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Everything posted by shellbadger

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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/
  4. Thanks for your attention. I was wanting to shut down here a watch some basketball.
  5. No notice of a log deletion received.
  6. Let me add to the thought about not much movement. At present, I have several hundred TBs in the hands of cachers, some for more than two years. One of my future projects is to contact all of them at the same time to get some statistical information about responses.
  7. I am pretty diligent about capturing the notifications of drops. Am I 100% sure I didn't get one, no, but I don't think so. I haven't contacted anyone. Was it recent? I finished going through my list of TBs an hour ago. Two of the log dates are in 2010, the other is 2011.
  8. I go through the list my TBs to check last log dates. For those TBs that have been in caches for a long period, I examine the cacher logs for evidence that the TB on inventory might actually be missing. In doing so I came across the same unusual circumstance three times. In the list of my TBs, a TB is shown to be in a cache and it shows on the cache inventory. However, the last log for the TB is a retrieval. There is no record of the TB having been dropped by anyone, either in the TB log or the cache log. Pertinent data are tabulated below. How do I interpret this? ---TB------Log Pickup-------------Cacher------------Cache Shown In TB3M8VK---4/11/2011------QuotemanAndGypsygirl----GC2D39J TB2T1N3---7/29/2010---------az buccaneers-----------GC1V81F TB3EZPN----7/25/2010-----------tomt102444------------GC2H2V1
  9. The main suspect was released on Sept. 30, 2010. But I can't tell exactly when it developed an "auto-visit" option. But "Auto-Visit" is a whole lot more than just a button on an App designed pretty much as an attack on Groundspeak. It's that and oh-so-much more. If you haven't read this whole thread, give it a shot, since it matters to any stats you'd create. This thread is a jaw-dropping thrill-ride through the minds of some people. I try not to think about it. OK, I have finished a survey of visits of 156 travel bugs. There were 1189 Retrieve/Drop intervals during which 8232 Took-It-To logs were recorded. The data are tabulated at http://tbserialvisits.weebly.com/ I offer no conclusions, just information for discussion.
  10. Does anyone have the date geocaching apps appeared for smartphones? If we can come up with one, I will check into compiling some information on the frequency and duration of serial visits in a sample of my bugs. It may be a bigger job than I would want to tackle, but I'll have a look anyway.
  11. I agree, most complaints you and others have made are valid, and cachers who do these things are, as you say, in the wrong. I think almost everyone who posts or regularly visits this forum is a Premium Member. As such we do know and abide by the rules as we understand them. In effect our complaints on the forum are like preaching to the choir. What are the chances that even the majority of the millions of other cachers know or even care about the rules, much less have throroughly read the guidelines on Geocaching.com or visited this forum. I believe most of them just learn to do what they need to do in order to do what they want to do. I am pessimistic about our ability to reach these people and change them. This issue is compounded by the fact that there is so little accountability at the cache. I am a solitary cacher (as I think are many others) and what I do with cache contents is known only to me. I don't have a solution. I just accept the situation as it is and go on doing what I want to do. Re the missing containers, this has happened to me before. The caches disappear in bunches. It is almost like someone is targeting my containers. Once it was four 50 cal ammo cans. The same thing has happened with travel bugs. Some of my TBs are art-based and I had, I think, three Eschers dissappear from local caches within the span of a week. That was before I changed all the caches to PMOs. But I guess this is fodder for another thread.
  12. I have just concluded the second of two days of cache maintenance and discovered three of my PMO caches have disappeared, none muggled, just disappeared. All were rural, one was a 50 call ammo can, the other two were specially-made containers. I am not in the best frame of mind right now but I will try to rationally respond. 10 pages of visits--as I said, go to the view map link and you can scroll through them as fast as you can move your hand. enjoy mishandling of TBs--I said nothing of the kind. There is a lot of clueless/thoughtless/bad/illegal behavior out there and making new rules isn't going to change any of it. It is sort of like saying that locks only keep honest people honest. Furthermore, any new rule is sure to upset someone else with a differing set of priorties. The main point is that if something hurts when you do it, why keep doing it? simply a matter of why you are putting that TB or coin out there and Allow others to enjoy the trackable--It doesn't really matter why you put the bug out because after it leaves your hands, what happens to it is a crap shoot. I would venture to say that no more 10% of cachers read the mission statements anyway. And each new handler views your bug in their own way. I recently had an email from a person who declared my TB was their first and wanted to know if they could keep it. I responded that I preferred not, but I am willing to bet it is in their pocket. Am I cynical? I suppose so. But in my defense, if called upon to do so, I could cheerfully list the conscientious cachers here on the Southern High Plains of Texas and the distant regions of San Antonio and Houston who have handled several of my TBs. When they pick up one of my bugs, I am assured the traveler will get to at least one more cache. I know they are good gals/guys, but I have not knowingly a met a single one of them.
  13. I fall into the camp of those not being bothered by my TBs making serial visits to caches between drops. I am very frequently pulling information from my TB logs and when I encounter recent logs on more than the first page, I just go to the view map page and scroll the list for the information I want. I don’t find that terribly inconvenient. It is essentially no different than a bug/coin residing in a cache for the same period of time, except (as others have pointed out) for knowing the traveler still exists. However, with the serial visits the bug/coin can pick up states or countries that might be missed with logging only drops. That matters to some people. Secondly, in my view, the occurrence of 10 visits to caches by the same cacher is not the same as 10 drops into new caches by 10 different cachers. In the latter instance each of those drops represent a change of possession and the renewed possibility that the TB will go missing. I put far more stock in drops as a measure of the endurance of a TB than either age or miles traveled. But that is just me and what I deem important. Now on to something that annoys me. People get to geocaching for a host of reasons, they stay with it for their own reasons and they drop out for many reasons. In my own case, I was visiting my son's family in Houston on a Thanksgiving. He had heard about geocaching so when his young children would get rowdy he had been taking them outside to find a cache in the neighborhood. I went along on one outing. My son had a GPS app on his phone and we found a small cache. No log was signed and we just put the cache back as we found it. There are some here who would take exception to that, but the kids were worn out, mission accomplished. I later looked into geocaching because I had noticed there was a menu for it on a GPS I had purchased for another activity. I thought the concept was pretty interesting, but when I found out about travel bugs, I went all-in. That appealed to me on many levels. The making, dropping and tracking of TBs is what I do. I could care less about the numbers and dates games, but I understand why it is important to others. Now my son’s son is into Scouting and working on his Geocaching Merit Badge. Their family is now fully engaged in the activity. So what is the point of this narrative (rant?). Each of us has our own priorities and set of values but we irrationally expect those same priorities and values in others, and we expect them never to change. Moreover, there are entries in this thread and elsewhere throughout the forum suggesting some people aren’t content with just the assumption of their values in others, they want their values imposed on others. The folks at Groundspeak have their reasons for doing what they do and we each have our own reasons and methods for caching. In the vernacular of the day, it is what is. I once had a log from a person with an allergy asking me to desist from hiding caches in a large junipers. Seriously?? I had another log chiding me for the use of the term Orient in the description of the geographic range of the chestnut; Asians might be offended. Seriously?? I might have some suggestions about how Groundspeak could better handle issues important to me, but I would expect their response to be—Seriously?? Do I hate it that, after more than two years, over 40% of my travel bugs have gone missing, another 40% are in the hands of cachers (most of which will go no further) and only 15% are actually in a cache? Yes, absolutely! Not even counting my time, it is a nice piece of change down the drain. But it doesn’t keep me from doing what I enjoy, the making and distributing my own TBs, then watching where they go. I don’t wring my hands over the behavior of others, I lower my expectations and keep on going. If the time comes that I no longer enjoy geocaching within the framework available, I will move on to something else. That is an option available to everyone.
  14. Sorry about the extra entries, I was twice interrupted and both times lost track of what I was doing. Anyway, I considered a number of options for presenting the information but since I was about to depart on a trip (on the road now) I just left it as it was. The drops data are in histogram form though. Another project is to email the long-term holders of bugs. Based on various threads here, I don't expect much of a response. In terms of knowing who the worst offenders are, it is hard to know. Perhaps we have higher expectations of premium members so when one seems to fail, we feel a little more strongly about it. I also have the sense that many premium members are retirees and that demographic is subject to family and health issues that can quickly change priorities. I am well into my 70s and could easily vanish from the logs without notice. I do follow my TBs abroad. There is abundant evidence that those in Europe move more quickly between caches and go missing less frequently than in this country. Germany may be an exception because more have gone missing there than elsewhere in Europe. However, that may be because so many more have found their way to that country. Why such a disproportinate number in Germany? I am not certain. I have encountered a great many Germans tourists in my own travels throughout the US and in the places I have visited in Europe, and they do cache. Also, there are large large numbers of US military personnel moving between the countries. And by the way, back in the dim time I was a broadly-trained vertebrate biologist and I know about Desmognathus. I have even handled a few, but far more Plethodon.
  15. This and similar threads is why I started keeping records on all my travel bugs. Some of my travelers had also gone missing and I wanted to know if these reports and my experiences were anomalies. In 2010 I released 237 TBs. At the beginning of this month (January 2013)all had been abroad for at least two years, some for almost three years. Their status at that time was as follows: a total of 101 (43%) TBs were missing, 100 (42%) were in the hands of cachers, 35 (15%) were in a cache and 1 TB has been retired. Details of the study may be seen at the website address below. http://shellbadgertbs.weebly.com/index.html
  16. True. Probably the most common way TBs vanish is, they're retrieved and then forgotten. There are a couple of clicks to see a list of which TBs are still listed in a cacher's posession, which must be searched manually in the Inventory list. I've temporarily misplaced my own TBs, or arrive at a cache with the intention of dipping my TB and realize I left it at home. My most recent TBs were built up with a rock-solid u-nail embedded into the object. They were each grabbed and immediately went into stasis . Now they're slowly reappearing in caches. Your site is pretty cool. I'd like a to be able to crunch the numbers in various ways. Also, when a TB is listed in a cache or in the hands of a cacher, yet gone, there are tons of possibilities. It always means at least one incorrect log, and sometimes is in a different cache instead. So the it would be good to also somehow catalog the story of the TB as it dies. There were logs at some point "TB isn't in the cache", or "I'm taking a trip and will place this then". And I'd bet that the TBs still traveling fine, had many incorrect logs, so they are only a step or two from being considered "gone", yet they are still in play. I don't disagree with anything you say. Things happen despite good intentions. I traded vehicles recently and I am almost certain I left one of my new, unreleased TBs in the old glove box. Re the data, I just tried to take the information as it was recorded, with little or no interpretation. I think the only real exception was when someone logged a TB retrieval from a cache other than where it was dropped. I considered that a transaction (drop). As far as crunching the numbers goes, all the tables are printable and the TB ID numbers are provided. Do whatever you want with the information or check the logs yourself. Its all public record anyway.
  17. The TBs are as shown on the home page. More details are in the methods section, if you have the time. With a nod to Snoogans' advice, I respond yes and no. I have asked that the bugs be placed in rural or premium (PMO) caches. I prefer they not be dropped in urban caches or taken to events, both of which I believe are high-risk situations. There is no large, defacing hole. They are not breakable. Most of the reverse sides of the laminated items have information identifying them as travelers. I have no emotional attachment to them, although I admit to some regret when certain ones went went out of circulation. I elected to use the little ball-chain and super-glued the link to keep the chain from accidentally separating. Otherwise, no rivets or garage-door cables for ultra-secure attachments. In my opinion, side-cutters will defeat virtually all methods of attachment short of 1/4 inch chain. I accept that there is segment of the population bent on doing mischief, and any heroic effort to outsmart them will be taken as a challenge. I also accept that, when no one is watching, some of us yield to temptation. Finally, I accept that while some of the bugs may outlast me, they are all going to eventually disappear.
  18. I have just published a series of pages on the activities and fates of 237 of my travel bugs released in 2010. There are no conclusions and there is no agenda beyond providing some real data on what happened to these travel bugs after they were released. I also hope some thoughtful discussion results from this effort. I think I have provided enough transparency that the results can checked by interested parties. I hope there are no errors, but given my age, fragile memory and the briefest of attention spans, some may have occurred. Please report them here and I will correct them. The site is http://shellbadgertbs.weebly.com/index.html
  19. As of the end of this year I will have over 200 travel bugs in circulation for at least two years, and some for nearly three years. I track and keep records on all of them. As of 31 December I will determine the number of drops made, and how many are missing, in the hands of a cacher, in a cache, at an event or retired. Relative to this topic, it looks like 40-50% have gone missing in the time since release. If there is a means to post graphs and tables on the forum, I would be pleased to do so when the review is finished.
  20. I lost three 50 cal ammo cans in six months and all were in the country. Since I made my caches Premium Member only, no more stolen boxes. This probably won't stop it altogether, but the risk seems to have been reduced.
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