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Everything posted by m_and_w

  1. Yes, they did... And it's back to <type>Geocache|Mystery Cache</type> again. *sigh*
  2. Great explanation. That's essentially what we ran into on bcaching.com. Bcaching maps the sym text to an internal unique ID based on external configuration and does not automatically add new IDs if they show up (oops). Although GPX processing broke after the change, it was fortunately a simple matter to add the new mapping to the configuration. Bcaching doesn't get much traffic so few people were impacted but a heads up would still have been nice. Bad design you say? Perhaps. But design is a balancing act in which future proofing is just one of many factors.
  3. You can find some more information about getting started on the bcaching forums. Click on the User Guide section then "2. Getting Started". Users can't post on the forums until they've sync'd their geocaching.com account. There were too many spammers hitting the site before, but if you are having trouble you can email support at bcaching dot com directly for help.
  4. If using ctrl-A (select all) with Internet Explorer is important it could also be something hidden in an image. I've seen a couple puzzles where select-all would reveal something hidden in an image in Internet Explorer, but NOT in other browsers. Since I use firefox as my default browser it took me a little longer to crack it.
  5. Just my 2 cents from the perspective of bcaching.com. Each bcaching user gets a personalized email address that PQs can be sent to automatically and the email processor automatically extracts the PQ and updates the database. bcaching users only have access to caches that they have uploaded via a PQ in the past 30 days which keeps the data fresh but is also a restriction required in the agreement with Groundspeak. Therefore it is necessary to send new PQs on a regular basis and having an automated mechanism makes it relatively painless. So I am very happy that the email option for 500 or less has not been removed, and hope that if it IS removed in the future that an alternative automated mechanism is put into place first. It would also be nice to take advantage of larger PQ sizes. How about embracing the "automated community" by offering a simple sanctioned method for automated retrieval of GPX files. 1. Change the notification email to include a direct downloadable link that *does not* require the login step. Manage the authentication by adding an attribute for the username to the URL and add a flag to the file that marks it "downloaded by direct url" after the first time so the direct link can only be used once. After the first time, additional attempts to use the URL could simply redirect to the regular download page or login page if not logged in. That would allow automated mechanisms to still function and still be notified by (a very small) email. For example: http://www.geocaching.com/pocket/downloadp...b&u=m_and_w 2. Once there is a flag on the file that tells you its been downloaded (automated) you could offer another mechanism for automated downloads that does not require an email notification; might be useful for GSAK. Offer a URL with a private guid that a user can use to request the NEXT available download. Return the next file that has not been downloaded this way and flag it as downloaded. The URL could be the same as the last one except the guid would be permanently generated for the individual user and displayed on their download page for use in 3rd party apps.
  6. Emailed PQs are extremely useful for automation. BCaching.com offers a free email address to its users so that they can setup automated PQs to be sent to their bcaching account and always have access to the almost-latest data in their mobile device without any manual preparation. It would be unfortunate if Groundspeak took that feature away without first providing some kind of alternative for automated retrieval. Granted there are only a few hundred bcaching users, but I get the feeling from what I've read that there are many more GSAK users who would also lose out and have to resort to doing things by hand again.
  7. My account is fine, but a cacher we met at a 10th year event yesterday had the same problem and was asking around about it. She had been a premium member for several months. She has automatic renewal which isn't due for a while and this weekend she discovered she'd been switched back to basic.
  8. BCaching.com attempts to fill this gap. Unfortunately it still requires the use of pocket queries since there is no open API available to access geocache data directly from geocaching.com but you can set up automated PQs to run daily to your personalized bcaching.com email address so the data stays relatively up-to-date without any manual steps or user intervention.
  9. m_and_w

    HTC Desire

    If you're getting an HTC phone with the Android OS then there are several free geocaching apps. GeoBeagle seems to be one of the most popular free apps but there is also a new GeoBeagle spinoff called GeoHunter that integrates with bcaching.com the same way Blackstar does. Just do a forums search for "android" and you'll find a lot of talk about different options.
  10. For those of you that like GeOrg (Geocaching Organizer) and/or bcaching.com, there is now a free add-on in the android market named "GeOrg Bcaching Connector" that allows you to view caches in the GeOrg map view from your bcaching.com account and download full details to the local GeOrg database. The nice thing about this combination is that you can set up multiple pocket queries to email directly to your bcaching.com account on a daily basis for your most-cached-in areas, and as soon as they are loaded at bcaching.com they will also show up in your GeOrg map view.
  11. You can use just your phone -- using geobeagle, georg, cachemate or others -- but it will burn through the battery faster so if you're doing a lot of caching you'll want to be able to plug in periodically in the cachemobile. I have an android phone too and use it for an occasional find but still prefer a standalone gps for more "hardcore" caching days. It's really a matter of opinion. Since you already have the android phone I would recommend trying out some of the apps to see if there's one you like. If that works for you, stick with it. If not, get a standalone gps and use the android as a backup and for paperless info.
  12. The pocket-query powered bcaching.com mobile web view supports full street address lookup.
  13. You could use bcaching.com. You can set up PQs to automatically email to your bcaching account (or upload them by hand periodically). Then use the bcaching desktop map view in your browser to send geocaches & waypoints to your garmin using the garmin communicator web plugin. It's the same as the geocaching.com "send to gps" function but can send up to 1000 caches+waypoints at a time. I've only used it with a 60csx, but it should work with any garmin that can connect to the computer via usb.
  14. Give bcaching.com a try. It offers small, clean and fast mobile web pages for access to geocache data. Like most other 3rd party apps it relies on pocket queries but you can set up your PQs to be completely automated with your personalized bcaching email address and refresh your account daily (at least for your most visited areas; when planning to go elsewhere you still have to plan ahead and run a PQ for that area). It works great on my Droid , but also supports any modern mobile web browser.
  15. Just got my droid a couple weeks ago (love it) and finally got bcaching.com much more android and iphone friendly for paperless caching info. JUST added is the Mobile Map View using Google Maps with a cache overlay.
  16. BCaching.com - although as the developer I'm a little biased, and granted it's not too useful without a mobile data plan and decent coverage... We have 2 automated daily PQs running on geocaching.com for our most-cached areas that are sent directly to our bcaching email account so our paperless data is always very nearly up-to-date with no manual intervention and cache logs are cumulative which usually gives much more than just the last 5. The pages are relatively small and compressed for quick loading but there are also links to gc.com pages for the absolute latest and complete data including the gc "print view" which loads quickly and more cleanly on mobile devices than the regular gc.com details page. As mentioned in an earlier post, PQs must be uploaded regularly since you only can view caches you've uploaded in the past 30 days, but with the automation you can mostly "set it and forget it". We use it for all our field notes (found, dnf & write note) which we upload to geocaching.com at the end of the day from the web site on a desktop computer (no need to hook up the phone to the computer since it's all stored on the web site). It also keeps track of our find count and adds the find# into "found" notes automatically. After a field note is posted the nearest caches to the previous one are shown. We use it to keep track of our TB inventory - tb# pick ups are added to our bcaching inventory, then entering a find allows us to select tb#s out of our inventory and those are included in our uploaded field notes. We use the desktop maps view (a google mashup) for any preliminary research where we can also add private notes (not uploaded to gc.com), and additional waypoints (with the upcoming release currently in test). Since we still rely on our trusty 60Csx for most road routing and last mile navigation, we use the desktop maps view to load the Garmin directly - using the Garmin communicator plugin like on gc.com but for up to 1000 waypoints at a time which also includes custom icons to show traditionals vs multis, puzzles, etc. and includes terrain, difficulty, and container. On the blackberry you can download the 20 nearest hides into Blackstar Navigator (direct) or Cacheberry (by GPX download). It also provides links for individual caches to BB Maps or Google Maps. With the upcoming release the Maps link also works on Android for Google Maps/Geobeagle and Windows Mobile 5+ Google Maps (haven't tried iphone yet).
  17. With a data plan you could use your pearl's web browser with either wap.geocaching.com or www.bcaching.com to access geocache details in the field -- as long as you have a wireless signal where you cache most of the time.
  18. In October-or-so Verizon will be releasing several new phones including the Storm II which has a much better touch screen than the original as well as the Motorola Sholes - an Android based device. Verizon is also busy testing their 4G "LTE" network (with download speeds of 7Mbps to 12Mbps) and could launch it first quarter 2010. So if you're not in a hurry it might be worth waiting to see how that shapes up.
  19. Verizon has been putting all their current phones on sale because there are going to be some new phones coming out including the 2nd generation Blackberry Storm and one or two Android phones (that's what I'm waiting for). It might be worthwhile to wait and see what additional options are available in the next few months. Keep an eye on this: Boy Genius Report
  20. Bcaching.com is a free web site (for premium geocaching.com members since it requires the use of pocket queries) where you can view geocache info optimized for mobile browsers. On the cache details page there is a link that will launch google maps with a marker on the cache coordinates. It currently will only show one cache in google maps at a time. I use it with a blackberry, but the maps feature also works with Windows Mobile 5.
  21. I don't think they offer the non-NT version anymore for the latest maps. Try going to the garmin maps update page (https://my.garmin.com/maps/updates.htm), connect your device and it should give you some update options for your device. For my 60csx my options were all the NT version - the only differences were lifetime (downloadable only) for 119.99 and onetime for 69.99 (downloadable or dvd).
  22. BCaching writes the waypoint name as GC# followed by container, difficulty and terrain. For example "GCxxxx m1+/2" where m means micro, 1.5 difficulty, 2 terrain. Waypoint comment is the cache name. You can also setup custom waypoint symbols to show the cache type instead of the standard treasure box.
  23. Since you're using a Garmin, give bcaching.com a try (also free). You can setup pocket queries to be emailed directly to your bcaching account and load up to 1000 waypoints into your GPS at once directly from the web interface.
  24. Be careful about mixing "City Navigator" and "City Navigator NT". I ran into this when I updated the maps on my 60csx. The two products use different compression models and an Upgrade version for one is NOT compatible with the other. I made the mistake of purchasing an NT upgrade when I had the non-NT product then had to buy the full NT version since that was the only one with a 2009 version that I could find. The NT version compresses the data into less space so you can fit more onto your card but I find the NT version renders significantly slower on the 60csx than the non-NT version.
  25. 1. Use bcaching.com with mobile browser (I have a blackberry pearl, but any browser will do) to log my "field" find/dnf, notes, and TB pickups + dropoffs. It also keeps track of my find#. 2. Later back at the PC, use the desktop browser to download field notes file from bcaching.com and upload it to geocaching.com. Then use the geocaching.com field notes to complete logging and add additional details here and there.
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