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 Post subject: Lab Cache?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:01 am 
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I was updating my profile on www.mygeocachingprofile.com tonight and I saw a new item called Lab Caches. I found an article on GC.com regarding them. I'm not 100% sure what they are yet but they're coming soon, well, they're kinda here now. This could be interesting and it's cool to see that GC is still trying to innovate with new ideas. They took a shot with the challenges but when they realized it was not a good idea, they ended the program. Many saw it as a failure, I like that they're still making an effort to do something different.
[url]
http://blog.geocaching.com/2013/08/geocaching-labs-faq/[/url]

And if you want to read a bad discussion with tons of negative people guessing what lab caches will be, you can go here:

http://forums.groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=314497

I personally hate internet trolls. They misread info and try to start arguments.

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 Post subject: Re: Lab Cache?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:47 am 
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I did the five at the recent Geocaching Hampton Roads Mega Event. They were pretty unimpressive. I do think the concept holds promise though. There were no distance rules (.10). The caches weren't hidden at all and basically consisted of going to the point and entering a code into a smartphone (or online later).

I think the GCHR event doesn't really hold what lab caches could be because GC tried to role them out really quick to support the GCHR timeline after the Block Party announcement where they debuted the idea.

At worst, Lab caches will be a type you can only get at major events that amount to a 1/1 P&G. At best they could be a way to try out new ideas and concepts that could result in different types down the road.

I will be going to the Going Geocaching Mega in GA in Oct and hopefully the concept will have matured by then. Time will tell and I am optimistic about the concept.


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 Post subject: Re: Lab Cache?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:35 am 
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MikeOtt and I went to the Geocaching Blockparty in Seattle a few weeks ago when Grounspeak unveiled the labcaches around Fremont area where the HQ is located. One set of 5 lab caches were set at microbreweries in the area. At the first stop you got a mug shot glass and locations to go to. At each microbrewery, there was a log to sign either inside or outside the business, a code word, and then you were able to get a "shot" of a beer from that place. After getting all of breweries done, we did go back and have lunch at one of them. So it must be good to attract some business.

The other set of lab caches were around the blockparty area. One was a giant ammo can they set out in a parking lot. One was in a lawn ornament outdoor store where you had to look through some devil rubber duckies. One was a screen printing shop where you also got a geocaching tote bag. Each lab cache had a code and you went to a website extension at geocaching.com and entered the code. Each lab cache counted as a find on you totals, even though the caches are intended to be temporary. It was more of a visit to a place and get the code rather than "find" a cache in that sense. I believe their intention is to bring the lab caches to mega events.

I did email them about getting an souvenir for them. Groundspeak said they had no intention on that just the listing on your found categories. I can't however pull up any info on those labcaches as they had no cache page to see. Overall, the caches were OK and could be another thing to do. Cool to visit those spots where the caches were. But if they didn't count in our totals, we wouldn't have wasted our time going to those places. Just my opinion...


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 Post subject: Re: Lab Cache?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:44 am 
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To expand on the stats aspect:

It will show on your profile, but does not count towards your GC stats. Its kinda like challenges were in that they showed up, but did not add to your total or your D/T.

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 Post subject: Re: Lab Cache?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:28 pm 
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cooley1103 wrote:
To expand on the stats aspect:

It will show on your profile, but does not count towards your GC stats. Its kinda like challenges were in that they showed up, but did not add to your total or your D/T.


What is weird is that they DO count toward your total finds, but they don't count toward anything on your Stats page - not even shown as a percentage of your overall finds. Haven't tried downloading the My Finds PQ and loading into GSAK, yet.

I think the experimentation is more about the process than the caches. Essentially, they were just regular traditional. They do seem to be experimenting with Log Passwords. It also feels like the way they're doing the Lab Caches would suit itself well to an app that would work differently from the standard geocaching app(s).

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 Post subject: Re: Lab Cache?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:38 pm 
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DudleyGrunt wrote:
Haven't tried downloading the My Finds PQ and loading into GSAK, yet.


They do not show up in the My Finds PQ so the find count mismatches with gc.com. Hope they fix that but then GSAK would have to change along with the stat macro and anything that consumes a GPX file. Probably why it wasn't added to the My Finds PQ.

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 Post subject: Re: Lab Cache?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:38 pm 
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I did the 5 at the GCHR mega-event last weekend. Now I'm in the process of trying to get Groundspeak to REMOVE them from my account. They have said that they will NOT count on your stats and will not be visible there. So right now my "smileys" are at 1505, while my "stats" say I'm only at 1500. Which means that my 1500th FIND is actually my 1505th find... and that is just going to get toooooooo confusing! I want them taken off my account, and then I will avoid Lab Caches in the future. I didn't know ANYthing about them - had not even heard of them, honestly - when I was persuaded to find them at the event. But now that I've learned how they work - it's not something I'm really interested in. Basically, it sounds like they will be different things at different times and different events -- but ONLY done at Mega events -- and it really sounds like it's almost like Beta testing. Groundspeak gets a bunch of testers ... but we don't "really" get anything to show for it! Yes, we get a smiley... but if they don't count toward our stats, they're kind of like FAKE smileys.


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 Post subject: Re: Lab Cache?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:40 pm 
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First, leave it to Groundspeak to bungle it. They made certain to specify that they wouldn't go away like Challenges and they would count toward finds. Guess they thought those were the only two things that folks would possibly care about.

Supposedly, Lab Caches will vary as they come up with other "experimental" ideas. In theory, if they are successful, each particular type of Lab Cache could become a "permanent" cache type. And, yes, I think that Lab Caches, themselves, will only be created by Groundspeak and, for now at least, will only be available at Mega Events.

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 Post subject: Re: Lab Cache?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:20 pm 
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Could someone explain to me what challenges were?


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 Post subject: Re: Lab Cache?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:52 pm 
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acorn55 wrote:
Could someone explain to me what challenges were?


They were Groundspeak's answer to the call (by some of the community) for the return of Virtual caches. Kind of like giving someone an apple when they asked for an orange.

I found this [url=http://www.notaboutthenumbers.com/2011/08/19/fairytale-start-to-new-geocache-challenges/]Not About the Numbers[/blog] from just after they were introduced that might be helpful.

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 Post subject: Re: Lab Cache?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:32 am 
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I sat in the Meet the Reviewers group at GC Hampton Roads and they talked about the Lab, Virtual and challenges.

Lab Caches
To put it simply, its a live R&D session for Groundspeak by Groundspeak. They are rolling out ideas on how to start some new cache types. However they know that not many people would not participate if there was not a prize at the end. So they did set it up to where you will see it on their profile. One of the current problems is the API systems (GCStats, mygeocachingprofile, etc) will take some time to catch up to the change. Just remember, its live R&D so there will be some bumps in the road.

Virtuals vs Challenges
MonkeyBrad, Reviewer from Tennessee, put it like this, "Who found the dead deer Virtual cache? Do you remember what state of decomposition it was so you could email the CO?" He also had another that was a pile of trash in the woods that you had to find and then email the CO the type of shoe was hanging in the tree next to the pile. So the virtuals we see today are the "good" ones that could withstand the test of time. So I can see why Groundspeak stopped publishing them. Imagine your the reviewer and you have to sort through all these "bad" virtuals and tell people that their pile of trash or dead deer is not the direction they should go.

So they brought about Challenges to remove the reviewer, but give people the chance to publish quality challenges that will take people places and have them do fun things. Then it got out of hand within minutes. Groundspeak published one for you to "Kiss a Frog" and to "Hug your pet" and post a pic. So naturally a user thought it would be ok to post "Show your boobs" and post a pic. They quickly realized that maybe they should not have opened the web to everyone. So they started monitoring it a little more and after a while they realized there was not a lot of "value-added" challenges out there and it was more of a problem than a good thing.

There are other listing sites out there (OCNA, OCUS, Navicache, Terracache, etc) that may have virtuals. There are not a lot of users of these sites so the reviewers have more time to dedicate to looking up these virtuals and respond to the users.

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 Post subject: Re: Lab Cache?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:57 pm 
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Nice explanation on all aspects Cooley! :) Thanks!


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