Saturday, September 16, 2006

Geocaching Get-Together

I co-hosted a geocaching get-together this afternoon. Standard geocaches just have spatial coordinates. Event caches have temporal ones as well. In this case, the spatial position was a café in central Stockholm, and the temporal one was today at 1430 hours.

Lots of people showed up, had tea and pastries and enjoyed themselves. All ages except teens, who are too cool for geocaching. It reminded me of my first on-line forum parties back in the late 80s. People you've talked to over the computer, whom you feel you know, but whom you've never actually met IRL. The main difference is that geocachers mostly just discuss how to find Tupperware under rocks in the woods, while general forum discussions cover a lot more thematic ground than that.

One thing that really touched me was a retired gentleman who asked me timidly if I might possibly give him a hint for one of my caches that he'd had trouble finding. When I run into trouble like that, I instantly rattle off e-mail to the cache owner and people who have found the thing recently, asking for a bit of help. But this old guy had visited the place something like five times to no avail, without contacting me. I felt guilty for making the riddle too hard for him. But I'm glad he finally asked, and I believe the social setting was what got his courage up. Geocaching can clearly be a lonely game if you're shy, and there seems to be a lot of interest in more of these four-dimensionally pinpointed caches in the near future.

Actually, we only pinpointed it in three dimensions: X, Y and time. It could have been deep inside the Earth or way out into the atmosphere. But enough participants assumed that we meant street level and so found us.

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Blogger Karen said...

Geochaching sounds like good times. Did you eventually give the retired gentleman a hint?

16 September, 2006 23:46  
Blogger Martin said...

Oh yes, I pretty much spelled it out to him. When there's a riddle involved, you always have to find a balance where it's still a challenge but not too difficult.

17 September, 2006 08:16  

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