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Stereogram too hard? What to do?


Mar-elendili
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I have a few questions regarding a cache we've placed almost a month ago. The cache is a mystery-type one, with the missing numbers of the coordinate being displayed in a stereogram picture. I know the idea is not new, but I liked the concept.

Here is the cache in question : GC1JHY3

 

Normally, caches in my area get found within a week max. This cache still hasn't been found. Ive received a personal e-mail from a local geocacher complaining about not being able to read the picture. I answered that to me it was visible and provided him with a few tips to help him, like take off glasses or lenses, and print the picture.

 

Now I'm wondering. Can anyone else read it? What about you guys? Is the stereogram too hard to read?

Please let me know. I know of at least one other cache of this type in my country (in the German-speaking part) that has been placed in August and has received more than 30 visits by now...

 

Caches in my region are generally not difficult, puzzles mostly include easy calculations with zip codes or whatever so I wanted to make something more challenging. Am I risking to get a bad reputation for making "elite" caches? Should I go out right now and place an easy 1/1 to get myself forgiven?

 

What about the star rating? I listed a 3.5 difficulty / 1 terrain. Theoretically, anyone who has two eyes should be able - with a bit of training - to read stereograms, but you still need some experience. Does that make it a 5-star?

Regarding the terrain, it is perfectly suitable to get to the place in a wheelchair, but the cache itself is placed like 160 cm above ground, making it thus difficult to actually grab it from a wheelchair. Should I reconsider the terrain and make it a 1.5?

 

Thanks in advance for your opinions about my cache problem! :rolleyes:

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I can read it, kind of... and I've been able to see stereograms since they first came out in the mid 90's, so I know how to 'focus' on them.

 

Is there a way for you to do this in different colors... the browns can give someone with red/green color blindness trouble, and it's rather dark. I'm sitting here in a sun lighted room and using a LCD monitor and felt it was a bit dark. I did have trouble reading the firs character of each line, and the bottom line was much more difficult to 'read' than the top one was, but I could do it with some serious concentration.

 

Just my observations :rolleyes:

 

Good luck!

Naomi :)

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I can't see it right away but it usually takes me about 15 minutes to see these things. If others can see it I'm sure it's fine.

 

As far as your questions...

 

Am I risking to get a bad reputation for making "elite" caches?

With one cache I doubt it. If all your caches where, then probably. But whether that is a "bad" reputation is a bad thing is debatable. Some

people actually like caches that require more than jumping out of a car and lifting a lamp post skirt. You'll be their hero.

 

Should I go out right now and place an easy 1/1 to get myself forgiven?
And then you'll need to place a 5/5 to be forgiven for the 1/1. Seriously, be forgiven for what? For placing a cache that has a slight level of challenge? They should be erecting statues in your honor!

 

What about the star rating? I listed a 3.5 difficulty / 1 terrain.

 

I'd say that 3.5 difficulty is on the high end of what it should be. If it was my cache I'd probably rate it a 2.5 or 3. These things can be read by nearly everybody if they stare long enough. A few won't be able to, but there are always a few who can't do a cache for one reason or another. Terrain is your call. Its hard to judge that without seeing it.

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I can read it just fine -- and I've never looked at stereogram on a computer screen before. What an interesting effect!

 

I think it's a good idea. Not everyone's going to be able to find every puzzle cache. I agree with briansnat on the rating, though take my agreement with a grain of salt (only four cache hides). : )

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I couldn't see a thing. I've never been able to solve these.

 

I would simply not seek this cache, just as I do with advanced math puzzles and virtually all other mystery/unknown caches. Other people are frustrated by their poor skills finding urban micros, so they ignore those. Some are not blessed with the health and strength to find terrain 4 caches on the tops of mountains, so they ignore those.

 

I would be happy that people in my community were hiding different and difficult caches that others were enjoying. I would not write to the owner to complain about not accommodating my own shortcomings, nor would I start a forum thread to flame the owner.

 

There are thousands of other caches to find.

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Wow, so many answers in so little time! Thank you everybody, your help is greatly appreciated. Now I know that my picture is readable by others than me and the difficulty can be considered as rightly estimated.

 

Mousekakat, your proposal of making a picture in other colours is very good, I didn't think of the trouble it could cause to some people. Here I have taken the background from a portion of my cat's fur, so yeah, pretty brownish. I will work on another picture with more lighter colours. Would blue be all right?

I will offer both pictures on the cache page and people could try them out and see which one works best for them.

 

BBWolf+3Pigs, I will follow your advice and offer links to pages with techniques to read stereograms.

 

Briansnat, thanks for your complete answers, I feel better about this cache now! I will leave the difficulty as 3.5 because it is kinda hard for our local standards (stereogram + cache placed in not so obvious place!)

 

Jackalgirl : any advice is appreciated, even if you had no hide placed. You know, this is only our third one!

 

We'll see if the cache stands for another month unfound... or not :rolleyes:

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Mousekakat, your proposal of making a picture in other colours is very good, I didn't think of the trouble it could cause to some people. Here I have taken the background from a portion of my cat's fur, so yeah, pretty brownish. I will work on another picture with more lighter colours. Would blue be all right?

I will offer both pictures on the cache page and people could try them out and see which one works best for them.

 

Heck, I'm impressed you found a way to make one of these gizmos, I loved them when they first came out so much that I bought a poster sized one and framed it for my bedroom wall, it was the Statue of Liberty and NYC skyline and a big moon if you could 'decipher' it :)

 

If I remember right, mine was in blues, yellows and some bluegreens.

 

In any case, I love these things. I am an American living in Sweden and we've got one of these stereogram mystery caches about 45 minutes from me that we've solved, just waiting on the thaw to go get it.... it's currently -18c here right now (around 0f) and aside from going to work when I gotta, I ain't leaving the warmth of the house :rolleyes:

 

Texas gals have NO business living 7 hours from the polar circle!

 

Naomi :)

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I could read it just fine by clicking on the link provided directly on the cache page, but the link in the photo gallery does not work for me. Maybe that's what they were complaining about?

 

If your cache page is clear about what difficulties people will encounter while searching for it, you will get only a very small number of complaints. I say don't worry, your cache page is just fine and you don't have to worry about being forgiven. You have done nothing wrong.

 

Ne vous en faites pas et bon géocaching, Cousin!

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There, I've added a new picture with modified blue foliage and a couple of links to the page.

 

I use a little free program named Bigle3D which allows me to create these pictures from a base in black and white (for the 3D picture) and a background. I know there are also other programs like Stereogram Maker and Stereogram Magician out there, but never tried them. You can also find some ready to use web-pages which offer the service.

 

Userzero, I just reuploaded both images, so maybe you visited the photo gallery just at the same time! Try again. Et merci pour votre avis!

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Nope. Still cannot read it. But my eyes do not focus. Oh, well. But, that's what we have friends for!

 

That's your problem, you should not try to focus. You don't stare at the stereogram, you kind of relax your eyes and stare through it as if you are looking past it. It becomes a blur, then voila! It all suddenly comes into focus. Usually takes me a few minutes of staring before it happens.

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Blue is much easier on my eyes than the brown, but I also read the numbers in less than 10 seconds on the Blue. The fact that most of your caches are found in a week max, and this one isn't is due -IMHO - (at least in part) to inate laziness of cachers and the greed for the find count.

 

It's the same problem with the demise of popularity of the long hike multi-cache. Given the Chicago area, there are 364 active Unknown (Mystery) caches and 343 active multi-stage caches. So these caches take a little extra time to complete, and the reward is the same - 1 smiley face. Then consider that there are over 4200 active traditional caches where the seeker goes to the coordinates and finds a container. The reward is the same - 1 smiley face.

 

Everything else being equal, those that somehow equate their self-worth with a large find count will most likely go after the 4200 caches before going after the other 700 more difficult caches. They'll find the Multi's and the Mysteries on the way but I've seen (and been a part of) groups whose sole goal is to up their find count by as many caches as possible in one day.

 

Given THAT fact (that this behavior even exists), having a cache that isn't found in a week would be a badge of honor for me - that if the coordinates and the puzzle were good and solvable for a single point, andthe cache had very accurate coordinates - then it's not your run-of-the-mill cache.

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Your stereograms are perfect. The numbers are crisp and well defined. I am colorblind and both images popped right out at me.

I have hidden a couple of similar caches and my experience is that some people get them right away - for them the cache difficulty rating is too high, some will never get them - they usually ask a friend for help, and some see the image but have difficulty distinguishing some of the numbers - for these people, you might want to add a "Checker" as suggested by Dinoprophet so they can use trial and error to narrow it down.

Good luck

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How I learned to look at them was to focus not on the picture, but on a reflection from behind me, but a small one, like a light in the background... focus on that, look 'through' the actual image, and just relax a bit and you'll notice that it's getting to look deeper than just 2D, and after it does, you'll find that you are actually able to look around the image a bit and explore it.

 

It's seriously cool when you can finally get it to 'work!'

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...What about the star rating? I listed a 3.5 difficulty / 1 terrain. Theoretically, anyone who has two eyes should be able - with a bit of training - to read stereograms, but you still need some experience. Does that make it a 5-star?...

 

There is some dissagreement over what the Cache difficulty should be on a puzzle cache. Personally I think the puzzle should have a Difficulty, then the cache based on the cache itself and then the terrain. There is a difference between a hard puzzle leading to an easy cache and a easy puzzle with a hard cache.

 

Thus I'd rate the difficulty based on finding the cache itself once you know the coords.

 

The puzzle here is one of those "either you can, or you can't things".

 

I found the blue and brown to be about the same. Took a couple seconds to snap it in. Contrast made the 8 a bit harder to read than the other characters.

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Nope. Still cannot read it. But my eyes do not focus. Oh, well. But, that's what we have friends for!

 

That's your problem, you should not try to focus. You don't stare at the stereogram, you kind of relax your eyes and stare through it as if you are looking past it. It becomes a blur, then voila! It all suddenly comes into focus. Usually takes me a few minutes of staring before it happens.

Focusing on a reflection on your monitor screen also (sometimes) helps.

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Theoretically, anyone who has two eyes should be able - with a bit of training - to read stereograms, but you still need some experience.

Actually some people for some reason can never learn to read these. I had a friend who could never get her eyes to unfocus just the right way.

 

I can read them quite easily, but I am also very adept at reading them.

 

I wouldn't worry about it too much. There are some puzzle caches that I am never likely to solve because I just don't have the knowledge to do so. I can either spend my time trying to find a way to solve them or I can move on to the next cache. I wouldn't be surprised if someone somewhere has a program to "unstereo" these things.

 

Thanks for sharing! I'll have to check this out if I ever get over there.

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I don't bother straining my eyes. I use a decoder that cracks these in a matter of seconds. Works a treat!

 

Example:

20090116162533gr8.jpg

 

Ta Da!

20090116162823pz3.jpg

Nice. I can see about 4 layers in that one but I can't pick out "Testing" though. The colors make it hard to pick out the details. At least for me.

 

Edit: seems like 5 or 6 layers and I still can't pick out testing.

Edited by Renegade Knight
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Nope. Still cannot read it. But my eyes do not focus. Oh, well. But, that's what we have friends for!

 

That's your problem, you should not try to focus. You don't stare at the stereogram, you kind of relax your eyes and stare through it as if you are looking past it. It becomes a blur, then voila! It all suddenly comes into focus. Usually takes me a few minutes of staring before it happens.

 

Nope. Just does not work for someone with cataract surgery. My plastic implants do not focus. They do not blur. They are set for 4 feet and beyond for the implants, and 24" for the bifocals. (24" being the distance to the computer screen. Hard time talking my ophthalmologist into that one!) The good news is that I went from 20/1200 to 20/20. The bad news is that I cannot decypher this sort of mystery cache. I can live with this! :D We were looking at one of these in Maine. My brother had a lens inplant for a carpentry accident. He cannot decypher these either. (Or maybe it's something hereditary?) He got a friend to solve it for us. :angry: We looked at the one in South Mountain. Neither of us can decypher that one either. (Fortunately, the CO took pity on me, and supplied me with the coords.)

I can see things at 4' and beyond, and I can see things at 24". I cannot make anything out of this puzzle. Oh, well. But after fifty-some-odd years of complete blindness with out my glasses, I can now read the alarm clock without glasses!!!! Seems a small price to pay.

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There, I've added a new picture with modified blue foliage and a couple of links to the page.

 

I use a little free program named Bigle3D which allows me to create these pictures from a base in black and white (for the 3D picture) and a background. I know there are also other programs like Stereogram Maker and Stereogram Magician out there, but never tried them. You can also find some ready to use web-pages which offer the service.

 

Userzero, I just reuploaded both images, so maybe you visited the photo gallery just at the same time! Try again. Et merci pour votre avis!

 

Very nice! I'm a big fan of blue. : ) Didn't have any problems seeing the brown, but the blue comes through just fine too. Neat!

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Nice. I can see about 4 layers in that one but I can't pick out "Testing" though. The colors make it hard to pick out the details. At least for me.

 

Edit: seems like 5 or 6 layers and I still can't pick out testing.

 

Me neither; I can see bits of the "S" and the "G" and the "T" and the three crossbars of the "E" on the top layer, but the rest seems to be a mixture of all of the letters. Weird.

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Nice. I can see about 4 layers in that one but I can't pick out "Testing" though. The colors make it hard to pick out the details. At least for me.

 

Edit: seems like 5 or 6 layers and I still can't pick out testing.

That was saved as s jpeg, which can sometimes make them harder to see (though the decoder had no problem with it). This is the same thing, with a different color scheme, and in a lossless format.

20090117111322fr9.png

Edited by Prime Suspect
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