How To Make Cheap Homemade Munzees

Last year, I checked out Munzee for the first time. There were very few Munzee locations near Abbotsford, BC, so I didn’t pay any attention for several months. I heard on the Caching in the North West podcast that two local Geocachers, LANMonkey and WetCoaster, were active Munzee players in my neighbourhood, so-to-speak. So I finally decided to check Munzee out again in January 2015. There are a lot more markers on the map now!

My next step was to figure out how to play the game without spending a lot of money. WetCoaster was kind enough to give me some stickers to get started with. While reading the Munzee forums, and other websites, I discovered a way to make my own laminated Munzees on the cheap. Time will tell if they hold up to the wet coast rainy season.

Homemade Munzees in two different sizes with two different skins from The Munzee Skin Machine

Prerequisites to making your own Munzees:

  • Create a number of new Munzees. I started with 24. They’ll be on your Undeployed page in your Munzee profile. Name them whatever you want since you can change it when you actually deploy one.
  • Learn where to find the Print tab on each Munzee page – you’re going to need the URL from each Munzee to complete this tutorial.
  • Advanced technique: learn how to add a browser extension to grab all your Munzee URLs at the same time (I may make a future blog post on that subject).
  • Access to a laser printer. Color laser printing is a bonus. You can have printing done at your local office supply store if you know how to save a print job to a PDF file.
  • Cold Laminating pouches – I got 3 for $2.50 at my local dollar store. Alternately, a hot laminator and hot laminating pouches.

Here’s how I made my laminated Munzees:

Munzee Skin Machine seems to be the best place to go for creating your own homemade Munzees.

  1. Go to the Munzee Skin Machine and start by clicking the Create a Skin button. Then click the Easy button.
  2. Choose All Skins from the category selector and click Next. There are over 200 designs to choose from.
  3. For my first batch, I chose Default Green (click the circle below the name of the skin). Then scroll to the bottom of the page, and click Next.
  4. On the next page, you will see a large white box. You need to paste in all the Munzee codes you want to print. Back on your Undeployed page the Munzee website, you will need to copy the “Barcode Value” from the Print tab for each Munzee. Paste each Munzee URL into the box on the Munzee Skin Machine website, one per line. Once you have them all, we will proceed with the next step.
  5. Oh, are you back? Good. The next few options I set like this:
    1. Supress Munzee numbers – depends on whether or not you want the tiny little number below your QR code. If you are obsessive over details, you might want to deploy your Munzees in order.
    2. Create front side only – Leave this unchecked unless you want to print single sided Munzees.
    3. Fill in your Munzee username in the Deployed by box if you want your username on your Munzee.
    4. Change QR Code Color – I would avoid doing so as the high contrast of black on white makes the codes easier to scan. Adjust this at your own risk.
  6. Once you’ve entered all your codes, and set all the options. It’s time to generate some Munzees. Click Next. Then click Next again. Then, wait for the hamsters to complete your job.
  7. When they’re done (hopefully you didn’t wear out the hamsters!!), click the Print button. A new tab will open in your web browser showing your Munzees, and after a few seconds, the print dialog box shows up. Cancel the print dialog for the moment.
  8. Next, you have to decide how big you want your Munzees. If you chose the Default Green in step 4 above, then you will want to set the Munzee Width to be 2″ wide. You can go a bit smaller, but if you go too small, they may be difficult to scan. Set the Munzee Padding to 1px (pixel). Click Reprint. The page will reload, and the print dialog will pop up after a few seconds again.
  9. Now, print your Munzees on your printer. Or, if your computer is setup to do so, you can save the output to a PDF. You can take a PDF to your local office supplies store for printing if you don’t have a laser printer.
  10. Once you get your printed Munzees from the printer or the office supply store, you will need to slice it up. Use an X-Acto knife & ruler, or scissors, or a paper cutter – whatever you have. Straighter lines look neater! The 1 pixel border you chose as few steps ago is just wide enough for any of these methods to leave minimal (if any) white space around your Munzees. If you’re using the knife and ruler, maker sure you have a suitable cutting board under your work area.
  11. Once they’re all cut up, you will need to fold them in half. I used a dab of glue from a glue stick to hold them closed. Ideally, you will then let the glue dry before continuing.
  12. Now you have a stack of folded Munzees, you will be laying them out on your cold laminating pouch. I left a 1/4″ margin around each munzee to make sure they stay as waterproof as possible. On the top side, I tripled that to 3/4″ so as to leave room for a hole to slip a zap strap through. I printed a page of 1/4″ Graph Paper to put underneath the laminating pouch (not in it!) to help keep things lined up neatly. I used a tiny dab from the glue stick to hold each Munzee in place on the laminating pouch since the slightest bump sent everything sliding around.
    1. Important Note: Do Not punch a hole through the munzee itself. This will allow water in, and your Munzee will have a very short life in the wild.
  13. Once I got as many in the pouch as I could, I removed the paper from the laminating pouch and slowly, carefully pushed the two sides together, working from the fold to the opposite side. It’s important to try to get rid of as many air pockets as possible while doing this. You probably only have one chance to do this as the laminating pouch is very sticky and very hard to “undo” this step – even though the packaging says it’s possible for up to 24 hours.
  14. The next step is to take your X-Acto knife & ruler, or scissors, or a paper cutter to the laminated Munzees and trim them up as neat as possible. Use scissors to round the corners so you don’t injure anyone who finds your Munzees. I left the 1/4″ graph paper under mine while trimming with the knife and ruler which made it very easy to get straight cuts.
  15. The last step was to take a hole punch, and put a hole centered above the Munzee in the 3/4″ top section. This left lots of room to make sure the Munzee was safe and secure in its plastic shield and not let any water in.

Time will tell how these hold up in our west coast rain-forest environment.

New Backpack

Thanks to generous cash gifts received for Christmas, I managed to save enough for a new backpack. So while I was in Edmonton around New Years, I went into MEC to see what they had – it’s always easier to shop for gear when you can touch it. I settled on a Gregory Contour 70.

Gregory Contour 70

This pack is 1.93kg (4 lbs 1oz) which is lighter than my old backpack by at least 1.07kg (2 lbs 6oz). My old pack was either 3kg or 3.3kg, I forget which.

Soon, I’ll write another post on how much my total pack is – before food and water.

New Backpacking Gear!

Christmas 2014 brought a couple of new items of gear for backpacking and camping.

I now have a MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent.

MSR Hubba Hubba NX

I also have a Mountain Hardwear Ratio 15 sleeping bag.

Mountain Hardwear Ratio 15

Here’s some of my new gear compared to older stuff.

Item New Old Savings
Tent vs Tent MSR Hubba Hubba NX 1.54 kg Old tent 3.40 kg 1.86 kg
Tent vs Hammock MSR Hubba Hubba NX 1.54 kg Hammock setup
hammock, ropes & straps, bug net
2.14 kg 0.60 kg
Mat vs Underquilt Thermarest NeoAir XTherm 0.43 kg Arrowhead New River Under Quilt 0.85 kg 0.42 kg
Sleeping Bag vs Sleeping Bag Mountain Hardwear Ratio 15 1.14 kg MEC Raven -7 sleeping bag 1.50 kg 0.36 kg

If I go backpacking with my new tent, my new sleeping bag, and my new(ish) sleeping mat, I have a weight savings of 2.64 kg (or 5.82 lbs). The Hubba Hubba NX lets you use just the rainfly, poles and footprint (0.19 kg), to lighten the tent weight to 0.97kg from 1.54kg. A further weight saving of 0.57kg (1.26 lbs).

My next gear purchase: A lighter backpack. My current backpack is 3.3kg, so something lighter would be nice.

Pocket Lenses

Sonny from Podcacher has started a new website called Pocket Lenses.

Pocket Lenses

I’ve already picked a good tip for using my flash in daylight situations to fill details on faces. Something I usually forget I have the capability of doing! I’ll be watching the site carefully in the future to see what other tips & tricks get posted.

Win a GPSr!? I’d love to!

I ran across a contest on podcacher.com

podcacher

They’re giving away a GPSr! More specifically, they’re giving away a Garmin GPSMAP 64. I think it might be better than my Garmin eTrex 30, but it’s worth entering the contest whether it is or not.

Using Camera Flash In Daylight

I never remember to use my camera flash when taking photos during the daytime. Watch Sonny from Pocket Lenses shows how to best bring out faces by using the flash during daylight.

Getting Started with DataTables

A colleague came to me today trying to get the DataTables jQuery plugin working on a web page. The instructions on the datatables.net site don’t seem to have a complete out-of-the-box example on how to get the plugin working. So here goes.

  1. Download the plugin from datatables.net.
  2. From within the zip archive you downloaded, navigate to the media folder.
  3. Copy the following files into your project:
    • Copy media/css/jquery.dataTables.css to your project’s css folder
    • Copy all the files from the images folder to your project’s images folder
    • Copy js/jquery.dataTables.min.js to your project’s js folder
  4. In the <head> section of your web page, include the following code:
    <link href="css/jquery.dataTables.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
    <script type="text/javascript" src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.7.1/jquery.min.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="js/jquery.dataTables.min.js"></script>

    This gives you the basic CSS and javascript required to get DataTables working on your page.

  5. Build an html table on your page. Give it an id (I used “table1″ in the code below) Make sure you include a header row using <thead> and wrap the table body in a <tbody>.
    <table id="table1">
    	<thead>
    		<tr>
    			<th>Column 1</th>
    			<th>Column 2</th>
    			<th>Column 3</th>
    			<th>Column 4</th>
    		</tr>
    	</thead>
    	<tbody>
    		<tr>
    			<td>Item 1</td>
    			<td>Description 1</td>
    			<td>Data 1</td>
    			<td>More Data 1</td>
    		</tr>
    		<tr>
    			<td>Item 2</td>
    			<td>Description 2</td>
    			<td>Data 2</td>
    			<td>More Data 2</td>
    		</tr>
    		<tr>
    			<td>Item 3</td>
    			<td>Description 3</td>
    			<td>Data 3</td>
    			<td>More Data 3</td>
    		</tr>
    		<tr>
    			<td>Item 4</td>
    			<td>Description 4</td>
    			<td>Data 4</td>
    			<td>More Data 4</td>
    		</tr>
    		<tr>
    			<td>Item 5</td>
    			<td>Description 5</td>
    			<td>Data 5</td>
    			<td>More Data 5</td>
    		</tr>
    	</tbody>
    </table>
    
  6. Finally, just before the closing <body> tag, include the following code:
    <script type="text/javascript">
    $(document).ready(function () {
    	$('#table1').dataTable();
    });
    </script>
    

    This code references the table by its id (table1) and calls the dataTable method to run on it. Simple.

Hammock Camping – Spring 2013

Over the last year, I have switched to hammock camping. I no longer carry a tent. On the weekend of March 8-10, 2013, I was out camping in my new setup:

My tarp, hammock and underquilt as setup on March 9, 2013.
My tarp, hammock and underquilt as setup on March 9, 2013.

Here’s how my gear broke down prior to making the switch:

Ounces Pounds Kilograms
Tent 120 oz 7.5 lbs 3.4 kg
MEC Raven -7 sleeping bag 52.9 oz 3.3 lbs 1.5 kg
172.9 oz 10.8 lbs 4.9 kg

And after:

Ounces Pounds Kilograms
Trek Light Gear Double Hammock 20 oz 1.25 lbs 0.56 kg
Trek Light Gear Go Anywhere Rope Kit 8 oz 0.5 lbs 0.23 kg
Trek Light Gear Bug Free Hammock Shield 16 oz 1 lb 0.45 kg
MEC Silicone Scout Tarp 18.3 oz 1.1 lb 0.52 kg
MEC Raven -7 sleeping bag 52.9 oz 3.3 lbs 1.5 kg
Arrowhead New River Under Quilt 30 oz 1.875 lbs 0.85 kg
145.2 oz 9 lbs 4.11 kg

So I’ve shaved 1.8 lbs off my pack weight. 2.8 lbs if I don’t need the bug net.

Next up I’m considering going with a much lighter pack. The GoLite Quest 65L Pack is looking pretty nice right now at about 3.6 lbs. That’s a far cry from the 6.6 lbs (3 kg) my current pack weighs. The Boreas Lost Coast 60 Backpack at MEC is also looking pretty good at 3.4 lbs (1.523 kg).

Setting SessionTimeout in CF9 and CF10

I ran across a thread on the CFWheels Google Group where someone was having problems with setting a session timeout. I remembered that I had the same problem a few weeks back. I didn’t think anything of it after I found a solution though. Now, since I’m not the only one having this problem, I thought I’d blog it.

So the problem in a nutshell is that if you try to set a timeout to a number of seconds, it no longer works. My suspicion is that this behavior changed in ColdFusion 9, but was backwards compatible with using a number of seconds as the sessionTimeout value. Like this:
this.sessionTimeout = "3600"

When you read the CF9 documentation for cfapplication, you find this note as the description for sessionTimeout:

Life span of session variables. CreateTimeSpan function and values in days, hours, minutes, and seconds, separated by commas.

I am almost completely using CF10 now, and it appears that the old way of setting a number of seconds no longer works at all. Instead, the revised code for the sessionTimeout value should be:
this.sessiontimeout = CreateTimeSpan(0, 4, 0, 0);

When I dump the THIS scope in Application.cfc, I get the following output in a CFWheels Application:

Hope this helps someone.

NOTE: Code samples above use CFScript. Could be just as easily achieved using.

Installing ColdFusion 10 under MAMP Pro 2 on OS X Lion

I’ve been attending a whole host of ColdFusion 10 Developer Week 2012 sessions this week, and got inspired to upgrade my development machine to run ColdFusion 10. I had previously been running CF9 (developer) and MAMP Pro 2.0.5. These instructions will allow you to remove CF9 and install CF10. Installing and configuring MAMP Pro is up to you.
Update: Added a note near the end of the instructions. Basically, make sure you edit the httpd.conf file in MAMP Pro or the changes may be overwritten.

Here’s the process I used to get everything setup and working properly: Continue reading Installing ColdFusion 10 under MAMP Pro 2 on OS X Lion

Stuff I do, or stuff I find interesting

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