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Everything posted by shellbadger

  1. I do realize. Several years ago I looked at profiles persons who had logged retrievals of my bugs but never dropped them. By far most were newbies who seemingly had lost interest, but a significant number were also pmo cachers. There are a surprising number of non-pmo cachers visiting my pmo caches...I know some of them and they aren't bad actors.
  2. OK folks, thanks for the comments. Re using the watch feature, I am only a marginal cacher so the applications you describe are not things I have learned to do. I maintain my own caches and make travel bugs, that is the kind of caching I do. I guess I will have to either move containers or learn to treat the disappearance of 30 trackable a year as overhead.
  3. I have released 200-400 of my own trackables every year since 2010. More than 90% are dog tags attached to a variety of items, mostly sample poker chips, patches, laminated images, beads and keychain pendants. The remainder are of the themed metal tag variety, plus a handful of coins. I have data on every one of my trackables. Chief among the variables recorded are the date of release (Time 0) and the date of every subsequent drop. The term “drop” is any change of possession…it includes a release into a cache, as well as handoffs or trades. A drop is when the responsibility for a trackable has been given over to someone else. The number of drops equals the number of cachers who honored the implied contract to complete a move when the trackable was retrieved. A retrieval without a later release (or grab by someone else) is not counted, nor is the simple discovery of a trackable. I have documented the short-term activity of the trackables released every year. For those released in 2010 (an index year) I tabulated the drops through that year and through the following two calendar years (2011-12). The 2011 collection was followed through 2013, and so on. The latest possible, and recently-summarized index year is 2017. Depending on when trackables were released during the index year, some will be almost three years old, but those released late in the year are only a little more two years old. The same bias exists through all the index years. The figure below shows the percentage of trackables that achieved specific drops, out to 25 drops, for each of eight years. The takeaways are: (1) that all the curves are essentially the same [the shape will be explained in a later post] and (2) only about 50% of the trackables achieved five drops [in a later post I will show this occurs at about a year]. Caveats. (1) The reader should not assume the graph depicts only missing trackables. Many are, almost certainly those that fail to make four drops in 2-3 years are out of service, but some percentage to the right of four drops will continue on. There are a few of my early trackables that have made it through 60 drops and/or have lasted more than eight years. (2) It is possible that a random collection of trackables released by others would exhibit similar curves, under the same circumstances. However, I think it unlikely for reasons explained in the following post.
  4. I have 50+ trackable-capable caches and I try to keep travelers in all of them. All my caches are Premium Member Only and most are rural, at roadsides. A few of them are now 10 years old, the youngest is a year old. My containers have a good many repeat visitors because other cachers know there will be a bug or two to carry away. Over the years, a trackable will just vanished from most of them. However, a pattern is starting to develop. Some of the containers lose proportionally more trackables than others, and it is not a difference in container traffic. Fifteen of my caches (30%) have watchers, one cache has two. What is the purpose of permitting someone other than the owner to watch a cache? Is there a way to identify the watchers?
  5. I am posting here in case you are watching for a response. I sent you an email directly to the effect I am willing to help.
  6. Does anyone know what happened to the Geotrib.es site for mapping TB travel? For a while there was an announcement that it closed for repairs, now the site has disappeared altogether.
  7. I put the message NOT place TBs in urban, non-PM caches. It is about reducing risk. I keep records on all my TBs and have data to justify my preferences. On average, in the US, TBs will go missing in a little over a year and won't be handled by more than 6 or 7 cacher. Many are lost from their first cache and never move, at least on paper. The best thing that can happen to a TB is to land in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria or the Czech Republic. Bugs move faster and last longer. Urban caches are death on TBs, in part because they get a lot of traffic. Sooner, rather than later, there will be an irresponsible finder. Any doofus with a smartphone and a free app can find urban caches. Newbies are especially bad, they usually aren't very stealthy, they will find a cache or two, pick up a bug or two, maybe even put out a poorly-hidden cache or two, then lose interest. They keep the bugs are and leave behind unmaintained caches. This is a broad brush, but rural caches are a bit harder to find with smartphone apps; it usually takes an investment in a gps device. A casual cacher is not going to spend the money. Which brings me to Premium Member caches. The casual cacher is not going to spend the $25 per year. All but one of my caches are rural and all are PMOs. After I converted my caches to PMOs, muggling and stolen TBs dropped to 15-25% of their former levels. These data also show there are irresponsible PMs. However, there are some rural caches hazardous to TBs as well. Just look at caches outside the gates of National Parks and popular caches in some state parks. And, many cachers (including the writer) have made the pilgrimage to famous caches like Mingo (oldest active cache) off I-70 in NW Kansas. They all show large TB inventories, but no bugs are found. The point is, I will cheerfully sacrifice frequent discovery and/or miles on a TB for its longevity. I have TBs on mountain tops in Colorado, Utah and Nevada. The cache in Utah hasn't been visited in over 3 years so the TBs hasn't had a chance to move. That's OK with me. All this said, I can only do what I can before release, after that I have minimal say in what happens to my bug because I suspect at most only about half the finders actually read the mission statements. So, my TBs still regularly wind up dicey, urban, non-Premium caches where they soon go missing.
  8. This morning I received about 30 logs of discoveries of one of my TBs from cachers at an event in Slovenia (GC5EWE2). Instead of the usual boilerplate text, two of the emails consisted of a list of TB tracking numbers. Given its recent history, I think my TB was actually there, but still ................?
  9. Have you considered a different hobby? Perhaps Geocaching would be fun. The truth is I spend way more time on my travel bugs and maintaining my caches than playing golf. But then again, I understand why those activities wouldn't be considered geocaching in the usual sense. It is, however, how I choose to spend my time.
  10. Did I need to do it? Absolutely not! But it gives me pleasure to convert the anecdotal "what most people know" to a quantified "what is known." I keep records on my travel bugs and few other people have time and sample size to definitively address some of the questions that arise on this forum. For example, everybody knows bugs are treated better in Europe (move more frequently, last longer)than in the US, but I will soon be able to state how much better. Hey, I am retired, I can't play golf all day, every day.
  11. I have finished another report on some of my travel bugs. It concerns 152 shellbadger TBs held by 136 different cachers for more than a year. It contains profiles of the cachers holding bugs and the results of sending an email query to each of those cachers. The chief findings are: (1)the vast majority of the bugs are held by short-term cachers and(2)emailing the cachers will not get much of a response. Details are at http://handsofcachers.weebly.com
  12. Be careful what you wish for. I know for a fact that your TBs are far safer in Europe than anywhere else, particularly the US. You Dutch, but also Belgians, Germans and Czechs take very good care of TBs in your countries. Most TBs in the US go out of service in the first year. They either go missing outright or are held by indifferent cachers who lose interest after a few outings. The latter just keep their trophy TB and move on to some other activity.
  13. I hope my trackables leave Europe some day. But I just started with Geocaching, and mine are traveling quite good. There was one that had a hold-up, and one is in an cache where not many people visit. But that is okey, that is part of the game. On my main page I also have a list where they are all at, in what country. As a Dutch person I am always like: Oh, it left the Netherlands! Now they journey starts realy well. Other countries, other cultures. xD
  14. I have only one cache in an urban setting, the rest are in rural areas where locating containers with a smart phone is often pretty iffy. I will log my finds with my phone but the Garmin is far better at pinpointing locations. The onus for installing codes would probably fall back on the cache owners. There are sites where free QR codes can be generated, but there are modestly-priced downloads as well. Of course the cache would have to be large enough to hold an item (paper or whatever) with a readable code on it. I have no caches smaller than a pint-size lock and lock.
  15. OK, I read the give and take on the QR Travel Bugs topic. I am starting to put more durable cache cards with the log book in each of my caches. Each card will have the cache name and GC code. No biggie, but then it occurred to me that I could easily add a QR code for the cache URL to the same card. Can there be a problem with this?
  16. For the best part of four years I have been keeping records on the activity of all my travel bugs (over 1,100 released). I summarize the data in different ways to quantify some widely held beliefs about what happens to bugs after they are released. My most recent project was to document the first of my bugs to 291 unique localities and to credit the 241 cachers who took them there. The results may be seen at the address below. http://tbtravelsfirsts.weebly.com
  17. OK, changing the compatibility mode fixed the problem for me as well. Thanks for your interest and help.
  18. My last response was from my laptop and the editor was working. Now at my desktop and the editor is still not working.
  19. I didn't do anything, it just started working. I just checked again and the editor is still working. I taught toxicology to environmental engineers when I was still working. They really weren't into the history of their own discipline much less that of science, but they had to at least memorize Paracelsus and his contributions.
  20. Wow! It doesn't seem to be working for me either. I am using Internet Explorer 10, and experienced the following: (1) entered a new trackable, and the mission and description windows were grayed out, wouldn't take any input; (2) once the trackable was created and I clicked on the Edit This Trackable choice, the windows were still grayed out, would not take input; (3) tried to do the same with one of my existing trackables, and even though the listing showed data for both mission and description, when I clicked on the Edit This Trackable, nothing appeared in the two windows, and no input was possible. I would be interested to know what finally worked for you. And when I tried the same thing with Chrome instead of IE 10, it worked normally. I'm not a big Chrome user, but maybe Groundspeak has left me no choice.
  21. I am preparing some new travel bugs for dispersal. They actually activate OK, and permit image uploads, but the Mission and Description boxes are shaded and won't take entries. I noticed this yesterday (Sunday) and it is still true at this writing (Monday, 7 PM CDT. An email sent yesterday to contact@ got only an automated response that the message was received.
  22. I forgot to respond to your comment about Plethodon. I have a friend who has worked on P. neomexicanus for years. I went out with her a couple of times when she was doing a mark/recapture study in the Jemez Mountains. That was some of the toughest field work I ever did--myself a flatlander scrambling around at 8,000 feet elevation on steep, slippery slopes in a cold mist.
  23. At the link below are photos, text and a table describing where a collection of over 1,000 travel bugs have visited. This project was supposed to have three parts, the last one being a list of the first TBs to get to a place, along with the cacher who took them there. However, travel and other issues kept interrupting the work. I want to get at least this much posted before some surgery. http://tbtravels.weebly.com/
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