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Informal, Unscientific Poll on Geocaching Age February 2, 2010

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

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Fallout From the “Midland Incident” January 30, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Forums, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, In the News/Blogosphere.
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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.
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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…)

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

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

Cache Spotlight: GCM5R6 “Tongue Wagger” August 24, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cool Caches, Forums, Geocaching, Somebody Else's Stuff.
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I find fun stuff on the forums.  If you’re looking for some adventure, those New Yorkers really know how to lay down a cache.

I’d love to give this one a shot, but since I’m in that area only in November it might not be a good idea then.  Summertime for this one seems to be the best.

Enjoy those logs and pics.  Some good caching is up there.

Another Frustrated Newcomer August 20, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Forums, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, Strategy and Tactics.
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Newcomer?  New player?  I can’t say N00b because they sorta-kinda stopped playing and then started again.  But on the forums I ran across this thread, which I would direct the newer cachers to view and take home some good advice from the commentators.  The player and a muggle audience went 0-for-6 on a hunt and the experience is just turning him/her off to the game.  Here’s some of the good highlights in the comments (Advice for the new player):

  • Pick easy ones at first, nothing more than 1-2 stars of difficulty
  • Read the last 5 logs to see if it has been found recently or if others have had trouble finding it
  • If you’re using the iPhone, TomTom or Garmin Roadmate (a “car-focused” GPS) to cache, do some reading and make sure your GPS is “talking the same language” as Groundspeak.  A note in the forums asking for a quick FAQ link or spot of advice will do nicely.
  • Remember, the GPS doesn’t get you right to the cache.  It gets you pretty darned close, which could be 30′ away.
  • Employ patience.  You have no idea what you’re looking for yet.  After you find a few it will be easier.
  • Enjoy yourself.  If an outing with the family isn’t enough fun and the smiley is the only reason you’re playing, do a rethink.
  • Read that last one again.
  • Corollary to enjoying yourself: Log the DNF!  Truly, this is your best source of a.) information to make the find and b.) finding a friend who can help (and who you might help)

It’s a good thread.  I love lurking in the forums.

Fire at Groundspeak Data Center July 4, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Forums, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, In the News/Blogosphere.
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I finally got back on this AM.  Looks like there was a fire near/in the same building as the Groundspeak data center.  That link will take you to the forums where status notes are posted.

I would expect some delays in the PQ and notifications features while all the backlog is processed.  Find logging is a bit slow, too.

Update: here’s a more full-featured news article. Happy Independence Day!

A Tale of Two Plates June 20, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Forums, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, Recreation, Somebody Else's Stuff.
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I was trolling the GC.com forums and ran across the gem below.  You can see the original right here:

Not So Successful

Not So Successful

It seems Team Black Cat has an eye for the epic fail.  I immediately wondered aloud about how many muggle vehicles are sporting an unintentional Geocaching abbreviation.  Probably lots, which makes this super fun, but not so impressive.

Then I thought about my good friend the king of FTF bogarting (and I celebrate his selfishness), dougandsuzy:

dougandsuzy is in the house

dougandsuzy is in the house

Yes, that’s real, and that plate has been seen at over 2,000 finds. 

Got any others out there?  Shoot em over…

Why Is All the Swag Crap? April 28, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in For the Newbies, Forums, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, In the News/Blogosphere.
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An interesting question has been put to the forums by a new Geocacher:  “What’s the deal with degenerating swag?“.  The responses are right on the money and I think I am in agreement with the masses.  The quality of Geocaching swag is directly related to three things:

  • Difficulty
  • Terrain+Length of approach to GZ
  • Private versus Public cache listing

I’m no Edward Tufte but I think it can be charted:

Geocaching SWAG Quality Factors

Geocaching SWAG Quality Factors

I think the single most important factor in maintaining high quality SWAG is distance from parking.  This of course limits the number of visits to a given Geocache, but it also touches on another fun bit in the thread, the interesting article links:

Most urban / suburban caches go through cache swag degeneration rather quickly. Any cache, easily accessible to all geocachers experiences the “The Tragedy of the Commons.”

One of my all-time favorite essays. I first read it about 35 years ago and was blown away, and still consider it one of the important guides to life. Thanks for posting about it. The original is here.

And the analogy fits perfectly.  I don’t trade SWAG myself, but people tend to get their greed turned on pretty quickly when nobody is looking.  Caches that are only visited infrequently have much higher visibility to each individual visitor (and therefore have a higher shame factor for not contributing).

Enough philosophy.  On to work!