 of the whole number of published caches, not counting half-virtuals ("virtual questions") and long multi-step caches with many intermediate virtual points. It became common that one comes to some cache, fails to find it and blames the CO because there was no any "alternative question", a photo spoiler or anything of this kind. Dozens of caches have been destroyed with an angried guy in Moscow who believed that COs must guarantee he finds any cache in a minute. There's some number of really interesting virtuals that could compete with the idea of Earthcaches - those virtuals where one really has to look for answers and these answers widen his knowledge about the place. However, vast majority of virtuals is just "count lampposts" or "how many benches" - no treasure hunting at all. When players start thinking that this is geocaching it's time to talk about losing the whole game.
  17. It's probably not about the hobby at all - there might be different (deeper) issues behind the fact that their family was ruined. Do you believe everything a stranger tells you about himself in a bar? This thread could be interesting however to share views on how geocaching can "occupy someone's brain" totally so it starts influencing relationships within a family. I can easily imagine a passionate cacher who travels with his family and plans all the activities so more and more caches could be visited and found. Other members of the family may tolerate geocaching but not tolerate fanaticism and selfishness. It's not geocaching-specific. For example, many families enjoy hiking with their kids. I know people who went to mountains with babies, and my own kids spent their fist night in a tent when they were 5 months old. However, I know there are limits that I must see and respect if I don't want my kids to hate me for our hobby. I know at least one family where father and mother were deeply into hiking and used to take their son everywhere. People applaused this family saying "oh, they are so close to each other, look how they share their hobby". When the boy became older he firmly rejected all hiking plans for himself. Nevermore, he said. I think this happened because his parents had been all about themselves when hiking. They voted for walking another 2 hours to ascend the hill (to say "yes, we did it!") while their kid wasn't interested in that sort of records but would probably prefer to sit and play for a while.
  18. No However CCTV cameras have become an issue while placing geocaches around here. Not as much as in London I believe but we've our own specific feautures like local policemen Thank you. I doubt you can if you even travel so far The first cache I described was published at our national website and was archived recently. I've thought about moving it to geocaching.com but haven't done this yet. The second cache was archived when the abandoned sanatorium that we used for this complex scenario was ruined (mostly by time and greedy locals who stole bricks and metal from the buildings). It took us additional couple of years and numerous trips to other objects of this sort to abandon the idea of replacing it anywhere else Anyway, it was mentioned that time of year was under question and I doubt that my experience is applicable to anyone living in PA We have too different climate/weather conditions.
  19. For one of my multi-steps that involved 42 spots we had to organize four trips. The first one was just to observe the area and the rest three trips were to place the cache. Each time at least three persons were in a team who worked simultaneously in the field using portable radios to communicate with each other. As for time, the longest time it took me to place a cache was a bit more than one year. First, with a team of about 7-8 people we went to see the place, draw maps, get GPS coordinates of different objects. It took us a year to discuss various scenarios, think about different tasks, how to implement them in practice, work on texts and photos and prepare special items that users were expected to discover at different steps. After that it took us two days (we spent night in an abandoned building) to place the cache. So, yes, I agree, sometimes it's not that simple
  20. That depends on circumstances. Sometimes I have to visit the potential hiding place twice before actually placing a cache. For instance, it's better done at night in many situations since there are not so many muggles. However, in daylight I'm able to observe the whole situation, for instance, to notice a CCTV camera on the neighbouring building which looks directly at my hiding place.
  21. I used to leave pencils in my own geocaches and in caches that I restore far from civilization. Pens may suffer more from weather conditions. In our climate here you sometimes cannot use pen to sign a log because it's too cold and ink is frozen. As for humidity, last month I did maintenance for one cache in Co.Donegal (Ireland). I was the first to find this cache in more than a year and the container was all wet. Half of its content was lost and the pen was rusty and unusable. Zip-lock bags help in some cases but it depends on the size of the box. While hunting for caches in cities/towns I use pen for signing logs. Sometimes one has so little space left for date/nickname in that tiny nano logsheets that a pen proves to be better then a not-so-sharp pencil.
  22. Sometimes looking at the map and seeing the cache listing I cannot imagine why someone could make a single trip there
  23. BTW, there's a well-known problem with people who used to forget pens/pencils when they go for BYOP caches. So, even this simple idea is sometimes difficult to follow...
  24. We had such discussion about using USB flash disks or SD cards in containers recently. There were concerns about viruses and other things like when cache contents got wet the drive/card may suffer, etc. For instance, in many cases I can easily add a piece of paper if I see that the logbook is full, sign it and log the cache as found. What if my device just is not able to read the card/stick? We've had some experience with this sort of media being left in geocaches, so I can give you an example. There was a very simple MMC/SD card in a container with a welcome message from the CO. Visitors should write their logs to this card. If they failed the CO allowed them to answer some question (virtual caches have never been banned at the Russian geocaching website). 6 of 17 visitors reported problems with the card or their devices. Others either answered the question (we don't know if they attempted with the card) or managed to write their data on the card. So, you may run into a bunch of problems with numerous distant technical complaints like "my device cannot see you media". On the other hand, you don't need to teach people how to use a pen and a paper logbook.
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