jump to navigation

Come Find Me at the Practical Polymath May 30, 2011

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching.
add a comment

As I mentioned before, I am moving the blog.

This one was originally intended to be a temporary landing zone until I could fire up my own server, drop in all those cool widgets and spruce the place up all nerd-like as I am wont to do with my surroundings.  Also, I had the intention of widening the scope of the blog but really just wanted to get used to the process, formatting and so forth first.

It took a conversation with a friend, Edward Newman, to get me from the chair and into action.  We have a number of common and divergent interests.  Notably, we work together and have joined the passel of “company bloggers” for our employer.  We’re not fanbois, we just blog and have topics relevant to our industry that (in our myopic view) deserve a hearing.  We decided to join forces to make the business of blogging on a regular basis more agreeable and keep each other motivated.

Edward (Ted, from here on) enjoys good stuff: high-end audio, music generally, fine food and drink, technology, the outdoors, a good cigar and even an American made, hand-crafted shoe on occasion.  He devours books.  Ted’s the Mac without the hipster douchebaggery.

I suppose that makes me the PC.  Geocaching will continue to be a staple topic of conversation for me, but Geocaching intersects so many other interests I am happy to make the transition and open up to a wider audience.  Astronomy, physics, biology, card games (Cribbage), the sun, surf, magic (conjuring, mentalism), skepticism and general geekdom all mesh together like the warp and weft of a tight fabric.

The move is a good “marriage” of sorts.  I think the deal was sealed when I sat in Ted’s office and he asked me “what the heck is this Geocaching thing and why do you chase after little things under a tree?”

“Heck, Ted”, I said, “it’s like being in the longest running physics experiment ever devised.  Geocaching: proving Einstein right, one smiley at a time.”

I think Ted’s out hunting now with his iPhone app.  If I can just keep him from hiding another LPC we’ll be all set. While I fight that demon you can come find us at: http://www.practicalpolymath.com .

Edit: Ted came up with a motto…”Exploring the good life preferred by the Geek who can speak”.  I have to say that’s a good summation.


TrailLink – Now We’re Cooking May 18, 2011

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Maps and Mapping, Recreation.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

If you know me, you know I am a big fan and supporter of the Rails to Trails project, led by the Rails to Trails Conservancy.

Now, this: TrailLink, a Geocaching Trails index.  It’s full of win.  Thanks to my buddy Stan Black for the tip!

Considering a Move April 28, 2011

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching.

There are a whopping 12 people who read this blog, owing largely to the fact that I cannot expand content significantly without a major change in hosting.  You all do appreciate my post on free GSAK keys, however.  I love that one.

I’m working on a potential change to move the blog, broaden the content and force regular updates to keep up.  Stay tuned.

Meet the Pedouins April 6, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching.
add a comment

Uh, I don’t know why this one was never published (back in February) but it’s never too late…Check their blog at http://www.pedouin.org

Why does this have anything to do with a GPS related activity like Geocaching?  They’re traveling the continent, friends.  That, and you can track their current position, here.  If that ain’t something after my heart I don’t know what is.

See my Facebook photo album for more.


My Hard Drive Crashed February 8, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Somebody Else's Stuff.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

Well, it’s not actually MY hard drive, but it’s one I am indirectly connected to.  This is one sent in for data recovery by a shop specializing in this sort of thing.  You know, we use those magnets for Geocaching.  Maybe they could send a few my way.  I think they have some spares.  Just saying.

I’ve been doing the data storage thing for nearly 20 years now so I have seen a few severe head crashes.  This one takes the cake.  By far this is the biggest and baddest.  Once you consider a single smoke particle is 3 times bigger than the distance those heads ride off the disk platters, something like this only means one thing…

Dead Drive

This is what a proper head crash looks like on the inside.

…total destruction.

The Hilarity Keeps on Coming February 3, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

OK, now you have to see the FARK comments on the Waco Geocaching story. Awesome.

Informal, Unscientific Poll on Geocaching Age February 2, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Forums, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, In the News/Blogosphere.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

This one is from a thread in the Forums.  I got a bug in my ear and decided to start keeping the running statistics.  The original question was, essentially: “I’m 23 years old.  Are most Geocachers older or younger than 23?”

See for yourself:

As of 13:40 on 2/2/10

Average (Mean): 34.33
Median: 29 years
Mode (Most Common): 21 years

Total entries: 73
0-17: 15 entries
18-34: 26 entries
35-52: 15 entries
55-85: 17 entries

Youngest: 3mo
Youngest able to sign the log: 5 years
Oldest: 85

So yes, most Geocachers are older than 23, at least according to this highly biased poll of self selected forum-reading Geocachers on Groundspeak.  The only way this could be more unscientific and less meaningful is if PZ Myers were to send his Pharyngula hordes down upon it to prove the point.  Since this is a forum discussion that seems unlikely to happen.

Still, it’s fun and somewhat surprising if the data are representative of the larger Geocaching populace.  And yes, that is me replying in the Forum thread.

I Can’t Believe This Cache Still Lives February 2, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Spotlight, Cool Caches, Geocaching.
Tags: , ,

I thought Not on the wal CA would have been muggled by now.  It has lasted a whole 6 months and with many entertaining stories in the logs, too.  This one is officially on my Greatest Hits bookmark list.

Texas Article Goes Nuts With Speculation February 1, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere, Somebody Else's Stuff.
Tags: , , ,

I am going to ignore the fact that this article comes from Waco at all and focus exclusively on how poorly written it is (unless intended as a piece of propaganda).

Hat tip to Geonarcissa for the link.  And spend some time over there.  How is it I just found out about Greasemonkey scripts for Geocaching a month ago and she seems to have a whole series of reviews on them?  Go look.  Stop wasting your time on my blog and read something interesting for a change.

Follow-up 3:

Uh-oh.  This one hit the front page of FARK.  The comments are already coming in with more flame-ey goodness.

Follow-up 2:

After 140 comments I found a single one mildly sympathetic to the message.  Awesome fail.


The comments on that “news” article are hysterical.  I find no need to offer my usual defense of the game/sport/activity.  With 8/10 commenters opening their volley with “Worst. Reporting. Evar.” I think we’re well represented.

Fallout From the “Midland Incident” January 30, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Forums, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, In the News/Blogosphere.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Approximately 3 weeks ago there was a bomb scare related to a lamppost hide in Midland, TX.  This was the second incident in Midland in a year and I wrote about this in my other post Another Bomb Scare for Geocaching.  I commented on the newspaper site and mentioned at the time in the blog there were many possible problems with this.

I even remarked briefly (albeit obtusely) about my own experience landing in handcuffs while Geocaching.  The same thing and much worse appears to have happened in this case.  I stumbled across this on the Geocaching Forums: (more…)

Don’t Do This! #1,325,988: “WTF Were You Thinking?!” January 30, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, For the Newbies, Forums, Geocaching, Geocaching.com.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Epic Geocaching fail here.  I stumbled upon this thread in the forums regarding a highway hide in MO.  Then somebody helpfully posted a link to the cache in question, GC237WQ: The River #2.  Here we pause so you can get caught up on the story.

Finished yet?  Good!

Three things popped out at me reading this thread and the cache logs: (more…)

Geocaching Manners and Good Taste: Get Some! January 27, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Education, Geocaching, Philosophy.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Folks, there has been a disturbing trend in North San Diego County Geocaches of late: the repeated leave-behinds of inappropriate swag.  It isn’t genocide or anything but it’s still a big problem.  The reasons are several.

  1. If new Geocachers run across this kind of swag and assume it is just an accepted part of the game it may turn them off to playing entirely.
  2. Experienced Geocachers and reviewers are likely to complain and flag the caches for archival as a rules violation.  This is already a risk to some of our most treasured local hides.  Caches with hundreds of finds and on every “must do” bookmark list in the county are starting to see tasteless swag, advertising, vandalized log books and religious tracts deposited.
  3. Cache owners may reconsider the amount of work it takes to maintain a decent hide.  To the hours invested creating a good puzzle or creative hide, additional hours in replacement and checkups, now we add additional hours of “rules policing”.

In all of these cases the number and quality of Geocachers and hides are likely to decline.  We as a community then become marked as just another (well organized) group of professional litterers.  (more…)

Follow-Up to the Toughest LPC Ever January 26, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Cache Spotlight, Geocaching, Geocaching.com.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

My LPC hide does it again (4.5/1.5 – GC1HV6R).  This is why you should hide caches- for the chuckles…

January 25 by bushclimber (39 found)
Look for this, but thank it my have been removed. Will go back again, when the parking lot and business are not being used.
January 12 by Road2Ruin (3571 found)Second strike. Grr….

What we have here is the duality of nature.  On the first hand, the angry n00b who has no idea what he is looking for but assumes if his master sleuthing can’t suss it out in 5 minutes the cache “my have been removed”.  That will mean something to me after 300-400 more finds, and liberal applications of liquor.  Be persistent, new guy.  It WILL pay off.

On the other hand, the grizzled veteran (ok, I don’t know about grizzled but I assume after 3,000 finds you have a little road-wear on your hikers) who THINKS she knows what she is looking for but has been hopelessly duped as I zigged where they expected me to zag.

The difference is, the veteran is now calling and writing anyone with a find and a clue.  She will be aimed back at this one in a few days or weeks and post a glorious log announcing the defeat of this unholy testament to cache hiding evil.  The other one, not so much, I expect.

I did give everyone an instruction manual on how to find it, you just have to do the homework.

Dave “drat19” Has Good Ideas, Too January 18, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Cache Spotlight, Cool Caches, Education, Geocaching, Philosophy.
add a comment

If you know me well you know I value the opion of the folks on the ground, out there doing as opposed to postulating.  To that end some thoughts from a fellow cacher with experience almost always carries more weight than a few notes from Groundspeak.  There is a surprising volume of cachers with good ideas online.

drat19 is one of them.

I like his open letter and basic philosophy on placing hides.  They have access to a whole lot more offroad forest than we do here in the north county, but the problems are the same.  As we come into a period of wet and wooly January weather I wonder how many recent hides are going to last the week, let alone the month.  Pay heed and do the area a favor…

Before you hide, do your homework and plan out something that will last.  A crappy hide is neat for about 10 minutes, or until it is destroyed/muggled/caught up in a bomb scare.  A good one keeps on giving for years, and we need more like that.

As I hop on a plane today I leave you with this fine example: Hill Of The Skull, GC1D5.  328 finds and counting, with only 6 DNFs!

Another As Usual Travel Week January 17, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching.
add a comment

Well, sort of.  I’m in Utah for a few days this week.  That right there is one more to check off the list if I can nab a few finds.  Based on the map of the area (Provo) I don’t think this is going to be a problem.

Some of you locals already know the kind of caches I will find in abundance in Utah.  Can you run a Pocket Query for a specific type of hide?


News Flash: It’s Cold in January January 13, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching.
1 comment so far

And I’m in Boston/Cambridge.  Here’s how cold it is: there is a cache 650′ from my hotel entrance and I can’t get it.  It’s not that I can’t get TO it.  I just can’t bear to walk the 2 blocks in 20 degree or less weather.

Folks, when I can’t get to a cache within .12mi, that’s just too cold.  This is why I left Buffalo.

Another Bomb Scare – Update January 8, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere.
Tags: , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Not moments after publishing the last one did I find other mentions of the story.  I’m sure the WPT ID will be all over the forums so you’ll have to go there to gawk and leer.

The cache in question is Archived and it lasted a whole month.  It apparently is not the first time the area has seen a Geocache as a bomb threat.  That’s too bad.  Here’s the other stories:

  • CBS 7 News – the cacher “may face charges”.
  • PermianBasin360 – they at least get a slightly better description of Geocaching and sound advice at the end

Folks, I don’t enjoy calling attention to these things but they are instructive.  If you’re going to place and hide Geocaches some common sense has to be in order.  A little muggle strewn action with my cloak of invisibility is fun sometimes but think about the muggles for just a minute.  They’re not blind and we all (muggles and players) act stupid.  This kind of thing is going to happen.  It will never go away but we need to do a better job minimizing it.

Do we need to rehash “the incident” in 2008, the Don’t Do This! series or any of 10 other bomb scares?

No?  Good.  On with ye.

And Happy, Safe Caching!

Another Bomb Scare for Geocaching: Midland, TX January 8, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Forums, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere.
Tags: , , , ,
1 comment so far

I saw this newspaper link on the forums. (link opens to the newspaper site).   Somebody dropped an LPC in a shopping center and it was called in as a suspicious package.  Some of the comments on the article concerned me, so I wrote in…

Kinzua Kid

To the tens of thousands of families who who enjoy Geocaching as a game, a way to see the great expanses of the globe from a new perspective or as purposeful exercise this kind of scare is a tragedy.  It puts the activity in a terrible light that doesn’t at all reflect Geocaching’s true character.

At this moment there are over 900,000 Geocaches hidden around the globe, a great many in country or places that will take your breath away.  A good hike or side trip with the kids to learn more about historical monuments, see the natural view or just test your puzzle solving skills outdoors against other players is a good thing.  It gets people outside together, using their brains, exercising their bodies, cleaning up as they go, learning more about their local geography/geology…

…and it’s free.  Anyone with a GPS can join in.  For the price of movie tickets for 4 a whole family can enjoy the hunt for “treasure” together for years on end.

Geocaching is a good, clean and cheap outdoor activity that benefits the whole community and it is always supposed to be kid friendly.  In this case the scare could have entirely been avoided with a little more forethought and communication.  It is unfortunate but the Geocaching community will have to endure a little more rigor over this.

In my area (Southern California) it is not uncommon for law enforcement, park services or other land management officials to be consulted and informed about Geocaching by the players.  As players we all want to avoid these misunderstandings and I am sure by now the Midland police have been in contact with the Groundspeak/Geocaching contacts to find ways to avoid a third incident.

A lamp post skirt cache bomb threat is not the best introduction to the game but I do hope it will not tar all of the local Geocachers with a negative stigma.

I think I’m being hopeful on that last one, but one has to hope.  If you want to see the comments on the Geocaching forums, click here.

GCVote – Reading My Mind January 5, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Geocaching.com, Resources, Reviews, Software, Statistics.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

It’s tough to keep up with all the software and tool development in the Geocaching world as it happens so quickly.  I missed out on version 3.0 of CacheStats, for example and who knows how many revs behind I am on GSAK.  Plenty, I suppose.  But that’s not what this note is about.

I’ve been thinking about building a cache rating database to give the new folks something to look at before going out on their second or third search (or first, for that matter).  I was going to start by collating some opinions from like minded folks on their favorite caches and initially publish a list.  Next, after I moved the blog to a proper server I was thinking about firing up a simple database for these sorts of things to give the good local color a little more exposure.

I don’t need to do that now.  It’s already been done, with GCVote.


Geocaching.com Appears to be Down January 1, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Geocaching.com.
add a comment

So no, it’s not you.  Started about 6:30pm PST with Internal Server 500 errors.

That’s never good.  Check your recent cache logs when it comes back up.

Happy New Year! January 1, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching.
add a comment

I’m going Geocaching.  See you on the trail!

Follow-Up and Welcome December 31, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Events, For the Newbies, Geocaching.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

The North County Cachers had one of our “regular” events last night, if you can call “whenever the hell we feel like it” regular.  As usual, the pizza was edible, the beer cold and the company outstanding.  Thanks everyone for coming.  Waterlassie did a great job working everyone up into a lather with the white elephant gift exchange and the predictions contest was a big hit.  I do have one vote for a best prediction that I feel got short shrift:

This is a paraphrase as I don’t have the paper in hand:

“I resolve to improve my emerging clairvoyant FTF abilities to the point where I am actually at GZ while caches are being hidden by the owner”


I think it didn’t win because it is more of a resolution, but doesn’t he already do this?

To the folks coming here for help with PQs, software, how-tos and resources like log templates for the first time: welcome!   Shoot me a note if you have questions and I will write them up if I can.

Happy Caching!

NCC Geocaching Event Tonight: Escondido GC21XF2 December 30, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching.
add a comment

6pm at the Round Table Pizza on Washington.

Be there or be…not there?

GC1YK0Y – San Luis Rey Puzzle December 29, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Spotlight, Cool Caches, Philosophy.
Tags: , ,
1 comment so far

Once in a while I take a second look at a cache I liked.  In this case, I want to take a look at one I think you’ll all like.  It’s not huge or particularly friendly to trading but I think the owner could easily pull that off given the condition of GZ.  We all could hide more ammo cans, to be sure, but that’s not what’s important with this one.

GC1YK0Y – San Luis Rey Puzzle (Oceanside, CA- N33° 14.752 W117° 17.981) has the mechanics of a good Multi/Puzzle cache working and I am surprised more folks haven’t discovered it.  PumpkinPony should hide more like this. (more…)

Thinking of Moving the Blog December 29, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching.

…and maybe picking up a proper domain name in the process.  If that happens I’ll put up a proper RSS feed and twitter (not that I have anything to tweet).  Stand by.