Archive for August, 2006

Archiving Geocaching

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

Spent a long time this weekend archiving my geocaches.  It’s not that I’m bored with geocaching – far from it! – just that owning geocaches is a lot of work and when I get some free time I want to go geocaching, not just maintain my caches.

Cachers complain a lot too! I checked my geocaching inbox Saturday (I moved everything to send to a separate account so I don’t get geocaching emails all day, everyday in my inbox) and I had 208 unread geocaching emails! Logged finds I can pretty much ignore and I can’t remember when I last got the time to check on my own travel bugs.  People logging DNFs (did not finds) takes longer as I need to go through the logs to find out if someone’s found the cache since or not and whether the cache is actually lost.  (I’ve only ever had a couple of caches disappear completely.  Mostly they just wander off, not on their own of course – people put them back in the wrong place, either because they aren’t paying attention where it came from or because they think of a much better place to put it than the one I chose. Either way it means that cache is temporarily down for a while until I can get out to check on it and see if it’s where it’s still supposed to be.  If I can’t find it, I then have to search the surrounding area for likely places that cachers could have put it instead. Only then do I give up and archive it, unless I’m minded to put another cache in its place,although if a cache has been stolen once, chances are it’ll happen again if it’s put back in the same spot.)

Back to the inbox, I get a LOT of emails from cachers contacting me to find out if a cache is going to be available for a certain weekend that they’re planning their vacation, or somewhere they might find accommodation or a campsite (I’m not the tourism department and it’s not up to me to plan your vacation!!!) I’ve had emails asking whether the terrain to the cache is really as difficult as its rating suggests.  All these emails take time to read, sort through, trash or reply to. 

But what gets to me most are the complaints.  Cachers complain that caches aren’t available, that they can’t find them, that they’ve been unavailable for too long, that the location doesn’t look like the photo or the clue I’ve given or that the cache box is broken, the log book if full or the camera is all used (OK those last 3 aren’t complaints, but it’s still telling me I’ve got to go fix it!)  I’ve had complaints that the parking has gone up and is ‘too expensive to make the cache worth it’. (Whoever said that the ammo tin I placed out in these woods was going to be worth the trip?  Where did it state that?)  I’ve had emails complaining that the undergrowth had grown up too much, that people have been pricked by thorns and poked their eyes on branches and that the mosquitos in the boggy place I put the cache were just too bad.   (I’m never sure what I am supposed to do about these?  Go in with pruning shears and insecticide?  Post a warning? Or do they really want me to move the cache to someplace more exotic??) 

I’ve even had emails asking for more ‘good stuff’ in the cache as there was ‘only crap left in it’.  Well the cache had good stuff put into when it was first placed, if it only has crap in it now take it up with your fellow cachers not me as they’re the ones who traded it for all that crap!  (And sure people do leave some crap, but what amazes me is that they actually LOG that they did it! ‘Took dollar, left used bus ticket’, ‘took: bookmark and radio  left: stick of gum’.  Kids fill caches full of shells and candy and pretty flowers and leaves.  Very nice when they put it in there, but stinky a few weeks later when the sea creature and the candy and the organic matter have rotted into a foul goo at the bottom of the cache mixed with all the detritus from the wallets of caches who didn’t bring anything else to trade!) Caches after they’ve been in place a while just aren’t nice to visit anymore, especially if it’s your cache and hence your job to pry the  sticky lollipop off the log book and printing out yet another set of cache instructions because someone considered Play-Doh to be a sensible trade.

So, I’m done being a cache owner, at least for the time being. I don’t have the time right now and my patience ran out a long time ago.  For too long when I’ve marked ‘Going Geocaching on Saturday’ in my diary it has meant going out to fix/check on/replace my geocaches instead of going out to do any geocaching of my own.

So cache owners out there … you better have some ‘good stuff‘ in those caches because here I come!

Posted this over on Hacking GPS but posting it here too because comments aren’t switched on on that blog, and I want to see if other cache owners feel the same! Feel free to post a comment…

Honk if Pluto is a planet (and if you HATE the Windows startup sound!)

Friday, August 25th, 2006

WindowsJust reading Adrian’s post over on Hardware 2.0 about Microsoft’s intransigence by in future not allowing us to turn off the Windows start up sound in Window Vista.  It seems it’s all about branding and we’re supposed to hear the sound – enjoy it even – whether we want to or not.  I’m definitely on the side of not, having been subjected to PCs running Window’s Vista at home and at work making that damn noise day in, day out for months.  It’s not branding, it’s noise pollution and not allowing users to switch it off is audio terrorism. 

Imagine an office full of Vista machines starting up, all making that nasty little jingle first thing, and then intermittently throughout the day as they need rebooting (let’s face it that sound is already synonymous with Windows crashing!)   Imagine being a patient in hospital in a ward where the computers at the nurses station and the doctor’s offices are all doing it.  Or what happens next time your laptop crashes when you’re using it to take notes during a meeting or in a lecture theater?    I swear murders will be committed, possibly in my house!

I’d thought up till now it was a bug with Windows Vista and that one morning, possible soon, after downloading and installing the latest and greatest build, I wouldn’t start the day by being jarred from my slumber by that hateful noise.

PlutoI guess you can tell I’m pretty steamed about this!  Likewise a lot of people are surprisingly steamed about the loss of Pluto as a planet and are creating their own noise pollution, accordingly.   Listening to some of them (and even some of the sensible folks) you’d think that the dear icy rock that we love so much had drifted from of its distantly erratic orbit out into the Kuiper Belt never to be seen again, rather than merely being downgraded from full planet to the lesser designation of dwarf planet.  It all makes for some pretty funny reading.  Lots of folks seem to have some pretty mixed up ideas about how long we’ve had a planet Pluto anyway, but they sure seem to identify with it.  Perhaps it’s a sign of how folks are feeling these days and maybe we’re all a little afraid that we might just lose planet status in our own lives some day soon…

If we could rule the world by consensus, sentiment and sheer vehemence, Pluto would be upgraded right to gas giant!  So, I too think Pluto at least deserves to stay a planet, out of respect to the gentleman who discovered it, Clyde Tombaugh, not all that long ago in 1930.  And since the textbooks will all have to be rewritten either way now, perhaps we should instead have some new planets added.  At least that would all give us some new information to learn, rather than having to unlearn something.

So yes,  if we can rule the world by consensus, rather than by shadowy meetings of Astronomers in Prague (or developers in Redmond!)  I will honk for Pluto being a planet …  just as long as we can tack on a resolution to get rid of that damn Windows Startup sound!!!

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Love is … never having to say I trust you not to mess up my WordPress

Sunday, August 6th, 2006

Oh he of little faith!

It’s nice to know he trusts my skills!

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