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Magellan Contest Rigged?


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I tried Magellen's Brazilian Treasure cache which is or was supposed to be hidden somewhere near Pittsburgh. The coordinates posted this morning turned out to be wrong and the led me to some poor guy's garage. He got pretty scared by the first guy who showed up and pulled into his driveway thinking that his story about treasure hunting might be a scam for a home invasion. Fortunately, I didn't arrive until late in the day because I did four caches on the way and didn't expect that I would have had any chance at the grand prize since I live on the other side of the city. I met some other geocachers near the site that confirmed that I had the right coordinates and we discussed the matter with the property owner who told us something very interesting: Somebody first approched him on Thursday night with a GPS and a map saying that the treasure was hidden near his garage. This would have been about 48 hours before the coordinates were officially posted. Something fishy is going on here......

 

Johnny

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Nah, not rigged. Just yet another sloppy mishap in a contest filled with stuff like this. Not only is Magellan not helping themselves with constant errors, but really starting to give geocaching a bad name, leading people to private homes, national park areas, etc.

 

Obviously, they also still have some security leaks to deal with.

 

Magellan might be best off pulling the plug on this contest and trying again later.

 

Visit the Mississippi Geocaching Forum at

http://pub98.ezboard.com/bgeocachingms

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Well, after several attempts to slog through Magellan's website and access the cache hunts, I have given up. I have seen few websites that are this difficult to navigate (Difficult? No - impossible. It just keeps wanting me to update my profile) - and if this is any indication of the ease of use of their actual products, I'm quite sure that I have no interest in ever purchasing from them as well.

 

At this point, I don't care if the game is fixed or not. I've lost interest in their game and their product.

 

"...clear as mud?"

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I was one of the early group to arrive at the incorrectly posted coordinates. Folks, take my word for it, with 340 finds and 15 hides, I do know how to navigate to a waypoint. This was Magellan's mistake, pure and simple. I strongly resent their lecturing me on the page for the Pittsburgh treasure hunt, where it says not to trespass on private property. I KNOW not to post coordinates that are on private property. I trust the HIDER to post accurate coordinates.

 

I have just wasted a day and a half on a wild goose chase for a needle in a haystack. I had figured out the correct park right when the clue was posted, and had been scouting it out ever since. I was VERY surprised when the cache coordinates showed up a few miles west of the park! Knowing that something might be wrong, since this is Magellan after all, I approached the cache site cautiously. I drove past the private driveways and parked at a nearby gas company pipeline, as did about four other cars. I then did a 1000 foot bushwack across a stream and up a hill... no hint that I was trespassing, no posted signs in sight. I top out at the crest of the hill and see a person's house, and the coordinates put me right at the corner of their garage!

 

I had teamed up with two other geocachers for this contest. One of them called me at this point to warn me that the police were handing out tickets. I high-tailed it back to my car, and we re-grouped at a nearby Kinko's, where there was internet access. We met caching friends from Columbus Ohio and from West Virginia and, in the spirit of geocaching, we all agreed to cooperate. We left one person at Kinko's watching the internet, while the other cars headed off to the CORRECT location of the cache. We all agreed to draw lots for the grand prize if we found the treasure. Needless to say, we didn't. It's an 1800 acre park that's very wooded and hilly.

 

Several of the people I was with today had conversations with the hacker who got the coordinates early. He even said how he did it. We have his license plate number (it's a vanity plate) and other info. about him. At one point the hacker's cell phone rang and the person on the other end told him to "keep quiet!" We know he had no connection to the contest because he was using a Garmin GPS.

 

I did find a couple of great locations in this park for hiding a new cache. I am going to call it the "Magellan Sucks" cache. The coordinates will be offset, of course. So the day was not a total loss. I had a chance to see old friends and make new ones. I hiked 10 miles over the past 2 days. I converted three non-cachers (who read about the contest in the newspaper) into geocachers, and took time out from the contest to teach them how to use their GPS equipment more efficiently. I enjoyed the thrill of the hunt, if not the find. I discovered my first porn stash in the woods. I found six golf balls and a CD player. Any day spent geocaching is a good day.

 

But what Magellan did was NOT geocaching. What they did validates how this site is run: admins check the coordinates and question caches that look funny, like this one did. For the most part, we have uncensored forums, and logs aren't deleted. Magellan is deleting all the criticisms from their log page. Magellan made it about the find, not the hunt.

 

Magellan owes the Geocachers of Pittsburgh a huge apology. In my mind, the weak effort made on their treasure hunt page doesn't cut it. I am so glad I own a Garmin! It will always stay that way.

 

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

Next time, instead of getting married, I think I'll just find a woman I don't like and buy her a house.

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I talked to the property owner as well and he told me the same thing. I got there at about 11:00am and although he wasn't real thrilled with the situation, he seemed nice enough.

 

I guess some people got $375 tickets for trespassing, which just seems wrong to me. If there are fines to be levied, Thales should be the ones paying them.

 

Anyway, I'm really glad I drove 500 miles today to trespass on somebody's property. And not even a stinkin' hat to show for it. At least I didn't get fined. icon_rolleyes.gif

 

-Vb

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I agree they did mess up, and they should make good on it. But it's never done before, commercially, and maybe they were hacked. A couple unforunate incidents, but I wouldn't swear off their products because of it.

 

I'm just curious how the hacker got in icon_wink.gif

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I am sure there have been plenty of emails and I know there have been a few phone calls. It looks like there have been a few problems with this contest, mostly probably oversights. The coordinant error hapens to have had quite an effect. Most of the caches seem to have worked out well, thought the security of the sites server seems to be an issue as well. I think with a little more work this could have been a faultless and enjoyable affair for everyone.

 

A rocking chair or a porch swing with an old person in it is a histroy lesson.

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quote:
Originally posted by Ce'Nedra:

I wonder what the owner of the garage thinks...all these unexpected people showing up? icon_razz.gif


 

Someone shoulda told him it was a David Letterman prank.

 

I believe the Magellan Bay Area cache went well. Accidents happen and hackers happen too. That they are trying to sweep it under the rug is really weak though.

 

Team Kender - "The Sun is coming up!" "No, the horizon is going down."

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...but I wouldn't swear off their products because of it.[/quote

 

Neither would I really. But the question is still there. All the other problems can be excused, I guess - but the censorship thing leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. Especially since I deal with it in my own company, where serious accidents are covered up and evidence is confiscated.

 

I don't care what level of a business is responsible for this kind of loathsome activity. There is no excuse for it. It's a progression from this mentality that brought us all the happy tidings from Enron. But now I am ranting away from the topic....

Apologies...

 

"...clear as mud?"

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I do agree that censoring the issue is in bad taste. But, sadly, it's their server and they can do what they want with it, including wiping out embarassing info. I'm sure they know it'll be discussed all over the place (and probably the newspapers too). If they don't, then they really do have their heads in the sand.

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Let’s set some records straight, here. First off, “hacker” is quite a misnomer here. I am the “hacker” you’re referring to. My license number is ALANAMY, and it is a gold Saturn. I’m not quite sure what you intend to do with this valuable information – turn me in to the Internet Police?

 

Anyway, I learned about this contest through the Post-Gazette’s Sunday edition and I visited the web site on Monday and signed up. It sounded very exciting! It has been a lousy summer to say the least – my wife is recovering from some pretty scary surgery from last week, and countless other things have gone wrong this year, so the prospects of a dream vacation sounded alluring.

 

When I looked through some of the previous treasure hunts, I viewed the maps to study what types of areas they were hiding the caches. I am a web designer, and I am therefore quite Internet savvy. As a curiosity, I right-clicked on the map, and saw the web address of the map image. It ended with an id number (id=x). I noticed that the individual challenges also had ID numbers associated with them.

 

With this “amazing hacking knowledge,” I tried typing the web address of the image, but substituted the ID for the current Pittsburgh cache. I was extremely surprised to find that the alleged map for the site appeared when I did this. I was not “hacking” the site per se; this wasn’t exactly a Pentagon-level thing. Anyone with a reasonable knowledge of the web could have figured this out, and I did so in less than 5 minutes. I can assure you that Magellan was quite lax in allowing the maps to be found this easily. This glitch was cleared up later in the week, and it is no longer possible to use this method.

 

So I was faced with a dilemma. Yes, I knew I wasn’t “supposed” to have this map. But I also knew that with it being so easy to find, others would soon have it as well. And I have heard of at least half a dozen other people who DID have them ahead of time, including some folks I met today. If I wasn’t going to use this knowledge to my advantage, SOMEBODY ELSE WILL.

 

Do you really believe that some of these other treasures – like Houston -- have been found by people before the coordinates were posted, just because they “stumbled on them?” I doubt that very, very highly. I promise you they had the maps, and their maps were accurate. The map that I found for the Denver contest was accurate, for example.

 

So on Tuesday I did indeed drive to the coordinates, and as we all know, they led to a private residence. It was not obvious that this was a residence until you got clear up to the house. The driveway is long and could easily pass as a back road.

 

I encountered the older woman who lived there, and asked her if she knew about the cache. She was vague with me, denied knowing anything about it, and suggested I return in 45 minutes.

 

So I figured that this meant either she had some additional information she would share with me, OR she was going to have a police officer waiting for me.

 

I IMMEDIATELY drove from her house to the nearest police station, the North Fayette Township police station. I explained to them exactly what was going on, and I learned that she did indeed call them after my surprise visit. I gave them a copy of the map, and I told them that since I came upon this map, I could almost guarantee them that this would be a recurring problem for these people as the week went along. I did everything I could to do the right thing here. I commend the woman for calling the police, especially since our area has been the target of numerous home invasions – usually against the elderly – in recent months.

 

Of course, I still had the map, and I figured that the treasure was probably in Settler’s Cabins, and the third hint all but confirmed that. I spent a portion of the past few days looking for the cache at the park with no luck. Like many people, I had my wife hitting “reload” at home this morning in anticipation of the new coordinates being posted. When she read them to me, I knew that it was going to be a fiasco at this couples’ home, and I even warned another couple at the park that it would be wise to stay at Settler’s Cabins.

 

And here we all are – almost 11 hours later and we’re all in the dark thanks to this goof.

 

The moral to the story is that Magellan is the culprit here. They made it extremely easy to find the maps, and that was their fault. I see many people here calling me a hacker as though I dug into their internal network, or I have my own personal satellite surveillance system or something. I would bet that 90% of the people criticizing me for using this information to my advantage would have done the same thing if they had found it, although they’re certainly not about to admit that here.

 

Magellan is also the culprit in that they have been extremely sloppy throughout the run of this contest. They obviously haven’t double-checked their work, and they have barely been monitoring the contests as the coordinates have been posted. I really would have loved to have won one of their GPS devices, but if their own people can’t manage to mark a waypoint, I don’t know that I can trust them.

 

I have not lied to anyone I met along the way today, nor have I been dishonest. And, Leprechauns, my wife never told me to “be quiet,” so let’s not go overboard on your story here. You could hear my cell phone conversation…?

 

Whatever you’re planning to do with all of this “other information” you gathered about me… well, knock yourself out. I’d focus my efforts on the folks that really botched this. Feel free to flame me, condemn me to hell, or whatever it is geocaching people tend to do to “hackers.”

 

I wish you all well with the hunt… I can promise you that my enthusiasm for this, and geocaching in general, has been squashed to nil, and I will not be seeking the treasure when the new coordinates are released.

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Our hats are off to Magellan for the time, effort and money expended on this national treasure hunt. So far it has been a lot of fun.

 

Unfortunately it is apparent that Magellan was not very well prepared or experienced in geocaching matters. In the first 20 caches planted, the following specific problems occurred:

 

1. "Moroccan Treasure" 7/1/2003 had bad coordinates and had to be corrected more than once.

 

2. "Treasure of Victoria's Voyage" 7/7/2003 early clues identified cache area (San Jose, CA) as being in the northwest - not a real problem since the early clues were all so vague as to be meaningless anyway.

 

3. "Tierra del Fuego Treasure" 7/7/2003 was placed in a National Park Area. Geocaching is not allowed in National Parks

 

4. "Treasure of the Lost Voyage 7/15/2003 - this park is in the Three Rivers Park District which requires that caches be registered and approved

 

5. "Portugal Plunder" 7/21/2003 - bad coordinates - log from the PortlandRep who planted the cache said Magellan's posted coordinates did not match what he gave them. Also, Magellan never bothered to correct the coordinates (since the cache was stolen).

 

6. "Brazilian Treasure" 7/28/2003 - the worst fiasco so far! Bad coordinates posted, placing the location on private property - resulting in legal problems, unhappy land owners, unhappy searchers (especially the guy who got $375 TICKET)

 

General problems and suggestions:

 

1. It took at least 4 caches before Magellan settled on a consistent coordinate system standard and identified it on the cache pages.

 

2. It took 5 caches before they clarified on the web pages that the title was NOT part of the clues.

 

3. The cache containers were not waterproof and the contents were not protected from the elements.

 

4. There was no log included in the cache for finders to sign.

 

5. For most of the earlier caches, the clues were so vague as to be worthless in actually finding the cache. It was impossible to find the cache until the actual coordinates were posted. This has improved considerably, evidenced by the fact that several of the recent finds were located before the coordinates were posted.

 

6. The coupons should probably be serial numbered. When a cache is stolen (as several have been), it might be possible to identify the stolen certificates and refuse to honor them. Even the possibility of this might make plunderers think twice.

 

7. Once coordinates are published, a Magellan rep should be monitoring the logs constantly for problems, at least till a first find occurs. That person should have the resources to get a quick resolution. Maybe a published a 1-800 number should be available and manned to report problems like the "Brazilian Treasure".

 

8. It doesn't look very good for Magellan to delete logs (except where obscene or flaming). It looks like an attempt to cover up the problem.

 

And finally, unrelated to this treasure hunt.... Magellan's GPS maps are over ten years out of date!!! As much fun as this treasure hunting is, I would have preferred that they devote their time, effort and money to providing current downloadable street maps that are updated on a regular basis.

 

Ballast & the Booby

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Our hats are off to Magellan for the time, effort and money expended on this national treasure hunt. So far it has been a lot of fun.

 

Unfortunately it is apparent that Magellan was not very well prepared or experienced in geocaching matters. In the first 20 caches planted, the following specific problems occurred:

 

1. "Moroccan Treasure" 7/1/2003 had bad coordinates and had to be corrected more than once.

 

2. "Treasure of Victoria's Voyage" 7/7/2003 early clues identified cache area (San Jose, CA) as being in the northwest - not a real problem since the early clues were all so vague as to be meaningless anyway.

 

3. "Tierra del Fuego Treasure" 7/7/2003 was placed in a National Park Area. Geocaching is not allowed in National Parks

 

4. "Treasure of the Lost Voyage 7/15/2003 - this park is in the Three Rivers Park District which requires that caches be registered and approved

 

5. "Portugal Plunder" 7/21/2003 - bad coordinates - log from the PortlandRep who planted the cache said Magellan's posted coordinates did not match what he gave them. Also, Magellan never bothered to correct the coordinates (since the cache was stolen).

 

6. "Brazilian Treasure" 7/28/2003 - the worst fiasco so far! Bad coordinates posted, placing the location on private property - resulting in legal problems, unhappy land owners, unhappy searchers (especially the guy who got $375 TICKET)

 

General problems and suggestions:

 

1. It took at least 4 caches before Magellan settled on a consistent coordinate system standard and identified it on the cache pages.

 

2. It took 5 caches before they clarified on the web pages that the title was NOT part of the clues.

 

3. The cache containers were not waterproof and the contents were not protected from the elements.

 

4. There was no log included in the cache for finders to sign.

 

5. For most of the earlier caches, the clues were so vague as to be worthless in actually finding the cache. It was impossible to find the cache until the actual coordinates were posted. This has improved considerably, evidenced by the fact that several of the recent finds were located before the coordinates were posted.

 

6. The coupons should probably be serial numbered. When a cache is stolen (as several have been), it might be possible to identify the stolen certificates and refuse to honor them. Even the possibility of this might make plunderers think twice.

 

7. Once coordinates are published, a Magellan rep should be monitoring the logs constantly for problems, at least till a first find occurs. That person should have the resources to get a quick resolution. Maybe a published a 1-800 number should be available and manned to report problems like the "Brazilian Treasure".

 

8. It doesn't look very good for Magellan to delete logs (except where obscene or flaming). It looks like an attempt to cover up the problem.

 

And finally, unrelated to this treasure hunt.... Magellan's GPS maps are over ten years out of date!!! As much fun as this treasure hunting is, I would have preferred that they devote their time, effort and money to providing current downloadable street maps that are updated on a regular basis.

 

Ballast & the Booby

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So the property owners and the cops knew of the problem as early as Tuesday?

 

Why wasn't Magellan contacted sooner then? And you would think the police could have skipped the $375 tickets, as it was a mistake and there was obviously no malicious intent.

 

Sheesh, nice cops in Pittsburgh. Unless the wife insisted they write the tickets. Like I said, the husband seemed pretty understanding about the whole thing. Even gave me directions out, as I was pretty scraped up from bushwhacking in.

 

All I know is that if I'd have gotten a ticket today I'd be raising holy hell at the Magellan offices come Monday morning.

 

-Vb

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Ballast and the Booby - GREAT SUMMARY! A post so nice, you wrote it twice!

 

Problem with Groundspeak forums: You can never delete a forum post.

 

Problem with Magellan forums: You can never keep a forum post.

 

Verboten - I agree completely. If I had stumbled across this problem, I would have alerted everyone. What's more important? A hat prize, or the safety and well-being of my fellow geocachers, and respect for the rules of our game, like staying off private property? I wasn't in this hunt for the prizes, I just wanted to find it first... and fairly. Had I won the first prize, I had made arrangements to hand it over to one of my team mates, who is truly in need of a GPS. Me, I'm lucky, I have a Garmin.

 

And I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to meet you today, Verboten! Like I posted above, making new GeoFriends was a saving grace for the day.

 

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

Next time, instead of getting married, I think I'll just find a woman I don't like and buy her a house.

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As the winner of San Lazaro's Loot in Orlando, I can tell you that the detail map was NOT exposed early. I tried that little trick and the only thing that came up was the "Close" button. 16 hours of searching AND finding one of the clues (an eagle's nest) is what did it for me.

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I've been trying to post a reply to Magellan about the Pittsburgh cache, and keep getting a message that their server is down for repairs. Maybe they are installing a new CVS - Coordinate Verification System?

Anyway, what I wanted to say is:

I was in contact with friends in the field looking for the cache today. Did anyone find it? What about that Ahoy person? I couldn't tell because most of the logs were deleted.

I feel bad for all of the 'busted' people. Was it Robinson police that issued the fines? If it was, I may be able to help. I also have a printout of the map with the bad coordinates. I'd be willing to share it with anyone who needs it to fight their tickets. Let me know by posting back.

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For some reason, I find this thread to be extremely humorous. You have your allegations of corporate corruption and conspiracy, the lessons in low-tech hacking, run-ins with the law, and improvised geo-alliances. icon_biggrin.gif I hope that in a few months some of the participants in this snafu can laugh too. It reminds me of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (but those guys had the right coordinates.)

 

FISUR

 

Rhode Island Geocaching

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Lep,

 

Sorry I missed you too. I parked myself at an access point downtown that turned out to be pretty far from the "cache" so I got there late.

 

I left Buffalo at 5:30 this morning to participate in this fiasco. What a waste. I was going to do some local caches, but by the time I got back to the access point, my laptop battery was dead and I forgot the power adapter. icon_mad.gif

 

quote:
Dishonesty is NOT the best policy. I hope this was a trap for those dishonest enough to try and manipulate the game.

 

First of all, that would be very poor judgment by Magellan, legally and morally. Secondly, were that the case, the correct coordinates would have been posted this morning.

 

I can assure you this was no clever scheme. It was just a major SNAFU.

 

-Vb

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I do have a complete set of the Pittsburgh geocache web page and logs up until 3PM this afternoon.

 

I'm pretty sure that Magellan will do the right thing and pay for the ticket(s) people got, once they sort things out.

 

But if not, well, the evidence is not lost.

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I was excited when the contest was announced, and followed it a bit.

 

I was worried they'd spam me when I signed up, but apparently don't have enough of their marketing act together to even do that.

 

Then I saw the first incorrect coordinate fiasco and was glad they hadn't come near New England after all--certainly wouldn't invest time/energy/gas money in this thing.

 

Now this!!

 

But I must say, Alansfreed, GREAT JOB! Using all the tools at your disposal (that Magellan provided even!) to get ahead of everyone else is the way contests like this are won! Kudo's, and anyone who says different are just sore about the whole thing.

 

If I ever enter a competition, I want you on my team!

 

Not to be Magellan bashing, but I recently contacted them with an enquiry--so far no response. Garmin on the other hand, got back to me in 24 hours with the appropriate committee contact info, both mail and fax!

 

They say any press is good PR, and I usually agree, but I didn't have any opinion of Magellan beforehand, and now my opinion is negative. It certainly reflects on their products and service!

 

Since the tickets were given due to law-breaking, they can't write off that expense, so I seriously doubt they'll be reimbursing anyone--a discount coupon or some free product would be the ONLY way any company could compensate customers, so don't hold your breath on that one!

 

(Class action lawsuit?)

 

Dissappointing,

 

Randy

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for those of you not happy with the way this contest is being handled, myself included(and anyone who got the $375.00 trespassing ticket), I strongly suggest you call Karen Carbonett at Magellan: 408-615-5100. She is the head of the marketing department, when I spoke to her about how the Atlanta Geocache was on NPS land and a mjor no no. She was blisfully unaware as to what was going on.

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I definitely agree with leprechaun! This morning was a total fiasco! Thankfully, I only live in the South Hills so I did not drive 5+ hours to "claim an imaginary coupon!" I felt sympathy for the landowners because home invasions have been on the increase in the Pgh area. Fortunately for ~6 of us, the North Fayette police seemed understanding and let us off with warnings. After leaving the owners driveway, I went up 978 to the Exxon and told the attendant that if anyone asked about a scavenger hunt that he should say it's in the wrong location. I drove past the owner's driveway several times in case anyone else showed up because of the wrong posting.

 

This experience has been rewarding for me. My company relies on GPS technology for environmental permitting (submeter accuracy). Last year, I bought a handheld with the intention of only using it to mark topos with good fishing spots, etc. Had I not paged thru last Sunday's PG Travel section, I would not have known about the contest. In fact, I did not know about geo-caching. If done in a legal manner, geo-caching appears to be a good experience and I will have to check out some of the local caches. (I'd be interested in joining a local cache group since my friends thought I was crazy for taking part in the Magellan contest.)

 

As for the "hacker's" story, I DON'T BELIEVE EVERY PART OF YOUR STORY. The North Fayette police did mention about someone being on the property two days ago. However, the officer did not tell us if a report was filed following the trespass or not. He did point out that North Fayette was unaware of the scavenger hunt. So I really wonder if the North Fayette police received a visit after the encounter with the landowner two days ago.

 

Just my two cents worth...

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And when exactly is Garmin going to embrace the Geocaching community? Ever? I'm sorry to hear of the problems that have happened in Pittsburgh, ours (in St, Louis) went off with out any problems. But I for one have been impressed with the fact that Magellan has shown their support of the Geocaching community with this contest, even though they are still learning some things. I wonder if Garmin knows we exist?

 

Jim

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This is a very interesting thread, especially since I haven't really given the contest much attention. I just registered and logged in the Magellan's site, and I see quite a few negative posts listed on the Pittsburg cache page. I also see a boldfaced warning at the top of every cache page reminding us all about staying away from private properties. I don't know if this was there before, but from what I've been reading here, it looks like Magellan is maybe trying to cover its butt a little. By the way, I use a Sportrak Pro which I like very much, so I'm pretty disappointed to hear that its maker is screwing up as others have described.

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Just a general point of order:

 

Hackers write code. Crackers disassemble someone else's. icon_wink.gif

 

Alansfreed is a low-level cracker (making no judgement about his skin tone or level of hipness). I am studying to be a professional hacker (in bioinformatics). I also tried to crack their hints/maps, but was highly unsuccessful with previous caches (NOT in my area, btw). It seems Magellan's webmasters must have slipped by prematurely moving this one from test server to production server. (EDIT: I guess they call that a 'premature map activation')

 

Also, a second point of order: The Boston cache (while in a somewhat bland location) went off very smoothly and a fun time was had by all. They have gotten some correct at Magellan and had a few errors on others. I think if you're scoring at home (and don't live in Pittsburgh) then they've got a winning percentage so far since as Ballast pointed out, they have had 6 errors and 14 error-free caches. There are some major league pitchers who would kill small animals for a record like that.

 

Some of this was tongue-in-cheek...the rest was just trying to shed some perspective on one rainy day in a month's worth of partly cloudy...

 

Now back to your regularly scheduled public image execution...

 

PS - I also use an eTrex...but I'll probably wear the hat when it comes in the mail...it's sunny and there are ticks about.

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Saw this on the Magellan forums, thought

I would copy it here before they took it

off.

 

quote:
Originally posted by GPShacker on Magellan Forums:

 

Confessions of a GPS hacker.

 

Okay, this is getting weird so I will offer up some information. Not that I am much better than the supposed cache finders, but this might help explain some things in Denver and Houston.

 

I was trying to get ready for the Denver hunt on Tuesday night, so I was saving the links to the web page of the cache, and decided to try to save the link to the map as well so I could have it to refresh fast. I looked at other caches and saw that the "detailed map" page had a format like this (click on detailed map, then right click properties):

 

https://www.magellangps.com/en/gpsAdventures/geocaching/getImage.asp?cacheid=24&type=F

 

(this is for the cache near Orlando).

 

I changed this to the Denver cache id of 28, and what popped into my browser? The detail map of the Denver cache with the coordinates (the same one that is posted now). This was Tuesday night, after the first clue I think. This was totally unexpected, as I thought they would lock out the page until the coordinates were posted. I checked the other caches, and sure enough, got the detailed map with coordinates for the Pittsburg and Houston caches.

 

Was this cheating? Maybe. Or just lucky. What would you do? I decided to only use the information myself, and not to give it to anyone else.

 

So, with this tidbit, a friend and I was at Daniels park on Tuesday night, 10pm to 10:30pm with flashlights looking for the cache. I have geocached before, so I knew to look under the bushes and in the grass and to take into account GPS errors. The spot was right next to the parking area, so I thought it would be easy to find. I did not find anything.

 

Went back Wednesday morning by myself, search for over about two hours up to about 100ft from the cache, and did not find it.

 

Sometime on Wednesday, Magellan fixed the "back door" to the map, and it was no longer available the way I tried. I think this might be why there was so much delay between the hints, and no 4th hint.

 

Then I thought maybe they hadn't placed the cache yet, and went back Thursday evening, after the Houston cache was found with very flimsy hints, and me and another friend search for over an hour, again nothing. At this point, I was convinced the coordinates were wrong like Pittsburgh, so waited for the posting of the real coordinates. On Saturday they were posted, and matched the ones I had on Tuesday (so did the Pittsburgh and Houston ones). This confused me greatly, and didn't go out to look, waiting for the reports. When they came back that the cache wasn't there, it didn't surprise me. I even went back Saturday afternoon and looked in completely different places, thinking they posted the coordinates wrong.

 

What would I have done if I found the cache? Take the grand prize coupon, and put back the cache where it was.

 

This all might sound like sour grapes, but I think it could explain the happenings in Denver and Houston. I can't be the only one who tried this "hack".

 

GPShacker.

 


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quote:
Originally posted by Dorkus&Co.:

And when exactly is Garmin going to embrace the Geocaching community? Ever? I'm sorry to hear of the problems that have happened in Pittsburgh, ours (in St, Louis) went off with out any problems. But I for one have been impressed with the fact that Magellan has shown their support of the Geocaching community with this contest, even though they are still learning some things. I wonder if Garmin knows we exist?

 

Jim


Let's see. Bad cords, bad security, cahe cords on provate land, caches in parks where caches are not allowed, caches in non-waterproof containers, new cachers unimpressed with the sport, local LEAs unimpressed with the sport, yada, yada...

All I've got to say is, with friends like that,......you know the rest.

 

"...clear as mud?"

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For those who are saying "at least Magellan tried, what has Garmin done?" I ask you this:

 

Would you rather a company not kiss your @ss or pretend to kiss it without knowing anything about what they're supposedly supporting?

 

I think Moun10Bike was the first to note that Magellan is making newbie mistakes. Mistakes they could have avoided if they would have taken the time to learn even the basics of the sport. If they didn't have time or resources to do that much, they should have had the sense to recruit local geocachers, who I'm sure would have been happy to help.

 

Personally, I respect a company that doesn't go into anything half-assed. And that is precisely what Magellan has done with this contest.

 

-Vb

 

Edit: In response to Keystone Approver's post I will add this:

 

The biggest mistake Magellan made was approving their own caches. That's like editing your own book.

 

[This message was edited by Verboten on August 02, 2003 at 11:16 PM.]

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I can tell you that I have been watching this treasure hunt from the time that the second set of caches were put out and that warning was never there till today. If someone knew that the cords were off why didn't they contact magellan about it so that they could take care of the problem before the grand entrance of all the cachers at the front door. Garmin may be wise not to have tried this "it's best to be thought a fool then to remove all doubt" I may continue to watch this hunt with morbid curiousity to see and laugh at all the mistakes magellan will continue to make. To those that are still in the hunt good luck. I wouldn't even want a hat at this time.

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quote:
Originally posted by alansfreed:

 

...When I looked through some of the previous treasure hunts, I viewed the maps to study what types of areas they were hiding the caches. I am a web designer, and I am therefore quite Internet savvy. As a curiosity, I right-clicked on the map, and saw the web address of the map image. It ended with an id number (id=x). I noticed that the individual challenges also had ID numbers associated with them.

 

With this “amazing hacking knowledge,” I tried typing the web address of the image, but substituted the ID for the current Pittsburgh cache. I was extremely surprised to find that the alleged map for the site appeared when I did this. I was not “hacking” the site per se; this wasn’t exactly a Pentagon-level thing. Anyone with a reasonable knowledge of the web could have figured this out, and I did so in less than 5 minutes. I can assure you that Magellan was quite lax in allowing the maps to be found this easily. This glitch was cleared up later in the week, and it is no longer possible to use this method...


 

That's funny, I was doing the exact same thing, with the hints too (so you can be assured others were doing it), I always got the 'server is down for maint.' message, for hints/maps not officially released, even though all the official stuff came up.

 

I only tried it a few times, and on caches not even close to me (only one was close, and I didn't think of this, until it had been found).

 

They must have slipped up, and made that map accessible (using the method) for that cache.

 

Magellan has made a bunch of mistakes on this contest, and you would think they would be more careful. Trying to cover this mistake, by deleting log entries, is pretty lame.

 

I expect a newspaper story about it soon.

 

_________________________________________________________

If trees could scream, would we still cut them down?

Well, maybe if they screamed all the time, for no reason.

Click here for my Geocaching pictures and Here (newest)

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I have to agree with Verboten and Keystone Approver, Magellan is not helping/supporting Geocaching. This is a marketing campaign, albiet a very badly planned and executed one, intended to get people to buy a GPS.

 

If Magellan was interested in supporting Geoaching they would be working with local Geocaching groups to help them get Geocaching to be considered acceptable land use activity. Or better yet, offer to loan GPS's to local parks that allow Geocaching and want to teach a class. So the newbies who don't own a GPS have a way to try it for themselves.

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See what happens when people try to make geocaching into a head-to-head competition? Perhaps Magellan secretly had the garage under video surveillance and will soon be running a hilarious TV special called "America's Wacky Geocachers do the Darndest Things." Or perhaps "Candid Cachers."

 

There was even a "Dave Ulmer (Mr. 'Project Ape' himself) wanna-be" who showed up early. What a pity that in this case, there was no prize to "steal."

 

Some of the contestants even received "lovely parting gifts"...citations for trespassing. It's nice that their determination didn't go unrewarded.

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I guess my use of the word hacker was a little premature. I also saw how the urls were constructed, and tried replacing the id's just for grins for a couple of other caches. It didn't work, as others pointed out. It wasn't a "backdoor" - it was a goof on the part of the site admin. Since I hadn't seen such a (simple) trick work, I assumed the "hacker" might have gotten into the database server. Not all that unreasonable, since if they're using Active Server Pages (.asp), then they're using Microsoft IIS. And so it's not a far leap to assume they're using SQL Server. And, there have been a number of holes plugged recently with that product. I figured someone used one of the vulnerabilities to get it.

 

Alas, none of that is true, apparently. Just some fat-fingering on the part of the website admins. icon_rolleyes.gif

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