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Everything posted by Teasel

  1. Totally agree about lighters and food (both of which I've found a number of times) as they're a threat to the environment, but I'm less convinced that a short-bladed penknife is such a problem. We're all grown-ups here, aren't we? And those of us who aren't are under adult supervision, surely? If a child is not yet responsible enough to be able to handle a 2" blade without causing injury or mischief, are they really mature enough to be allowed out caching by themselves?
  2. As others have pointed out, the coordinates on the cache pages are given in degrees and minutes, rather than degrees, minutes and seconds. I'll just chip in another webpage which does coordinate conversions. Also, if you view the cache pages via the GeocacheUK stats pages, all coordinates on the page will have OS grid references, including any references to car parks etc.
  3. No offence taken, by me at least. People who feel that maintaining a sense of humour in the face of death is disrespectful to those suffering have perhaps not witnessed much of it. I cringe to think of the jokes members of the London Emergency Services will be telling over their beers, once the dust has settled. Even those of us not directly involved in these attacks will be feeling strong emotions such as anger, fear, hatred, concern; and (IMHO) humour is not an unhealthy way of dealing with these. (Though anything but sobriety in the earshot of casualties and their families would certainly be inappropriate!) The blast locations are stations I used to use and are right on top of where I used to work. AFAIK, nobody I know was involved, but everyone in the office has been instructed to stay inside the building. So I'm certainly feeling all the above emotions right now!
  4. Looks like a glitch in G:UK. Some cachers' accounts aren't correctly pointing at the corresponding account on Geocaching.com. I'll see what I can do to fix those accounts which have problems, and am also working on a more permanent solution... [Edit] OK, please could those people who were having problems try their MyStats pages again. You should see a list of unrated caches at the bottom of the page (and dots on the map!). Let me know if you're still having problems.
  5. Objective criteria are necessarily statements of fact (distance from nearest car park, difficulty, terrain etc). These are best handled by the cache placer and there are various aids to help them (handicaching, GCRS etc). If you disagree with the cache placer's assessment, tell them in your log. The G:UK ratings were deliberately designed to be subjective. They ask how much you the cacher enjoyed that cache. Other people looking at the scores can tell only how much other people enjoyed that cache. They don't know the reason why they enjoyed it (maybe they proposed to their girlfriend there, using the diamond ring she "just happened to find" in the cache; maybe a geotrasher had filled the cache with dog mess). But hopefully, given sufficient votes, a useful "average enjoyment" should start to emerge. I considered providing lots of different criteria, other than "overall enjoyment". For example "physical challenge", "mental challenge", "uniqueness", "surroundings", "concealment", "quick-n-easy vs long-n-hard" etc. But the subjective nature of people's opinions means that a ratings system only has value if a large number of people contribute. So I opted for a single, overall rating. Better, IMHO, to get 10 people to quickly say how much they liked a cache, than get one person to answer 10 questions detailing exactly what they liked/disliked. No more than a general election! Objectively, which is the best political party? (rhetorical question!!!) Was "Independence Day" a good movie? Who can say? But the scores on IMDB.com, in conjunction with the written descriptions, are useful when deciding which DVD to rent next!
  6. That's partly due to the fact that you've plotted the Bayesian rankings, rather than the actual scores that people awarded. The Bayesian averaging process deliberately pushes the ratings towards the middle, to ensure that caches only make it onto the "top-N caches" lists if they consistently receive lots of high scores. Your graph shows that Mr Bayes got his sums right! It is in fact true that people's votes are quite clustered around 2 - 3.5, but not as much as this graph suggests. Once more votes are received for each cache, the ratings should start to spread out.
  7. Every now and then on the forums, someone highlights a really poor cache, placed by a newbie, and the question is asked whether beginners should be expected to find a certain minimum number of caches before placing one themselves. Thanks to the hundreds of cachers who have entered tens of thousands of cache ratings into G:UK, I thought I'd plot a graph or two... Each blue dot on the graph below represents a UK cache. On the Y-axis, I've plotted the average score awarded to that cache by G:UK users. The X-axis shows the number of caches the cache owner had found before they placed that particular cache. The yellow dots show a smoothed average of the blue dots. Personally, I was surprised how little pattern there is. Both new and old cachers alike place both good and bad caches and, on average at least, people don't seem to get much better at placing caches as they find more. Only for cachers who have found at least 200 caches is there any noticable rise in the quality of caches they place, and even then it's small. The picture's about the same if you judge a cacher's experience on how many caches they've placed previously. People don't seem to get much better with practice, but nor do they seem to run out of ideas and lose steam... So, don't blame the newbies for poorly placed caches!
  8. The confusion you are experiencing is due to the different display formats available on the GPS, not how the coordinates are stored inside. If you are using the data cable then the computer makes sure that the GPS knows the correct location, regardless of what display format / datum you happen to have chosen. If you are in OS mode (OSGB datum), always use the British Grid format (eg SK 23456 83920), never lat/lon. If you really want to see lat/lon coordinates, ensure that you tell the GPS to use the WGS84 datum. Displaying lat/lon figures with an OSGB datum is always wrong, and it's plain bad design by the manufacturer if your GPS lets you do this! The Geocaching.com website shows both WGS84 and OSGB coordinates so, for most caches, it doesn't matter which you prefer. "Walkers who also geocache" often leave their GPS in OS mode so that they can still use maps. "Cachers who just follow the arrow" without using maps are better off sticking to WGS84. However, almost all multicaches and offset caches you come across will get you to do calculations with WGS84 lat/lon coordinates and enter them into your GPS, so you will need to change datum before you attempt any of these.
  9. IMHO domain hosting is a no-brainer - use 123-reg! They're honest (unlike UK2.net) and cheap (unlike names.co.uk). Web hosting is more tricky because there's a greater range of services to choose between. Unless you're on a really tight budget, look for perl, PHP and MySQL at a minimum. As well as the basic price you pay, look at the upgrade price for stuff like adding extra domains / sub-domains, more disk space, more bandwidth etc. Look for good technical support. Lunarpages have a very efficient free telephone support service, with some companies you're on your own! A useful test is to find their technical support email address. If you can't, move on! If you can, mail in some easy question like "how many subdomains can I create?" and see how long it takes them to get back to you. FWIW, my experience is as follows: eSiteHost - big, fast servers, outstanding tech support, good attitude, lots of disk, bandwidth and features for not too much money. I'd certainly suggest you put them on your shortlist. Simply.com - bad attitude (eg they remove scripts they consider insecure without warning or notification), unprofessional, expensive, wouldn't recommend. Gearhost.com - expensive, wouldn't recommend. Donhost.co.uk - expensive, flaky servers, wouldn't recommend. geti.com - dirt cheap, well featured, dadgum slow. Fun to play with, but not for production websites! oneandone.co.uk - expensive, high end webhosting. Lunarpages - good on the surface - professional, stable, good tech support, easily upgradable but I've twice severely regretted chosing them for medium-large sites, so I couldn't recommend them. But whatever web hosting company you choose, I'd recommend you host your domain name somewhere else. There's no advantage to hosting both domain and website with the same company, and it can make it more difficult if you ever need to move your website somewhere else.
  10. Wonder if there's a parameter in the climate model to account for all the extra oil burned by millions of computers trying to predict the climate?
  11. There are actually a lot more people in the team, but many of them haven't yet migrated their client software across to BOINC. You can see the "Seti Classic" members of Geocachers of the World Unite here.
  12. Anyone who, like me, feels a social responsibility to help biologists fold their proteins, but who is also enticed by the "what if..." possibilities of SETI can now do both, and more, by installing BOINC. It basically lets you divvy up your CPU between lots of projects, including climate prediction, designing particle accelerators, looking for pulsars, rendering computer animations, etc, etc... as well as the good old stalwarts of trying to cure cancer or find ET.
  13. I don't see why it should be impossible to place a cache within airport boundaries. I have a vague recollection of Mark (TheCat) asking for permission to place a travel bug hotel cache just outside Birmingham(?) Airport and being surprised when they said "absolutely not, but we might let you leave one inside at the departures customer services desk." Apparently anything you can get past the scanners is assumed to be safe. ISTR things fell through at about the government started parking tanks outside major airports! So, the challenge is still open for someone with good negotiating skills. But it's not a place for anyone whose idea of cache placing is sneaking an ammo box behind a tree while the landowner's not looking!
  14. With 40 maps to do, that sounds like a lot of mouse work to me! Here's my approach... *) Create a search on GeocacheUK around the point I'm visiting (Eg see this one) *) Click "File Download", select "HTML with minimal links" and a small number of waypoints (say 10 for a day, 50 for a week's trip), and click "Download!". *) This will bring up a page which has just the links to the cache details page and to the map on Streetmap. (Eg http://stats.guk2.com/caches/down_html_les...127307&limit=10). *) Fire up Adobe Acrobat (the full expensive (or pirated!) version, not the viewer) *) Click "Create PDF from webpage, paste in the URL you created above, say to get 2 levels and away you go. *) You'll then get a single PDF file containing cache details and maps for all caches near where you're going, and all from about a dozen mouse clicks! *) If you're worried about printing costs, fiddle with the page size (chopping a couple of inches off the width squeezes more on a page), and/or delete any pages with nothing useful on them before printing. Here's one I prepared earlier (1.3MB).
  15. Not sure that's possible I've just used html to set the "tooltip" - it's up to the browser how to display it. In Internet Explorer, once the box has appeared, you can stop it from disappearing by continually moving your mouse from side to side over the link. Firefox seems to truncate the tooltip (boo, hiss!) and I've not found a workaround to keep it on the screen. Opera is my favorite browser and works fine.
  16. I'll certainly be adding something to the cacherstats page to say what's the overall average score you gave to others, and the overall average score given to your caches. I'm less happy about listing exactly who gave what scores to which caches. I'm not actually considering this data secret as such (so don't rely on people not being able to find out how you voted!), but I do feel that a bit of privacy is likely to make people a little more honest. Though if the community favour a "full disclosure" approach, I'm happy to change my mind...? The system uses a "Baysian" average, so that a single person giving top marks (or bottom marks) to a cache won't immediately shove it to the top or bottom of the ranking. Once we've got lots of votes in the system, unrated caches will all start off around average, and will slowly drift up or down the rankings as they collect votes. But you're right that it'd be useful to see more information on the scores received - I'll see what I can do... While I have no problem with less-good caches being identified as such, the basic premis of the system is still one of "all caches are worthy, but some are more worthy than others". So even half a star should be considered as a small "thank you" to the person who placed the cache. Giving a cache zero marks would suggest that it has absolutely no redeeming features and has no value whatsoever (not even for getting you out of the house and letting you notch up another find). If that is indeed the case, then I'd suggest that posting a "should be archived" log is more appropriate!
  17. Just this one and the M60 so far. M25 is high on the wish list, but the thought of trying to arrange all those junctions in a circle has put me off. I could go for a straight vertical list like Chris did in the original, I guess?
  18. I'd always assumed that GC4E - England's First! was a test cache to ensure that the website worked for us foreigners. Check out the enigmatic Steve! Unless anyone knows different...? I think the earliest cache on the mainland was GCF0 - Scotland's First, though I could be wrong. If only his two points had actually been listened to...
  19. OK, I've put the rating system live. 1250 scores have been entered so far, so hopefully it's not too much of a pain to use. If it's popular, maybe we can look at automatically finding like-minded cachers and giving their votes a higher weighting in your lists?
  20. As a shortcut to scrolling down that thread, a map fitting your description may be found here Is this something I should consider extending to other motorways, or does everyone have memorymap / autoroute these days?
  21. The G:UK system I'm working on is a simple "stars out of 5" affair for caches you have logged as found. All cachers' opinions are considered equal, and a "baysian" average is calculated so that if, for example, cache A had ten people give it 4 stars, it'd rate higher than cache B which had one person give it 5 stars. Ditto a single low vote won't push a cache to the bottom of the pile. I like -Phoenix-'s idea of creating a personalised ranking, giving more weight to the opinions of people who tend to score caches similarly to yourself. But I'm not sure I've got the mathematical skills to do it justice, and I think it would need a lot of raw data to work well, so I'll stick to the simple version for the timebeing. You can see what I've done so far at http://statstest.guk2.com.
  22. Members-only caches are not included in the G:UK database, so three of your caches will be missing from the interactive map for that reason. Your other two caches should be present (though you might have to squint a little to see them due to the "green-on-diarrhoea" colour scheme!)...
  23. Of the three people who found the cache in its original location, two logged a concern about its location. As the one who "grassed" on Yorkiepudding to the moderators, I should perhaps explain my reasons... The cache in question was hidden inside a dry stone wall, near its base, behind a couple of loose stones. It was a small plastic lunch box, wrapped in a plastic bag. The wall is currently in use by the farmer, Mr Cooper of Highfield, for a flock of pregnant ewes and lambs. The farmer's reputation suggested to me that it was highly unlikely that the cache had been placed with his permission. The land from which the cache was accessed is owned by the National Trust, and is in the Peak District National Park. It is designated an SSSI, a Special Area of Conservation, a Special Protection Area and an Environmentally Sensitive Area. Of all the nearby caches, including those in dry stone walls, this cache seemed especially dangerous to the future of the sport. My initial approach was to raise my concerns with Yorkiepudding. I suggested an alternative location about 20m away which, though still in the SSSI etc, was not on NT property and would not run the risk of angering Mr Cooper. Yorkiepudding replied saying that the hole in the wall was there already and the wall looked very secure, but that she'd keep an eye on it. Nevertheless I was still concerned, so I referred the matter to the moderators. The cache has now been relocated and I hope that I have made my peace with Yorkypudding. I regret the inevitable upset that my "grassing" caused to a relative newcomer to geocaching, but I never once doubted that the cache was far too risky to remain in place.
  24. You don't need to register in order to use the search facility -- only if you want to be able to quickly run the same search again next time you visit. I've upped the limit of caches displayed on the interactive map, so you should now get all UK caches shown, and don't need to do a search. Works OK on my shiney new Athlon64, but people with older CPUs may still need to limit the number of caches shown by doing an "advanced" search and specifying a centre point and radius. Alternatively, try this map, which is much faster (once you've got used to the click-heavy user interface).
  25. Ah, the old litter question again! So, if the cache is well hidden, does it "tend to lead to defacement"? It would be an interesting test case, but I'd not want to be on the receiving end!
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