Anthony on , 29 Mar 2009 11:48 pm

Buntzen Lake
Buntzen Lake beach

On Saturday, the 28th of March 2009, a sorry group of geocachers — nearly 100 people in 19 teams — gathered in the springtime drizzle at the Buntzen Lake beach. The trail-runners that were also meeting there for a refreshing 25 km run through the park were pretty perplexed by our lot, but after explaining the nature of our gathering I think several of them were more interested in joining us than participating in their own form of self-abuse.

For us, we were participating in the Tailspin Geo Rally II.


Anthony on , , , , 08 Dec 2008 10:28 pm

Local media guy Buzz Bishop had some questions about the netbook, so rather than miss the opportunity to write a few hundred words that no one will read, I thought I’d post it here. :)

We’ve had the Eee 901 for 5 months now.  The original intention with the netbook was for it to be a second laptop since our main laptop had been completely taken over by Gwen. There was also the thought to use it for geocaching too, but our geocaching activities have tapered off significantly due to the pending and subsequent arrival of Quinlan. Further, we’ve discovered that it’s still a bit too awkward to have in the car in the heat of the hunt.  However, we have used it on a couple road trips where we’ve had MS Streets & Trips and the USB GPS and used it to find our way around the back country of Washington State as well as Vancouver Island.

It’s turned out to be great to pick up and and take places. It is definitely the best thing to take on business trips. It’s small, light, and runs forever on the battery.  With WiFi on the whole time, I get about 5-5 1/2  hours without plugging in.  That’s long enough to get through even the longest of meetings. 5 1/2 hours almost gets me coast-to-coast on a plane (I’ll let you know how that goes on Saturday, but with the 2 kids it’s pretty unlikely I’ll get much opportunity to use it). It’s light and small enough that it tucks into my day bag without displacing anything.  It’s powerful enough for note-taking, and for running Powerpoint. Even reading PDFs and eBooks is convenient. If I were the sort (and had the time) it’d be ideal for taking to coffee shops too.

Day-to-day use is mostly what it was designed for: travelling the tubes. In the morning I check my various email accounts, blogs and Twitter before scanning the paper and eating breakfast. At night, since we’re pretty much housebound with the two kids, it serves the same purposes: blogs, email and Twitter. But, because it’s so small and light, I can use it in front of the TV, in the kitchen, or in bed as easily as not. There’s no way I’d lug the big 17″ laptop around like this.

I was a little worried about daily use and both the size of the screen and the keyboard, but neither has turned out to be an issue.  The screen is bright, crisp, and easy on the eyes. I can touch-type on the keyboard with only a slightly higher error rate than normal. The screen is a little small, but the application I have the biggest issue with — Google Reader — can be customized so that it fills the screen and it actually ends up being quite comfortable to use.  I still have problems with inadvertent brushes of the touchpad, though.

So, for its purpose, it’s been great. However, it is definitely a second (or third, fourth, etc) computer. It’s awful for photo manipulation due to the small screen and small (and slow) SSD. There’s no DVD drive, so there’s no watching (or ripping) of DVDs. It’s definitely not a machine to do development on either. But for surfing the tubes, writing short documents, blogging and Tweeting, I’m in love.

Anthony on , , , , , 06 Sep 2008 11:34 pm

Today, Aidan, Gwen, Tomer, Carla, and I participated in the Tailspin GeoRally.

This was a geocaching event that featured 20 teams of cachers trying to find a series of caches placed especially for the event.  The rally started in Confederation Park in North Burnaby.  Cars left the staging area every five minutes from 8:45am onwards, and our start time was 9:25am (Team 9).  At the start, you were given the guidelines for the event and the coordinates for the first cache.  Caching teams alternated between starting at waypoint number 1 and waypoint number 6.  Teams that were on the first track had green passports and teams on the second track had yellow passports.  At each waypoint, teams found the coordinates to the next waypoint (perhaps after solving a puzzle) as well as a stamp for their passport.  You had to collect all the stamps or incur a 45 minute penalty.  Additionally we were given a baggie with hints for each waypoint, each stapled shut.  If teams opened any hint, they incurred a 15 minute penalty for each hint opened.  The goal was to cross the finish line with the shortest time.  We weren’t given any details about the caches, but we were told that one of the caches was ‘manned’.  We joked a little about that (a man cache?  huh?) and it came out that the cache was actually ‘boy-ed’ since the children of one of the organizers would be running the waypoint.


Anthony on 04 Sep 2008 01:05 pm

Here’s a clip from CBC Vancouver about two local geocaching superstars, “Scruffster” and a group of the “WildWigglyBeanz” (who also run the excellent site).

Both Scruffter and Nina will be participating in Saturday’s Tailspin Georally.

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