December 27, 2008

Thank You, Santa!

Was Santa good to you this year? He was very good to me, that's for sure. The only thing I specifically asked for was the Garmin Topo U.S. 24K West - California and Nevada - Micro SD Card
for my GPS receiver; and Santa delivered. But Santa was also kind enough to get me some other geocaching-related items that I didn't even tell him I wanted.

For instance, I also scored a fabulous LED headlamp. I've never been a big fan of night-caching, but I tried it last night with my new headlamp, and man did that thing light up the trail. This should also come in handy for those early morning bike rides this time of year.

Santa even found time to have his elves manufacture a GPS screen protector kit for me. Man, I must have been a good boy this year.

And on top of that, all my friends and relatives seemed to get me REI gift cards this year. I guess the word is out - I'm a geocachaholic.

So, were you all good boys and girls this year too? What cool geocaching gear did you find under your tree? Please share your favorites in the comment section below.

Thanks, and happy caching!

December 20, 2008

Changing User Names

So I've been geocaching for a few years now (5 years and 2 months, to be exact), and I fear my user name is in need of an overhaul. For one thing, "Teampipperice" just has way too many characters in it. So many, that it takes up an entire nano cache log sheet.

Not only that, but the moniker is just nonsense to anyone outside of my family. See, I started geocaching about the same time we got our dog, and my children could not agree on what to name her. One wanted Pippi, and the other wanted Licoricise, thus, Pipperice was born. So be warned, this is what happens when you let your kids come up with names for pets and geocaching id's. By the way, you can see Pipperice in one of the photos in the upper right corner of this blog.

So I recently began my quest for a new user name. I started by searching the Groundspeak forums and found this post on the subject. The first thing you have to do is make sure the user name you want is not, nor has ever been, registered. You can do that with this lookup tool. Of course, my first choice for a new user name was "GeoJoe", but that name was taken long ago, as was every possible related version of it:

GeoJoeMama??? So, it looks like this is going to be trickier than I thought. Time to expand my search radius. I've always been partial to the name Moe, or anything with "Mojo" in it. But alas, every possible iteration and combination of these names are already taken as well, including MoeJoe, MoJo, Geomojo, Mojojo, and even GeoHobo. It appears, however, that "geohobojoe" might be available, but then again, that defeats the whole purpose of coming up with a shorter user name. Oh well, maybe I'll just hang on to Teampipperice for a while longer.

I hope you all are happy with your geocaching user names and won't ever have to worry about changing them.

Cache On!

December 12, 2008

Geolocate Your Blog Posts

For those of you geocaching bloggers that use Google's Blogging application, Blogger, did you know there is a draft version available for your use as well? It's called Blogger in Draft, and includes certain "beta" features that have not yet been added to the regular version. A recent addition to the Blogger in Draft application that will no doubt be of particular interest to us cachers is the ability to geolocate your blog posts using the new 'add a location' button!
Clicking the button opens a small Google Map. To enter a location it is possible to just click on your location on the map or use a search box to find your location. When the post is published, a geotag is displayed below the blog post as a link, which will open up Google Maps. The location is also included in the blog’s RSS and Atom feeds using GeoRSS.
Since today's blog post is not location-specific, I used the add location tool to link the post to the top of Mount Diablo, a local landmark. I've also geolocated last week's blog post to the North Pole (well, North Pole, Alaska) since it had a Christmas theme.

Cache (and geolocate) On!

December 6, 2008

Merry Cachemas

Not sure what to get that special geocacher on your Christmas list? Have no fear, as the fine folks at Geocaching Podcast have taken all the guess work out of that chore by providing a Geocaching Gift Guide, with items sorted by price range. You can also listen to their gift guide podcast by clicking on the "Show Audio" link, where each item is discussed in more detail. I definitely plan to send this link to all my friends and relatives.

The only item I would add to their list would be Garmin's 1:24,000 TOPO Maps. They cover various regions of the U.S. and I understand have routing capabilities as well. The files come loaded on mini SD cards, so they can only be used on compatible Garmin devices, such as the GPSmap 60csx. While this item retails for $99.99, I've seen it selling in the $70 range on other online reseller sites.

And if that's not enough, Groundspeak offers a slew of gift ideas for the discerning cacher. See their shopping site for all sorts of geocaching accessories, containers, clothing, and stickers. For the geocacher who has everything, how about a Signal The Frog Antenna Ball?

Here is a list of other sites that carry numerous items for the geocacher in your life:

And finally, don't forget, on Christmas eve, you can track Santa's flight on the Norad Tracks Santa web site. If you go there now, you'll see a count down till take off, plus video from last year's flight. You can also add the countdown widget to your iGoogle page and a Santa tracker for your mobile phone.

Happy Holidays and Happy Caching!