January 30, 2011

The Problem With Statistics

The interesting thing about geocaching statistics is that when your cache finds are presented to you in a particular way, you suddenly find yourself with completely new geocaching goals you likely would never have come up with otherwise. What do I mean by that? Take for example, "Most Consecutive Months With a FTF", one of many  somewhat obscure statistics generated from the GSAK macro, "FindStatGen". Certainly not a statistic I would have derived on my own, but once I saw it on my computer screen, I suddenly became obsessed with keeping that streak going (I'm up to 19 consecutive months and counting).

And take the nice calendar of finds available on your geocaching.com stats page. Again, something I would have never even dreamed of keeping track of, but now that it's there in black and white (so to speak), I've gone ahead and entered all my "missing days" in my personal (Google) calendar to make sure that I'll drop everything to find a cache on those days. I don't even know if there is a challenge cache for filling in your calendar - I'm just obsessed with wanting to see 366 days filled in on my computer screen:

That's right, I said 366 days. That's because it includes February 29th, which, as you know, only comes around every 4 years. And you can bet that I, and all the other calendar-watching cachers out there, are not going to let Feb. 29th, 2012 pass by with out getting a smiley.

Cache On!

January 15, 2011

Best of Both Worlds

When OpenCaching first launched several weeks ago, there was some heated debate in the geocaching world as to how this new service may, or may not, impact Geocaching.com. A lot of the early intensity of those discussions seems to have simmered down somewhat recently, as most people realize they can live peacefully in a world with more than one geocaching listing service.

For those of you who are ready to bury the hatchet and move on, there is a very nice GSAK macro available that allows you to pull data from opencaching.com into your GSAK database. It is called OpencachingGarmin.gsk, and was written by one of my favorite macro developers, "hynr".

The macro works great and runs quickly. By default, it will use your designated home location and pull all the caches within a specified grid into the GSAK database of your choice. You can modify any of these input variables, including the number of caches that you download from the site:

If you load the OpenCaching caches into the same GSAK database containing your geocaching.com caches, you can distinguish between the two by the Code name: geocaching.com caches begin with "GC", whereas opencaching.com caches begin with "OX". In addition, opencaching.com caches do not contain the State location, so in the GSAK State field they will be listed as, "Nil". Once you have all the caches you want from both services in GSAK, you simply load them all onto your GPSr as you normally would (see this help file), and you're good to go.

Cache On!

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January 8, 2011

Going Mobile

This blog is now mobile-friendly, which means when you access The Geocaching Journal from your smartphone, blog intelligence will kick in and detect whether you are opening the site on a desktop or mobile device, and then display the appropriate version of this blog. So now when you are out geocaching and need some reading material to keep you occupied between caches, you have direct access to all the bloggy goodness of this site. Give it a whirl.

In other blog-related news, this particular publication has been nominated for a "2011 Golden Retrevo Award" award by the good people at the consumer electronics site, Retrevo. But it's up to you, my faithful readers, to determine whether I win or lose this award, by casting (or not) your votes. So, if you like this blog and feel it's worthy, please take a second to vote by either clicking this link, or on the button in the upper right-hand corner. And unlike voting policies in most countries, you can vote early and vote often (up to once per day) if you are so inclined.

Thank you for your support, and as always,

Cache On!
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January 2, 2011

Happy New Year

Just wanted to wish all of my faithful blog readers a happy, healthy, and cache-rich 2011!

While my caching productivity dropped somewhat in 2010 (as life and other things got in the way), I was at least able to end the year with a bang instead of a whimper. On new year's eve, I found 24 caches, including one FTF, and another cache that was hidden way back in the year 2000. The 24 finds was key, as I was able to finish the year off with exactly 365 finds:

But beyond just the numbers, the best part was the trip itself, and the company. My caching buddy, the always jovial "Rohrerboy", and I headed up Highway 1 along the rugged California coast in Sonoma county. It is such gorgeous country here, that cache finds or not, it's impossible not to enjoy yourself in this part of the world. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't ideal on this particular day - extremely cold and cloudy. But the sun did come out briefly late in the afternoon, allowing me to get this shot, which should give you a sense of how beautiful it is here:

Again, Happy New Year to all, and I hope 2011 holds lots of wonderful caching adventures for everyone.

Cache On!