Ancient Chinese Curse: May Geeks Always Help You

For those who don’t remember when I used to blather about it more, Geocaching is a hobby in which you use a GPS device to find hidden boxes from the coordinates posted on a website. It’s good, clean outdoorsy fun, but we haven’t been able to do it much since we moved to Massachusetts. The tree cover here is just too much for our wimpy little GPS receiver to handle.

Last week someone in the airport commented on the Geocaching patch I have on my bag, and we had to admit it was a lie: we hadn’t gone Geocaching in years. So we thought, “Maybe it’s time to upgrade our receiver and do this again!”

Of course, I don’t know anything about GPS receivers, and unlike when we first started this hobby they are everywhere, with all sorts of different uses. I tried looking at models to see which was right but was swamped with choices. So I decided to head over to the forums at the Geocaching website, where I knew they had a section to talk about GPS devices.

I thought I’d lucked out…there was even a thread already where someone was asking for recommendations for a good yet affordable GPS device. Looked like a great place to start getting ideas.

Hey, I was wrong!

Because I forgot that I’m dealing with geeks on the Internet, and when you ask them a question, it’s their duty to demonstrate how the question is stupid and pointless. So sure enough, the guy on the Geocaching forum asking for GPS recommendations was met with a bunch of Pedantobots saying that there was no possible way to help him because — ready for it — he didn’t specify what he was going to use it for.

Yes, the folks on the Geocaching forum could not discern for what purpose the guy asking about a GPS receiver was going to use it.

And that wasn’t even the worst one. The worst one goes to the guy who simply tells him, “Do your own online research.” That’s just wonderful.

Fortunately, two people not only sussed out that he was going to use it for Geocaching, but actually gave a suggestion, the Garmin eTrex Venture HC, which looks like an updated version of what we have.

I don’t know if we’re even really in the market for this, but if anyone has suggestions (note: I will be using it for GEOCACHING and don’t want to pay over $200, if even that much) please let me know.

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4 Responses to Ancient Chinese Curse: May Geeks Always Help You

  1. Greg says:

    It’s funny you mention the geocaching forums. Just this spring I decided to get into the hobby myself, and found a great many of the geocaching people to be absolutely insufferable. It’s probably endemic in any internet sub-culture…but damn. I never realized that playing treasure hunter in the woods was a lifestyle choice, nor was I prepared to be met with disdain for failing to recognize the life-or-death importance of tupperware boxes in hollow logs at the local park. Anyway…

    The Venture HC seems like it would be fine for geocaching — just about any Garmin model that has the ‘H’ designation (which indicates the high-sensitivity GPS receiver chip) will get the job done. And I know I’m treading in geek-helper territory by pitching the up-sell, but the Legend HCx is going for just under $200 at amazon right now and is better because it has a memory chip slot, so you can add street maps to it. The citynav maps are extra money, or they’re fairly easy to find “downloads” of. With the citynav mapset, the device can do turn-by-turn navigation, too.

  2. Lanf says:

    Why would you even want to do geocaching? You should be kayaking instead.

  3. Stewart says:

    Good post, Dave. Another thing I’ve noticed about these product forums is ferocious brand affiliation. What I mean is people who compare products and favor one so strongly that any others are clearly garbage. The internet probably magnifies this, and there is undoubtedly the selection bias of people who choose to post on the forums.

    Then again, a forum post pointing out how certain products are far more similar than different would be less entertaining to read!

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