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Everything posted by javamutt

  1. I'm a big fan of the concept of a finder-based rating system. I view my caches as something I've created, and like to see feedback. The logs are great, but a standardized feedback mechanism is a nice supplement. The hider's opinion is important, but I think finder input could even out the under and over-rated ones. The key, of course is to have a # of ratings posted with it. Keenpeople.com offers a basic rating system for caches, although it doesn't parallel gc.com's terrain/difficulty system. If you have a keenpeople login (free) you can use the link below to check it out: http://www.keenpeople.com/index.php?option...evote&Itemid=86 It's not a perfect system, but I like it.
  2. I do far more lurking than posting, and in my observation I rarely see people being attacked for having low #s of finds / hides / etc. What I do see is the occasional person with 5 finds under their belt in the Getting Started boards asking how thier cache should be rated. They are usually advised to wait until they get a few more finds... No attacks, just constructive advice. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I don't see this as a regular problem. The leaderboard issue really boggles my mind. I think it's interesting to see where I stand in the area / country / world (at 49 finds, I'm pretty much at the BOTTOM!). But if I didn't like stats, I would just avoid logging in to sites like KeenPeople, and be done with it. I'd love to see GC.com add a leaderboard by region and overall, and I love the idea of allowing people to opt for anonymity... I'd even like to see FTF stats be added to the site. But stats should be counted and available. Stats are a part of geocaching. A few people not participating in them has little overall impact other than noise in the data stream, but I agree with an earlier post - if large numbers of folks didn't participate in them it would impact far more than themselves. My observation is that the statistics are not "in your face" - you need to look for them. So if they bother someone, why were they looking at the stats? Just log your finds and don't look at KeenPeople, or the stats tab in people's profiles. [edit for spelling]
  3. I completely agree with the need to not "dumb down" geocaching. Idiot proofing this sport would only spawn another underground web site. One thing I might suggest would be a means of policing (for lack of a better word) the rating system. For example, right now the cache owner uses their subjective opinion to rate terrain and difficulty. I've found caches with 4/5 ratings that could be dashed from a car with no special equipment. I've also found caches rated 3/2 which took multiple visits and were extremely challenging. The point is that a cache hider can't really estimate the skills of people who will come after him. The eyes of the hider are also inherantly biased; I learned this on my first hide from the logs. I made a serious effort to rate my cache accurately, but it wasn't until I tweaked the ratings based on log feedback that the rating fell into its groove. My suggestion is to have a cache be optionally rated by those who complete it. In this way, the finders could establish their own ideas about the ratings (linked to the guidelines we are supposed to follow in those ratings). And it would lead to more statistics, so that MUST be good One aspect of this which I find appealing is that the local geocaching community would be able to collectively voice their opinion about a cache. While there would be the occasional person who rates everything a "5", I believe most people would take it seriously and the result would be a more accurate number. To tie this back in to the main topic here, I believe that a more accurate rating system would do a better job of setting expectations. This could potentially raise the safety of the sport from an outsider's perspective, or a newbie's perspective. It would also raise the enjoyment of the established cachers in the area by decreasing the potential to hunt for a 3-5 rating but find that it's barely a "1".
  4. I don't know if this will work for everyone, but a few years back I had a nasty case of poison ivy and my doctor gave me an awesome tip. This works best with the "head on a hose" type of shower... Get your shower as hot as you can stand it - really, really HOT - but not so much that you woudl scald your skin! Put that hot water on the affected area. You will go through the most intense itching you can comprehend, and then the ksin starts to feel cool... What happens is that the hot water forces the skin to release its histamines. Those hist's are what causes itching, and it can take up to 6-8 hours to replenish the hist's. If you get it, controlling the itching is everything and this trick twice a day got me through with very little suffering. Hope this helps someone!
  5. They might be waterproof when they are new, but definitely not when they're old. In most cases they stay highly water resistant though, so if you find a spot that's not in direct prolonged contact with water they seem to do excellent. No matter what the cache type, always use ziplocks to store anything you care about - like the logbook!
  6. Check the logo usage link given above.. There are mulitple circumstances in which you don't actually need permission (for non commercial). It's very flexible as long as you don't make money using the logo or try to alter the artwork.
  7. javamutt

    Map Help

    What are the chances I happened to click on this link? I went to CSC for my freshman year (1992) - haven't been back since (had to transfer). What a beautiful area! There used to be an old overgrown ski mountain we called Bird's Eye... Had an old swimming pool at the base of it. That was the best mountain biking I've ever seen! Is that still there, or has it been developed into something? Would make for an amazing caching area...
  8. I would definitely agree with the recommendation to wait a bit for your first hide. Make sure you've really sampled the terrain and difficulty spectrum. You'll probably learn some very cool tricks from your local hiders and be able to assimilate them into your own style. I think it was around 30 finds that I started to figure out what specific hiding styles were peaking my interest, and then I started to look at the areas I knew well in a different light. That's when I started working on the multi-cache I'm about to release It's definitely an art that takes continuous learning, but the apprenticeship is about as much fun as it gets!
  9. In reading the threads above it's obvious there's no standard for what people enjoy in a find. Some like McToys, Some like "nice" stuff, others like book exchanges, and there's a whole website devoted to people who like to find rubber stamps as well (letterboxing). For me, I really don't care much about anything but the log book. I'd rather that the cache hider put their time into finding a place in the woods (or cool urban place - whatever you fancy) than in shopping at dollar stores. I've only hidden one (soon to be 2!) cache but I definitely enjoy the log entries people leave. For that reason, I always try to leave a nice log entry and take pictures on each hunt. That's my idea of a trade - Took in a great view, left pawprints and a log entry. If you have a specific twist on what *you* like in caches, then find a clever and scenic spot to hide one, and give that cache a theme. As the owner, you'll then have the right to enforce that theme (been debated, but I think the consensus was that owners can make + enforce their own rules). That's the whole point of hiding a cache - it's your way to show other people what YOU like in a cache, and hopefully they'll like it too. Just don't be in too much of a hurry to hide one... The more you find, the more you learn about quality hides.
  10. I used the GPS Outfitters "Ulitmate GPS Case" for a while, but didn't like the full closure on the top as it seems to obstruct reception. I also didn't think the mounting was flexible enough. Since then I've started using a Military grade Camelback HAWG to carry my gear - an investment I'd make again in a heartbeat. To compliment it I recently picked up a Maxpedition CP-L. It has MOLLE velcro attachpoints, and a loop you could put through a belt. I can mount it a hundred different ways on the rear of my pack, or on my shoulder straps, or on my belt. On all configurations the top of the GPSr is clear from obstruction so I maintain great sat reception. The CP-L is also built like a tank, and will probably outlive me http://www.maxpedition.com/catalog/product_cpl.htm I can't say enough good things about this product or the fellow cacher who I bought it from: http://www.tnrdgrnr.com/maxpedition.
  11. This is totally subjective, but when I held the eTrex in my hand, and then held the Magelan, the Magellan felt like a more durable unit. When caching with a friend who had brought an eTrex it did seem that the Magellan was holding lock better than the Garmin. Could have been freak circumstances though - certainly not a scientific analysis. I think that no matter what unit you select you'll find pros and cons. For example, the Magellan "slingshot" effect I've grown to know and love :)I used to think mapping was a big feature, but for geocaching what you really need is good waypoint handling. A compass and a bearing is much more efficient than a mapping screen. As long as the unit you select can plug into your PC, and fits your budget, chances are you will never look back.
  12. Upstate New York - not to be confused with New York City, which is about 6 hours from here.
  13. Check with your vet. My dog Java had some kind of an irritation he cleaned to the point of being raw. A quick trip to the vet and she gave me some magic drops which seem to be like an antihistamine in function. Worked like a charm. The key is to take care of it before your dog develops a habit of licking the area - once that happens it gets much more difficult to cure.
  14. Try to count the tears you would cry the first time you slid down an embankment and smashed your backpack against a rock, shattering the LCD of your geo-laptop into oblivion. In contrast, imagine the old Palm pilot you bought on eBay for dirt wrapped in an otterbox. You drop it and lightly scratch the otterbox, but no damage to thew PDA. Personally, I print out the cache pages for the area I'm in and stick 'em in a ziplock freezerbag. I'm never so far from the Internet that I can't supplement my mobile catalog. On the other hand, I'm a totaly gadget freak, so do what's right for you
  15. I've been using three sets of NIMH AA's I bought at Radio Shack a few years ago. I think the whole setup with the charger was around 60 bucks. I get about three caching days out of a battery set. This is with a MeriGreen, so definitely no incompatibility there. I haven't has to buy batteries in over 2 years (flashlights, palm, etc.). I also like not throwing out batteries...
  16. I think I live in both the numbers world and the nature world. I regularly scan the nearest caches, and when I see the 1 or 2 star caches in less than exciting areas I look at them as "dashers". In fact, I admit I just crank them out to get my list back to keep my to-do list looking interesting. At those times, I'm "looking a the pawns not looking at the cities." On the other hand, when I see a 3+ star cache from a great hider, or a in a unique or unexplored (by me) area, I'll plan on spending hours on the hike and blowing through a hundred pictures along the way. I recently did a multi like this in which I spent so much time taking pictures it got dark before I finished it - oh well! When I get back home I love writing the logs, and checking stats. I've enjoyed the KeenPeople.com stats site... I've frequently wondered what percentage of cachers make it to triple digits... Yep, I definitely enjoy the stats and would love to see GC.com expand their stats to new and intersting areas. I think Carleen's post speaks for a lot of people... Caching gives us a neverending list of cool places to explore, and interesting statistics. I don't think there's any such thing as a moral high ground other than accepting "to each their own".
  17. When I see a provacative question like "how many of you have thought about leaving..." and similar variations, I usually think completely in the opposite direction. How many people out there are having the time of their lives, getting out into woods you never knew existed, and meeting a great bunch of people you might not otherwise cross paths with? How many of you get a warm fuzzy lugging a trash bag out of a great spot? Who's been so addicted to geocaching that they've been WAY late to work trying to get an FTF? My hand is raised to all of the above which tells me that depsite the dark side of the force, something here must be pretty good! This is the most fun I've had in years, and I'm happy to say I haven't felt opressed at any point. I'm all for healthy debate to keep the rules organic, and I both appreciate and enjoy the well thought out arguments... But man, I just can't comprehend the frustration out there eclipsing the buzz and making me think about geocide.
  18. I like the idea of good writers submitting adventure stories. I love to read about what the caching experience is like in other parts of the country (and world!). For example, I understand there's an up and coming community of those serving in Iraq who are geocaching... That would make for a great story. I also think that a collection of tips from the uber-hiders would make for an interesting article. There are some really creative folks out there and they might have interesting thoughts on hiding caches. How about a tutorial on making the most of EasyGPS, as well as some of the attractive features of ExpertGPS... I have enjoyed using expertGPS, and I think a quick tutorial would be useful. Maybe a CITO of the month could become a new part of Geocaching... Before and after pictures, or somethign to that effect. If it tied into the GC.com cache logs maybe there could be a field for CITO (yes or no) when you log a find. A top CITO list could be published each month in the magazine. Hmmm - more ideas keep coming! Featured regional organization of the month woudl be nice to read about. What cool things have been done by regional GC lucbs that could be leveraged by other clubs gettgin started? Some nature tips woud be cool - identifying birds / trees... I'll stop rambling now I love the monthly magazine and would love to see it keep growing!
  19. I think hiding caches is definitely something worth waiting for, but its really difficult because peple seem to get bit hard by the "bug". The enthusiasm gets overwhelming - at least it did for me. I placed my first cache at around 20 finds, but in retrospect those early finds weren't very diverse. My next 20 became more difficult and I had a very different idea of what separated a good cache from "one of the masses." Make sure that you have tackled a few caches in each difficulty range... When you check out the cache rating guidelines one of them says "An average geocacher can find this with 30 minutes of searching". I think its important that you know what an average geocacher can do, vs. only what you have experienced. The final point I think is relevant to "when are you ready to hide?" is sort of zen-like. I've found a few caches which were not just an ammo box under a pile of wood, but were very well thought out, and concealed. In fact, many of the best caches are in plain sight, but take a trained eye to discern. I like to think of them as being in harmony with their surroundings. When you've had one or two of those finds, you really appreciate the thought that went into it. Be creative, and try to hide something worth finding! Think of your most memorable caches and what made them that way - try to emulate those strengths in your own expression and you'll be certain to get favorable logs. Cache on!
  20. I was pondering turning off WAAS for a while just to see if things became more accurate. This was my first time using the secret handshake on my MeriGreen (Menu, RT, LT, RT, LT, 03, ENTER). Looks like it holds home statistics in addition to allowing on or off the three slots. Sat State SNB Az Fl In the lower section I have columns for East, Long, Long and rows for Avail, Sats. From prior threads it sounds like there are conditions when WAAS is good, and conditions where it is not good. I'm wondering if this screen holds a key to identifying whether or not WAAS is good to have enabled in a specific condition. Anyone know?
  21. I think anything this fun would find a way to survive. If the "above ground" method was squashed I would definitely take to USENET to see if anyone was hiding coordinates in alt.binaries.tadpoles. There's a whole bunch of underground urban explorers, so I have little doubt that caching would similarly occur both above and under ground.
  22. I use GPS Outfitters Ultimate GPS Case to protect my MeriGreen. The case is now being sold at EMS although I don't see it in their on-line offerings yet. I did a review of the case on cachegear.com if you are interested.
  23. While the PDA is a "nice to have" I question its need in a beginner's geocaching kit. I am a die-hard Palm user, but I never bring mine in the woods because I dont' want to risk damage. I think it's a cool add-on, but definitely not a beginner's kit necessity. I think the camera should be digital, but I'm not sure it needs to be in a beginner's kit either. With all of the non-geocaching uses of a digicam, it might be best to make some recommendations on geo features they should look for and let them decide if they want ultra cheap for geocaching only, or a really nice camera because they'll use it for other things. Cameras are so personal it's tough to pick the right one for someone else. Walking/hiking stick - also not needed at all for geocaching. I respect that some people love hiking with a stick, but it's not needed for beginners to get into the sport. It would be great to offer as an add-on if you wanted to, but I think this is another major area of presonalization that would be tough to make one decision on. Camelback classic doesn't really have much room for caching items - you'd need something more like a MULE or HAWG, but that will kill your entry price point. I'd suggest for a beginner going with somethin like a fanny-pack with a water bottle holder in it. Gotta keep the price point down. I think you should stick to caching specific items like: GPS (good as suggested) Some kind of protective case for it Compass for taking bearings Astronaut pen (writes in all weather) Waterproof cache log book for taking notes on finds Possible add-ons available as upgrades: Headlamp: don't waste time on a normal flashlight as those are available anywhere Walking stick Camelback (but I question whether you could hit a good price point) PDA pre-configured with Geo-utils and instructions 2-way radios I'm not sure things like first aid kits are justified in this case - they're important to have on a long hike, but how many beginners who wouldn't put together their own kit would be doing long or dangerous hikes? Also, what value could you add in a 1st aid kit that they couldn't get anywhere else? Your best bet would be to focus on caching specific stuff, or versions of common things that are tailored to caching. Maybe a special 1st aid kit that includes rubber gloves for picking up nasty trash or something. Regarding price, I think you need to keep it at or less than $100to appeal to a total newcomer. That means a less functional GPS in some cases, but if you have waypoints a bearing and a compass you're set. Hope this helps!
  24. Pretty cool... I assume they come in smaller sizes for hikers than those employed on Navy ships?
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