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Everything posted by n0k1a

  1. It's definitely possible, but not exactly simple. Here's someone who did just that: http://www.holmea.demon.co.uk/GPS/Main.htm That one involved building pretty much everything from scratch. Others have used prebuilt GPS modules and microcontrollers, like this one: http://www.ehobbycorner.com/pages/pro_gps_receiver.html Almost anything is possible, if one is willing to put enough effort into it!
  2. Wow, very interesting. I've been experiencing the same thing on my Montana 650t, including today with the latest firmware (3.63 beta). I found that if I power cycle it, it starts updating correctly again. That obviously shouldn't be necessary. It really makes it challenging at times. I had it happen while I was caching with someone who was using a 76cs. I showed that I still had 300 feet or so to go, while he showed that we were just about to GZ. It appears that 300-400 feet out is the distance at which it happens a lot. Very interesting that an eTrex 30 froze at the same distance...
  3. Looks like a nice update so far here. I did still have a few shutdowns while loading waypoints and such during booting with 3.60; hopefully this fixed that issue. There are a few things which I'm still hoping for. I emailed them a while back about these, but got no reply. I'd like to see: - Separate icons for caches which are unavailable (either disabled or archived). As it is, every cache I've found shows up on the map just like every other one, even if it's been archived. I really like seeing them, but I'd like to be able to tell which ones aren't viable. - Display of attributes in the cache listing (including whether they are positive or negative, such as the way SmartGPX displays negative ones with a line through them). - The option to save each 'next stage' as a new waypoint, as can already be done from the main cache listing. I like to save every stage of a multi as a new waypoint, and it's tedious to enter each one twice. - Another dashboard, something like 'tiny data fields' which would allow more than four fields to be added, especially when they keep adding more cool fields. With such a large and high res LCD, it should be able to display a whole lot more data at once. Oh, it also seems that there's an issue with chirp searching. I tried to find my first chirp cache, and received nothing even though I know I was in the right place. A quick search turned up a discussion about it, and it appears that one must enable the options to connect to heartrate and cadence sensors in order for it to find chirps. Yes, they both use ANT+; as a firmware developer myself, I understand exactly how this makes sense, but it's annoying from the standpoint of a user. It would be nice to have chirp searching work as advertised. Maybe others will agree and ask for these as well. That would make an excellent unit even better!
  4. LOL! There is some serious irony here, as a certain individual I know who happens to strongly dislike LPCs (and micros in general) actually is still using dialup. I usually have a faster connection on my phone out in the woods than he has at home. I don't understand why these threads are almost as common as LPCs themselves. I like LPCs, and guardrail caches, and I actually really like nanos. I also greatly enjoy long hikes in the woods, and caches way out in the desert, and challenging puzzles. I have little time for power trails and zero interest in virtuals and earthcaches (and trackables and swag for that matter), but I wouldn't say that they should be banned just because I don't care for them. I like the fact that there is such a variety of caches. It makes it more interesting than it would be with fewer types. And for what it's worth, I have found a number of 'LPCs' with interesting twists to them.
  5. Very interesting topic...I was wondering something similar myself recently. Has Garmin published the protocol used for Chirp, or has it been reverse engineered by third parties? At first, one would assume that Garmin would want to keep it closed so that one must buy Chirp hardware/software from them. However, it turns out that Garmin owns Dynastream Innovations, the creator of ANT+. So, any use of an ANT+ chipset would benefit Garmin anyway. Could be a good PR move for them to open it up if they haven't...
  6. Here's one happy Montana user (650t). The Montana has every feature which the OP requested, including an external antenna connector (very rare these days). I have a 32 GB micro SD card in it, which results in a ridiculous amount of storage. One of its coolest features is the dual battery system, which allows it to use a Li-ion battery (similar to a cell phone battery, and which can charge off of a USB port or charger), or 3 AA cells. I used a smartphone for caching exclusively until I found the Montana; it really is a great piece of gear. That's saying something, because my phones have impressed me much more than any of the many other handhelds I've tried (including a friend's Oregon which I checked out already). The Montana has one of the largest (if not the largest) screens of any hiking type handheld, which is a big positive in my mind, though some people think the unit is too big. It's also one of the most expensive units out there, but then I have always preferred good gear to cheap gear. To be fair, my first Montana did develop the common touchscreen problem, but the replacement unit has been flawless so far. I've really been enjoying using it for caching as well as car and bicycle navigation. The profiles are great, so I can switch in a matter of seconds from the equivalent of a car unit to a geocaching unit with totally different settings. There are still a few things I'd like to see the software do, but overall, it's the most versatile GPS receiver I've ever encountered.
  7. A friend of mine created the first cache of this type that we ever heard of: The shining beacon on the hill (GC2HYYJ) He originally wanted to list it as a multi, and was told by our reviewer that it had to be a puzzle/unknown cache. It's been out for almost a year, and has 33 finds. The wireless beacon attribute didn't even exist back then; I'll have to suggest that he add it to his cache. It makes sense that a cache which requires the seeker to perform some action beyond simply reading coordinates at one stage in order to determine the location of a subsequent stage should be listed as a puzzle. There do seem to be a lot in this area which are listed as multis however, especially the ones which require reading numbers on a sign or plaque and filling in the blanks or doing calculations to determine the coords. On the other hand, I can see that there is a multi aspect to it if it involves the requirement to visit more than one physical location. I've found multis with nothing to solve, and puzzles with a single physical location. But then, there are the ones which involve puzzle aspects as well as multiple physical stages. It's almost as though puzzle and multi should be additive (similar to attributes), rather than mutually exclusive cache types...
  8. I got my original 650t a week ago today. 2 days later, it had deteriorated to nearly unusable. I called the retailer on Tuesday. Today, I got a call that they had gotten a new one in. I went there and exchanged it, and so far the new one is working perfectly. Original and new one are both in the 28V00xxxx range, but the new one is a higher number. Interestingly, the screen on the new one looks different (much nicer) in direct sunlight; the original had some visible artifacts which appeared to be part of the resistive touch layer. This would line up with a bad batch of LCDs. I'm quite impressed with how the store (Bass Pro Shops) handled the exchange, no problem at all, and how quickly they got a new one in. Hopefully the new one will just keep working!
  9. I assume you're replying to my post... I guess I didn't describe the problem clearly. The LCD display portion of the unit is fine; the problem only manifests itself in terms of its interpretation of where I press on the screen. At first it worked fine. The next day, it would sometimes misinterpret my presses and give a result as though I had pressed above or below the 'button' which I had actually pressed, usually in the middle to bottom of the screen. It was worse with smaller buttons, such as a 3x3 grid of icons or text entry in portrait mode, while the 2x2 icons usually registered OK. The next day, it got to the point where it would register a press randomly up to 3 or so button positions away on the virtual keyboard, and sometimes would not accept any input at the top or bottom of the screen (in portrait; landscape was similarly hosed). Even the larger 2x2 icons are very difficult to access; often they move themselves off of the active screen instead of actuating. I experienced the same problem described previously of having trouble even selecting English after doing a hard reset (which, despite the claim of erasing all user data, did NOT erase my waypoints, but that's another story). I called the retailer where I purchased the unit, and they're going to get another one in so I can get an exchange. I got one of the first couple of units that they ever got, and the last remaining one at the time. I'd really like to know that they found and corrected the cause of this problem...I love the unit otherwise!
  10. Wow, what have I gotten myself into?!? I got a brand new 650T on Saturday. The touchscreen started to get a bit flaky on Sunday, when I used it for a grand total of three cache finds. Tonight, it has progressed to being virtually impossible to use. You guys who get a few weeks are lucky...mine died in TWO DAYS! Background: it's been treated with great care, no exposure to temperature extremes, not dropped, not exposed to more than a few raindrops; so ironic that one of the big reasons I got it was its supposed ability to withstand all of those things. Its serial number starts with 28Vxx, so it's supposedly newer than the bad batch...so much for that idea. It shipped with v3.10; I upgraded it to 3.20 the night I got it, and since it developed the problem I've downgraded and upgraded to various versions, all with no improvement at all. Tried all of the possible resets, and numerous recalibration attempts; no joy. I've designed embedded systems with resistive touchscreens, and I've never seen behavior quite like this. I'm not sure what sort of hardware failure could even cause this. It's really not rocket surgery to make a functional touchscreen... All I know for sure is that I am highly disappointed by this experience. I really liked the build quality of the Montana when I first held it. Little did I know...
  11. There sure is, it's called the Ovi Store. However, Symbian devices also have the advantage of being able to load apps easily without the need for an app store (I rarely use it myself). Another app which nobody mentioned in this thread is Locify, which is also free. Geocache Navigator works nicely, but sadly, Trimble hasn't ported it to a lot of devices yet (including my E73). Locify isn't as polished, but it does generally work. SmartGPX is a great app, and well worth the effort of installing the add-on to integrate it with the device's on-board location API. Another related app is called UTM Data. It allows conversion between various coordinate formats. It's great for an older Nokia device which uses decimal degrees, and is also very useful for some puzzle caches and other applications. I haven't tried some of its other functionality, but it appears to do a lot more than just conversions. It doesn't run on the phone itself, but it should also be mentioned that GPS Babel allows conversion of various GPS data formats, such as GPX and LOC files and Garmin waypoints, to and from the Nokia Landmarks LMX format. This is how I originally got all of my Garmin waypoints and geocache data onto my phones. All of this combined with the free integrated Ovi Maps in most recent devices (which includes the ability to load maps on the MicroSD card, with no need for cell coverage to function) makes for a really complete geocaching and navigation package. It's pretty neat to get voice-guided driving directions to a cache, and then switch to a compass navigation screen, even when in the middle of nowhere with no cell signal. This is all I use any more, and it works great! It pretty consistently outperforms 'proper' handheld GPS units in my experience.
  12. Russian Roulette - Vladimir Kramnik (GC22YR6) Seemingly an easy choice, as it's the only T5 cache I've found so far, but it is so much more than that. It's a 5/5 puzzle/multi (and part of a series), and I seriously doubt that I will ever have the opportunity to find a more phenomenal cache!
  13. I wonder where that number came from...seems like a slightly odd period of time. 30, 90, 100, 365...but 65?
  14. Last summer, my streak started by accident. I did some caching on both days of a weekend. Then on Monday, I happened to end up a fraction of a mile away from one which I had wanted to hit for a while, and grabbed it. Tuesday, something similar happened, and before I knew it, I had 4 consecutive days. Figured I'd keep it going, and soon noticed a nearby challenge cache for 100 day 'streakers'. Well, it was OK for a while, but it got to be more of a chore and less fun. Driving 20 miles to get an MKH in a guardrail was not what I really wanted out of caching, but I did it. Then, on what would have been day 26, I spent a number of hours tring to find (or even approach) something like 5 different caches. It just wasn't to be. Some of them were on a trail, but in a residential area with no acceptable parking, so I didn't even try. Others sounded easy, but just weren't (who knows if they were even there any more). And then the thunderstorms rolled in...end of streak at 25 days. I still think it was something of an accomplishment. If I had known that some locals had come up with a goal of placing at least 100 new caches within a few miles of home, I might have continued it. Instead, those caches have made for some fun cache runs with a few friends, so I can't complain. I've said for a while that if I move to a new area with good cache density and good weather, I might try it again...
  15. I think this sums it up pretty nicely. I believe that I have used the official favorites system in this way, which is how I perceive that it was intended to be used. FWIW, I find it interesting that someone cares how I awarded them, and I have no problem explaining my reasoning. Those which got my favorites votes were caches which had something going for them above and beyond the norm: a particularly cool container (or lack thereof, but that is another matter entirely!), a location with an unusually nice view or hike, a particularly enjoyable or unusual puzzle, that sort of thing. Something which I found to be significantly more interesting than just another MKH in a guardrail, just another film can in a lamp post skirt, just another food container in a tree stump, or just another ammo can under a pile of sticks and rocks. Not that there's anything wrong with any of those, but the bulk of them don't stand out enough to warrant favorite votes. Yes, there were a few which would likely have earned negative points had I had them available...it is probably a good thing that the system does not support this! My bookmark list, on the other hand, represents those which are the very cream of the crop. A 5/5 puzzle/multi which involved months of work to solve the multidimensional puzzles, and numerous stages with additional mental and physical challenges, deserves that recognition. So do caches at or in amazingly unusual features, those with spectacular views, and/or those involving many miles of 4x4 driving on unpaved 'roads' out into the desert just to get there. I still maintain this list specifically because the favorites system is not a rating system. If it were ever to be extended to allow weighting, that might make this list unnecessary, though I still find it handy to be able to reference those best-of-the-best caches almost instantly.
  16. The favorites system isn't perfect, but it's a decent start. Like probably most of the favorites users whose comments I've seen, I have awarded some but not all of my available points. I have 38 points available, but have only awarded 22 of them, or 5.8% of my finds. I like the idea of having some available if a particularly good cache comes along. I agree with many that 10% would be a bit high for actual favorites, but it's a good number to allow some leeway when awarding points to deserving caches. I award my favorite points based solely on how much I liked a cache. I don't favorite them because someone else likes them...in fact, there are still no other favorites on some of the ones on my list. I do still maintain a favorites bookmark list, with much more stringent criteria for inclusion: being not just unusually good caches, but rather being the best of the best I've ever found. That list only has 6 entries, or 1.6% of my finds. I'm going to retain that list for several reasons.
  17. This is basically true. A couple of SF models are now available which use AA cells (the E2L AA and Saint headlamp come to mind), but most use 123As. This is intentional, as 'you get what you pay for' is true in terms of batteries as well as the lights themselves. Lithium primaries are good for ~10 years of shelf life, store more energy in the same size cell, virtually never leak (one of the greatest problems with alkalines), and perform much better in extreme temperatures. I didn't like the idea myself before I started using them, but now I'll never go back for my serious lights. Lithium primary AA cells are available, which eliminate some of the disadvantages of alkalines, but they are much more expensive, and some devices cannot be used safely with their higher output voltage (~1.7 volts/cell). Note that there are cheap imported lithium cells available, both generic and fraudulent copies of reputable brands...these should always be avoided at all cost, as they can be very dangerous and destructive. 123A cells from reputable manufacturers can be found down to around $1 each online, though I go through few enough that the convenience of getting SF brand ones locally for around $2 each is fine for me.
  18. This topic is right up my alley. If you want to learn more about flashlights than you probably ever imagined possible, check out CandlePowerForums. I've seen posts by several other cachers there already. They have a flashlight recommendation checklist which helps a lot when selecting the ideal light. The lights which I prefer for caching (as well as other uses) are all LED models by SureFire. While some of them cost about 5 times the OP's budget, there are lots of other good lights out there for much less. Overall, 'you get what you pay for' is true of lighting. In general, lights from typical stores are often not nearly as good as those available from specialty stores or online, though some decent inexpensive lights are starting to show up. SureFire lights are designed primarily for military and law enforcement users, and are extremely rugged and reliable. They are generally more expensive than what most non-enthusiast or non-specialty users would consider paying for a flashlight, but they have come out with a lower cost range recently, and some of their older models may be available inexpensively from some retailers as they clear out the old stock to make room for the new models. As an example, Cabela's has the SureFire G2 LED now for $40, which is a very good deal for what was a $70 light, and it's over 4 times brighter than a good 2 D cell incandescent flashlight.
  19. I've had that happen more than once to myself (couldn't find, not muggled). I took to calling the phenomenon FTDNF.
  20. I can't compete with some of the responses on the same level, but still, 15 degrees F and wind gusts to about 45 MPH, on top of an unobstructed hill, with snow on the ground (and covering the cache), was pretty brutal. Had it not been a C&D, I might not have thawed out until spring!
  21. I've wondered about this myself for a long time. I understand the GC site using DD MM.MMM due to that being the default units displayed by many GPS receivers. However, I do not understand why that choice was made by the GPS manufacturers. Hard copy maps, surveyors, and so on use DD MM SS[.SSS] extensively. Computer mapping systems use DD.DDDDD extensively (look at the HTML source for any cache page, and look at the format for the coords in most of the online map URLs for a particularly ironic example). DD MM.MMM also seems to me to be a bizarre hybrid. It's reminiscent of the US 'standard' for dates, which also makes no sense: month-day-year. Either make it day-month-year, or year-month-day; why jump erratically between different-sized units? Actually, that may be even worse...it would be like MM SS DD! DD.DDDDD would indeed facilitate copy and paste of coords in a much more friendly manner, as it would require only one field each for latitude and longitude. Making selection of DD.DDDDD available to premium members would be quite beneficial IMO.
  22. Micro 43.5% Small 25.73% Regular 19.36% Not chosen 9.55% Other 1.06% Large 0.8% This is pretty interesting, especially the part about large containers. I found 3 of them, and didn't even realize it! Two of them were indeed very large ammo cans, but the one was more of a regular from my recollection (it and one of the others have since been archived). Much like D/T ratings, I have found some which I would have considered to be different sizes than what was specified, but I would say the vast majority of them have been accurate.
  23. That's really cool! I never had that happen in that sort of setting. The only time something similar happened to me was on an FTF attempt, in the middle of the woods at night. When I encountered someone else in the same place at the same time with a flashlight, I was reasonably certain that it wasn't a muggle. Talk about frustration...we spent the next hour or so looking for that 'easy' cache, and never did find it until our third respective attempts!
  24. Good question! Basically, the first finder will try not to draw any attention to the location of GZ, and will wander some distance away. He/she will then find a nice log or rock to sit on, or check their GPS unit, or turn off their flashlight, etc.. Sometimes it does end up being sufficiently subtle that the other(s) don't know if it was found, or if the other seeker is simply frustrated. A simple 'did you find it yet?' often ensues. Probably my favorite in this regard was I think my third find ever. After two urban micros as an intro to the whole thing, we headed into the woods for one which he had never looked for. I saw it first, then wandered away. I watched him being stealthy as he made the find, and backed away similarly. The look on his face when I asked if he had found it now too was priceless!
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