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Geochecker.com down?


mbooda
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Try accessing www.geochecker.com . Or, alternately, go to any geochecker link from any cache page that has one.

 

Anyone else besides me seeing

 

"This Account Has Been Suspended

 

Please contact the billing/support department as soon as possible."

 

? :P

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I thought I posted a new thread about this, but maybe not.

You did: http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=231163

Yeah, I looked before posting it but didn't see it. Sometimes I can't see what's right in front of me. I think that's why I have so many DNFs. :)

 

A lot of people around here are using http://geocheck.org/

 

That's the one I just moved my puzzle caches to...thanks.

Great! Hope it works out well for you.

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This note is now posted on the geochecker homepage:

 

***NOTE***

2009/09/08 We are moving Geochecker to a new web host this week; this should improve the performance and let us restore some features that we were forced to temporarily suspend. Please be patient during this process.

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Any recommendations?

Evince

Evince is not acceptable. The coordinate entry requires filling in 8 (count 'em) input fields. The CAPTCHAs are very difficult to read, and unnecessary (since the IP address is blocked out after each attempt).

 

Certitude is not acceptable to me; while it has nice coordinate entry, the "who solved it and when" list has promoted a very negative competition in our area, and the correct coordinates appear to be stored in a database at the site (although maybe only as a hash; it's not clear).

 

Geocheck.org looks pretty promising; you can have single-field coordinate entry and the CAPTCHA is not too bad.

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Certitude is not acceptable to me; while it has nice coordinate entry, the "who solved it and when" list has promoted a very negative competition in our area, and the correct coordinates appear to be stored in a database at the site (although maybe only as a hash; it's not clear).

You don't have to participate in the competition by entering "anonymous". But I suppose you don't want others to compete as well for your puzzles.

 

http://certitude.freecp.net/questions.php

 

As for correct coordinates :

 

# So you know all the solutions for these puzzles then?

 

Actually no. The solutions are one-way encrypted (meaning there's no way to decrypt them), so even if someone managed to hack into this site, they would face a 5 star puzzle.

 

Of course, like any other site, we only have their word for it.

 

Certitude also allows a hint to be displayed only on correctly solving, which makes it harder to brute force a puzzle. It also allows for fuzzy coordinates (within 30 feet) or exact coordinates.

 

I'm curious about the negative competition you mentioned though. I'm not aware of the situation, but I'm definitely not as active locally as you are. Can you tell me more about it? If you think it is off topic or not relevant to the thread can you please e-mail me? Thanks.

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# So you know all the solutions for these puzzles then?

 

Actually no. The solutions are one-way encrypted (meaning there's no way to decrypt them), so even if someone managed to hack into this site, they would face a 5 star puzzle.

That answer is exactly what I am talking about.

 

For any of the sites listed above, it is a quite simple task for the site owner to obtain the coordinates, even if they have been through a one-way function, precisely because the owner must know the one-way function. In fact, there are puzzle caches out there based on that premise! You can brute-force the answer by simply trying all the coordinates until the one-way function matches. Takes at most a few seconds for puzzle caches that are within a couple miles of the posted coordinates.

 

The general public can't do that search because a properly-implemented site will use a secret key as part of the one-way function (also known as a hash). Unfortunately, in order to perform the hash in the first place, the site owner must know the secret key.

 

The owner of the Certitude site certainly knows this fact; therefore, since the answer above is misleading and he knows it, I don't get any warm fuzzies from it. In addition, a key difference between Certitude and other coordinate checkers is that the hash is kept in a database; other checkers create the hash and include it in the URL and keep nothing in a local database.

 

As for any further specifics about negative cultural impacts of competition, we'll take that offline.

Edited by fizzymagic
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