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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.

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 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.

More Gratuitous GSAK Tidbits June 14, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Resources, Software.
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I’ve explained in several other posts how I use various tools to prepare my GPX Pocket Queries before a run outside.  I’ve got a system and it works for me but if you really prefer to stick with one tool GSAK can do all the fancy stuff in the world…

…with macros.

If you’ve ever used a macro in any other program you know they can both save enormous amounts of time while, if complex, being a pain in the rear to build.  The GSAK forums save a lot of this pain by hosting a comprehensive library of macros for you to choose from, already built and ready to go.  You’ll find them here:

GSAK Forums Home

Scroll down to the “Macro Library” section to find the list of macros available (goes on for days) and how to acquire them.  If you’re trying to narrow down all the caches you  and your buddies have in common or just flag your letterbox finds in Colorado from last month, its probably there.  If I see what I need on the list, I might just change my habits.

How to Use GSAK May 2, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Software, Somebody Else's Stuff.
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I am getting traffic from a number of queries around “How to use GSAK”, or Geocaching Swiss Army Knife.  I have talked about the power of GSAK before.  It’s a great package, even though it’s not one of the regulars in my toolbag.  I have my other preferences but I cannot deny that GSAK really is outstanding.  The tool is quite simple but there are resources to help you navigate its features.  Aside from my post on the file formats it will support and when you should use them you should look here:

  • The GSAK home page
  • The GSAK 101 user guide, a Word document in English, German, Dutch and French
  • The GSAK 201 user guide, for you more advanced folks interested in customizing GSAK
  • The GSAK 301 user guide, for the true geeks among you who have to automate the tool using macros.  Only in English and Dutch.
  • The GSAK FAQ
  • All of these documents are available on the Getting Started forum on the GSAK Message Boards

I am a sucker for people who produce proper documentation and looking at the 101 Guide, it’s grade A material.

As of this post the current version is 7.5.2.  Do yourself a favor and download the software right from http://GSAK.net instead of one of those file aggregators like Cnet or Rapidshare or some Bittorrent you downloaded from a “friend”.  Registration is only $25 if you like it and want to see the guy (Clyde) keep updating the software, so why not?

And why not share with the rest of us how you use GSAK to help your Geocaching?

-edit 05/02/09

For those of you searching for “GSAK to SQL” you might want to consider that since the GPX files GSAK reads in are XML you might want to go straight to GPSBabel.  Since it is the engine under the GSAK hood, you SQL people can just cut out the middle man.  (sorry, Clyde, but I figure the SQL folks are a different crowd).

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…

Ink Aplenty April 9, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Recreation.
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I was reading up on Badastronomy about Phil’s new commitment to some ink and it reminded me some of my colleagues were ribbing me about this Geocaching thing.  You know, that whole “killing yourself to sign a scrap of paper under a lamp post” hobby.  😉  It’s funny, actually, since my peers who have never been out laugh derisively while I’ve made more client and employee muggle converts than I can count.

All I did was take them out at lunch time for a quick find.  Hooked.  I love that.

But I digress.  My colleagues have been ribbing me, sending pictures of a Geocaching tattoo they are sure I am in line to receive.  I finally figured out where they got it: the Geocaching.com TATTOO FORUM! Who the heck knew such a thing existed?

Well, besides Google.