Monday, October 22, 2007

Nike+ My newest outdoor gadget

This doesn't have much to do with geocaching other than the fact that it's another cool outdoor gadget (which I know all you geocachers can appreciate). Have you heard of Nike+? It's a system that consists of a sensor/transmitter that fits into the sole of your running shoe, a receiver that connects with your iPod Nanno, and the software that runs the system. Then when you run, a voice gives you feedback about how fast you're going, how far and for how long you've gone. The iPod records your running data, which then uploads to the Nike+ web site when you plug it into your computer and the web site plots a graph of your run. And all this while you listen to your favorite running songs! After trying it today for the first time, I have to say it's pretty darn cool! Here's my graph from today's run. (By the way, my wife is laughing at my extreme geekiness as I write this.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Geocache series in the Upper Mississippi River Refuge

For some time now, geocaches have not been permitted to be placed in the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife Refuge (at the request of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service). This weekend as I was checking the location of two recently submitted geocaches to see if they were inside boundaries of the Refuge, I went to the UMR Wildlife Refuge web site to check the maps that show the boundaries, and I discovered that Fish & Wildlife staff have create their own series of virtural geocaches there. You can check out this fun and informative series here. To make this series available to geocachers who may not be aware of it, I wrote to the F&WL staff today to see if they're interested in having their series listed as a multicache, with the final physical cache located at their office in Winona. I received a reply from Cindy Samples this evening, so we'll be discussing how she can set up the series as a multicache. Meanwhile, you can get a head start on this series by checking out the Upper Mississippi web site.

Friday, October 05, 2007

fire hydrants

Over the past couple of days I reviewed three different caches (submitted by two different geocachers) that were magnetic key holders stuck to fire hydrants. My initial thought was that this is not a good idea because hydrants are part of the local fire departments' emergency equipment. To see if Groundspeak has an official position on this, I posted a note in the reviewers' forum and asked, and the response from Groundspeak confirmed my suspicion that fire hydrant caches are not allowed. This is not to say that you won't find some out there. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if I have approved some myself without knowing they were on fire hydrants. But, as the guidelines clearly state:
There is no precedent for placing caches. This means that the past listing of a similar cache in and of itself is not a valid justification for the listing of a new cache.

Other reviewers cited examples of geocachers who tried to unscrew caps from hydrants in their zeal to find a hidden cache. And it is, of course, illegal to tamper with fire hydrants, just as it is to tamper with U.S. Postal Service mail boxes.