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Book Review


Simply Paul
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That's right, about 3 months since ordering it at my local library, 'Geocaching For Dummies' (ISBN 0-7645-7571-6) has arrived. So far it's fairly American in flavour (as you'd imagine) and fairly bland. There's a good bit on etiquette that we could all learn from though... :huh:

 

Chapter 8 - Hiding Geocaches is calling me, as is the loo. Two birds, one stone. More feedback when I've read some more.

 

SP

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Arf arf arf!

 

Ok, the good news:

There's some interesting stuff in there. Some ideas for georace meets at event caches - some things to think about in the summer event season.

 

The bad news:

The book assumes every reader is an American male.

It's printed on very cheap feeling paper.

It's very overpriced at £11.99 when most of the info can be found for free at GC.com.

Not much on urban caching techniques.

Not much on why you'd place one sort of cache over another.

The advanced geocaching section is all about US benchmarks and uses for GPS in education. Yawn!

Very dry feel to the material - few photos... makes a fun hobby seem like a dangerous (several pages given to what should be in your first aid pack) and rather dull business. Where are the cachers tales of high adventure? The pictures of the lost city they found in the jungle?

Lastly, I find the use of the phrase 'Fanny Pack' rather disturbing!

 

More to follow when I've reread the book at a slower pace

 

SP

Edited by Simply Paul
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More good news:

There's a plaque where the first cache was ever hidden - indeed, the whole history section is interesting. Geocaching was originally called 'Stash Hunting', believe it or not.

Some bits about cache-locating are good, like how to triangulate (or biangulate if you're in a hurry) a cache that's under tree cover.

 

More bad news:

'Well padded' sections on how to use a compass and a map. How to predict terrain from contour lines is useful, but hardly core to geocaching.

Lots of common sense stuff - like check you're looking for the right size cache for the cover you have around you. Micros can fit where an ammo box can't - that sort of thing.

Not enough about how to not be seen - The USA is a big empty country short on muggles it seems! "Talk to your GPS as if it was a mobile" is about all the advice on stealth it gives.

 

SP

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'Well padded' sections on how to use a compass and a map. How to predict terrain from contour lines is useful, but hardly core to geocaching.

True, I guess, but I think it is important for people venturing to more remote locations to have a map and compass and ot know how to use them properly, rather than relying 100% on GPS. If your luck is bad enough for you to get lost, then it could be bad enough to have your GPSr break or run flat. Maps and compasses are much more resilient.

When you read some of the stories of people who get into trouble on the hills and end up calling on Mountain Rescue (often through their own ill-preparedness) then maybe a grounding in basic navigation skills isn't such a bad thing.

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All true, but the way it's presented in this book looks more like padding than practical information. I mean, does a geocacher really need to know what a map's Neatline or Collar is?

 

There are a few errors in the book too. Here's an example:

 

"If you click the Watch This Cache button at the top of a geocache information page, you'll be notified when someone logs comments about that cache. As a cache placer, this is a great way to keep a virtual eye on your hidden caches. You can watch up to 100 caches (unlimited if you have a premium subscription)."

 

- Of course (listen up newbies!) as a placer you automatically get notification of logs on your caches - there's no need to add it to your watch list. If you do, you'll just get two mails about the same log.

 

SP

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- Of course (listen up newbies!) as a placer you automatically get notification of logs on your caches - there's no need to add it to your watch list. If you do, you'll just get two mails about the same log.

 

SP

Without wanting to split hairs, you can't watch your own caches. The 'watching' is automatic and trying to watch it again won't work!

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That's just what I said B)

 

Normally the title, scale, legend, compass rose and citation information goes on the Collar. Any other questions?

 

SP

 

Additional:

Without wanting to split hairs, you can't watch your own caches. The 'watching' is automatic and trying to watch it again won't work!

It always used to - my original schoolboy error was adding my first cache to my watchlist and getting two mails - I guess TPTB have thought about this and stopped it happening.

Edited by Simply Paul
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Not telling B)

 

Oh, all right then. The Collar is the white bit around the map, between the Neatline and the edge of the paper. The margin, if you will. The Neatline is the bold line around the map to show where it finishes. Otherwise you might just think all roads and other features just 'stop'.

 

SP

Thanks - that's is the most explicit withholding of information I've ever seen! Talk about changing one's mind - must be exposure to the media! B)

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Interesting......now I bought the book 'The Complete Idiots guide to Geocaching' a few months ago from Amazon (cheaper!). Although there's nothing groundbreaking in it in terms of caching and the information available on this site, I thought it was quite a useful reference book. There's some trivia too - my favourite is:

 

'The most extreme geo-cache ever placed was by Lord British on 19th July 2002. The inventor of the Ultima Online game series, he placed it using a Russian Mir subersible in the Atlantic Ocean. The cache is more than 1.4 miles underwater, at the bottom of the ocean near a hydrothermal vent. If you ever find it be sure to retrieve travel bug TB31F1' - go look it up!!

 

It's got lots on paperless caching which can be confusing as to which files to use where and I also found it helps with all those questions friends and family have about looking for 'tupperware in the woods - ha ha ha' - I just hand the book over for them to browse through, plus they then realise I'm serious (not sure if that's good or bad :D ) and they want to join in too!

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Got our copy of Geocaching for Dummies from Amazon for about £6.99 just before Christmas - big saving on the RRP. Just checked now though and it says £8.39 but there are some used/new ones available for £6.19. They also have a special deal where you can get a discount if you buy this one together with The Geocaching Handbook. Free UK delivery on orders over £19. For more details you will have to check it out www.amazon.co.uk (not a commission link! LOL). And did you know there's an Idiot's Guide to Geocaching circulating as a hitchhiker on a travel bug?!

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'The most extreme geo-cache ever placed was by Lord British on 19th July 2002. The inventor of the Ultima Online game series, he placed it using a Russian Mir subersible in the Atlantic Ocean. The cache is more than 1.4 miles underwater, at the bottom of the ocean near a hydrothermal vent. If you ever find it be sure to retrieve travel bug TB31F1' - go look it up!!

If anyone is interested here's the cache

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The title of the book is Geocaching for Dummies, A Reference For The Rest of Us - now who wants to admit to being in the first category!?? :huh:

Me! I will own up. I went out a couple of weeks back. arriving at where I was to park my car I realised that I had left my Etrex at home :lol: . But then this is when I learnt that I could find caches with my Tomtom go. :lol:

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'The most extreme geo-cache ever placed was by Lord British on 19th July 2002. The inventor of the Ultima Online game series, he placed it using a Russian Mir subersible in the Atlantic Ocean. The cache is more than 1.4 miles underwater, at the bottom of the ocean near a hydrothermal vent. If you ever find it be sure to retrieve travel bug TB31F1'  - go look it up!!

If anyone is interested here's the cache

But my etrex won't get a sattelite lock under water!

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