I live in Ottawa, it’s winter, and I just haven’t felt like going outside much.
I’ve been doing some crafty stuff, so my other blog might be a bit more active for the next little while.
Rather than just taking the high road and ignoring the new geocache listing site, some of the folks at Groundspeak have been acting in ways that hint at their vulnerabilities.
I’m not madly in love with the new site or the rating system, and I’m certainly not ready to abandon Geocaching.com, but I have serious concerns about handing any more money to a company whose CEO posts things like this to Facebook:
Why improve your own product when you can just make snarky public comments about someone else’s? Thumbs up, Groundspeak.
Russia’s GLONASS system (their answer to GPS) has experienced a pretty serious setback due to a botched launch that caused the loss of three satellites.
Happy 20th Birthday to the first GPS satellite in orbit!
Smartphones are outselling dedicated GPS units. No surprise there, but I’m still not inclined to pay the data fees for a smartphone.
There’s a lot of outrage about a firefighter who was fired after his employer used GPS to track him.
In other disturbing but not shocking news, the proliferation of GPS devices is contributing to an increase in stalking incidents using these devices. The law has traditionally been very slow/reticent about dealing with stalkers, and I wonder if the new techno-stalking will spur faster action.
Love it or hate it, this new site is generating tons of buzz.
Some of us are determined to be early adopters while others seem to be staunchly opposed to the new site’s existence. If you’re just looking for more information about what it is before you make any decisions, here are some links to look at.
First of all, here’s Garmin’s official announcement about the new site.
This article is full of praise for the new site and its purported objective: “… OpenCaching.com lets users rank the Awesomeness in addition to size, terrain and difficulty. These four factors are displayed in a “bulls-eye” illustration for each cache, giving geocachers a unique and vivid idea of the fun that lies ahead. And cachers themselves can rate these factors, turning the bulls-eye illustration into a true representation of peer reviews.”
The Gear Caster has written a pretty balanced piece about the new geocache listing service. Here’s an excerpt: “…Garmin did not currently plan to use OpenCaching as an advertising platform for their devices but they may have strategic ‘product placement’ in How To videos, etc. Garmin also has no plans to directly copy the Trackables or Geocoins from Geocaching.com, but is instead looking to bring their own fun and unique interactive initiatives and events to the community.”
This short article discusses some of the challenges the new site is going to face if they hope to be a serious competitor. The author’s take is that “Garmin seems to be gunning for a robust springtime readiness” with the new site.
It’s interesting to note that Garmin’s new venture is bringing media attention to the game in a manner that is somewhat unique. It’s not every day that stock market traders take an interest in our game, for example. Garmin is a big company, and the new site could have far-reaching impact for the game.
A lot of the praise, optimism, and enthusiasm around the new site seems to be centred on its API, which will allow developers to access their data and create compatible applications. The lack of a public API has long been a major criticism of Geocaching.com, who were mysteriously quick to announce the release of their own API fast on the heels of Garmin.
I’m still cautiously optimistic that competition between two listing sites might be positive for the game. It remains to be seen.
I’ve been kind of a grump about geocaching for a few weeks, but today TWO nice things have caught my attention.
1. Check out Groundspeak’s official blog to read about a woman who successfully convinced a national park to allow physical geocaches! This is a real victory for us.
2. Groundspeak is going to implement a cache rating system… and it probably won’t suck! Geocachers will be allowed to designate a percentage of their cache finds as “favourites,” and other geocachers will be able to see how many people have designated a given cache as a favourite. The timing of this feature is interesting, given the launch of Opencaching.com this week.
Here’s a good article about Geocaching.com’s latest competitor. If you haven’t heard about this already, it’s a new listing site owned by Garmin. Still lots of bumps to smooth out, but as others have mentioned, Garmin has deep pockets. Groundspeak has committed a lot of buffoonery over the last year, so I’m cautiously optimistic that this new site will become a reasonable alternative, or, at the very least, encourage Groundspeak to step up their game and fix some of the serious issues happening at Geocaching.com right now.
This is the time of year when we tend to search for the best in ourselves and others. With that in mind, check out this amazing cache log.
Thanks to “Charlie Fingers” for sharing this on the Groundspeak forums.
Happy December, folks!
With the advent of gigantic power trails, it’s not surprising that many geocachers are attracted by the challenge of finding hundreds of caches as fast as they can. It’s not really my geocaching style, but I can see why it’s appealing to other geocachers.
I was recently horrified by something I read in this Groundspeak Forums thread. Apparently, on these massive power trails, it is common practice to “shuffle” the geocache containers. In order to minimize time spent on each cache, the cacher take the cache with them to the next one, signing the log on the way. When they find the next geocache, they switch the containers and repeat.
There are a lot of geocaching practices that I personally find kind of lame, but I’m not going to spend time fussing about something that doesn’t interfere with others.
Switching containers? That’s interference.
There are anecdotal accounts of geocachers doing these trails at a leisurely pace and being passed by faster groups. The slower group arrives at the next cache only to find that they’ve already signed the log!
This is a game that relies on cooperation and trust between geocachers. Interfering with the game pieces is an obvious breach of trust and a slap in the face of the cacher who comes next.