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Everything posted by kourampies

  1. The cache density of Lesvos is insane compared to the Greek average, it might be even denser than Athens. From what I understand almost all of the caches are placed by a single user (Mytilene team), and in my opinion they are hidden solely for visitors to find, since Lesvos doesn't have many permanent residents, let alone cachers. Without going into details and speculations about the situation in Greece, whats really sad is how people have lost all will to do anything, including hobbies like geocaching. I absolutely feel you regarding how much some caches and places add to a trip, and feel absolutely grateful to the few COs that hide caches outside Athens. Enjoy Greece when you come back
  2. Been toying with SDR for some years. Passed the exams last friday, should have my call sign within 1-2 months due to bureaucracy issues... I'm will definitely be combining SOTA, hiking and geocaching as soon as I get my callsign.
  3. The active Greek geocachers that routinely go caching and hiding can probably be counted in one person's fingers. Most of the caches are hidden in Athens, which no Greek is going to visit in order to go caching. This makes people like me that live outside Athens able to go geocaching only when on vacation or on some other out of town trip, since we found the very few caches around our hometowns years ago. Then there is how Groundspeak is forcing everyone to pay by killing the mobile app and api with their limitations. This is turning away all of the potential new players and most of the casuals. And then there is the financial situation in Greece. Most of the people are unemployed or on super low wages (especially people under 35 that would have time and strength for geocaching). Anyone lucky enough to be employed works all day long and has no days off, and no money for vacations etc. Fuel prices are very high making one day trips hard. It's a vicious cycle of no new caches hidden (since most are hidden by tourists, if they can overcome the away from home limitation), and there's no one to find them and maintain them. The few Greeks trying might lose interest since there are no more caches to find and noone to find their hides. I absolutely understand what you are saying though, even with such a small amount of caches I have visited amazing places through geocaching that I would never otherwise known of. There is such a vast amount of beautiful places to see in Greece, ideal for geocaching. It's a shame there are no caches.
  4. Γρηγόρη, σου έστειλα mail, τα είχαμε πει και παλιότερα. Αυτοπροτείνομαι
  5. Να συστηθώ και εγώ αφού ξαναζωντάνεψε το thread... Είμαι από Πάτρα, και πρώτη επαφή με το Geocaching ήταν πάνω από 10 χρόνια πριν, ως χομπίστας προγραμματιστής για Windows Mobile, που απλά έψαχνε περισσότερους τρόπους να αξιοποιήσει τις GPS συσκευές του. Αν και το είχα ψάξει θεωρητικά πολύ νωρίτερα, εγγραφή και συμμετοχή στο παιχνίδι αποφάσισα να κάνω το 2007. Τότε εκτός του ότι υπήρχαν πολύ λιγότερες κρύπτες, δεν οδηγούσα, δεν ταξίδευα, και δούλευα 7 στα 7 βράδυ. Οπότε βρήκα 2-3 που υπήρχαν στην Πάτρα με ένα φίλο, και τέλος. To 2013 έβγαλα το δίπλωμα οδήγησης (στα 26 ως αιώνιος τεμπέλης), και ενώ δεν περίμενα να ασχοληθώ με την οδήγηση, αρχές 2014 είχα κάνει 30000km σε ταξίδια. Στα Γιάννενα λοιπόν αρχές 14 αφού εξαντλήσαμε όλες τις άλλες δραστηριότητες, μπήκα μεταξύ σοβαρού και αστείου στο geocaching.com, βρήκα το κουτάκι στο κάστρο, και χωρίς να εξηγήσω στη γυναίκα τι ακριβώς πάμε να κάνουμε, της εξήγησα αφού το βρήκαμε. Αν και της άρεσε η ιδέα, δεν ενθουσιάστηκε και ιδιαίτερα στην πράξη μια και δε τα πάει καλά με τη φύση και το περπάτημα. Τα ταξίδια συνεχίστηκαν, το geocaching όχι, ως το καλοκαίρι του 2015, όπου βρισκόμενοι στη Λευκάδα πάλι εξαντλήσαμε όλες τις δραστηριότητες, και πήγαμε να βρούμε και εκεί 2 κουτάκια. Εκεί φοβήθηκα ότι θα με χωρίσει αφού την πήγα σε γκρεμούς και χωράφια και δεν είδα να χαίρεται, αλλά αντέξαμε. Μετά τη Λευκάδα πλέον το Geocaching ήταν πάντα στο πίσω μέρος του μυαλού μου, και όταν πήγαινα οπουδήποτε έριχνα μια ματιά αν υπάρχει κοντά κάτι. Μετά έγιναν και οι πρώτες εκδρομές με σκοπό το Geocaching. Μια μονοήμερη στη Ναύπακτο, μία στην Κυλλήνη, ένα διήμερο στην Αρκαδία. Ε κάπου εκεί την έπεισα, και έγινε αναπόσπαστο κομμάτι κάθε ταξιδιού μας. Έχουμε κρύψει και μερικά κουτάκια. Δυστυχώς όμως υπάρχουν ελάχιστα κουτάκια κοντά στην Πάτρα, και εξακολουθώ να δουλεύω βράδυ οπότε δεν υπάρχει περίπτωση να ξυπνήσω 7 το πρωί για μονοήμερη κάπου αλλού. Ιδιαίτερα το χειμώνα σχεδόν δε προλαβαίνω να δω ήλιο. Άρα περιμένω ότι ταξίδι κάνω κατά κύριο λόγο. Όπως και να χει ανυπομονώ για την επόμενη εξόρμηση, και έχω πάντα κουτάκια στο αυτοκίνητο έτοιμα για κρύψιμο αν βρεθώ κάπου που αξίζει.
  6. Για όσους θέλουν ένα 2ημερο γεμάτο κρύπτες στην εξοχή, εξαιρετική επιλογή είναι το Λεβίδι/Βυτίνα. Δεν απέχει και ιδιαίτερα από την Αθήνα. Έχει πάρα πολλές (20+) και πολύ καλές κρύπτες, κυρίως εύκολες, αλλά και μερικές που θέλουν περπάτημα κτλ. Πέραν αυτού η περιοχή είναι πανέμορφη. Πέρυσι το έκανα αρκετά βιαστικά και λόγω κούρασης και έλλειψης χρόνου δεν κατέγραψα και πολλά. Φέτος σκοπεύω να ξαναπάω προς το πάσχα, και αν όλα πάνε καλά θα καταγράψω όλες τις διαδρομές και κρύπτες σε επίπεδο χαρτών, φωτογραφιών, video, αλλά και προτάσεων για άλλες δραστηριότητες στην περιοχή. Το Live Map του project-gc είναι αναντικατάστατο εργαλείο για τέτοιες εξορμήσεις.
  7. I actually used this, which of course may be way off, since the income they report for Greece is much higher than reality. Still, you get the point about the situation with money etc here, things are not as easy, especially in conjunction with other costs.
  8. I haven't used Garmin's Open Caching, but I thought there were some minor differences? Also Groundspeak didn't seem so greedy back then. If a viable alternative shows up we will see. Its not so easy to implement this ban either, people could hide two containers or something like that. Yup, pretty much. Nothing has changed. No new caches, no maintaining of the very few existing ones, lots are missing. Outside of Athens at least, and the whole non-touristy mainland. In Athens, the same (less than 10 people) are trying to maintain existing caches mostly, and from time to time they add new ones.
  9. Have you ever looked at Premium membership? Just off the top of my head; - Pocket Queries. This allows downloading up to 10,000 caches a day. I presume technically, if used in conjunction with the app, it may be 16,000 - Instant Notifications - Bookmark Lists - Planning routes using Cache Along a Route feature You also seem to think that Geocaching is totally provided by the users and volunteers. While that is true to the data in the content, try doing it without the site which provides data collation, search featyres, record keeping, etc. You are more than welcome to set-up a web page, or even a Facebook page, and try to recreate GC strictly from users. Don't really see it being successful. nut if it is, please come back and let us know. Ultimately, GC is US based. They do their best (quite well might add) to accommodate the myriad of differences in technology as well as other countries and cultures. It was promised early on that GC would always have a free component, and that promise has been kept. Call me elitist, but if you want more, you have to pony up with the $$$. All the features you mentioned, except the plan a route one, are limitations imposed on free users, not features. Geocaching is being "recreated" quite successfully in terms of functions by other, "open" (source) free sites. On some countries its user/cache base is even better than Groundspeaks version (Poland for example). But those sites lack the marketing, the brand name, an easy app and introduction for new users. But the biggest drawback is that they lack worldwide userbase that Groundspeak has because for some idiotic reason they have country/site specific databases instead of a unified one. If they decide to unify the databases, all other things will follow, and then they will be easily on par with Groundspeak. As soon as those sites became a "threat" though, I bet Groundspeak will ban crosslisting of caches on both sites in an order to fight back.
  10. Why would you explain geocaching that way? I live in Silicon Valley, and when I introduce new people to geocaching, I still completely ignore the apps, the web pages, the GPS devices, and so on. I briefly explain the basics of latitude and longitude, and that GPS systems use satellites to determine latitude and longitude, but then I move on to the scavenger hunt for hidden containers. And I spend most of my time explaining the scavenger hunt for hidden containers. And I take them somewhere where they can find some hidden containers without worrying about the apps, the web pages, the GPS devices, and so on. Interesting point of view. For me it started with GPS first, since my first contact with geocaching was while developing for Windows Mobile 2003 PocketPCs a decade ago. It was a nice way to test the GPS on uses other than driving, which was an issue back then with more primitive chipsets. To be honest the "treasure hunt" aspect never was really interesting to me, I always did it in order to see new and beautiful places, and to have motivation to go outside. Scavenging for tupperware is secondary, although the logging and seeing what others have to say about caches and places interest me. I don't know how much that will work here. Most of the caches here are related to nature, beautiful view, landmarks etc. Those groups already know and visit those places. And if they don't get really excited about the "treasure hunt" aspect why should they care? I will definitely try the treasure hunt approach next time.
  11. I'm stunned by the elitism and bitterness of some people here, but some people tried to contribute to the discussion, so a few more clarifications. Regarding the VAT thing. Off course I trust the official EU site more than some accounting company. The law here is clear: If you don't get a proper VAT invoice, you are not required to pay for the transaction. Not the VAT, the whole transaction. If no one discloses anything, why should I trust Groundspeak or any other company? Anyone can charge +24% and keep the money, since nothing can get checked. Mobile devices are the trend in anything, every site and service for is focusing on mobile apps for the past 5+ years. I think the stats mentioned here are correct, 2/3 or even more of Greeks have access to a computer, but they rarely use them, while they use their smartphones all day long. The cost for a mobile plan is quite cheap, with 10 euros a month you can have a complete plan with talk time, sms, and enough data for all your geocaching needs (and there are loads of WiFi hotspots everywhere, no need to even use a data plan). Especially on a hobby where the smartphone can replace an expensive dedicated device, its obvious that the mobile app will be the main method preferred by new users. The decision to cripple the app to this ridiculous extent is insane. Like I said its blackmailing users to pay or leave, while not even giving them a chance to see if it's worth the money. It's not so much about the specific price, but making geocaching a for-pay only hobby, while it exists solely due to the players, their efforts, and their money already spent on creating and finding caches. Indeed, it's also a cultural thing linked to a big history of technological illiteracy, regardless of pricing and ease of use I doubt geocaching will ever reach Germany's levels of interest in Greece, but with the current circumstances there will definitely be no improvement. I've tried contacting hikers, nature lovers and other similar groups. Ever tried explaining to a group of 40+ year old Greeks how to use a combination of apps, web pages and other trickery in order to circumvent Groundspeak's restrictions, on top of explaining the whole Geocaching concept? It simply doesn't work. Also a very specific example, since people honestly can't understand why money, and lack of caches are an issue. Lets say you live in Patras, like me. 3rd biggest city in Greece, around 400000 people. Let's say you are around 30 years old. If you are lucky enough to have work you get around 500-600 euros a month, and if you own a home or live with your parents, a few hundred euros might remain at the end of the month. So lets say you work 5 days a week, have two days off, and the will to do a Geocaching trip. There are around 50 caches on a 50km radius. There are less than 10 within 30 minutes from the city, and from those 10 half are missing, with wrong descriptions and puzzles, but the very few Greek players that actually try to do them choose to not report them for archival, with hope someone fixes them. So if you try the 30min range ones, you will end up disappointed, having lost a few hours of your time and trying to figure out what you are doing wrong, and having paid 10+ euros for fuel. If you get to a 1 hour range, there are some more, and the situation is a bit better than the missing ones around here. So you lets say you can do two 1 hour trips to do them. Those one hour back and forth trips cost around 20 euros in fuel at best. You will definitely spend some more for coffee, food or whatever, so most people can do such a trip 2 times a month at best. But in my city there's nothing to do after those two times! So if you add a cost (especially in the form of a forced subscription) for membership, and forcing people into using unauthorized apps, and trying to dodge the restrictions its obvious that noone will want to try it out, and old players will eventually give it up, like they are already doing.
  12. Also, an interesting bit I found on the terms: I was considering buying a premium membership and cancelling within a month with a refund, just to see what happens with the VAT invoice, but seems they already "thought" about that
  13. At last, we have an attorney who knows EU tax matters. Because clearly you have some case law or statute to back up your statement that Groundspeak is breaking the law by not disclosing a VAT number that EU law makes clear is not a matter of public record. Right? http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/vat/eu-vat-rules-topic/vat-invoicing-rules_en#what_information As of today noone in the corresponding thread has claimed that he received a proper VAT invoice. No need to disclose the VAT number to a non customer indeed, but after all those allegations any serious business would voluntary list its VAT number even to non customers. Lots of claims of invoices without VAT though.
  14. No. You might download those three caches per day and collect them for your weekend trip. And nobody is forcing you to go by car. Use a bike instead (or a donkey where you live). Hans Thank you for clearly and vividly pointing out what is going wrong within the geocaching society and for being the live examples of why people would be discouraged in the near future to join your elitist community. Now excuse me, I have to go feed my donkey. I see you've bought into the "price discrimination" myth. It's not Groundspeak's fault that you live in a country that charges 23% VAT, payable by foreign providers of online/digital services. Once you back out the VAT, at current exchange rates a US geocacher pays more than $3.00 more per year for their premium membership than a Greek geocacher. You should "research this issue a little bit" to become familiar with the obligations of a US online service provider to give VAT invoices or disclose its VAT registration number. You should also research the history of the pricing change for the EU, which happened in 2013. Groundspeak had to work with the EU taxing authorities to make up for the fact that no VAT had been paid since 2003 when it was first legally required. They settled the ten years of arrearages by making a payment out-of-pocket. So, you owe US geocachers a thank-you (at least this year and until the exchange rates change) for subsidizing EU geocachers' premium memberships. And, anyone in the EU who's been a premium member since before 2013 owes Groundspeak a thank-you for making good on the VAT arrearages without passing along that cost to the relevant customers. I've never paid VAT to an US based business for a service. As long as no VAT number is disclosed, and no legal VAT invoice is provided to whoever pays for a subscription (according to numerous testimonies on the relevant thread, no personal experience), there's no VAT being paid. It is you who are "buying" into myths.
  15. In a country/scenario where 30€ a year and technological illiteracy are issues, standalone GPS units are both extremely rare and expensive for most people. The cheapest option is the Garmin eTrex 10 at 105 euros, and after that chaos ensues. Also I don't think its easier than a working smartphone app for a begginer.
  16. That's 21 a week. Two and a half weeks and your homezone ("and there are less than 50 caches that I can do on a single day trip") is cleared. Hans It don't think it does stack up if unused. 3 caches each every 24 hours, if it gets unused, tough luck. I don't think you are implying people should do daily trips for 3 caches each time, with fuel cost alone for each trip being more than 20 euros?
  17. Actually, most all of the non-Groundspeak caching apps are official, or let's say "officially approved", as they use the API in agreement with Groundspeak. (The only notable exception being the one app you did mention.) And none of those apps, as far as I know, has the extra limitations Groundspeak imposed on their own app in a not-so-subtle attempt to shove newcomers into an immediate Premium purchase. So the trick is, how do you let people know there are other apps besides the upsell-focused default one? I doubt Groundspeak will point them out... The API is limited to 3 caches a day. No terrain/difficulty restrictions, but still, 3 caches a days seems useless to me.
  18. Before going into the "main issue", let me put my two cents regarding Groundspeak's direction lately. With all the limitations imposed on the API and official mobile app, essentially people are forced to either pay or leave. Don't give me that "We used to print pages without a smartphone 10 years ago" lecture, there's no need to torture users, and waste time and resources since the technology is here, and can make life easier for everyone, including Groundspeak. No one has to give anything for free, but geocaching.com can be quite profitable without any subscriptions. Ads, trackables, donations, I'm sure there could be enough money made not only to sustain the site, but to make a good profit too. Don't forget that Geocaching and geocaching.com exists solely due to users giving time and money for this hobby. Even the reviewers/moderators are volunteers. It's seems extremely greedy to try to ask for money on top. Premium memberships would not be a bad idea if they offered something really useful, but I'm not seeing something extremely innovative, something that causes extreme server load or anything else justifying a mandatory fee. Even the pictures are displayed on dimensions ridiculously small for today's standards. Let's get into Greece now. Greece is a country full of beautiful places, landscapes, nature, monuments, and perfect hiding locations. Pretty much everyone is within less than a hour away from non urban places ideal for Geocaching. Still, the vast majority of the caches are located in Athens, a decaying huge city, awful for residents or visitors. No one outside of Athens would make a trip there for Geocaching. I live in the 3rd biggest city of Greece, and there are less than 50 caches that I can do on a single day trip. Even if I traveled to other locations within the country, without even considering the big costs for fuel, hotels, and my time, there are only a few hundreds outside Athens. A big reason why the situation is like that is that Greeks were traditionally technologically illiterate on the 00s, but this is changing on the smartphone era. But instead of helping users with a good smartphone app, Groundspeak is practically banning them from the sport. Without trying, and enjoying it, noone will pay for a subscription, even if they had the money (which I will explain next). Even if geocaching.com went free now, it would need a "kickstart" of some kind, in order to get some more caches hidden and maintained in Greece. So lets get into the money issue. The premium subscription is 30$/€. Already, Europeans are paying more. Groundspeak claims that it's due to added VAT, but it discloses no VAT numbers and gives no VAT invoice. For anyone that has researched this issue a little bit, its obvious they are blatantly lying. Then, lets get into life costs. Average monthly wage on the US: 5000$. Unemployment is not so high, and stuff like goverment assistance exists. Average monthly wage on Greece: Around 1000$ last time it was officially researched, and for full time employees. But, around 30% of the people are unemployed, and almost half the work force is working part time, so the average monthly wage is much closer to 500$. Other than that, fuel cost: US 0.66$/l vs Greece 1.62$/l. So as you can understand 30€ hurts, a lot. Also, Greeks (and I guess other Europeans too) are not used to the subscription model and cards like the US. People rarely use cards online to this day, and never on a subscription model since most cards are debit and not credit. So we are trapped in a vicious cycle of no new caches hidden (since most are hidden by tourists, if they can overcome the away from home limitation), and there's no one to find them and maintain them. The few Greeks trying might lose interest since there are no more caches to find and noone to find their hides. And to top on that newcomers have to resort on using unofficial, more tech savvy apps like c:geo, and trying to circumvent Groundspeak's limitations. What are your opinions on this and what may be done in order to save the situation?
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