What's with the Streaking?
In geocaching, a streak is a series of consecutive days during which one has found at least one geocache on each day. So if someone has found a cache on each of the last five days, then we say he has a five-day streak. I don't do caching streaks myself - my longest is only 26 days - but some people do and have streaks going for hundreds of days. Personally, I can't imagine going out geocaching every day for a year or more; I'd get tired of it after a while. Psychologically though, the longer a streak one has going, the bigger the heartache when it finally ends. So there is a certain motivation to keep it going.
The effort to maintain a streak leads to behavior that seems odd to me, and perhaps a bit wasteful. For example, if there are two geocaches in a park, a streaker may opt to find only one and leave the park, returning the next day for the other one, instead of just finding both geocaches in the same trip. That seems like a waste of time and fuel to me, but then again, I have no leg to stand on here since I do travel significant distances geocaching on weekends.
Groundspeak seems to have endorsed streaking though. In the month of August, you can get one souvenir a day
for each day you log a cache. (A souvenir is like a profile badge/icon on other websites.) Naturally, lots of folks would be driven to get all 31 souvenirs, i.e. a 31-day streak. I'm not going to do that myself. However many I get is fine. I'm not sure it was a good idea for Groundspeak to promote this practice though and initial comments on the blog post I linked concur.
I can answer their objections on sub-standard caches being created to help friends maintain streaks though. That has already been happening for quite a while, long before this souvenir-a-day idea! Where have they been? The Streak series was actually intended for that, though I did most of it the same day because I didn't care about streaks.
Nexus 4 phone upgrade
Since May last year, I'd been using an LG Optimus Elite on Virgin Mobile service. Although it's not the best phone, it is decent and I'd been using it for most day-to-day mobile data tasks, including geocaching. (I don't actually use a phone much for actual phone calls. :) ) However, I'd been eyeing the Google Nexus 4 as an upgrade for a number of reasons. The biggest reason is the Nexus 4 will actually get OS updates from Google, whereas the LG Optimus Elite seems perpetually stuck at Android 2.3.7. I'd also been planning to switch away from Virgin Mobile (and lamentably, bid farewell to my $25/month prepaid plan) because at the office, only AT&T and Verizon seem to have good cell signal.
I waited until after the July 24 Google press conference to make sure there wasn't going to be a new Nexus 4 or a Nexus 5 before placing my order. They didn't announce a Nexus 4 hardware refresh, only a new Nexus 7 and a new gadget called a Chromecast, so I put in my order that weekend and got the phone the next Wednesday. To get ready for the Nexus 4, I'd been investigating a number of ways to get prepaid AT&T service. However, Straight Talk seems to have stopped selling AT&T SIMs. NET10 still does but for a bit more money, I figured I might as well go directly to the source and sign up for AT&T GoPhone. That was especially convenient because the AT&T store is near the office and so I could get that done after work.
My initial impression of the Nexus 4 was it's a darn good smartphone - fast and responsive, with none of the junk usually preinstalled by phone manufacturers. I only wasn't fond of the glass back
of the phone. Yes, the phone has a glass
back. Which genius at Google came up with this ridiculous design? It seems so fragile that it'll probably shatter the first time I drop the phone or put it down on a surface that is too hot or too cold. Then it'll be a broken-glass-back phone. :) Seriously though, a padded phone case would almost seem to be a requirement and I did order one from Amazon. (specifically, a Ballistic SG1098-M365
. With user reviews like "I drop my phone daily" and "Girliest protection possible", that's probably a winner. :) ) I hope that'll help.
Of course, taking the phone out geocaching was the real test. (because I don't really make many phone calls :) ) I used it at a half dozen geocaches on Thursday but the weekend was where it proved itself - 113 geocaches and not a single problem at any cache site. The Nexus 4 is a lot faster at getting satellite lock than the Optimus Elite, although both are equally accurate once warmed up. AT&T service was amazing in my area of travel. I didn't think it would be possible in some of the more rural areas but I got between good and excellent cell signal, often with HSPA, just about everywhere I went. Of course, the true test for cell coverage would be the Lancaster countryside, where cell towers are sparse. I'll try that another weekend.