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Geez, this podcaching thing is catching on January 22, 2009

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When WordPress is flagging podcaching posts for me automatically, I think we’ve got critical mass…

Cectic Never Disappoints January 22, 2009

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I’d love to medicate my children to calm them down, but then that stuff costs money and I probably wouldn’t find this comic as funny as I do…http://cectic.com/

Mars, Methane and Mumma January 22, 2009

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In between the minor events held Tuesday and the outlandish weather all over the country the prior week there was this tiny little news story about methane on Mars.  As usual, the Bad Astronomer had the best coverage.

Having the scientists themselves on camera and with animations to illustrate the effect is always cool.

I mention this “old” story because I think the rest of the press coverage sounds generally like “the methane is either a sign of life or something boring and banal…”.  Nothing could be more untrue- well, maybe the Sun’s coverage that pretty much says “Green men found building statues on mars” is technically MORE untrue, but you get the idea.

Watch the Mumma video.  The methane could be coming from a chemical, biological or geological source, or a combination.  Any of the options is exciting, proving once again that science is cool and we nerds rule not just the world, but the solar system as well.

Tools of The Trade January 20, 2009

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TOTTs.  You know, all that geo-retrieval crap you pack with you to make the Geocaching find in those “tricky” spots.  Everyone else’s bag seems to be a lot more loaded up than mine these days, a fact for which I both regret and am thankful, simultaneously.  I like to bike or hike to caches, so that bit about carrying around 20 pounds of gear just isn’t me- but am I missing something?  Am I making the find more difficult/impossible?  What could I improve on, folks?

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours, or at least tell me what I am missing…

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Geo-Trash January 19, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, Recreation.
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I’ve had some junk clogging up my computer over the past few days, preventing me from doing any writing at all.  I lost a complete post in all the muck yesterday, which was very nearly the same experience I had while Geocaching.

I was roughly 35′ from GZ when I spotted a plastic baggie with an obvious log, pencil and cheap scrunchy ball someone got from their doctor’s office inside.  This was definitely NOT the ammo can I was promised.  Then again, some folks think a sandwich bag IS pretty big, so who am I to complain over a good bike ride and a smiley?  Never.  But something wasn’t quite right.

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Planning for a “Crush” Event – Part 2 January 19, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Events, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Strategy and Tactics.
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Part 2: T-Minus 3 Months, What Are We Looking For?

So you’ve been Geocaching for a while and you think you are just insane enough to try for “100 caches in 24 hours!”, “As many as we can get before we pass out” or “300 finds or abandoning my car mates in a ditch, whichever comes first”. Caching can be stressful. So can a crush event, where you and your (optional) team race to collect as many smilies as possible.

In Part 0 we established the Crush event as something you should not treat lightly.  In Part 1 you have established your:

  1. Estimated Attendance
  2. Final Location
  3. “Leader” of the Pack (uh, that’s you)
  4. Happy Place, where you will calm down and relax (you’ll be visiting that place shortly)

Now let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the day.  We might as well dive right in since Part 2 is where you get to decide “Da Rules”, as one of my favorite cartoons calls them

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Caching Escondido/San Marcos Today January 18, 2009

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And I’ll be heading out around 10:30-11am.  I don’t know whether I’m hitting the off-road hides or the rest of them yet.  Ping me if you’re on the trail and want to hook up for lunch.

Happy caching!

Out of Town Again January 16, 2009

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And actually happy to be there for once.  It’s nice to get back into the familiar work rhythms after the holidays, especially when it takes me to San Jose and vicinity.

That makes me less prolific posting and utterly dangerous with a GPS.  Let the season begin!

Audiophiles of the World, Enjoy January 16, 2009

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I got this hilarious write-up forwarded to me yesterday.  I love it.  It wouldn’t be funny if people didn’t actually buy crap like that, though.  As evidence:

The pseudoscience associated with electronics has a long and flowery past.  There are the magic sound improving stereo knobs and magnets that purify the energy lines.  Hogwash, and hilarious.  In that order.  I want to feel sorry for the dupes who fall for this stuff, but they aren’t falling for unsophistocated traps here; these are bona fide scams working here.

So I’m torn; but I’ll get over it as soon as I see the next magic cable for sale.

Adopting a Geocache is Easy…Really January 15, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Geocaching, Geocaching.com.
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It is.  The problem is you have to search the knowledgebase every time you want to adopt a geocache because they don’t link to the process from anywhere you might think, intuitively, this would be a good idea.  So before I paste in my handy 3 step guide I’m imploring any Groundspeak folks who by accident stumble here to throw me a bone and-

  • Put a link on the Cache owner maintenance page, or
  • Put a link on the “Hide and Seek a Cache” page, or
  • Put an “invite the owner to give up for adoption” link on the cache description page or
  • ANYTHING that makes it easier to find the adoption form!

The reasons for this I will explain below the fold.  In the mean time, putting a geocache up for adoption is as simple as visiting http://www.geocaching.com/adopt/

(more…)

Announcement: North San Diego County CITO Event January 14, 2009

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We just chatted last night about a potential CITO event in North San Diego county.  The gurus were originally aiming for a February date (and that might still happen on a small scale) but now it looks like we’re targeting to coincide with the 7th Annual Cache In Trash Out events in May.

If you’re interested, hop on the NCC Yahoo! group and drop a line there.  Waterlassie or somebody else will always write back.  We’re a talkative group.  More info to follow, but it all looks to be great fun.  peterkraatz and dougandsuzy are talking about a cache war in the area (well, peterkraatz is, dougandsuzy is probably just placing caches) while some big ideas are being bandied about for this event.  This will be a first ever for the North County!  Show up and clean up.  Good fun. (more…)

Sharing the Love With GSAK January 14, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Geocaching, Mobile Caching, Software.
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I’m not a big GSAK user (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife).  That probably makes me a GSAK bigot, but I am here to change all that.

Many people who use GSAK are familiar with its ability to rapidly review cache lists, assign nicknames to cache entries and it is not a bad filtering tool, either.  In another post I mentioned a key feature of “Watcher”, its ability to rapidly and automatically filter out undesirable (or desirable) cache entries from your GPX Pocket Query.  Now it’s time to take a look at one feature from GSAK that makes it second to none among utilities: its file export capabilities.

GSAK offers excellent file sharing tools for the Geocacher.  In the latest version of GSAK (7.2.3.35), the number of file formats supported is staggering.  What possible use could this be?  If you and your cache mates don’t use the same GPS or have differing preferences/needs for map view or printouts, the best way to make sure you are operating from the same cache list is to start from the same GPX and use a software tool like GSAK to “translate” for you.

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Abbreviations 101 January 14, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching.
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[Update 1/19/09: added GZ]

[Update: for all you folks arriving from Google, this is Geocaching Abbreviations 101]

I actually got surprised yesterday.  Somebody asked me what “LPC” meant and I actually started laughing.  Thank goodness I was reading an e-mail, but then I thought to look up the questioner and discovered this was a 5-Find cacher.

Then I felt like a douche.  If you’re out there- I was in the same boat, too.  Because really, most of the jargon you take for granted was brand new to you too on day one.  Heck, I didn’t know what TOTT meant until mid 2007, but I had a good guess and it really just didn’t affect my caching experience.  So when I was told it was more of an “eh, that’s neat”.

But I know some of you are dying to get the definitive Geocaching language handbook, so here goes.  What I will do is start the post off and keep it alive with your comments and feedback- refreshing as we go, adding and removing as we need.  If I need to upgrade this to its own page, I will, but I will catalog the notes here and see what is the interest level.

  • ALR: Additional Logging Requirement.  Previously used to enforce “special” find logging rules, such as “must show picture of self with cache container in hand to log as found”.  These are no longer allowed.
  • FTF: First to Find.  Something dougandsuzy have their own log stamp for
  • GZ: Ground Zero.  The “Spot” where the Geocache is located, or where you think it is located.
  • LPC: Light Post Cache.  A hide technique that is clever the first 30 times you see it, up under the skirt of a utility lamp post.
  • POI: Point(s) of Interest.  Your GPS probably calls all waypoints “points of interest”, like the one in my car does.  Usually this is a waypoint with a user flag on it, like “hotel” or “school”.
  • SL: Signed Log
  • TNLN: Took Nothing, Left Nothing
  • TOTT: Tool(s) of the Trade.  All the junk you bring with you to cache successfully.  Usually refers to something specific needed for a cache retrieval.

It’s a short start, but something tells me it will grow.  😉

Sorry January 13, 2009

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The  comment doohickey wasn’t approving the comments automatically or notifying me of any to look at.  I’ll get to fixing that; more on the way.

[Update]

I think I have it!  You should be all set.  It apparently doesn’t like the word “crap”.  Hilarious, since this is a post about crappy containers. 🙂

Don’t Do This: Crappy Cache Containers January 9, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Geocaching, Snark.
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I’m collecting for a gallery and write-up of the worst cache containers ever come across, in line with my “Don’t Do This” Geocache series.  If you want to make sure that Dixie Cup is included, drop me a line or a note in the comments here.  Pics are always good (um, pics are actually awesome); and I’ll link to your profile as an added bonus unless you wish to remain anonymous.  I’m just trying to have a little fun, so no posting Waypoints or hider names, just the container description/picture.

I’m also looking to catalogue a list of good caches for the beginning Geocacher, particularly in and around San Diego County.  I know about a few, but I like to add more background when I publish these things.  Depending on the response a North American collection might be worth a shot.  A positive cache or two from various metro areas is always helpful for the newbies.

We need to show them what the good ones look like before they start finding all of my LPCs.  😉

Happy Caching!

More Templates Added January 9, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Geocaching.
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You can find a few more stash note and cache log templates I have uploaded.  As always, my templates can be found below the Resources tab, on the Templates Page.

Cache on.

Weatherproof Paper Test January 9, 2009

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Hey, I wrote that post yesterday on making your own logs and then I discovered Geocacher kabuthunk has his own writeup on weatherproof paper, with an actual test or two!  This is what I call good stuff.  He’s posted other nifty how tos on his Geocaching stuff page: here.  He’s even got:

  • Repairing a cat-chewed GPS antenna
  • Building a car cup-holder GPS mount
  • Wrapping a geocoin with chainmail

Seriously?  Well I gotta see this.  Wait, what?  That last one actually looks ridiculously cool.  Check it out; THAT is protecting a coin!

Planning for a “Crush” Event – Part 1 January 8, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Events, Geocaching.
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Part 1: T-Minus 6 Months

So you’ve been Geocaching for a while and you think you are just insane enough to try for “100 caches in 24 hours!”, “As many as we can get before we pass out” or “300 finds or abandoning my car mates in a ditch, whichever comes first”. Caching can be stressful. So can a crush event, where you and your (optional) team race to collect as many smilies as possible.

In Part 0 we established the Crush event as something you should not treat lightly, as a neophyte or an inveterate couch potato rising for the first time in decades to meet with perfect strangers.  You’re too stupid to be sold on common sense.  Good.  Now let’s get to the planning of this thing (beer and pizza parties are going to start coming fast and furious now)… (more…)

Make Your Own Logs January 8, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Geocaching.
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DIY Alert!For those of you who would rather use eBay- rock on.  This article’s not for you.

There’s only one kind of cache hide that requires little or no customization for your swag, stash notes or logs and that’s the good old ammo can.  Heck, you can just toss half a ream of paper in there and call it good.  At the worst you might have to hit the nearest office supply aisle for spiral note pads and just drop ‘er in for the win.

But not every cache is an ammo can and let’s be honest, those regular spiral bound notepads are terrible log books.  One drop of water and those things disintegrate faster than, well, fast.  They fall apart even when dry, so why not spend a few extra minutes beforehand to craft something purpose built that will last?  I thought so.  Carry on then…

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What all that chain link on the hillside is doing… January 8, 2009

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You must have run into these: chain link fence “nets” on cliffs and so forth, presumably to catch falling rocks.  I see these things all the time on the trail (read: mountain roads near Fallbrook, Ramona, etc.) and frankly thought they were a joke.  Chain link fence?  Shoot, that crap can’t even keep out the neighborhood hoodlums, let alone 5 tons of rock.

Certification of a 5000Kj Rock Fall Barrier

I am perfectly happy to be corrected on this point.  Awesome.  Just awesome.  I can’t embed Liveleak video for some reason but I am sure you’ll survive the click.

Tip o the hardhat to Fark.

Bear with me… January 8, 2009

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I’m still trying to work out how to host all of my log, stash note and other document templates up here for your use.  Stand by all.  The new “Resources” tab at the top is where you’ll access all that goodness once I pull my head out.

Anyway, shouldn’t you be out caching instead of reading this crap?!

Planning For A “Crush” Event – Part 0 January 7, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Events, Geocaching, Strategy and Tactics.
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Part 0: Full disclosure

So you’ve been caching for a while and you think you are just insane enough to try for “100 caches in 24 hours!”, “As many as we can get before we pass out” or “300 finds or abandoning my car mates in a ditch, whichever comes first”. Caching can be stressful. So can a crush event, where you and your (optional) team race to collect as many smilies as possible.

I dub them “Crush” events but they might as well be cram, pack, jam, rush, push or sprint events because to join a massive, day-long caching adventure is to do all of the above. Because of that fact there are some caveats of which you should be aware, before we start into the planning: (more…)

Great Moments in History: Manpack GPS January 7, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Hardware, Science.
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When I reflect on the ~$400 it cost me for my GPSr a couple years ago, I find it helpful to take a peek back in time (to 1980) to put it all in perspective.  Try one of these on for size, the Manpack Global Positioning System Receiver.  At $45,000 and 17 lbs apiece I think Geocaching would have struggled to take off were it introduced in 1980.  My $400 doesn’t seem so steep in perspective and the fact that it has to lock one satellite at a time is another matter entirely.

Sheesh, and I complain when I can only “see” 7 or 8 satellites.

Geocoding Your Pics with GPICSYNC January 6, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Mobile Caching, Recreation, Software.
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As if your mind numbing slide shows just aren’t enough, GPICSYNC can plot them on a map for you…

I get questions.  When I brought up Geocoding recently, eyes glazed over and the most interested anyone could get was “what was that again?”  I’m apparently too much geek playing the geekiest game in the world.

Geocoding is the addition of location data to your photos so they can be used with any ‘geocode aware’ application like Picasa/Google Earth, Flickr, loc.alize.us, and others.  These tools plot where pictures were taken on a map, providing a rich set of information for your snapshots and avoiding the dreaded “what is this again?!?” when you forget to religiously catalog every image you’ve ever taken.

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TUAW Reviews the iPhone Geocaching App January 6, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Mobile Caching.
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TUAW's iPhone App Snapshot

Over at The Unoffical Apple Weblog (TUAW), Steven Sande has posted a review of the iPhone Geocaching Application.  It’s a good intro to the application and, not being an iPhone junkie myself, it looks honest and reasonably well written.  If you’re an experienced cacher you’ll get just enough information to make up your mind or target your research.  I’m a Windows Mobile user myself and will have more on those tools in other posts.