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Going Paperless


Perrin

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Any suggestions on the best program choice and/or combinations of programs?

 

I have a Zire 71 and just sent off my $30 for the premium membership.

 

So since I will have access to the pocket queries in the near future I would like to know what you all think the best current set up is. I read Cybrets paperless info on his web site, but I've been seeing stuff about the Geocaching Swiss Army Knife program and have to admit I'm rather confused about which way I should be going in terms of software here.

 

Thanks in advance. Links to other discussions welcome. Flame me if you will for not running a search first, but I did, just didn't find the answers I wanted. Sorry to start a holy war if I am.

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Well that's the way I was initially looking to go after reading Cybret's paperless tutorial.

 

I am curious to here if people think any of the other available programs are easier to use or better.

 

I tried slogging my way through the GPS and Software forum, but I would much prefer responses in simple english rather than boarderline techno babble. I hate having to read through technical data type posts just to try and decypher whether or not some one liked the program.

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As far as Cachemate goes you can search for nearest caches, with the Cachenav plugin and a cable you can get location from your GPS and also use the PDA to show the compass.

 

I don't use GSAK as I found that my favorite GPX viewer Watcher doesn't like the files that it outputs. I use spinner to correct waypoints for puzzle caches and to ignore caches I don't want to search for.

 

Watcher vs. GSAK is strictly a matter of preferance. I just like the look of Watcher better.

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Ok, one more question here. Of all these programs, which ones will let me decode the hints from the pda?

 

Or do some of them just automatically decode and put the hints on the pda already decoded?

 

It looks like Cachemate will let you do that, but are there others that will do that as well?

 

EDIT: adding question...

 

From what I'm getting right now, it looks like on the pc side of things you can be running GSAK, Spinner or Cachemate and they BASICALLY do the same thing.

 

Pda side you have a choice between Plucker and Cachemate.

 

So I guess I'm really most curious about what will give me the most flexibility and which is the easiest to use when I'm out caching with the pda.

Edited by Perrin
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Cachemate only runs on the PDA. CMConvert is on the PC.

 

Plucker or Cachemate for the PDA. My preference is Cachemate.

 

Spinner or GSAK to correct coords, ignore caches from the PQ files

 

Watcher or GSAK to view the PQ on the PC

 

My setup is as follows

 

Spinner to correct cache locations and ignore caches.

Watcher to view on PC

CMConvert to convert for PDA

Cachemate on PDA to view and decode hints if you so desire.

ExpertGPS and USAPhotoMaps to download and view terraserver maps.

(I like USAPhotoMaps for daily use but ExpertGPS has the function of searching by distance from a route. I use this when I travel.)

 

You could eliminate Watcher and Spinner and use GSAK in their place.

(I like the feel of Watcher better, just my personal preference)

 

Alternatly you could use Plucker and its associated desktop tool to view files on your PDA. This will give you a page that looks more like the webpages but no way to search for nearest caches, make notes or interface with the GPSr. My personal opinion is that Cachemate is the easiest way to use the PDA in the field.

 

My suggestion is to download the trial version of Cachemate, load a PQ into it and give it a test drive. The trial version allows you to have 10 cache pages in it to try it out. In the past you could only look at pages you hand entered. I made the offer to several people that if they payed the seven dollars and didn't like the program I would reimburse them for the cost of the program. I never had to pay out. Also I don't work for SmittyWare I am just a very pleased customer. So much so that I have paid to keep it on two different PDA's

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Have or had a PocketPc here, so what i use(d) won't help you. It appears that my wifes new job is not as archaeic as her old one and she can use the pocket pc there. :o So now I have to borrow it from her if I go caching. I guess I'll have to either go back to paper or get a pocketpc of my own or a palm...

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Its a vast improvement over MobiPocket.

 

Anything is an improvement over Mobipocket.

 

Of all these programs, which ones will let me decode the hints from the pda?

 

I use the Spinner/Plucker combo and the hints come already decrypted, but you have to click on "hint" to see it.

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I use GSAK and Cachemate.

 

1. Download Pocket Query

2. use GSAK to open pocket query and filter on what I want to find

3. save

4. Open Cmconvert and send to pda

5. open cachemate and start looking for caches

 

Also you asked about hints. Cachemate shows the hint encrypted. There is a decode button that when you click it will automatically decode the hint.

 

Finally, ClydeE is integrating the Cmconvert functionality into GSAK in an upcoming release, so soon steps 3 and 4 above will be eliminated.

 

GSAK and Cachemate are good programs that just seem to be getting better and better everyday.

 

--RuffRidr

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spinner/plucker works.

 

i found cachemate to be easier to use, although with large numbers of entries the search runs a little slower. cachemate takes less time to download and get on the PDA.

 

i use a tungsten e and both work just fine on it.

 

and yes, cahemate will decode the hints for you.

 

aomewhere (although i can't find it just now) i asked similar questions because i didn't find information i understood in a search.

 

people were very sweet and patient and now i'm good to go. if you still need the information later, i'll see if i can't find that thread. it contained step-by-step directions for the techno-challenged.

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Thanks guys! Looks like I got all my questions answered at this point. I guess I'll just download everything and fiddle around with them and see which combo I like the best. Now if only my check would hurry up and get there so I can get some PQs... :o

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Just thought of another question, I know I know :o

 

When the cache pages around loaded to the pda, do you get to see that little map from the cache page that is just below the hint?

 

Webscouter mentioned USAPhotoMaps and ExpertGPS, but from the little I read on those websites it looks like those are maps to download to your pc or gps. If those can get sent to the pda too let me know.

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Hello Perrin,

 

A VERY satisfied user of the Palm Zire 71 combination PDA and digital camera, here to assist. I run Watcher for sorting and planning and filtering, then Spinner and Plucker to put the caches on my PDA. I support Watcher and Spinner because they are free programs developed by geocachers.

 

With Spinner you do NOT see any map on the cache page. But since I use a mapping GPS, this isn't a problem for me. I use Mapsource for map planning at home on the PC, and then I load the maps and waypoints into my Garmin V before hitting the road.

 

As for entering cache logs out in the field, a feature of Cachemate, I don't miss this a bit. After I sign the log, my goal is to move on to the next cache, not to sit on a wet tree stump and type. What I do is pull out the PDA stylus and scribble a handwritten note in the PDA's notepad - a 15 second process. The new note is automatically stamped with the date and time of my log. I jot down the GC number, any items or bugs traded, and a word or two to prompt me of things to include in my more detailed online log, which I will compose at my desk rather than out in the woods, in fading light, with mosquitos attacking me. When I get home, I put the PDA in the cradle and just scroll through the new notes, pull up the GC number on the computer and enter my log.

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Ok I'll chime in since you will probably get a lot of feedback on this. I started with the spinner/plucker combo and while it served its purpose I now use spinner and Cachemate. I like being able to take notes right on the cache page while I'm out in the field. Well worth the 7 bucks. :o

Have to agree 100%. I, too, trade the spinner/plucker combo, but personally feel cachemate does it all both more quickly and easier. $7.00 is a very small price to pay for what you get. You might as well call it freeware.

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i don't sit and type. cachemate allows you to make short notes with your stylus on its cache page, which is handy.

 

i ran s[pinner/plucker and cache mate simultaneoulsy for a while to get a feel for them before i decided which to use.

 

if you've got the patience, i suggest you try out both, and you'll end up happy with whatever you decide.

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I use both GSAK/Plucker and Cachemate. I have Plucker installed for other stuff - you can pluck any webpage and put it on your Palm, plus convert any text file and read it on your Palm. The cache pages are just another page for Plucker. Spinner works, but GSAK does the same thing, plus lots more. I use GSAK to convert the pages to both Plucker and Cachemate, and use Cachemate for taking notes in the field. With Plucker, you can't modify the pages, so Cachemate is necessary to allow for editing. I did a multi-cache the other day, and had to visit 5 caches to get numbers to plug into the final coordinates. Using Cachemate, I could put in each number as I found it, and then put the final number into my GPS. Cachemate lets you send all your cache waypoints to the GPS if you have a cable to connect it to your Palm. I also use the GPS connected to the Palm for driving directions to the caches, using Mapopolis.

 

Lots of programs will get the job done, but I find GSAK and Cachemate are enough, although I use Plucker for viewing the pages, because they look much better, and also offer multiple ways to sort the caches. With Plucker, I can sort by distance or direction from as many locations as I tell GSAK to use, by cache name, by waypoint name, by date placed, by date found, by unfound, with travel bugs, etc. Very handy at times. You can also click to decode the hint, just as you do on the cache page, and click for the nearest caches, just as on the cache page. In short, you have the same cache page you have on the net, but it's in your hand. Cachemate doesn't do all this, but you can edit everything, so it's also necessary. Everything except Cachemate is freeware - Plucker, GSAK, GPXSpinner, etc.

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Obviously I'm a Spinner/Plucker user. Believe it or not, I actually own a registered copy of Cachemate, but don't use it. I've tried it, it's just not for me. I can't honestly say anything bad about it and if it works for you, go for it.

 

What I like about Plucker is the way the cache pages look on my screen. I also like that the pages are not editable (or edible..but that's different)...I guess I mean they're static....there's no way I could accidentally swipe my stylus and wipe out text. That thought sorta scares me.

 

As for logging in the field, I use a program called "DayNotez" and have created a template that lets me very quickly log my caches. My logs are transferred to my laptop when I hotsync and they remain there and on my Palm until I decide to wipe them out. There are a lot of times when I go back and look over old logs, especially when several of us get together to compare war stories.

 

Bret

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yeah, i liked the way the plucker pages looked on my screen. i also liked the directional search. i found it harder to manage spinner/plucker, though, and that it took longer to get the downloading taken care of.

 

of course, NONE of it works on a mac of OS-less-than-X, so i have to do these things on a machine that isn't mine. when i update my mac (yes, i'm going to get a new one, and please don't start with me about THAT) some of these things will work better for me.

 

right now i can't get watcher to run on ANYTHING available to me, and everyone seems to love watcher. and while we're at it, i can't get into clayjar's chat, either. it either crashes me or gives me a big blank screen that sends me into an existential crisis.

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Awesome input everyone! I think I've got a good handle on where I'm going know. If anyone else wants to post any more comments about these programs and/or my questions by all means feel free too.

 

I'm going to poke around with a couple of the programs before making the final decision, but I definitely feel better about things now.

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Ok found a sample PQ in the GSAK folder and did some fiddling with that. Tried to send the info to the pda with the spinner/plucker combo and that worked like a charm (mostly thanks to Cybret's step by step).

 

Tried to do the same with GSAK to plucker and couldn't get access to the hints. Ended up getting something like a broken link type message. Maybe I didn't specify for it to follow links deep enough like I did with plucker.

 

Question about including images with Plucker. When I did that I was only getting the little cache container icons from the cache page and the smiley faces. Is this all I should be expecting to get as far as images are concerned? Am I not going to get spoiler pics or the maps? Or am I just doing something wrong?

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Hello Nick. As you know I geocache with your good buddy Ajetpilot. I have the iQue which I use with Cachemate to download the GPX files to the iQue. I only use Cachemate to go paperless. I use my 76S to actually look for the cache. I use Easy GPS to download the LOC files to the 76S. While the iQue will also do routing I usually let Bruce do that with his 60c which is a great GPS and has the CitySelect maps the same as the iQue. The way I select the caches I want to use is to check the WATCH option on the page and then select all of those on my watch account to download. I really like Cachemate. Good investment for $7.00

Good luck, but going paperless isn't going to help you beat Bruce out for FTF.

Dick, W7WT

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Hello Nick. As you know I geocache with your good buddy Ajetpilot. I have the iQue which I use with Cachemate to download the GPX files to the iQue. I only use Cachemate to go paperless. I use my 76S to actually look for the cache. I use Easy GPS to download the LOC files to the 76S. While the iQue will also do routing I usually let Bruce do that with his 60c which is a great GPS and has the CitySelect maps the same as the iQue. The way I select the caches I want to use is to check the WATCH option on the page and then select all of those on my watch account to download. I really like Cachemate. Good investment for $7.00

Good luck, but going paperless isn't going to help you beat Bruce out for FTF.

Dick, W7WT

LOL you guys are both hillarious! But you are right about this not helping me beat Bruce to the FTF :lol:

 

He has free reign during the week and there's nothing I can do about that unless I want to go unemployed :o

 

Thanks for the input. Its looking like I'll have to not worry about having maps until I can upgrade my gps. If that's the case its no big deal. Faile and I have found all our caches without maps and we still do pretty well. :lol:

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Ok found a sample PQ in the GSAK folder and did some fiddling with that.  Tried to send the info to the pda with the spinner/plucker combo and that worked like a charm (mostly thanks to Cybret's step by step).

 

Tried to do the same with GSAK to plucker and couldn't get access to the hints.  Ended up getting something like a broken link type message.  Maybe I didn't specify for it to follow links deep enough like I did with plucker. 

 

Question about including images with Plucker.  When I did that I was only getting the little cache container icons from the cache page and the smiley faces.  Is this all I should be expecting to get as far as images are concerned?  Am I not going to get spoiler pics or the maps?  Or am I just doing something wrong?

I have found that ClydeE, the creator/progamer of GSAK, is very easy to reach through the GSAK Thread. he and the other users are very helpful.

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Cherokeecacher,

 

I actually went back and ran the steps again just for the heck of it and got it to work. I think I just missed a step or misinterpreted something. So the GSAK works just as well as Spinner, not to mention the other things it has going for it.

 

I figure I'm probably going to go with Spinner and Plucker, but also keep GSAK for the pc side of things so I can view the pages. At least until I can get around to trying out Watcher, which some people said they prefer.

 

Thanks for the suggestion and the link.

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Anything is an improvement over Mobipocket.

Agreed, now that I know better. Used the ugly mobipocket because it was easy and convient to set up. Wish I hadn't been so lazy for so long, life is much better with plucker.

 

I tried some of the others but landed on GSAK because of the look, feel, and helpfulness of Clyde. The others mentioned were good but as a matter of personal preference settled on GSAK.

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I am using a Pockect PC HP IPAQ 2315 With GPXSonar and GpxView, I have only been paper less for about a week. I am an old dog,it took me about 5 weeks to figure out how to get files from lap top to pockect pc. So far I like the GPXSonar version over pxView, the main reason is that GPXSonar allows field notes. On my lap top I am using GPX watcher :lol:

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You can get maps via AvantGo, but I detest it. You may like it, though. Just open the Mapquest link from the cache page, and click on "Download to PDA". You'll have to go through the registration page, and download the AvantGo stuff to your PC, but you can eventually get it working, probably.

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Might give that a spin since I don't have $100 to drop on Mapopolis.

 

I do have a question about how to get the maps onto the pda though. I've tried getting the maps to transfer, but they always want to get put into the memory card that I don't have. How do I get them to go into the memory of the pda?

Edited by Perrin
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I have been using the Spinner/Plucker combo. I spin on my home coords. Lately, I have been trying the GSAK/Plucker combo and it does a very good job. As Night Pilot mentioned, it gives you some good ways to sort the caches. I just tried the trial Cachemate and it looks good, but I don't think it will be a substitute for the above for me.

 

Also, I use Plucker for some other uses (like business------why I told my wife I needed this new PDA)

 

Some other things to try if you have a high resolution PDA (mine is 320 X 320 color, memory stick, fast processor, jpeg viewer):

Open USPHotomaps, load the .gpx file so the cachepoints show up on the map, then save the page as a jpeg. You now have a great looking aerial photo on your PDA with the GC numbered cachepoints.

I do the same for Topo!. Load the cachepoints using GPSBabel, and save as a jpeg. You will have a great looking color topo map on your PDA.

I have done the same with Streets and Trips maps.

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Ugh, AventGo was well :) blah. The maps look close to useless. Maybe a bit more fussing will make it better, but I doubt it.

 

I do kinda like being able to have the news articles and stuff though. I might just keep it around for that.

 

So where can I find the USPHotomaps and get a jpeg viewer for this thing?

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I really like how Plucker works. The cache pages look as expected and (as CYBret stated) I can't mess them up. Plucker also makes it easy to go from cache-to-cache.

 

I don't miss the logging process of cachemate because I use 'Geocache Log' for this purpose. I'm considering using a palm database program to record my logs as this will allow me to sync to an Access database, but I haven't built it yet.

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:) Hello Everyone, I am in need of some help with cachemate. I downloaded cachemate before becoming a registered user at geocaching.com. What I downloaded was a unregistered version of Cachemate. I bought a registered version of Cache mate but all it gave me was a series of #'s to add to the program. I cant figure out how to get the #'s in the program to open it to a full version. I dont understand why I cant figure this out, this cachemate has stumped me. Thanks for the info that anyone gives. HAPPY CACHING

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I recently took the result of a pocket query and shoved it through 'Spinner' and on into 'Plucker' - I was very pleased with what I saw. For a while anyhow.

I then took the same set of results and shoved them into EasyGPS and downloaded them into my eTrex. The next thing was to get the GPSr to indicate the nearest cache to home. This it did with no problem at all. However! When I entered the cache name (as in the eTrex) in to the 'Plucker' search page it said that no entry could be found! That was when I found that all of the caches in the GPSr were referenced with GCXXXX while the 'Plucker' lists were LCXXXX, MCXXXX, TCXXXX, UCXXXX and VCXXXX.

I feel quite silly that it took me some time to resolve this and to realize that all I had to do was miss out the first letter when entering the search data to Plucker!

I do understand the reason for the L, M, T, U, and V being there by the way.

 

Anyhow, if this saves any new user a few moments of frustration then that is good.

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