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USB key as a logbook


Misha
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Is using a USB key as a logbook in a traditional cache permissible?

 

Under the listing guidelines is this type of logbook legal?

 

"3.0 Geocache Contents

Cache containers include a logsheet. For all physical caches, there must be a logbook, scroll or other type of log for geocachers to record their visit."

 

Plus I am reluctant to stick shared foreign objects in my computer it might get a disease either from its origin or the other users.

 

The cache that I am questioning http://coord.info/GC37V1K

 

Can I log stating that I forgot to bring my PC?

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Can I log stating that I forgot to bring my PC?

 

Not really as you have already logged that you destroyed the logbook!! :o

 

However I understand the reluctance to put a shared usb in your laptop. No idea if this is considered adequate though, I wouldn't be able to log it I don't have a laptop and I aint dragging an extension cable and desktop out there.

Edited by The Real Boudica.
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Is using a USB key as a logbook in a traditional cache permissible?

 

Under the listing guidelines is this type of logbook legal?

 

"3.0 Geocache Contents

Cache containers include a logsheet. For all physical caches, there must be a logbook, scroll or other type of log for geocachers to record their visit."

 

Plus I am reluctant to stick shared foreign objects in my computer it might get a disease either from its origin or the other users.

 

The cache that I am questioning http://coord.info/GC37V1K

 

Can I log stating that I forgot to bring my PC?

 

I don't think that should be allowed as a cache period. It needs to have a physical logbook.

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Seems to me that it does fall under the guidelines for containing a log (other type of log to record visit) and they list that special tools are required. However, common sense should prevail.. How many people really do carry their laptop with them? As you said, also, who is willing to plug in a strangers USB to their computer? Seems risky. That being said, it does fall into the legal and acceptable form of a cache with log

Edited by GeoStar Family
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That one really ought to be an unknown type of cache, to make sure that anyone coming by will know they need to bring a computer.

 

The reviewer must have been aware that a USB "logbook" would be used, so it is "okay" in the reviewer's opinion.

 

Can you log it? Sure you can. The cache owner might not want you to, so you might ask first.

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PCs will no longer auto run from a USB memory stick. So no risk of a virus that way. If the log is a simple txt file with no possibility of scripts running etc, no risk of virus that way either.

 

As for requiring a cacher to bring a loptop, I think that is a no no. I think a physical log is needed, not a digital/virtual log.

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Is using a USB key as a logbook in a traditional cache permissible?

 

Under the listing guidelines is this type of logbook legal?

 

"3.0 Geocache Contents

Cache containers include a logsheet. For all physical caches, there must be a logbook, scroll or other type of log for geocachers to record their visit."

 

Plus I am reluctant to stick shared foreign objects in my computer it might get a disease either from its origin or the other users.

 

The cache that I am questioning http://coord.info/GC37V1K

 

Can I log stating that I forgot to bring my PC?

 

The name of the cache, the cache page, and the hint make it clear this is a flash drive cache. It was published by a senior Canadian reviewer. I'd seriously doubt it slipped through the cracks, or was edited post publication.

 

Somehow though, I have a feeling it's going to end up archived. :o

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PCs will no longer auto run from a USB memory stick. So no risk of a virus that way.

The Stuxnet virus spread through USB drives, and it did not need to run auto-run anything. The virus was inside a .lnk file that activated as soon as you viewed the drive's files. Even if you never opened a single file, just viewing the folder would activate the virus. There is always some risk of a virus. It's probably not much of a risk though. I probably would go ahead and insert the drive.

 

As for requiring a cacher to bring a loptop, I think that is a no no. I think a physical log is needed, not a digital/virtual log.

It's an attempt at doing something different and creative, so I think it's okay. But that being said, I personally leave my laptop at home when geocaching, and many of us do not have laptops at all, so this might not become a popular cache for those reasons.

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The question seems moot, as the cache has been archived because the logbook was a USB drive.

 

Archived because OP inadvertently destroyed the USB while attempting to open it... Not because it was a USB, but because it was ruined.

Had not realized this was just a USB key, which is not a valid logbook due to security concerns.

 

Cache-tech

Geocaching.com Reviewer

No, it was because it was a USB

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The question seems moot, as the cache has been archived because the logbook was a USB drive.

 

Archived because OP inadvertently destroyed the USB while attempting to open it... Not because it was a USB, but because it was ruined.

 

That's not what the reviewer that archived the cache said, "Had not realized this was just a USB key, which is not a valid logbook due to security concerns"

Edited by FobesMan
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Wow! What a cute, but terrible idea! I applaude the cache owner's attempt to do something different, but not everything different is better, as this cache clearly shows! I don't own a laptop, so the only way I would have been able to log it would be to bring the USB key home with me. Not that I would subject my home computer to that risk, mind you.

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The question seems moot, as the cache has been archived because the logbook was a USB drive.
Archived because OP inadvertently destroyed the USB while attempting to open it... Not because it was a USB, but because it was ruined.
According to the reviewer's Archive log, it was archived because it "was just a USB key, which is not a valid logbook due to security concerns."
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Allow me to reiterate my post from 1:09pm CST today

 

 

My bad! When I looked earlier i looked at the CO post that it was disabled due to the destruction of the log device.... Since been archived. Oops!

 

I get it people, it has since been archived. But as I stated earlier, and referenced above, at the time of my statement it had only been disabled due to the USB mishap.

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Allow me to reiterate my post from 1:09pm CST today

 

My bad! When I looked earlier i looked at the CO post that it was disabled due to the destruction of the log device.... Since been archived. Oops!

 

I get it people, it has since been archived. But as I stated earlier, and referenced above, at the time of my statement it had only been disabled due to the USB mishap.

 

Well, stop posting too early, then! We will let it slide this time, but be more careful in the future. :P

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I was surprised when I saw this published. I was not surprised when I saw it archived.

 

Here's the prominent disclaimers I've had to publish just to put a link to an off-site photo or document on a cache page:

 

Alert: You are about to download a file in order to obtain further details needed to find this geocache. As the cache owner, I represent that this file is safe to download although the files needed to complete this geocache have not been checked by Groundspeak or by the Geocache Reviewer for possible malicious content. As a result, you are downloading this file at your own risk.

 

And that was just for a link to a JPEG image. But because I didn't want the image scaled down, I had to host it on my website, and because it was a link and not an embedded image, I was told I needed the disclaimer.

 

With that in mind, I was pretty skeptical about the reviewer really allowing this. Per the archive note, I guess the hider's description was vague enough that the reviewer didn't understand it was a USB log.

 

That said, I've seen (but not attempted) puzzle caches that required finding and using a CD-ROM travel bug to find the cache. Not saying where.

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How many people really do carry their laptop with them?

I do. If I know I'm going caching I stick it in my backpack. It's a lot easier to look at the map I have my trip planned on than trying to look at a map on my Blackberry. Here's it at a cache:

 

KEe7o.jpg

 

I wouldn't be afraid to put a USB stick like this in my computer. I have my computer so I can use it, not so that I can worry about what would happen if I used it. It still seems like a lot of work though and isn't a good alternative to paper logs, especially if they get wet in a cache.

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If the cache has been archived because of the guidelines then almost all of the find logs should be deleted as well as nobody has signed a logbook (electronic or pen).

I am surprised that nobody is commenting on the fact that people are signing a find on a cache that is not valid and has been archived and on top of that they know that theres no logbook to sign because they disclosed that on their logs and even post pictures of empty containers!...

 

It really is all about numbers with caching these days...

Edited by ZeMartelo
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If the cache has been archived because of the guidelines then almost all of the find logs should be deleted as well as nobody has a signed a logbook (electronic or pen).

I am surprised that nobody is commenting on the fact that people are signing a find on a cache that is not valid and has been archived and on top of that they know that theres no logbook to sign because they disclosed that on their logs and even post pictures of empty containers!...

 

It really is all about numbers with caching these days...

 

I hear ya. Getting rid of the cache is the best part. Once it's published you can't quite blame people for logging it, not enough to remove their finds. (But it has happened). Best to just let it go.

Edited by BlueDeuce
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I was surprised when I saw this published. I was not surprised when I saw it archived.

 

Here's the prominent disclaimers I've had to publish just to put a link to an off-site photo or document on a cache page:

 

Alert: You are about to download a file in order to obtain further details needed to find this geocache. As the cache owner, I represent that this file is safe to download although the files needed to complete this geocache have not been checked by Groundspeak or by the Geocache Reviewer for possible malicious content. As a result, you are downloading this file at your own risk.

 

And that was just for a link to a JPEG image. But because I didn't want the image scaled down, I had to host it on my website, and because it was a link and not an embedded image, I was told I needed the disclaimer.

 

With that in mind, I was pretty skeptical about the reviewer really allowing this. Per the archive note, I guess the hider's description was vague enough that the reviewer didn't understand it was a USB log.

 

That said, I've seen (but not attempted) puzzle caches that required finding and using a CD-ROM travel bug to find the cache. Not saying where.

 

Solved a CD ROM puzzle and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Also experienced a flash drive TB. I carried it and worried for a while before daring to access it. Curiosity and Geo-craziness made me do it. What's different than bushwhacking thru a swamp?

Lugging my laptop to a cache or a dead drop? Not likely.

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I'm the owner of this cache, and was surprised to see that a forum discussion had started on this topic. What a messy 24 hours it has been for this one.

 

I thought I'd try something different with this cache, as I find most of the new caches around here are film canisters or lock 'n lock containers. I had an old USB key sitting on my desk (it was only 256 MB) and I wasn't using it anymore, so I took the idea and ran with it. The key was re-formatted and scanned for viruses (not that I was worried about that, as I am a Mac user and it had never been in a Windows computer). The log was a .TXT file. I decided to hide it in a residential neighbourhood in a tree beside a parking lot, less than a 2 minute drive from my house. I figured it would be easy for cachers to bring the cache to their car with them, sign the log in their dry car interiors, and return the cache afterwards.

 

When I submitted the cache for publication, I purposefully made it a Premium Members cache as I figured it would stand a better chance of not getting muggled. I put the geocache inside of a small Nalgene bottle which was put inside of another container, and it was definitely waterproof. The cache description makes it very clear that you can't sign the log with a pen and it should be evident that the logbook is a USB key. In my reviewer notes for the cache, I put the following:

 

"The cache is hidden in a tree. The logbook is a text file on a USB flash drive. The cacher will need to bring their laptop with them in order to sign the logbook. The USB key has been scanned for viruses and is in a waterproof container inside of another waterproof container."

 

The reviewer published the cache without issue.

 

There are lots of caches out there that I can't get. There is one in this area that is on top of a 40' telephone pole and you need special safety equipment to access it. There is another one that requires a swim or canoe trip to an island. And yet another in a pipe underneath a road that my body would not fit in. If you don't have the special equipment, you can't log the cache. How is this any different with a USB key? You either have the special equipment and get to log it, or you don't. Not everyone can get every cache.

 

I was very disappointed that the reviewer in this area decided to archive the cache based on the "Needs Archive" note that the OP sent without sending me a message first. As soon as I saw that the OP had destroyed the USB key, I went back out and placed another one there with "Insert into PC to sign log" written on it so that it was clear the key wasn't supposed to be dismantled. Alas, within 30 minutes of me replacing the USB key, it had been archived. Other cachers continued to log finds throughout the day after its archival (presumably the coordinates had been downloaded to their GPS units earlier in the day) and I have let them stay because there is, indeed, a USB in the cache container.

 

I still think this is a permissible cache, and will be lodging an appeal to get it re-instated.

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I still think this is a permissible cache, and will be lodging an appeal to get it re-instated.

It probably isn't a permissible cache. Once you could have all sorts of crazy logging methods. Shortly after hiding the first geocache (which had a log book to write in), Dave Ulmer starting hiding caches that contained only password that allowed you to log onto his computer and swap music files instead of using a log book and swag. I think he was trying to create some sort of online log so that the community could see who had found what caches. There was already a lot of push back by those who wanted to "keep it simple" and stick to signing their name in a log book or on a log sheet. Over the years other tried other approaches: code words, cameras in the cache, various electronic devices. But there was always push back from a segment of the community that wanted to stick to traditions. Some even taking the position that you can't find something unless you can sign your name on some paper left inside the cache.

 

Over the years Groundspeak has added rules mostly to satisfy these cachers. Code word caches were banned, physical caches were required to have logs to sign, virtual caches were grandfathered, cache owners were forbidden from enforcing logging requirements once the physical log book was signed.

 

Instead of viewing caching as fun game with creative ideas for caches than involved code words or adding to a USB stick, TPTB have chosen to cater to the players who insist on the need for specific rules defining the meaning of find that must be met to log a find online. Fortunately, if you want to have fun you can still place other logging methods in the cache so long as these are optional, and as cache owner you are still not required to delete online finds just because someone didn't sign the log. But you have to cater to the puritans and give them the paper log to sign. They won't know what to do if they find some other find verification method (or no method at all).

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There is one in this area that is on top of a 40' telephone pole and you need special safety equipment to access it.

I'm pretty sure no utility company would ever give permission for that. It would probably be archived if it was brought to the attention of a reviewer.

 

How is this any different with a USB key? You either have the special equipment and get to log it, or you don't.

It's not about special equipment. Caches require a paper logbook. They can need all the special equipment you want, but there needs to be a paper logbook.

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Like many people, I don't have access to the cache page in the field. With my setup, I just have the coordinates, size, hint, and a few other details.

 

Had I made a detour to this cache on impulse (without pre-planning the visit), I'd have been as confuzzled as the original poster. Hey, where's the log?

 

No biggie though. I'd have just skipped it and moved on.

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I still think this is a permissible cache, and will be lodging an appeal to get it re-instated.

It probably isn't a permissible cache. Once you could have all sorts of crazy logging methods. Shortly after hiding the first geocache (which had a log book to write in), Dave Ulmer starting hiding caches that contained only password that allowed you to log onto his computer and swap music files instead of using a log book and swag. I think he was trying to create some sort of online log so that the community could see who had found what caches. There was already a lot of push back by those who wanted to "keep it simple" and stick to signing their name in a log book or on a log sheet. Over the years other tried other approaches: code words, cameras in the cache, various electronic devices. But there was always push back from a segment of the community that wanted to stick to traditions. Some even taking the position that you can't find something unless you can sign your name on some paper left inside the cache.

 

Over the years Groundspeak has added rules mostly to satisfy these cachers. Code word caches were banned, physical caches were required to have logs to sign, virtual caches were grandfathered, cache owners were forbidden from enforcing logging requirements once the physical log book was signed.

 

Instead of viewing caching as fun game with creative ideas for caches than involved code words or adding to a USB stick, TPTB have chosen to cater to the players who insist on the need for specific rules defining the meaning of find that must be met to log a find online. Fortunately, if you want to have fun you can still place other logging methods in the cache so long as these are optional, and as cache owner you are still not required to delete online finds just because someo.e didn't sign the log. But you have to cater to the puritans and give them the paper log to sign. They won't know what to do if they find some other find verification method (or no method at all).

 

As a puritan my only requirement is people actually go and find the cache. The logging method is only secondary.

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How is this any different with a USB key? You either have the special equipment and get to log it, or you don't.

It's not about special equipment. Caches require a paper logbook. They can need all the special equipment you want, but there needs to be a paper logbook.

 

Actually, there is no requirement for there to be a paper logbook. The rules actually state:

Cache containers include a logsheet. For all physical caches, there must be a logbook, scroll or other type of log for geocachers to record their visit.

 

I dare say that an .TXT file would qualify as an "other type of log" under those guidelines; it does not have to be paper.

 

Regardless, the presence or lack of a paper logbook is not the reason the cache was archived. It was archived because of "security concerns." I find this silly: you are allowed to put a link on the cache listing page to a .TXT file, .PDF file or an audio file so long as you post a disclaimer. You access those links (and subsequently the files) with a computer. How is that any different with a USB key? Again, the rules state:

 

Certain files (specifically .TXT files, .PDFs and all audio files) may be acceptable in the interest of allowing greater cache creativity. These downloads must adhere to all geocaching guidelines and include the following text above the link:

"Alert: You are about to download a file that contains further details needed to find this geocache. As the cache owner, I represent that this file is safe to download although it has not been checked by Groundspeak or by the reviewer for possible malicious content. Download this file at your own risk. [insert link here]"

 

Based on the guidelines mentioned above, I think the cache should be permitted if I post the disclaimer, which I am willing to do.

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Is using a USB key as a logbook in a traditional cache permissible?

 

Under the listing guidelines is this type of logbook legal?

 

"3.0 Geocache Contents

Cache containers include a logsheet. For all physical caches, there must be a logbook, scroll or other type of log for geocachers to record their visit."

 

Plus I am reluctant to stick shared foreign objects in my computer it might get a disease either from its origin or the other users.

 

The cache that I am questioning http://coord.info/GC37V1K

 

Can I log stating that I forgot to bring my PC?

 

Those are called "Dead Drops". As you see now that the listing is archived they are not allowed on this site. They were suggested as a category on Waymarking but rejected. :ph34r:

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Based on the guidelines mentioned above, I think the cache should be permitted if I post the disclaimer, which I am willing to do.
Perhaps. Perhaps not. I'm undecided about whether this type of log should be allowed (not that it's my decision).

 

But if it is allowed, then it should be listed as a mystery/puzzle cache. It certainly isn't a traditional cache.

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Wow! What a cute, but terrible idea! I applaude the cache owner's attempt to do something different, but not everything different is better, as this cache clearly shows! I don't own a laptop, so the only way I would have been able to log it would be to bring the USB key home with me. Not that I would subject my home computer to that risk, mind you.

 

Not the only option. You could have brought a USB key with you and swapped it for the USB in the cache. That would have saved you a few seconds when "signing the log" so that you could find more caches that day. :yikes:

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Wow! What a cute, but terrible idea! I applaude the cache owner's attempt to do something different, but not everything different is better, as this cache clearly shows! I don't own a laptop, so the only way I would have been able to log it would be to bring the USB key home with me. Not that I would subject my home computer to that risk, mind you.

 

Not the only option. You could have brought a USB key with you and swapped it for the USB in the cache. That would have saved you a few seconds when "signing the log" so that you could find more caches that day. :yikes:

 

...and the USB drive that you find may not be the USB drive the CO left and it may contain.... who knows.

 

A for effort though!!

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How is this any different with a USB key? You either have the special equipment and get to log it, or you don't.

It's not about special equipment. Caches require a paper logbook. They can need all the special equipment you want, but there needs to be a paper logbook.

 

Actually, there is no requirement for there to be a paper logbook. The rules actually state:

Cache containers include a logsheet. For all physical caches, there must be a logbook, scroll or other type of log for geocachers to record their visit.

 

I dare say that an .TXT file would qualify as an "other type of log" under those guidelines; it does not have to be paper.

 

Regardless, the presence or lack of a paper logbook is not the reason the cache was archived. It was archived because of "security concerns." I find this silly: you are allowed to put a link on the cache listing page to a .TXT file, .PDF file or an audio file so long as you post a disclaimer. You access those links (and subsequently the files) with a computer. How is that any different with a USB key? Again, the rules state:

 

Certain files (specifically .TXT files, .PDFs and all audio files) may be acceptable in the interest of allowing greater cache creativity. These downloads must adhere to all geocaching guidelines and include the following text above the link:

"Alert: You are about to download a file that contains further details needed to find this geocache. As the cache owner, I represent that this file is safe to download although it has not been checked by Groundspeak or by the reviewer for possible malicious content. Download this file at your own risk. [insert link here]"

 

Based on the guidelines mentioned above, I think the cache should be permitted if I post the disclaimer, which I am willing to do.

Right before the guideline text you quoted is the following statement:

 

In the interest of file security, caches that require the installing or running of data and/or executables will likely not be published. The use of memory sticks and similar devices is not permitted either.

 

I think the "no memory sticks" statement is pretty clear.

 

Let us know how you make out with your appeal.

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I was very disappointed that the reviewer in this area decided to archive the cache based on the "Needs Archive" note that the OP sent without sending me a message first. As soon as I saw that the OP had destroyed the USB key, I went back out and placed another one there with "Insert into PC to sign log" written on it so that it was clear the key wasn't supposed to be dismantled. Alas, within 30 minutes of me replacing the USB key, it had been archived. Other cachers continued to log finds throughout the day after its archival (presumably the coordinates had been downloaded to their GPS units earlier in the day) and I have let them stay because there is, indeed, a USB in the cache container.

 

I still think this is a permissible cache, and will be lodging an appeal to get it re-instated.

 

Not to be a party pooper, but you have zero chance of winning an appeal. Don't even bother, to be perfectly honest. Reviewers are human, and you totally got this one by CT somehow. If anything, you'll be lucky if they don't whip out the rarely used "retract listing" option, as if your cache never existed.

 

As mentioned earlier by hzoi, you practically have to jump through hoops just to have people follow a link to an image hosted on another website.

 

Also as mentioned, there are 5 other caching websites that accept listings in Canada, and one of them even specifically has a USB type cache. There are, however, no listings in New Brunswick there.

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In my reviewer notes for the cache, I put the following:

 

"The cache is hidden in a tree. The logbook is a text file on a USB flash drive. The cacher will need to bring their laptop with them in order to sign the logbook. The USB key has been scanned for viruses and is in a waterproof container inside of another waterproof container."

I haven't finished reading this thread, so my apologies if this has already been mentioned, but...

 

You wrote these things in a Reviewer Note. These Reviewer Notes are almost always deleted before the cache is published. This means that, had I read the cache description, I would not have known the log was a USB flash drive. I do not, and probably never will, carry anything with me into the field that can read a USB flash drive, simply because it's something I normally never need when I'm out caching. I would have been fairly irritated if I had found this cache and then had no practical way to sign the log.

 

And even if I did happen to have my laptop with me, I would never insert an unknown flash drive into it. It doesn't matter whether the flash drive had been reformatted, scanned for viruses, or whatever. How many other virus-infected devices was this flash drive inserted into after you certified it as safe but before I found the cache? After almost 30 years in the IT field, I know better than that. Getting that smiley simply isn't worth the risk.

 

Sorry, but I think this is a bad idea, even without invoking rules and regulations.

 

--Larry

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How is this any different with a USB key? You either have the special equipment and get to log it, or you don't.

It's not about special equipment. Caches require a paper logbook. They can need all the special equipment you want, but there needs to be a paper logbook.

 

Actually, there is no requirement for there to be a paper logbook. The rules actually state:

Cache containers include a logsheet. For all physical caches, there must be a logbook, scroll or other type of log for geocachers to record their visit.

 

I dare say that an .TXT file would qualify as an "other type of log" under those guidelines; it does not have to be paper.

Jsut the other day I signed on a duct tape logbook. I've also signed metal log sheets (soft metal the the pen indented with name - no worries about watersoaked log sheet). And NG Adventure Paper isn't really paper, but is popular as waterproof log sheets. Do any of these need to archived because they don't have "paper" logbooks?

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