Friday, November 05, 2004

Fun Stuff

You'll see a link on the left side of this page to something called Geocaching. This is a fantastic activity made possible by the Internet and the affordable GPS receiver (available for under $100). Basically it's like a treasure hunt, using clues from the Geocaching web site and a GPS receiver to locate a container (the cache) or location. In that container you'll find a logbook, which you can sign and leave a short note, and miscellaneous trinkets. You can add to the collection, or swap one for another if you'd like. Here's an example of what a cache and its contents could look like.

There are many caches which don't have conatiners. Instead there's a task to perform, information to gather or a picture to take to receive credit for "finding" the cache.

Unlike traditional treasure hunting, the fun with geocaching is in the hunt, not necessarily the find. There are millions of people across the country placing and hunting for caches. In fact, as of 9:30 this morning, there are 1,109 caches within 100 miles of my home, according to the web site. This seems to be an activity with worldwide appeal, with caches being placed in over 200 countries. It's really a fantastic activity for families with small children, as it provides an activity for everyone to get involved in, and it gives the children an experience of discovery. It also gives them hands-on problem solving in a truly fun way. You might not always need the GPS receiver to a cache, but it's still handy.

Sure it's a bit geeky. Who cares?

Along these same lines, is a web site where folks with digital cameras and GPS receivers can upload pictures of unique or famous places, along with their GPS coordinates.

Did you ever wonder where that dollar bill in your hand has been? Ever thought about where it might wind up after you spend it? If so, is for you. This is the United States' only dollar bill tracker. It's quite simple. You log the serial numbers of your dollar bills on the web site, and print or stamp a small note on the bill telling other people to do the same thing. Through the web site, you can see where those bills wind up. A one dollar bill that I entered on May 15, 2001 here in Middle Georgia has been to: a Home Depot in Lilburn, Georgia; a Minute Market in Jacksonville, Florida; and was received in change by woman eating lunch with her son and husband at a Don Pablos restaurant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in May last year. Don't believe me? Check out this page.

If you decide to try any of these, let me know what you think.