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Everything posted by HIPS-meister

  1. Just checking before I start setting letterbox hybrids... Where are the actual details/guidelines on listing LB 'hybrids' in GC? And basically, what is the GC policy on also listing the same container and stamp on LBNA or AtlasQuest? (Both LB-sites and they both will cheerfully crosslist LBs that are on the other site too.) As far as I know, no one has listed one on AQ and posted the GC LB-hybrid URL... TIA! HIPS-Meister
  2. What he said! That's about the size of it! Thanks, CR!
  3. Agreed, but then someone comes along and makes up a game where you go somewhere, find something, and talk about it on the internet. There are already quite a few others... Also treasure-hunts to log online that don't necessarily require a GPS (Letterboxing comes to mind first...) Everybody play nice and play as many of these various games as you want!
  4. That happened long, long ago. Jamie Yeah, it did... the hard-core purists out there insist that caches that DON'T require climbing gear, boats, 8-mile hikes (or all the above...) aren't "real" caches! It may be that GC has gone too far the other way, making it very easy to post caches every(lightpole)where, but the 500' rule will help and the pendulum swings back and forth...
  5. I concur with DandyLaurel's comments. There are several people in this area that participate in both very happily. One family uses GC for finding caches that they and their kids will enjoy hunting and the kids have a good chance of finding! They use TC occasionally for more-challenging hunts, and also because one of 'em (I'll be discreet!) is a serious chess-player and just likes all those cute little icons on the TC account! TC is different enough to merit a look; it won't be for everybody. Neither is letterboxing... To each their own! Lots of uses for GPSrs! (OT--one was used recently to track and capture a bank robber!)
  6. How about a 'Destination' of Cachers??
  7. Good bye. I won't play on this playground. I won't participate in a forum when the system operator shuts down threads (and who knows, may soon exercise more draconian perogatives) against discussions that are contrary to his business interests, or that simply "annoy him." I think I've seen just about all that I need to see. There's a better world out there, just a click away.
  8. Get the best reading that you reasonably can... having let your GPS run with good view of the sky for fifteen minutes or so... and let it go at that. The inherent nature of the GPS system is that fixes will never be exact. That's part of the game. Provide the most accurate information you reasonably can.
  9. Which alternative site to geocaching.com do you prefer? And why? Which alternative to this forum do you prefer, and why? I guess it's going to come to this. Maybe someone can get a word in edgewise before the fire comes down from heaven. Again. Good luck.
  10. Interesting. A thread pops up on this forum where "other geocaching sites" are discussed, and ka-boom! Jeremy, the sysop and the owner/operator of geocaching.com, steps in with godly privileges and slams the topic shut! "Because it annoys me." Uh huh. Bad move, pardner. The Internet is a competitive place. No matter if you were "first to find" your-spot on the web, there is nothing that you can do to prevent someone from trying to do better. There is also nothing you can do to prevent those competitors from being talked-about by your customers. And, nothing you can do to prevent them from defecting, except... do a better job than they do. And how do you do that? By listening. Carefully. Customers will tell you what you're doing wrong and what you're doing wrong, if you let them. And if they don't... they just go away and don't come back. The sport of geocaching is at a crossroads. It's getting public press. It's getting exposure to thousands of new-customers who have not been customers before. I fully expect that it will soon have commercial competition in the form of outdoor tour-guide operators who will sell, but also support and guarantee, excursions based in part on the use of GPS. Since there are no "barriers to entry" to setting up a caching site in direct competition to "the first one," there is nothing to say that geocaching.com, although it was first, will ultimately "win." They could listen better, respond better, let word-of-mouth lead your customers to their doors, and... buh-bye! Being exclusionary with regard to conversations, Jeremy ... even if you regard them as "annoying" or "negative" ... might well be the worst thing that you could possibly do right now. 'Nuff said. Gentlebeings (hurry before our dear sysop deletes or locks this "annoying to him" thread)... what's Your opinion?
  11. I agree with the Ham recommendation. The "RS" bands are frankly too weak and too crowded to do much good, unless you are talking among yourselves at very close range. By comparison, a simple Technician license (one exam, public question pool, no morse-code) gives you access to 2-meters and 440 mHz, where you can not only find a "private spot" to talk, but you can also use repeaters. Repeaters are similar to those cell-phone towers you see everywhere these days. They sit on top of mountains, listen on one channel, and rebroadcast what they hear on another channel... from their mountaintop location, and at their power (which might be 100 watts or more). You simply set your handheld to listen to the right channel and talk on the right channel when you key the mike, and now you are effectively "talking from on top of the mountain." So you can be geocaching during a camping trip and be in constant contact with your base-campers... in places where a cell-phone won't work and a FRS/GMRS radio can't go the distance. It's a good, practical, communications medium.
  12. That's an interesting assertion. I can't speak to it either way so I won't. But I will say that we have to do something. And I'll observe that the existing supply of logs (found/notfound) already serves as a simple kind of QC-feedback system. Already, when looking at a cache as a potential candidate to search for (and I don't simply take the Pokemon approach, "gotta get 'em all..."), the basis of my information is logs. So already, the basis of my decision is "peer-review." The first objective I would propose is that we need to find a technical way to "get the reviewer out of the loop." Having to personally approve each and every record that goes live in the database is unsustainable. The second objective is to enable cachers to select, for themselves, caches of predictable quality (as seen by them), and to close-the-loop so that those cachers can submit feedback and peer-review concerning the caches they have sought. The objective is not to alienate nor to exclude existing participants, but rather to adjust the system so that it is more self-maintaining and does not swamp the few volunteers who are caught in a critical-path. I believe that a properly-conceived system could do this, and do it more effectively than what we have now... by virtue of the improved process alone. I think it's quite reasonable, not to mention politic, to assume that folks who place caches, as those who find them and those who now review them, all have the best interests of the game at heart; that they do not operate from selfish or ulterior motives. Let's assume that for starters. And then, let's look at the process and see how we can possibly improve it. One alternative of course is "just go off and find another site." Yes, and in a years' time we could have 100 different geocaching-related sites and the sport suddenly has no central point-of-contact. Now it has cardiac fibrillation... every muscle pulling on its own, no one pulling together. It's an alternative "of course," but can we do better?
  13. I'm gonna repeat myself just to be sure: I'm not bashing anyone. Not reviewers, not Jeremy, not the tech team! No, the process itself is what we need to look at. As volume grows, the computers can always keep up. But the humans can't. The eBay system is basically a de-centralized, peer review process. Auctions that don't keep up are naturally and quickly "voted off the island." Authority to maintain the system is vested in the participants. While super-powered investigators and administrators are still required, the system is such that they can operate in the background and do not have to intervene constantly "just in order to keep the quality high." They are able to employ "management by exception," and our gods should be able to do the same. Right now they cannot: a privileged reviewer must be personally involved in every single transaction, and that's simply not sustainable despite everyone's best efforts. We are all in this together. Each person ... cache-owners, cache-seekers, the site sysops, and the present cadre of reviewers ... is a stakeholder in the game. As the system grows, it will not simply grow linearly; it will explode. And if it explodes, in the present architecture, it will break and splinter. (And cause poor Jeremy to experience self-inflicted Male Pattern Baldness!) So we need to look at the coming storms and think up pro-active solutions that take selected-humans out of the loop. A fundamentally different quality-control system is needed... very soon.
  14. If there's one thing that is particularly attractive about the other sites, it's that they are quite level-handed about the cache listing process. The Achilles heel of GC is the approver system. Under the present system an approver has godlike powers... and some approvers are sticklers to red-tape issues like, "no, your home-coords are 105 miles from the cache instead of 100," or "this stage is 510 feet instead of 528." (I kid you not.) And the problem is, of course, there's nothing you can do about it. Gods are gods and you are not. To be fair, it is easy to understand this "stickler" approach as a natural response from someone who wants to do a good job; who is faced with literally hundreds of new applications every day; and who physically cannot go and inspect any of these caches. (Some approvers live a thousand miles away from their areas of responsibility.) As the popularity of the sport grows, the strain upon the manual approver system is only going to get worse. And the pressure on the game to splinter into a hundred different rival, even regional factions is going to grow. Everyone concerned is basically stuck in the middle. The root cause of the problem, as I see it, is "success." The present system started out when geocaching was an isolated geek-hobby. As it entered mainstream, the workload on all fronts shot way up. And now, as it starts to become popular... Fellas, it's gonna crash hard. Let these decisions be made, instead, by the local visitors themselves. They know a good cache from a bad one; they know if the cache is or is not being maintained. Let the computer do the paperwork. Let the computer count the chads. A peer-ranking system, call it a Survivor system, would allow the participants themselves determine the survival of a particular cache and the standing of a particular setter. The more positive ratings a cache gets, the more likely it is to survive in the list. Negative votes eventually cause the cache to be de-selected. Cache placers who get high rankings get nice gold stars. The concept is a familiar one. Forum/blog software, including the software which runs this site, has that kind of capability as a standard feature. Heck, look at eBay and its "positive and negative feedback." Lord knows I'm not bashing reviewers. Let's hear it for hard-working volunteers! But let's not kid ourselves: if the present volume doubles, and doubles again... there's gonna be a lot of water belowdecks. We need to put our collective heads together now. When I look at eBay, what I see there is working. What do you people think?
  15. ... ... ... Uh, yeah. Glad you made it! I think it's a good idea and maybe it could help in healing. I have a friend who can no longer travel due to medical reasons; we send her postcards. She tells all of her many friends about the places she's getting postcards from, and plots each location carefully on maps and reads all about them on the web. Perhaps, through the travel-bug, you can do the same. The question of putting a cache at the crash site ... (and it is so-o-o much better than having to put crosses there!) ... would of course be a question of safety. Is this a location that members of the public can safely reach. Would the state DOT have any issues with people stopping there. And so on. If the location clearly "works," then go ahead and do that. Otherwise, the TB idea is definitely a good one. And ... ummm... you two take care of yourselves!
  16. Jeremy, do you think that it would improve things if the default distance figure was reduced to less than "100" miles? It seems to me that you could be generating result-sets that are considerably larger than they need to be. This value seems to me to be one that would have been appropriate when the database was small and sparse. Now it may be too big, even much too big. There might even need to be a limit on the number of rows returned. This would obviously have no effect at all upon bandwidth use, but it might relieve bottlenecks on the server by reducing transaction time. I'm guessing that the biggest component of variability in server interactive response-time is the number of queries that are in-progress at that time, and/or queue buildup waiting for a shot. I'm also guessing that the pocket-query batch processing is handled in such a way that it doesn't impact online performance.
  17. Bottom line (imho)... Make it fun. Sometimes people drive many miles just to go to (among others...) your cache. They're not from the area. They may or may not have fancy electronic maps. They might only have page-one of your published cache description, probably with the hint already decrypted, and they may have read page-one of the logs. That does not mean, however, that they are ill-prepared. They just don't know where to park. If you own the cache, this is your guest. Your goal, and your responsibility, is to try to show them a good, safe time. Tell them what they need to know. (If you have to err, err on the side of caution. And if that makes it a "spoiler," include it anyway just encrypt it.) Remember that you are not only showing them a cache, but also introducing them to the area. They could be coming any time day or night, so if there's a time that's not a good time you should tell them outright. They might have brought their young child and maybe a couple of newbies to "show them geocaching." If they shouldn't have done that, you should tell them. They might take any course that looks plausible on the GPS, so you do need to tell them about that private property or that oozy bog full of eight-foot crocodiles. (Presumably they do intend to take their children back home with them.) Whatever you do, don't leave them with a bitter taste in their mouth. ("Bamfoozled" is fine, however. "Stumped, mystified and bewildered, but not quite ready to give up yet," is part of the game. ) You'll soon find a particular kind of cache that you enjoy finding. Go out there and design and place good caches of the same type.
  18. I agree. If someone posts a "found it" and didn't find stage-three, who cares? Some people really get caught-up in "numbers" and might therefore feel that those other folks are "cheating," but... not everyone out there is competitive. The beauty of this game is that it's strictly a one-on-one personal challenge between you and the puzzle. Log it as you choose. Just don't spoil the fun for the next seeker.
  19. These are good, well-considered points. (There are free websites that can generate the HTML for the icons and bullet-points you see on some cache description pages.) It is always important, when you put out a new cache for the public's entertainment, that you carefully spell-out what the seeker needs to know, even if you think it "ought to be fairly obvious." Better to err on the side of caution, and of course, on the side of fun. Likewise, look carefully for "No Trespassing" and private-property issues near the proposed cache site. Remember that the seeker might not be familiar with the area, might be following the map-pointer or a computer-route to the location, and might well not attempt entry the "right" way. You, the cache setter, need to always think in-advance about such possible issues... to maximize the seeker's enjoyment of your cache.
  20. I'd say "nyet," and quite forcefully. First of all, most of the things that people call "adult" are pretty darned childish. Almost a schoolboy's weird fixation with female body-parts. It is certainly not something that I would ever want to go out into the woods to see. (There are already enough weird things out in the woods...)
  21. What I would do... is to set it up and submit it. Explain carefully in your reviewer-notes where the cache points are, what they are, and why you decided to do it this way. The guidelines for distance are just that, guidelines. The location of the cache .. the nature of it and the surrounding geography .. is really what determines what's "right" and what's not. If you use care in devising your cache and explain your decision to the reviewer, I'm sure you'll get it approved forthwith.
  22. I also like virtuals, and would like to see the guidelines that have been placed against them relaxed again. The reason why I say that is: "I like for a cache to take me to an interesting place, where something historical happened." In many of those places, a traditional cache can't be used. Virtuals can. In my humble, if the site merits a cache, then it merits the appropriate type of cache for that site; whatever type that may be. However, an arbitrary restriction against a type of cache has the undesirable property of eliminating caches, altogether in many deserving locations. Oops. For instance... there is a national battlefield near my home coords. Right now there is one (virtual) cache there. I could easily see, perhaps a "virtual multi-cache tour" being set up by history-buffs to introduce fellow geocachers to the history within the various units of this park. No other type of cache could legally be used. Many geocachers would however enjoy the tour. The sport of geocaching could educate a lot of people that way. "Numbers" don't mean squat to me. Faced with a list of caches in an area I am very selective. Otherwise, I could be found leaning against a lamppost, fast asleep from sheer boredom. But that's me. This is an issue that I think needs to be tossed around a little more. Where should the defining line be moved to, and why? Let's think it.
  23. In South Mountain park, "Stick to the Trail" GCMF3M. Evil... and good.
  24. A CRC ("Cyclic-Redundancy Check" code) is a fairly sophisticated mathematical technique for detecting when a file has become corrupted in transmission, as your original download somehow most-certainly was. If you get a CRC mismatch, you can be certain that the message is genuine, that you really didn't "do anything wrong," and that the proper solution to the problem is to re-download. (And check cables, and so-on.)
  25. It's certainly reasonable to e-mail the cache owner and to ask for a hint. Some folks will even be happy to meet you there, and be sure you find the cache, and to answer any other questions you may have.
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