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Another Good “How I got hooked…” Story March 31, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in For the Newbies, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere.
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I love a good story about how people got hooked into Geocaching.  They’re usually pretty funny and I know you people can relate.  They also tend to come with those “WTF were you thinking?!?” questions from muggle family members.  This one here has it in spades.

Enjoy.

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Interview With Marko Ramius: The Reviewer (part 2) March 31, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, Philosophy, Reviews.
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The Setup

In the first article on Re-Introducing the 3rd Player: The Reviewer I just covered a few basics. This time around I have a bona-fide Reviewer who was kind enough to indulge me a few questions on your behalf. So here you have it, 20 questions with your local reviewer, Marko Ramius.

Well, local if you’re in San Diego/Orange County. 😉

The Questions

Marko, thanks for agreeing to participate here, the folks should get a kick out of it. The general populace only sees your name at the top/bottom of a cache log under “Marko Ramius, Published”. The first question on their mind is “Who is Marko Ramius?”

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New Geocaching.Com GPS Reviews Feature March 29, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Geocaching.com, Hardware, Reviews.
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Have you noticed the “GPS” profile data feature on Geocaching.com lately?  This is a bit of a sneaky back door for a feature I have been clamoring about for ages:

Proper GPS reviews by the people who use them

I don’t know why they’re hiding the feature; it is not terribly well advertised, but you can access the main GPS review pages, here.

You can select the manufacturer and model, then see what other folks have to say.  Since these are ALL Geocachers I think you will find a more appropriate set of commentary than in the general intert00b space.

If you are daring enough to add your own review, just view your profile and check for this on the right hand side:

From your GC.com Profile Page

From your GC.com Profile Page

There have been some questions in the forums on this lately, but nobody’s looking at the hundreds of reviews for every device already on Geocaching.com.

Enjoy, and Happy Caching!

Geocache Placement Update March 28, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Geocaching, Philosophy.
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I finally figured out how to place a cache in somebody’s front yard safely and creatively.  I’ve also done my homework on a different missing cache in my “Don’t Do This!” series, the annoying mystery cache.

Oh man this is good stuff, since I have been percolating on these two for about 4 months.  The mystery cache was just waiting for me to actually complete some puzzle hides so I knew a little about what I spoke.  (I am notoriously bad at those hides)  I completed negotiations with the property owner yesterday on the front yard hide and you kids are going to dig what I have on offer.  I have one final call to make to work out the details (it could still fall through) but I am confident we’re just talking about some description details.

You probably think I’m worse than a nutcase for fixating on this, publishing it even, but it is a serious problem.  People shouldn’t put caches on private property; front yards in particular.  Now there are a bevy of exceptions to that rule but nobody ever seems to find the exception, they just break the rule and the discussion around this is legend.  Because the challenge is so great the chances of me pulling off a good hide have been slim to none.

This time, I have the property owner cooking it up with me and loving every minute of it.  It’s got safe and close parking, it’s not visible from the owner’s house, it clearly IS the front yard, the neighbors can’t see, container will be pretty decent sized, super kid friendly, if the owner sees you he will throw you hints…and so forth.  Brilliant.

Problem is, it will be a D-4/T-1.5, maybe even a D-4.5 with the wicked camouflage me and the owner have cooked up.

Sucks to be you.

Planning for a “Crush” Event – Part 3 March 27, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Events, Geocaching, Software, Strategy and Tactics, Uncategorized.
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Part 3: All About the Pocket Query

In Part 0 we established the Crush event as something you should not treat lightly.  In Part 1 you have established your basic organization and planning structure, while in Part 2 you made official decisions on “Da Rules”.  Now it is time to get cooking on a Pocket Query and mapping out the actual waypoints you will seek.

This is where the fun really gets going, if you’re a geek like me.

Run a Pocket Query

You’ve already decided what types of hides you are going to seek in Part 2.  With that, go run yourself a Pocket Query on Geocaching.com.  Some thoughts, though, on building effective PQs are are in order:

  1. Make sure the details from Part 2 (terrain, difficulty, types, etc) are all plugged in (DUH)
  2. Consider running a separate query for each cache type and merging the GPX files later, this will make it easy for you to slice off the Mystery caches
  3. Always choose “not ignored” as a filter criteria.  This will become important in a second.
  4. Choose an appropriate waypoint to center the search on and fiddle with the search radius until the “preview” results come back with just under 500 results (475-499 is good).  This insures you have ALL of the caches in a given radius listed.
  5. Use Watcher to further filter your results when the PQ GPX file comes over.

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A Poll: What do you want to see next? March 27, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Uncategorized.
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I’ve asked, but you people are a shy audience, with only the lonely hot tub engineer brave enough to post commentary.  You Geocachers tend to be introverted, I get that.

Hence, a poll: What do you want to see more of on the blog?  Remember, I’m trying to be useful here and not just a news collector so I do take commentary seriously.  This one’s multiple choice, so pick more than one if you like, or add your own.

I will share the results in a few days!

Some Visitors March 26, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Geocaching.
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2 comments

It looks like I have a little more than the usual traffic, so welcome all!  If you have specific topics or how-tos you want me to cover please feel free to contact me through my Geocaching.com profile (handy link to the right).  Remember, I mind meld with your gear.  You may not know how to operate it but I love figuring it out for you.

Failing that, you can always try peterkraatz at cox dot net.  End of quarter has been evil, so stand by- I promise to finish my series on the reviewer with a few questions answered by Marko Ramius himself.

And remember, my resources pages have lots of handy templates for logs, stash notes and other goodies for your hiding/building pleasure.  It’s all free.

Some Good Background for the Newbies March 24, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Blogroll, Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere, Philosophy, Somebody Else's Stuff, Strategy and Tactics.
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And the oldies, too.  Drat19 has some handy thoughts on cache hiding, some of which are just plain good advice no matter how long you’ve been at it.  Try these two for some good reading:

I’m here for you… 😉

Have I Mentioned I Am a Geek? March 24, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Blogroll, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere, Recreation.
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You could call me a Geek-O-Cacher. 🙂

I am right at this moment about to prove my geek credentials.  What do all these things have in common?  Read on and find out

Some time ago, EMC of Northridge, CA logged a few of my caches and reminded me to tell this story to some of the local cachers.  I’d been following her travels here and there for one simple reason; I work for EMC. The thought of an EMC office Geocaching team was intriguing and with a find count up in the ionosphere like that I just KNEW it was a team.  And that one dumbass assumption connects all of these items in one contiguous thread.

If you’re one of the 6 people who care about this, read on… 😉

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My Nominee for Rookie of the Year March 23, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching.
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Has to go to Photo Trekkers.  They laid down their Easter Egg series (haw haw) recently and I really want them to keep it around past Easter.  There are problems with these caches to be sure, like coordinates and containers but they got a few things right that you just never see…

  1. Container Size
    All of these containers were the right size for the location.  No little micros in a bush you just hiked a mile to find.  Win!
  2. Locations
    6 hides, 6 pretty darned good off road locations and no urban density.  Win!
  3. SWAG
    All of them were stuffed with appropriate SWAG for those of you who trade.  I don’t, but I like looking through it all.  Win!

So there you have it.  Pay them caches a visit and if you’re local to North San Diego County, give ’em a shout!  (and tell them we’d love to see more)

Re-Introducing the Third Player: The Reviewer (part 1) March 23, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Geocaching.com.
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Deep in the bowels of Groundspeak headquarters, somewhere in the vicinity of N47 37.000 and W122 21.000 lies an ancient and terrible cult with enormous power and influence.  Some call them the Tripartite Commission.  Some know them as the “new world order” or the Illuminati.  We know them only as

The Reviewers

They are a shadowy bunch, traversing the space between the Geocaching Hider and Seeker with no apparent finds of their own, but thousands of Geocaches reviewed, approved, denied or just plain ignored.  They are the third player in this game and it does not go on without them; their power is legend.

Hider
Seeker
Reviewer

It has a very western 1-2-3 feel to it, and you probably know nothing about what number 3 does, why they’re here and how they can help.  It’s time we fixed that in a two parter.  In this first chapter let’s just cover the reviewer’s role, shall we?  It’s essential and neither the Hider nor the Seeker can do their thing without the Reviewer.

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Be Careful Out There March 20, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Geocaching.com, In the News/Blogosphere, Philosophy, Somebody Else's Stuff, Uncategorized.
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I recently admonished a disbelieving fellow cacher about the need to be careful where one places a hide, lest hider and seeker alike attract the attention of busybodies, worrywarts and overreactive public servants.  You know, the armed ones.  Heck, it’s in part why I wrote the last note on patience for new Geocachers.  Not everyone believes me that bad things can happen.  These are people who were around shortly after I landed in handcuffs doing perfectly safe and family friendly Geocaching!  Some freakin’ friends.

So just in case you think I just pull all my info out of the gossip gutter thread on the Geocaching.com forums (or that perhaps I was exaggerating in any small way) I want you to take a peek at the first 3 or 4 interesting bits I came across when I Googled “geocache jail”.  All of these were in the first 60 results for me.  The rest of my rants will make more sense after you read them.

If you’ve seen my “Don’t Do This!” series, you may have noticed I haven’t included a “Cache hidden in someone’s front yard” episode.  I just can’t figure out how to pull that one off without getting shot.  Given these tales I hope you’ll understand why.

Geocaching Around the Blogosphere March 20, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Blogroll, Education, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere, Recreation, Somebody Else's Stuff.
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This one has more pictures per cache find than I have ever taken in my entire history with the game.  They appear to be in the process of getting hooked. 
http://dancinglight.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/geocaching-in-gainesville/

And this right here is the story of just exactly how one person got hooked (a retrospective).  http://clandelaney.wordpress.com/2007/01/17/geonesis/

And don’t ever tell me I don’t have an international flavor to this drivel I peddle here on the blog.  Geocaching is good for your health, or at least this blogger’shttp://healthskills.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/pictures-and-geocaching-not-really-a-painful-topic/

None of them have ever launched telephone poles to the moon, however, so I still have that going for me.

😉

Site Re-Organization March 20, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Geocaching.
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I moved the Resources and Tools page up in the stack so it’s easier to find those Stash Note and Log template files.  Just click on the Resources and Tools tab at the top now to be taken right there.  I will continue to clean and prep my templates for you as I have time.  I have zillions.  You don’t think I spend hours on those slick ammo can insides, do you?  Templates are teh bomb.  😉

Oh, and if you have any of your own you’d like me to freshen up and post for the gang, send em over.  I think my email links are finally working.

Why You Should Wait Before Placing Your First Hide March 18, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Philosophy.
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I read in one of the forums and how-to guides on Geocaching way back when that you should wait until you have at least 20 finds before placing your first hide.  This was to give the new player time to experience good and bad techniques, camouflage, locations and terrain.  The thought was (or so I infer) the community will see higher quality caches as a result.

Sadly, that advice is not easy to track down anymore, nor is it widely followed.  At least in the North San Diego County area we have recently seen a rash of new cachers placing their first hides after just a handful of finds, sometimes as little as 1 or none!  They all generally suffer from some of the same problems with location, detail and longevity.  Those are the reasons you should wait a bit before placing your first hide.  Details on that, below the fold.

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To log check or not to log check March 15, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Geocaching, Philosophy.
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I do, log check that is.  This is the practice of checking the signatures on paper with the online logs, deleting those that don’t have a signature to match.  It’s not popular and most people would rather be like the local granddaddy of Geocaching Kawikaturn and say “I’m not the rules keeper, it’s their karma if they want to log a find they really didn’t find.”  I absolutely respect that since it is a LOT of work to police your logs, particularly if you have a lot of cache hides.

I see a problem though, at least for my hides: maintenance.

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How can this be fun if you’ve seen it all before? March 7, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Geocaching, Recreation, Uncategorized.
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A colleague asked me this not too long ago.  I went into a long dissertation on the game, why I play and blah blah blah…  Then I saw this log from GC13KPZ (sorry, too lazy to link to the thing right now) and wished I could point to it at the time:

December 29, 2008 by stantastic (5443 found)
Down in San Diego visiting friends, my wife stayed at their place while they taught each other Photoshop skills and I went out for a day of caching by myself. I had just met the cache owner at his “No Fires here” cache up the road, and I told him I was looking for the easier urban hides versus those requiring long hikes in parks to reach, so he suggested I go find this one. With my find count and the number of years I’ve been doing this, this was a simple find since I’ve seen it multiple times before. Still, always fun to come up against a good hide with good placement. SLTNLN — thanks for the fun, Jaegermann…

It’s the simple things, like a good hide with good placement.  I’ve seen 50 “pine cones that really aren’t” but I still love them because they’re always in the right spot, are devilishly hard to spot and they take some time to craft if you do it right.  Like I said, I appreciate all the angles of this game.

I just wish I could have some more time to enjoy it.

How’d You Do That: Printed Routes Episode March 6, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Mobile Caching, Software, Strategy and Tactics, Uncategorized.
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2 comments
I received a few questions during the recent 100-Cache Dash about the preplanned route I provided to all the participants. So if you would like to plan a turn by turn route for your next Geocaching adventure, this post will get you started. If you weren’t there the first leg of the route looked like this…
Click to Embiggen

Palm Springs Route, Leg 1, From Mapsource: Click to Embiggen

Now I did provide it on regular paper and it was nicely carved up into “phases” for the day, but you get the idea.  If anyone got lost they could catch up real quick.  How 6 people with multiple GPSr units PER PERSON could possibly get lost is beyond me, and beside the point (but it is why we left Calipers at home).

Want to create something like this for your next hunt?  All that, and more, below the fold.

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