Author Archives: stormitecture

About stormitecture

Former Architect, aspiring filmmaker and screen writer. Storm Chaser.

A little controversy is healthy

Below is a post written and published on the Geocaching.com forums from a Volunteer Reviewer who has resigned for many of the reasons I have spoke about on the forums and elsewhere. However, I often was blasted and even suspended with a stern warning to not speak bad about “the company”. Sometimes controversy like this is healthy. It at least reaffirms some of the points I’ve made in the past.

Here is the post by Deceangi :

It is with a extremely heavy heart [in fact over the last 24 hours, I’ve shed many a tear, as I’ve told people, ad read messages] that of Midnight GMT+1 13th June 2014. I ceased to be a Groundspeak Volunteer Reviewer.

Over the last few months, the gulf between how I work to provide the best support the community needs and deserves. And how Groundspeak expect me to work in a Corporate manner. Has widened to such a extent, that it became irreparable.

The recent incident, which because I achieved a perfect result means I bow out on Cloud Nine,

Has show that Groundspeak has lost it’s way, it regards to it’s customers, who are hobbyists. And now instead requires them to be treated as business customers.

So it was with a heavy heart, that I found that I could not meet Groundspeak’s requirements to comply with a multi page document on accepted behaviour. Which override the needs of the community to comply with Corporate Ethos.

This issue being deliberately escalated to cause as much trouble for me personally, by a individual I will not name. Made me realise, just how much Groundspeak has lost it’s way.

The company which started off as one Owned and Run by Geocachers, has grown into one so large. That people with specialised skills have had to be brought on board, these people not being Geocachers, but being turned into Geocachers. Means that the true understanding of the Hobby and the people who form it’s community, has been lost to a Corporate Ethos. Where the Company comes before the needs of the customer.

Several months ago, Groundspeak were “requiring” a Cache Owner to post to a Cache Description, That is was “not” to be accessed, by RoW, because the Landowner of the property the RoW ran over, but not the property the cache was located on. Requested so.

Despite me sending 2 very polite and clear emails to Groundspeak, explaining that the “requirement” was illegal under UK Access Laws. I got the reply back “Groundspeak complies with all reasonable requests by a Landowner”, this showed a lack of understanding of Local Law, and a total ignoring of what I had explained.

To block the “requirement” I was forced to send a strong worded email, pointing out, that if the “requirement” was posted to the Cache Page. It would open the Cache Owner and possibly Groundspeak for requiring it to be posted, to Legal Action under UK Access Laws.

But despite the fact I had first made two attempts to politely and quietly resolve the issue. Having both being ignored. I became the person at fault.

From that point forward, I knew that the gulf between what was best for the community, and Groundspeak’s now Corporate Ethos was getting ever wider.

So I spent several months, dreading every direct email off Groundspeak, wondering when they came in, whether that would be the one to remove me as a Volunteer.

So when the current issue arose, and I did what I had to stop a small community from splintering to pieces. This was not taken into account, despite a offer to request those involved in the dispute, contact Groundspeak directly.

Instead I was informed that because I had failed to read the multi page document, on expected Reviewer behaviour, and comply. I had 14 days in which to resign or be removed as a Volunteer.

I chose the immediate option of resigning and set the cut off as Midnight GMT+1 13th June. Because I can no longer Volunteer for a Company, which has so lost it’s way, and instead become like any other company in that it has become a Corporate Entity.

I would like to thank my former colleagues, who are special friends. I have been blessed and privileged to work with you, and watch the team grow.

Not working with you, will just like no longer being a Volunteer, leave a huge hole in both my life and my heart.

To the community I can only say that I owe so much gratitude for the last eight years, which have been so special. That now words can adequately express my gratitude to you

So with tears in my eyes, and a heavy heart, for the final time I sing off with

Deceangi

..

Categories: geocaching | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

2014 is coming. What is in store for geocaching.

It is the beginning of the last month of the year and I’m starting to review 2013 accomplishments and see what I would like to do for 2014. Today’s blog will focus on geocaching goals. 2013 proved to be my most active year and by far and it came after a hiatus (no caching) for all of 2012. In a previous log HERE, I talk about my absence and fresh look at geocaching. So in many ways, if I continue on the pace I’m at, 2014 might even be a busier, more productive year. However, I’m still waiting to see if I burn out at some point, or have to put geocaching on the back burner for higher life priorities.

So, on to 2014. This year I would like to have similar or the same goals as last year with a slight bump. There are some that aren’t relevant this time around, like my “get XYZ before moving from Maryland”. 2014 I think means I’ll officially be moving 100% to Florida (still keep a residence in Maryland). There is also some unlikely goals like trying to fill out the entire grid of cache difficulty/terrain system.

Here is a short list of some of the goals (and how I might revise them for 2014):

  • Double cache finds (280 for 2013, 560+ for 2014)
  • Cache for 15 or more days in one month (20 for 2014)
  • Do a streak of consecutive days greater than (5, 2013; 10 for 2014)
  • Find 10 or more caches in one day (25 non-power trail, 75 power trail for 2014).
  • Find 45 or more caches in one month (100 for 2014)
  • Increase Calender Day grid from 104 to 150 days with a find (175+/- to 225 in 2014)
  • Change most finds from the month of April to a different month (still April, will carry over to 2014)
  • Change most finds on Saturday to another day (now Sunday, change to a day other than Sunday or Saturday for 2014).
  • Add finds in the following states NC, SC, GA, AL, MS, LA, OK, KS, NE, CO, NM, NY, NJ. (same minus NC, SC, GA which I got in 2013)
  • Add 2 Letterbox caches (two more for 2014)
  • Add 2 Wherigo caches (two more for 2014)
  • add 2 Webcam caches (two more for 2014)
  • Add 1 uknown/mystery cache (carry over, never added one for 2013)
  • Add 5 Earthcaches (carry over, never found on for 2013)
  • Add 5 virtuals (only one found, carry over)
  • add 5 event/mega event caches (got 8, so add 15 events for 2014)
  • add 5 CITO events (carry over, only 1 attended/added).
  • Add 10 multi-caches (carry over, none found in 2013)
  • All caches within 2 miles (from Maryland, transfer to Florida for 2014)
  • All traditional caches within 5 miles (from Maryland, transfer to Florida for 2014)
  • Get one more FTF in Maryland one in Florida (none, revise to 2 FTFs in Florida)
  • Find oldest cache in Maryland (change to oldest in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Pasco counties in Florida.

After moving relocating for partial Florida living in June, the following was added to goals

  • Place 50 caches / 20 unique + 30 Power Trail (will carry over, only 1 cache placed, helped a buddy place about 10)
  • Place caches at the corners of Hillsborough County, FL (SW corner complete, SE corner already occupied, finish for 2014)
  • Place a Challenge Cache near the center of Hillsborough Co. in relation to the corner caches.

I haven’t yet thought too much about additional areas to add (or subtract) to the goals. Many have overlap in that the idea is to just cache, cache, cache. I’m sure I’ll look at things like:

  • Find all traditional caches south of Central Av. in Pinellas County.
  • Find a cache in at least 15 Florida Counties (including the 5 or 6 already done).
  • Do as many power trails as possible.
  • Hold more events, since I had a good time hosting the Little Harbor event
  • Find the southern most and eastern most Florida caches (Florida Keys south, Miami Beach east).

Also finally want to get on GSAK even if only for statistical pages and presentations and aid in my current hand listings and statistics.

Later I’ll look at more at the results of 2013. Still have a few weeks before getting into it deep. Plus, I want to see if I can post excel worksheets into this blog.

Categories: Florida, geocaching | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Updates on geocaching, some camping and more.

It has been a hard month to sit down and get a blog out. Busy month helping to complete the house sale here, and purchase a home in Florida (not mine). It was my mother and I that took a trip to Florida to move half the house first and will be making the final trip soon. While in Florida we did some camping….my mother’s first. Even as a child she had never been camping before. Did do some cabin stays in West Virginia many years ago (I was very young) but otherwise no actual camping inside a tent or anything close. She enjoyed it quite a it though, which I was surprised. Granted we did leave before some rain moved in and the weather was quite nice. Additionally, we stayed at Little Manatee River State Park which is a very nice park with full updated facilities (aka restrooms/showers). The site was quite and secluded enough for sleeping but open enough to be safe and have a little interaction with fellow campers (mostly RVers of various sizes). Lots of wildlife too. In the camp site itself, we share space with small family of spotted skunks (that’s right…skunks, but don’t worry, no spraying occurred). We saw a decent sized turtle (I actually saw two), a deer, rabbits and a few other small mammals. The great take away is that my mom says she would entertain camping again. Sounds great for the future in case I want to do some family related camping trips.

Also while in Florida (and both on the drive down and back) did a tiny bit of geocaching (and one munzee). Main objective was to add as many states as I could that I had not found caches in before. Only added two: North & South Carolina. Florida I already had and Georgia I missed due to darkness both ways. Maybe on the next trip, although timing may preclude me from that again (darkness during travel through Georgia). Outside of the trip I have completed some personal goals like getting another CITO* and as of this writing, only a couple caches away from being the most caches found in a month and making 2013 my most productive (most finds) caching year (88 in 2010 the previous record). I’m also way ahead of the personal goal of making it to 400 (currently 365) by September 2013.

Also got the bike out and did a quick ride and tested the bike out. It needs a bit of work on the gear controls, or complete replacement…which may just have me looking for a new bike. I’m sure I’ll be taking full advantage of the weather and flat terrain in Florida to do some biking because I certainly haven’t done so here.

Right now, things are still on target to be in Florida by early next Month. Probably will still be busy, but in part that will be because I’ll be out and about A LOT caching, kayaking, biking and filming and photographing the whole time.

*Cache In, Trash Out, a specific icon event that is designed to be for events that have volunteers cleaning up trash and other items from the environment, whether a park or just roadside.

Categories: biking, camping, Florida, geocaching, State Parks | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

March Monthly Summary and Recap

March 2013 is the first real month back caching for me since September 2011. I did have three finds in February, as I was still not sure I wanted to return to Geocaching at that time.
Now that I’m back, I like to keep track of my progress, in part because I’m just that big of a geek, but also because it may just keep me interested for a more consistent basis. So lets dive right in:

  • 44 total caches found & attended (this is a new all time record, replacing April 2010)
  • 16 days cached (previous record was 14 days in April 2010)
  • of the 16 days cached, 11 were new unique calender dates
  • I reached the 300 finds threshold on March 9, 2013.
  • Broke the old consecutive days with a find of 5, getting six days in a row from March 5 to March 10.
  • I added two new icons (cache types) never found before. Wherigo & Webcam
  • So far, 2013 has the highest cache find rate of .5165 on 3/31 & .0808 all time find rate of the same date.
  • On the way to achieving goal of 150 unique days (March started at 108 and ended at 119).
  • Also added two new Difficulty/Terrain grid blocks, 2×4.5 on 3/25 and then 3×2.5 twice on 3/31.
  • The finds this month moved March from a cumulative rank of 5th to 2nd, from 19 total to 63 total.

I also attended two events this month, one not really that social, at the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple in DC (first ever event cache I attended in DC). The other was a nice little dinner meet in Rockville, MD. I’m hoping I can also make the April event (it is every first Wednesday of the month, but April is my last month in Maryland).

Some of the statistics and increase in cache finds was thanks in part to the ever increasing number of new caches in Maryland. Even to go out and get nearby caches isn’t that hard. I’m far from finding all the caches around home, work, etc.

One observation, at least for this month, the first real full month since I last cached in late 2011, Small cache size and Micros have really taken over. Regular sizes are really becoming more and more rare like the large size.

There may be more to tell, but that is pretty much the jest. It is my first monthly summary. I’m also working on a page just focused on firsts in caching adventures. April may not be as eventful.

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Munzee…I haven’t a clue, but gonna try it.

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I really haven’t a clue as to what this came is other than it is a twist or copy of Geocaching in terms of a hunt game using GPS and other mobile technology. The big difference is it used QR codes. I don’t know if I need a separate app on my iPhone for that or the Munzee game app is enough. Either way, I’ll figure it out over the next day or so when I try it out.

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Lets Talk Geocaching Goals

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Since the beginning of geocaching, goals have been a big part of the game. Not everyone gets into seeking specific goals outside of just enjoying the act of being outdoors and discovering new places. For me, and a lot of other geocachers that have become addicted to the hobby, we are seeking output validation for the input we’ve made into the hobby/game. It isn’t really that different from say, a car enthusiast. They work on that car for every weekend until it is done. They seek out that validation of input with output like trophies (from car shows) or horsepower (dyno tested).

Goals in geocaching come in many different forms. Heck, probably could make a book of various goals and what it takes to achieve them. But most can be generalized into at lease 3 areas. First and foremost are statistical numerical goals. These are such things like numbered finds like first 100, 1000, or 10,000 caches found, or a streak of find a cache every day for a month. Over the years you start to compete against yourself in year-over-year comparisons. If you got 300 caches last year, you want to do 600 this year. There are difficulty & terrain averages or the matrix (table of each combo), calender days, and more.

Then there are geographical goals. This can include adding additional states and countries. Usually as time goes on, geocachers continually reduce the overall area of the goals from countries, to states, to counties, to map book pages (DeLorme series being a popular one). There are a number of other goals. Some, when they start say they will find all the caches within X number of miles of their home. I try to discourage that one because if ever someone wants to know where you live, it makes a bit easier. But I’ll get into specific of that in another blog later.

Other goals don’t really fit into a category. They tend to be goals like: I’m gonna get the oldest cache in the state of XYZ. They set to get a cache that requires a kayak, boat, scuba gear, climbing gear, or something else outdoors related. They set to cache with other cachers. There are “Icon” chasers. They set out to get as many different kinds of caches. It isn’t that long a list, but some are older and rare now (webcam, virtuals, etc.) while some are short lived (Lost and Found) so if you don’t grab one while it exists, your out. Once at least one is grabbed, you just keep going.

In another blog post, I’ll get into the coins and travel bug aspect of goals and other interests.

So….all that said, what about me. Well, let’s just look at my current goals (or at least those from the start of the year). No point of wasting time with some of my past goals, but do need to clarify that I was not active for over a year (no caching in 2012 at all). I was to stop caching completely but decided to return with a fresh set of eyes. Now that means I get to set new goals. Here is a bullet point of some of the items:

  • Increase the number of finds from 278 to 560 (that is nearly double, 282 new caches)
  1. reach 300 before leaving Maryland
  2. reach 400 by September, 2013
  3. reach 560 by end of the year
  • Find 10 or more caches in a day (previous max. is 9)
  • Find 45 or more caches in a month (previous max. is 43)
  • Find 90 or more caches in a year (previous max. is 88)
  • Go caching for 6 or more days in a row (previous streak is 5 days)
  • Go caching for 15 days or more  in a month (14 days previous max)
  • Increase the number of calender days cached from 104 to 150 (an additional 46 unique calender days)
  • Change most finds from the month of April (currently 43)
  • Change most finds from Saturdays to another day of the week.
  • Add the following states to caches found in:
  1. New Jersey
  2. New York
  3. North Carolina
  4. South Carolina
  5. Georgia
  6. Alabama
  7. Mississippi
  8. Louisana
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Kansas
  11. Nebraska
  12. Colorado
  13. New Mexico
  • Add the following cache types
  1. Letterbox (2); add 1 from Maryland & 1 from Florida
  2. Wherigo (2); add 1 from Maryland & 1 from Florida
  3. Webcam (2); add 1 from Maryland & 1 from Florida
  4. Unknown/Mystery/Challenge (1)
  5. EarthCache (5)
  6. Virtual (5)
  7. Event (5)
  8. Multi-cache (10)
  • Increase regular size caches found to 45%
  • Increase regular size caches found to 3%
  • Keep micros to below 25%
  • Add unique Difficulty & Terrain matrix combos
  • Find all traditional caches within incorporated areas within Montgomery County (Gaithersburg, Rockville, Kensington, Somerset, Laytonsville, etc.)
  • Get more more FTF in Maryland (will be the third)
  • Find some of Maryland’s oldest caches
  • Complete the ICC Power Trail
  • All Traditional/Multi-caches within a 5 mile radius of home (OK now since I’m moving)

I know that is a long list, and I don’t expect to accomplish them all, However, most are within easy achievable range if I am more consistent with my caching than I have been in any previous year. In fact, only in both my inaugural year (2002) and in 2008 did I actually find at least one cache in six months of the year. I tend to spike then loose interest, then spike again. Later, in another blog I’ll share some charts and graphs of my previous caching habits.

There is ONE big additional goal that has been achieved, but also hope to be on going. You are reading it right now. This blog is part of a goal I have had for some time, and this time, with my fresh outlook on the game, it was time to implement.

Categories: geocaching | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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