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The Hilarity Keeps on Coming February 3, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere.
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OK, now you have to see the FARK comments on the Waco Geocaching story. Awesome.

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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.

Texas Article Goes Nuts With Speculation February 1, 2010

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

Follow-up:

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.
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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…)

Another Bomb Scare – Update January 8, 2010

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

Don’t Forget the Red Balloons! December 5, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Blogroll, Family, Geocaching.com, In the News/Blogosphere.
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Groundspeak is participating in the DARPA Challenge to locate 10 red weather balloons that will only be visible for 7 hours today (until 4pm PST or so).  Their warroom blog is here, at http://www.10balloonies.com/.  I don’t know about you, but I will be looking up while out caching today.  Help them out and communicate your finds to them at the warroom!

Geocaching Videos on YouTube August 19, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere.
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Somebody on one of the Geocaching.com forums clued me into the most video-riffic channel by cacher Headhardhat.  You need to be logged in to Groundspeak for that link to work.  You can find his YouTube channel and I am told it is an excellent set of videos by Headhardhat, so get cracking.

No warranties, I haven’t reviewed them yet, but since there was talk about setting up a little “how to hide” and “how to find” video shoot here in North County I figured it was worth a look-see.

This Woman is Retarded August 18, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in In the News/Blogosphere, Science.
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My apologies up front for this post.  As you may know I’m an avid skeptic, amateur magician, professional geek and general fighter of bad science everywhere in addition to finding mint tins in my spare moments.  From time to time that will come out in my writing.  It’s why I regularly read Phil Plait, James Randi, PZ Myers, Paul Offitt, Orac, Ben Goldacre and Richard Dawkins, and that’s just the top shelf stuff.  You should see what I pull out for a challenging read (the other side, mostly).

So again- bear with me as we go below the fold, unless stupid people scare you.  They just anger me… (more…)

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!

Shameless Plug for Good Pie June 12, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Family, In the News/Blogosphere, Recreation, Somebody Else's Stuff.
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Any time I’m in the greater Denver area (as I am now) I have to stop in at Protos Pizzeria Napoletana.  If not because of the fact that the proprietor and I are related, then certainly because I get to see things like this:

Is that Nacho Libre at the Bar?

Is that Nacho Libre at the Bar?

Sorry about the craptastic photo quality from my kindergarten camera phone, but is that Nacho Libre?  He did go for the Atomica, if that means something.  Unfortunately my sister who owns the place (Pam Proto) is on her way to MY house while I patronize hers.  This “my second home is in row 6, port side window seat” thing makes for some interesting scheduling oddities.

Now I Get It June 11, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Geocaching.com, In the News/Blogosphere, Mobile Caching, Software.
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I’ve asked in various places and posts why the quality of Geocaching hides and seekers seems to be going down.  Then I read this gem.

So if people are only just now finding out about Geocaching because there’s an iPhone app, what’s going to happen when they start buying the newly discounted $99 iPhones?

We’re screwed.

Proving Once Again USA Today is Just Colorful TP June 10, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in In the News/Blogosphere, Somebody Else's Stuff, Transportation.
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I ran across this one while perusing Fark:

Readers’ picks: Best airport restaurants, shops and services

I was all about looking for additional armament for my quiver of super secret road warrior weapons.  Heck, I travel a LOT but am always learning.  So what erudite wisdom pours forth from the scribe but this steaming pile of epic fail: (more…)

Free GSAK Key For the Taking May 9, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere, Resources, Snark, Software, Somebody Else's Stuff.
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This is GSAK, or Geocaching Swiss Army Knife.  I’ve written about GSAK before, both here and here.

A good handful of you thieving pirates have found this blog by way of Google searches for “GSAK Key”, “GSAK Crack” and a handful of other search terms that are both indicting and depressing all at the same time.  You probably found your way here because you are trying to avoid this:

GSAK Nag Screen

GSAK Nag Screen

First off, this is one of the cooler nag screens you’re going to see.  It is the GSAK Spouse, after all.  But let’s break this down for a minute.  I want you to meet Clyde: (more…)

Wherein I Get Pwned May 8, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere, My Finds, Snark, Statistics.
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On my own blog, no less.

I made this braggadocio entry about my mileage and states knocked off the list with a find and then a single commenter weighs in: Lotrat, with some even more impressive stats.  18:32 with 56K miles and including a pair of smileys in China.

I’m jealous.  I was supposed to go to Hong Kong this year but kept missing my connection due to weather delays.  When I heard Lotrat was heading over there for a trip I knew he’d have a couple to throw in my face.  Punk.

Now go get one in North Korea and I’ll stay impressed.  Just one- that’s all you need to log.  😉

GPSFileDepot – Like Unexpected Presents in the Mail May 5, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere, Resources, Software.
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GPSFileDepot – Custom Maps, Ximage hosting, tutorials, articles and more for your GPSr.

Am I the last guy on earth to discover this gem of the intarwebs?  Folks, I just downloaded and installed the entire 900MB California Topo map to my Garmin GPS.  FREE.   And I didn’t have to contract the PC version of swine flu to download.  These are community created maps and they cover street level business as well.  The maps are all over the place, including some unique POI maps, trails and resource maps.  182 of them, in fact.

This has to be one of the top 10 sites for getting the most out of your GPS I have ever seen.  If you’re looking to improve your investment in a quality GPS, maps are the best way to do it.  If I could have leveraged these maps when I bought my current set I would have.  As it is, I saved quite a few bucks just on the California Topo map.  They’re my new heroes, at least until someone invents the transporter or a holodeck.

On the Road (Again Again) May 5, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Blogroll, In the News/Blogosphere, Resources, Somebody Else's Stuff.
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So have a peek at my favorite bookmarks of late.

You could spend all day with just these 4.  I figure you’ll share if you have any favorites of your own…

…right?

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!

More Geocaching Bomb Scare Nonsense April 27, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, In the News/Blogosphere.
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A thread got started in January on the Geocaching forums,  Caches to Ashes and Ammo Cans to Dust, one that is right up my alley because things get asploded!

Sadly, it’s a Geocache that gets blown up in this picture.  This is a fairly complete discussion as it features logs by the cache owner, the fire department and local eyewitnesses.  It’s actually a great backgrounder for anyone thinking of laying down a cache in a sensitive urban area.  Sure, it’s two months old but I don’t read the forums as much as I’d like.

All that, and it keeps with the theme of my last post!  Enjoy

-edit

After I posted, I found a whole bevy of them up there

A search for “Bomb Scare” on the forums nets 7 pages of threads.  That’s quite the tally…

Map This Trail April 25, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Events, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere, Recreation.
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If you load up Geocaching.com this morning you’ll see their new project with the Rails to Trails Conservancy.  If you missed the Groundspeak blurb on it, you can see it, here.

If you read up a little bit, you will see Groundspeak and Rails to Trails are seeking volunteers with a GPS to help map these trails.  I support this little “cause”  for a multitude of reasons, not least of which is that the process involves you, a GPS, and walking around.  That’s three simple things I can almost understand together. 😉

Seriously, though, the volunteer work is as simple as turning on the breadcrumbs feature for your GPS to record a track, then walk around on the trail and hit the “Mark” button when you see something interesting like a bathroom.  What’s more, there is a trail in San Diego County that needs help.  It is the San Diego Sea to Sea trail, stretching 140 miles from the coast to the Salton Sea.  But don’t let me monopolize the airwaves; from their site:

Our first area of focus is San Diego.  This branch is called the San Diego Trans County Trail.  It is also known as the San Diego Sea To Sea Trail.  The latter name is largely coincidental.  The two seas it connects are the Pacific Ocean in Del Mar, California and The Salton Sea, 140 miles inland.  This Trail crosses the Pacific Crest Trail, which extends from Mexico to Canada.

 

Our Current Focus:  Crossing San Diego County on the San Diego Sea To Sea Trail

This San Diego trail will pass gorgeous scenery that includes beach, coastal wetlands, mountains, lakes, streams, desert and an inland sea.  Such diversity within 140 miles makes it an exceptionally beautiful part of the national trail network.

Go to the site, take a look at the existing trail map, then note it still needs some handy folks with a GPS out there to map it for the rest of the world to use.  The cool bit here is the next phase, once the San Diego Sea to Sea Trail is done:

After completing the Sea To Sea Trail (Trans County Trail), the goal of the Sea To Sea Trail Foundation will be to create a network of interconnected trails crisscrossing the lower 48 states of the United States.  A person will be able to ride a bicycle, ride a horse or walk to every large or medium size town in the country.

Now I love my frequent flyer miles and freeway machines just as much as the next guy (ok, probably a lot more than the next guy) but this is just plain cool.  Hiking and biking trails to every densely populated town in the country?  I am freakin’ in!  Talk about a killer road trip, on foot!

If you’re planning a mapping or Geocaching hike on the San Diego Sea to Sea Trail, let me know. 

Fun Geocaching Stuff Around the Web April 1, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Blogroll, For the Newbies, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere, Recreation.
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I had 10 minutes so I took it.  Google can be fun!

  • Just what do you think this guy is after?
  • And it must have been a slow news day when they quote the “ardent” Geocacher of 70 finds in a year.  Must be all terrain-5 caches.  I do like the boy scout reference, tho.  Sorta.
  • Now I’m finding Geocaching blogs everywhere.  I need to read up on my outdoor wear more.  Check it. I dig a caching adventure in the rain.
  • And if you’re in the Boise Idaho area on a caching run, reach out to Tiggerz Travels.  Tiggerz’s first find was a dougandsuzy special (peanut butter jar).  Surely we can help find something a little more interesting for the next hunt!

That’s all you get for 10 minutes of research.  Back to work.  😉

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.

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… 😉

(more…)

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.