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Everything posted by GClouse

  1. I've seen a couple of offsets where the co-ords placed you in a parking lot near a row of trees, and the correct tree was indicated by distance in one case and compass point in another.
  2. Work shop tools http://www.workshoptools.com has them for 1.99 each. They have other sizes too. They havea a few brick-and mortar stores in the south.
  3. I once startled some kind of critter in a tree. Couldn't get a good look at it, but is was small, possibly a chipmunk, or a squirrel. I used a pair of sticks to lift the container out.
  4. We have a lot of urban caches in Nashville, many are micro containers hanging in a sign post by a short piece of fishing line. Another common type is a magnetic key holder hidden between a guard rail and its post. One of the best ones I've seen to date was a magnetic keybox that was stuck among the various electrical boxes on a disused and disconnected holtel sign. There are also a large number of "skirt lifters". Magnets are the most useful thing fo hiding urban caches. But wait until you have several finds logged. By then you will be able to spot good hidey-holes at a glance.
  5. A lot of geocachers use web-enabled cell phones. There is even a cell phone application that can use the gpsr built into some of the newer phones. There is a free program called GPSBabel that shoud be useful. for the IPod, the GPSBabel program can convert gpx file to an IPod format. You can also create a single html file and save it to a laptop.
  6. Once while retrieving a cache, I stirred up a swarm of yellowjackets that had built a nest right next to the cache. I ended up having to take the cache with me because the little critters coming after me when I tried to put it back. One of em stung me next to my left eye. I contacted the owner and made arangements to return it.
  7. Look around for someplace where a casual passerby won't notice it, or where it looks like it belongs. One of the slickest hides I've found was a black magnetic keycase stuck on an old disconnected electric sign. It looked like it was part of the jumble of electrical timers and boxes on the sign.
  8. If'n Yew git yore missus ta put a little pocket inside yore John Deere cap so'syew kin hide a Bluetooth gpsr in thar .... Yew might be uh Redneck Geocacher!!
  9. I don't care much about the numbers, but I have seen a few Lampost caches that were a bit more challenging than most.. In one case, you had to choose which of 120 lamposts to look under. Another was in a former parking lot where the pavement had been plowed up, but the lamposts were left behind. This made for a weird location because small trees and bushes had grown in around the lamposts.Another one was of the evil viriety. In this case the container was a tiny glass bottle, about 1 inch long and 1/4 inch in diameter. it was velcroed up under the skirt. The most interesting Lampost hide I have seen is one where the cache is not under the skirt. The cache is in plin sight, stuck to the lampost with a very strong magnet, about 20 feet above the ground.
  10. Actually xml describes the data. Traditionally, data was put into either a delimited text file, where a delimiter character such as a comma, is designated as a seperator for each data field, or a fixed record text file where each data field is represented by a group of positions in a line, or any of an infinite number of proprietary binary formats, where only the few programs that explicitly know how to read that format. Xml , seperates the validation, definitiion and presentation of the data as individual functions. Unlike HTML, where the tags are interpreted by the browser, XML tags are entirely abritrary. The tags are given meaning and structure by the xsd (Xml Schema Definition). A quick example. The computer phonebook has names, addresses, work and home phone numbers, and email addresses. In the fixed field format, we might have 40 positions for the name, 40 positions for the street, and 40 positions for the City,State and Zipcode.Each phone number field has 10 positions and the email field is 30. Each line ( aka record) is 170 positions long and filled in with blanks to the end of the field. In a delimited field, Each field has no set length, with a delimiter character between each field. in a binary format, the numbers are represented by a binary equivalent. In all cases any program that uses the data must know how to seperate the fields, what they mean and how to use the data in them. With xml, the tags identify the fields and the associated data. The schema provides programs with the meaning and relationships of the tags, and the display or printing of the tags is defined by XSL (xml style sheet language) xmlns is the xml namespace. This is a fancy way of saying "stick someting infront of the field names so we can tell the difference between the Name field in our phonebook data and the Name field in Joe's 8-track tape collection datafile. So in the above example we have <Name>John Foo</Name><Address>11 Maple Street</Address> <CSZ>Someplace,NY 87236 </CSZ> Notice there are no phone numbers or email adress in this example. if the schema require those fields we would have the tags with no data between them. At the top of the file is a reference to our xsd and xsl files. We write a webpage with a javascript that lets us type in the name in a box. It then uses a standard xml function to find the name, automatically formats the result according to the xsl and pops it back to our webpage. The Javascript doesn't have to know which position the field is in or how to display it. I does complicate the data, but greatly simplifies speeds the programming side of looking up data.
  11. A lot depends on personal preference. I have owned several palms and PPCs over the years, and still have most of them laying around somewhere. Palms have a more consistent user interface. PPCs vary from version to version and from one manufacturer to another. Palm Os is usually backward compatible to older version, so older Palm apps work on newer Palms. Older PPCs using Windows CE/PPC/Mobile versions earlier than 2003 are not compatible. some hardware drivers may only work with one version.(like a wireless card I have for a PPC). Also, since PPCs may use any of several processors (Arm, SH, Xscale ...) You may not be able to find an app for the processor that you ppc uses. Palm Apps are free or mostly inexpensive. Most of the share ware titles are between $2 and $20 to register. Most PPC that aren't free seem to be priced at $20 and up. (This is likely due the Software Development Kit for Palm being Freely available. ) Most Palms do not have a builtin web browser. The ones that do generally do not support ofline browsing. There are a number of third party offline browsers available PPC have Internet Explorer in rom. This is a stripped down version of Internet explorer, and it does support offline browsing, ( The html extensions must be renamed to htp. ) Palms do not have an office suite in rom. However a commercial App called Documents to go is available and usually included with newer Palms. PPC have Word and Excel in rom, These are pared -down versions however, that support the most common functions. In either case, if you don't have an addon keyboard, actually creating a document on the handheld is frustratingly slow. The Palm OS was designed from the ground-up for use on handheld touch screen devices. Windows CE/HHP.PPC/Mobile/CE.Net was designed with the idea of recreating a windows like interface on the handheld device. Last August, I went shopping for a new handheld. The local discount office supply store had a palm TX for around $300 and an Ipaq(don't recall teh model) for around $300. The Palm had more memory, both bluetooth and WiFi, (the Ipaq only had bluetooth) and all the other capabilities were pretty much equal. I bought the Palm. You might prefer th PPC.
  12. !st Magellan GPS 300 2nd Palm M125 with Magellan GPS Companion. ( m500 series model modded to work with the m125) 3rd Navman Companion (Needs work)
  13. I use a Palm M125 with a Magellan GPS Companion and Cetus GPS 1.2b software. Totally paperless. The Cetus software lets you keep multiple waypoint databases and copy or move individual waypoints from one database to another. I use GPSBabel to create the main database from the gpx files produced by the pocket queries. On the M125, when I locate a cache, I simply move the entry from my main database to my found database. Same for DNFs and Needs maintenence caches. Another tip: get an sd card and a backup program for the m125. Sometimes the older Palms will lose the memory data when you change batteries. I have a 32M lexar sd card and use a freeware utility called InnerBackup to backup the Palm memory. It's a little quirky, but it does the job. If you have a connection to your gps, or even better a gps companion (a GPS in a "sled" that clamps onto the back of the M125) then Cetus sould be able to ise the GPS companion and has the option to auto select waypoints by proximity. Some guys also use a Palm software application called Cachemate. Like most Palm software, it is inexpensive.
  14. Actually the battery life probably drops significantly when using the hd a lot. And it is a bit pricey. You can get all the same features with a Mio or an iQue for close to the same price (or less if you shop around) plus all the pda features and the ability to add other apps. Or get a smart phone like a Treo, or Motorola Que and use the cellphone navigator app. One of the reasons I use a Palm m125 for caching is that they are relatively easy to replace for few $$$. They show up at thrift stores and yard sales for as little as $20.
  15. GPSBabel is a free PC application that can convert .loc and .gpx files into many formats, including html and the formats used by most gps units and software products. GPSBabel
  16. Loc files tend to work fine on a laptop because the cache listings are in the browser cache, or if the laptop has an active wireless network connection. GPX files entries includes the complete listing, where the .loc file listings contain only the the most basic listing info and a link to the geocaching.com entry. I use an old Palm device (m125) with a magellan GPS companion clip-on receiver for caching. For software I use Cetus GPS v1.12b which has really good support for geocaching. On the PC, I save the zipped gpx files to a certain directory, and run a batch file that unzips the zip files and then uses gpsbabel to combine the gpx files and output a palm database(pdb) file that works with Cetus and an html file that I can browse on the PC. I can then sync the pdb file with the m125 and I have the waypoints, descriptions and even the hints ready to go caching.
  17. In Tennessee, Some statelands are okay and some aren't. In general, land set aside for wildlife, such as management areas, and game preserves are completely off-limits. Some properties are designated as public use or recreation areas, in which case it may or may not be allowed at the discretion of the land manager.
  18. For urban settings dress and act like a city worker. If you are caching paperless, make sure your gps/ppc/palmpilot is plainly visible. I use Cetus software on an old Palm m125 with a gps cradle, and after after a find, I move the listing on the Palm from my curent list to a list called "found". While I do this, if there are muggles nearby, I will try to give the impression that I am annoyed at a co-worker for having to do his work on a weekend while he is on "vacation". The idea is to look like you are taking readings from some sort of environmental monitoring equipment.
  19. I always take a look at the dollar aisles in the drugstores and grocery stores. Some of the things I have used for trades include keyring flashlights (2/$1 from drugstore dollar aisle), FM radioes with earbuds, Micro machine cars, and occasionally a compass or a second-hand FRS radio. I make sure the electrical items are working, then remove the batteries (to avoid corrosion) and place the item in a ziplock bag. The keyring flashlights, had non-removable batteries, so I tested them before I before leaving one in a cache.
  20. The first GPSr used by the military were the size of a large daypack.
  21. It actually took me about a month before I found the first cache. I was using a really old GPSr that would get me within about 50 feet. From there it was like an Easter Egg hunt. As you do more, It gets easier because you learn to notice the kind of places that make good hiding spots. It took me forever to find my first light-pole cache, now ther are rediculously easy.
  22. I actually got my first GPS at a thrift store for $40. After a while, I decided to go paperless, and got a palm gps sled form ebay for $20 and a Palm M125 from a local pawn shop for $40. What I have found out about buying from Ebay: check out what available. Put watches on auctions for items that are similar to what you want to see how much people are spending on them. Then decide how much you want to pay. When deciding whether or not to bid on an item, check the sellers history. Many used items may be for parts or repair. There are 2 ebay sellers in Nashville with brick and Mortor stores that are always getting complaints from people that bidd off something marked "AS IS, for repair or parts" and get upset when it doesnt work. Once you decide how much you are willing to pay, do a little research. Sometimes you will find the same product carrying different brand names. For example, Magellan manufactured some gps sleds for Rand-McNally. Also if you are unfamiliar with the brand, you can search for the brand and for reviews online. Now that you have you price in mind, search for auctions on ebay. type to search gobally. Sometimes the seller may be unfamiliar with the product or brand and will post the auction in the wrong category. I once bought an ultra-rugged itronix laptop for $25 (+$20 for shipping) that was usually selling for $400 simly because the laptop had been OEM'ed through Wang Labs. (Itronix also makes the Hummer laptop and one of the HP-branded ultra-rugged laptops. Once you find the item, subtract the shipping and handling costs from the maximum amount you are willing to pay, and bid the difference. For examle , if you have budgeted $70 for a GPS and you find one, but the S&H is $40, don't bid over $30. It is also a good idea to know what one costs locally, It would be silly to spen $70 on S&H plus the item when you can buy a newer one at the local pawnshop or sporting-goods store for $60. Try to pick auctions that end during the day, preferably on Wednesday of Thursday. Individual items tend to close a little cheaper at those times, and there is less "sniping". Be patient. It may take a month or two, but you can buy at your price.
  23. I recently hid my first cache. I have 2 or three more in the planning stages. I made 5 or six trips to the area with gps and a camera to scout out possible hiding places. Noted the accessability, and considered the size and type of cache. I then identified who to get permission from and did so. It turned out that the land manager had done orienteering in college, had heard of geocaching, and is considering on giving it a try. I explained it a bit better to him, with some emphasis on the similarities and difference between orienteering and geocaching ( I too, had done some orienteering in college) and I think he is sold o the idea.
  24. After geocaching for just over a year, I had my first LEO encounter on Thanksgiving day. My older son (who is autistic ) wanted to get out of the house, so I took him geocaching. The 4th cache we went after was about a half mile from a road along a greenway. After parking the car in a small pull-off area, and unbuckling my son frm the car, a police cruiser pulled up. A woman officer asked if there was a problem. I explained to the officer that myautistic son was bored, and we were going to walk up the greenway a short distance, and made sure it was okay to park where we did, and she said "Okay, have a nice day" and drove on. The topic of geocaching never came up. BTW, my older son seems to enjoy getting out and walking. My younger son also enjoys it, but if there is any bushwhacking to be done.. He wants no part of it.
  25. Find out who mows the lawn and find out who their boss is. Trace the chain of command upwards until you find the person that signs the paychecks for the property maintenance crews, and get permission from them. get someway for the campus cops to verify this permission,(e.g. phone number, copy of a letter) then notify the campus security (as a courtesy) that you will be placing the cache with the permission granted by so-an-so. Give them your proof of permission. Public right-of-way doesn't necessarily mean public use. Public right-of-way simply means that the public has the right to travel along the right-of-way, without having to pay a toll for the privilege to do so.
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