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Everything posted by Morton

  1. Ah, I see - that's the opposite of what I thought you were aiming for. Technically, you don't have anything to worry about there, because the default position is that nobody's allowed to reproduce anything without permission of the copyright holder. But it wouldn't hurt to put a standard "All rights reserved" in the footer or somewhere similar, just to stop anyone claiming they thought they had permission because they didn't see anything to the contrary. What I *thought* you were aiming to do was to protect yourself against a contributor later saying "I never agreed you could use it in the way you are doing (and so here's an invoice)". The normal (ethical) way to do this is to say that the contributor retains ownership but grants you a licence, on some terms which you clearly specify. For example that's what Groundspeak do in Clause 6 of their T&C's here. It's getting a bit too esoteric for this forum, but if you contact me through my profile, I can point out a couple of things you might want to think about. Thanks for getting back to me - I wish I'd written to you when I noticed it in the first place, but I was really busy at the time, and maybe I made an assumption I shouldn't have done. My apologies. Now then, can I basgy Edinburgh? Cheers Richard
  2. Paul - I looked at your website when it launched. I think it's a brilliant idea, and I'd have liked to have written a piece on Edinburgh. But I couldn't possibly accept the T&C "the content you’ve submitted is given over to The Geocache Tourist, and becomes the property of the website". This goes far beyond saying that I don't get paid - it's requiring me to give up my copyright. This is a big deal because, for example, if a newspaper later asked me to write a similar piece, I'd have to be very careful not to infringe the copyright in my own work. It's just not reasonable to put that kind of constraint on an unpaid volunteer. I know it's a tricky area and I'm a professional writer, so I probably have a different slant to most. Still - I wonder whether you really intended quite what you've written here. There are other ways of protecting your own interests without demanding quite so much from the contributors. I'd be very happy to discuss my concerns further, if there's some scope to bridge the gap. Cheers Richard
  3. An interesting point. I've felt the focus has been moving back to Armistice Day (as opposed to Remembrance Sunday) over the last few years. The two-minute silence on Armistice Day itself was practically extinct when I were a lad, but plenty of people do observe it now. Anyway, it's the symolism of the specific date which is the problem. The event isn't just *on* 11/11, the event is *because* it's 11/11, and I don't feel comfortable with attaching a celebratory significance to something I consider very solemn. But it's entirely up to the indivdual, of course. As a fatuous example, if I'd been born on 11th November I'm sure I'd have a radically different view.
  4. Yes, absolutely. Those specific caches were actually the ones I was thinking about when I said "maybe one day". It was just the "it's all common sense, safety schmafety" line I was objecting to. (With apologies to HH, since I realise that's a grotesque stereotype of what he said.) But that one I'm really not so sure about, and I was more than a little surprised to see the video on the official Geocaching blog. I mean, yes, you can skirt round the obvious barrier and jump down the six-foot drop, but does that really equate to it being "open"? We could debate forever whether it's socially acceptable to go there anyway, but it doesn't feel at all compatible with the general Groundspeak ethos. PS. This is off-topic, but if anyone does have a secret hankering to explore a sewer, I can heartily recommend the Southern Water tours in Brighton. There are ladders and manholes and stuff, and you get to splash down a giant brick-lined pipe waving a torch around, just like in the movies. I must admit though, having done it once, I don't particularly feel the need ever to do it again
  5. With respect, that's the kind of thinking which leads to people going up Ben Nevis wearing trainers and a T-shirt - it doesn't look in the slightest bit dodgy, until the weather turns. "Common sense" is just another phrase for "experience". Not everybody has it, and it's not always their fault. My own rule of thumb is that if I'm doing something that's unfamiliar to me, it's probably a good idea to understand what the dangers are. Speaking personally, I appreciate the effort which underground cache setters in this country (almost) always put into the safety gear, training and paperwork, in the form of warnings on the cache page. Of course, I still wouldn't look for the cache... but that's because I'm a complete fraidy-cat. Maybe one day. Cheers Richard
  6. Hold down Ctrl and press F5, and I bet you'll see it. Conversely, for people who have only ever seen the Stop Thief sign, go to http://spankeesyuck.com (and click "click here, do not refresh" if you see it). Hold down Ctrl and press F5 while looking at *that* page, then come back here. The signs will have magically changed into cheering people. I wouldn't bore you with this, were it not for the following cute fact. The technical term for what's happening is... caching!
  7. Without wanting to pour cold water on what's obviously an extremely positive development, I do wonder whether they've entirely thought through the thing about the postcodes. Postcodes aren't highly sensitive information, but they're still something an organization would be expected to take reasonable care over, at least when they can be matched back to individuals. The issue I see is that anyone visiting the cache could swipe a copy of the postcodes - and would most likely be able to reconcile that with gc.com user names, even if the list of postcodes is separate from the logbook. Again, I'm not suggesting that's the worst thing in the world. But it bothers me slightly; apart from anything else, logs on gc.com are a good way of knowing when I'm not at home. I can see the whole thing creating a bit of bad blood - with one side resenting even being asked to leave their postcode, and the other resenting the ungrateful visitors who won't comply with what (to their minds) is a very modest request. In contrast, if for example there were cards in the cache to fill in and mail back, I'd have no problem with that at all. The response rate would obviously be lower, but the data would be secure. Or perhaps collecting just the first part of the postcode (EH9 in my case) would be enough? That covers thousands of people, so it's a much less personal piece of data. I don't want to make trouble, but perhaps it would be possible to pass this feedback on?
  8. Sometimes I see something I'd really like to tidy up (that's the way my mind works), but I'll be completely honest - I'm not organized enough to follow through on it. I never have a bag or anything suitable to take litter away in. I did toy with an idea a while ago to leave "CITO packs" as swap items in caches. But I was worried about encouraging people, maybe kids, to touch things they really shouldn't. Overall I think CITO works best as an organized thing, where someone can dish out bin-bags and rigger gloves and generally make sure everyone's being sensible.
  9. I have to say, also, that clearing out a cache which has been deliberately stocked ("the whole container was full of sweets") is a little bit different from removing a packet that somebody's absent-mindedly left there. It doesn't affect the fact that it's a bad idea to have left them in the first place, but it suggests the motivation was more than just carelessness - which in turn points to a more diplomatic approach. I'm pretty easy-going, but in the cache owner's place I think I'd have been annoyed about being "corrected" in public. A private note to explain your concerns would have done.
  10. So we have two competing explanations: 1) He bought the shirt in a charity shop, and didn't really know what the logo meant. 2) He is a secret geocacher, and doesn't want his employer and/or the general public to know. His cunning plan for keeping it a secret involved buying a shirt with a highly-visible logo, then wearing it ON NATIONAL TELEVISION. But his attempt at subterfuge was foiled by an eagle-eyed viewer... forcing him to fall back on an implausible story about visiting Oxfam. I'm constantly amazed by the ability of the Internet to spawn conspiracy theories
  11. Is everyone else as confused by this topic as I am? Isn't the phrase you're hinting at a term of homophobic abuse? Moote's post certainly seems to suggest he's read it that way. Or does it have some less offensive meaning which I don't know about?
  12. We probably aren't too concerned about mentioning a business name in the listing for a legitimate cache - one which was going to be placed anyway. But we'd be concerned if the website were flooded with ill-conceived micros stuck to drainpipes outside shops, submitted by shopkeepers who've heard it's a free way to plug their business. That, I think, is where Groundspeak see the "slippery slope" leading. I don't actually agree, because I don't think geocaching is ever going to be mainstream enough for this to be a genuine concern. But nor do I dismiss the concern as completely as you do. That's different, because Groundspeak can control it. If they start to get feedback that there's too much advertising (and they think it's damaging their business), they can cut back. But if they let themselves get into a position where 50% of the caches submitted are adverts, that's a lot harder to deal with. To the people who've said it would be easy to tell the difference between a real cache and a promotional one... It's easy to tell the difference between real and spam email, but spam is still a problem. Cheers Richard
  13. I would guess they're drawing an analogy to one of their own waymarked trails - the ones with the coloured arrows. Quite rightly, they take a lot more care about those trails than they do with the rest of their paths and roads. For example, if they need to close part of a waymarked trail for forestry operations, they'll put a sign to that effect in the car park and maybe even set up a diversion. I can well imagine they also feel they have more of a duty of care regarding the waymarked trails. After all, the whole point of them is to help people get into the forest without having to think so much about navigation. There's a difference between saying "go anywhere you like" and saying "we think you should go this way" - we can all argue about taking responsibility for your own actions and so forth, but there's really no arguing that it *is* different. The reason I'm saying all this is that it might help get to the bottom of their concerns, and find a solution which works for you both. For example, perhaps you could move some of the caches in a way which means the geocacher has to plan their own route and make decisions about which way to go. Possibly, that would be enough to take it out of their "trail" bucket and put it back in the "general access" bucket. Or possibly it wouldn't, but it can't hurt to ask how you could change things to make it more acceptable to then. Cheers Richard
  14. Then you are better-informed than I was on the notorious occasion involving a digital SLR and the state of California. (Yes, no doubt I could have smuggled it in, and even if I'd been stopped nobody would have been able to tell. But I didn't.)
  15. Be careful not to go over your duty free allowance though - otherwise you'll have to pay import VAT, which can easily wipe out any saving. The allowance is £390, so it won't be a problem unless you're getting more than just the GPS.
  16. Yes, London Invasion is the one which popped into my mind. It's doable in an afternoon, it's great fun spotting the aliens (that'll make sense when you read the cache page) and there's a nice twist towards the end where you have to use the information you've collected to plot a journey on the Tube. The downside is that the aliens often seem to be in a state of disrepair - not the cache owner's fault, he doesn't own them - so there's a risk it'll prove impossible on the day. From recent logs, I think it's OK at the moment (the one which has proved a stumbling block to many, number 10, is quite a hard one to find). Still, since it's a milestone, you might want to have a backup plan. My favourite traditional cache in London is Last Delivery, largely because of the memorial wall nearby. It's sad but also inspiring.
  17. Try GSAK first. It's really not as hard as it sounds. It has lots of buttons and dials and menus and things, but getting the basics working is pretty simple. Once it's set up, you can just drag the zipfile that Groundspeak sends you into GSAK, then use a couple of menu items to send the waypoints to Memory Map and to your GPS. The main difference over what you do now is that it gives the caches "smart names", which may well prove the solution to your problem with some waypoints not being accepted. And as time goes on you might start playing with some of its other features, like being able to change the icon for certain types of caches so (for example) you don't find yourself looking for ones that have been disabled. It's free to use for 21 days, so you can try it out and see how you get on. Cheers Richard
  18. Could you tell me a bit more? I have a Colorado, more's the pity, and I find its geocache mode almost unusable because it's so hard to do the "corrected coordinates" thing. There haven't been any firmware updates for my device since 2009. What I want to be able to do is just to change the coordinates it thinks the cache is at, so you can go to the next stage but still have easy access to the description etc. Many thanks Richard
  19. Surely it's not hard to see why the OP got the wrong end of the stick? All he's done is to believe what the website told him. We in the forums know that the UK reviewers all use alter egos, but if I hadn't read the forums, I'm not sure I'd have worked it out either. And, while I salute the general readiness to leap to the reviewers' defence, it wasn't *that* inflammatory a posting. We've certainly seen far worse responses to a cache getting archived. Cheers Richard
  20. Well, I doubt it. I read that blurb about an "api" on their blog and translated it to mean that they've just developed a way to try and get members of geocaching.com who either have lots of caches and / or lots of found stats to leech their data off of this site and move it to theirs. Have you done what I suggested, followed the link and read what it says? As for "leech their data" (and your later use of the word "steal") - I can't steal something which is already mine! I've given Groundspeak permission to publish my logs, but I can give someone else permission to publish them too. To their credit, Groundspeak have never tried take over the copyright in the way that some less-reputable websites do. Assuming the "someone else" you are referring to is the cache placer, then if it doesn't sound good to you, presumably you won't submit your listing to that site. That's perfectly fine. But I think that many cache setters don't really see their listings as something they want to closely protect - rather just something they want to get out there and make available to the community. In my own professional life, I release some things I've written under open licences, and other things under restrictive licences. Both have their place, and I derive real benefits from both. In this case I would prefer to be able to use an open licence, but I respect the fact that you would prefer a restrictive one. Perhaps I didn't express that very clearly, then. What I would like to see happen is for cache listings to be more openly available, subject to permission from the people who placed the caches or made the logs. That's not for the benefit of Garmin or anyone else, but for the benefit of the community. There are so many really interesting and exciting things people could do if they had access to the data - and there are enough techno-happy enthusiasts around that it would all just happen automatically, if it were allowed to. So that's what I think would be great. The "business model" thing is just a reflection of the fact that everything has to be paid for. If Garmin, or Groundspeak, or anyone else can find a way of creating an open database but still making money... well, then I get what I want, they get what they want, and everybody's delighted. I was careful to say "live data". Yes, you can take your PQ, process it offline and then use it in various ways. But the ways that you're allowed to use it may be rather more restrictive than you think. You can't even email it to your friend, for example. Have you read the licence agreement? Still - if you can already legally do all the things you want to, that's great, and I can understand why you wouldn't be at all interested in any change. Cheers Richard
  21. I didn't say I *expected* a slap - I wouldn't have posted purely to be confrontational, though I accept there are plenty of people round here who would do. I said it would be interesting to see what happened, and that's exactly what I meant. Groundspeak mods certainly have closed down threads about competing products in the past, and I'm genuinely surprised this one is still going. As I said, kudos to Groundspeak (and to you). Thanks for the link, and I wasn't aware that was coming. However, I'm afraid - from the limited information available - it doesn't really address the point. It's great that there's going to be an API, but the issue I was raising was about the terms and conditions which apply to the data. It only becomes "open" if the API is free to use and available to everyone (eventually; it obviously makes sense to offer it to a limited group first). That would be a huge turn-around compared to previous policy, and it's just not clear from the link whether it's going to be the case. But if the winds of change are blowing, that's great! We'll see in the New Year. Cheers Richard
  22. That's exactly what it means - go to their website and use the "API" link near the bottom. This is "free" as in "freedom", as well as being "free" as in price. Once you submit a geocache to the Garmin site, their terms and conditions say they will make that data available through a Creative Commons Attribution licence - which for those not up on such things, basically means you can do what you like with the data as long as you say where you got it from. So, the people who are saying that Garmin's software is rubbish may be slightly missing the point. If Garmin can use their presence in the market to create a large enough database, and then enable *other* people - genuine geocaching enthusiasts - to write software which uses that data, then it could just take off. Compare this to the hugely restrictive licence terms imposed by Groundspeak. Groundspeak's business model is based on locking up its data, meaning that (for example) if you want an iPhone app which connects to live data, then it has to be *their* iPhone app. That's bad for consumers - not so much because you have to give your money to Groundspeak (it's hardly expensive), but because Groundspeak don't have any incentive to deliver excellent products when there is no scope for any competition. So, good for Garmin, I think. It's about time someone shook things up a bit, and it's really only one of the big GPS manufacturers who have the clout to do it. The ideal outcome is that they force Groundspeak to change their rather old-school business model and be more open with their own data - so that we end up with some proper innovation over here as well. [it will be interesting to see whether I get slaps from the moderators for this post... so far, kudos to Groundspeak for allowing discussion of a competing product on their forums.] Cheers Richard
  23. I too have counted to 10, and I too just can't help responding. This comment in particular is ignorant, cruel and mindless. Before today, I respected your thoughts, and read your posts with interest. No more. Nick - a tip of my hat for your hugely dignified reply.
  24. That probably doesn't have any bearing on what's being debated here. What your friend has done is most likely just make it show two things at once - the compass and map - without actually changing the way the compass works. The discussion here is about the fact that the "compass" on a GPS can work in two fundamentally different ways. METHOD 1: All GPSs have the ability to work out which way you're *moving*, simply by saying "well, a little while ago you were there, and now you're here, so you must be moving north-west". They then make the crude-but-fair-enough assumption that you'll be facing in the direction you're moving, and so the compass shows that you're facing north-west as well. The trouble with this is that it only works if you're moving - if you stand still and just rotate on the spot, then the GPS has no way of telling which way you're facing. So it's perfectly fine for telling you to bear right while you're walking along, but it's not so good if you're 20 metres away from a cache and trying to work out which direction you should be looking in. METHOD 2: To address these problems, many higher-range GPSs also have a magnetic compass built in. In this case, the GPS really does know which way's north and so really does know which way you're facing, whether you're moving or not. But even when the GPS has this feature, you can usually turn it off and drop back to the which-way-am-I-moving approach if you prefer to. Yes, but it's swinging all around the dial because your GPS genuinely doesn't know which way the cache is - or more precisely, genuinely doesn't know quite where you are in relation to the cache. Every time it changes its mind about exactly where you are, it changes its mind about which way the cache is, so the needle swings around. I'd argue that it's actually much better for you to know that your GPS is a bit confused, and hence that you maybe need to widen the search area, than it is to be confidently guided to an area which may or may not be the right one. Cheers Richard
  25. You're quite right, I hadn't read far enough. Still, the fact remains that you *can* get such a thing to plug into the iPhone (though they seem to be expensive!) and that other GPS manufacturers *could* build the capability into their devices. So, contrary to my cynical first reaction, it's not an evil attempt by Garmin to steer geocaching in a way which locks out other manufacturers.
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