Ryan Carpenter, webmaster of the Atlas Quest letterboxing site, has given us a heads up that he plans to decommission all Virtual Letterboxes sometime in the new year (2015). So I’m starting this Virtual Letterboxes blog to store my Virtuals and keep them in play. The WordPress site has a password option on pages. I’m using this feature to create passkeys/passwords that will unlock the handcarved stamp reward. Here’s Ryan’s message:
So far this year, there have been 2 virtuals listed, and a grand total of less than 1,000 finds on all virtuals. (Over half of which were by just one person.)
And I’m starting to think I should just nix them completely. AQ is such a large, sprawling website right now, I’m looking for ways to “cut the fat,” and it seems to me like virtuals are biggie. The database tables for them are huge, the images AQ stores for them is still one of the largest disk hogs on the server, and I could cut out thousands of lines of code that would no longer need maintaining or fixing.
It just seems like a pretty big hunk of fat at this point.
I don’t think I’m ready to completely deep-six the feature, but I’m inclined to “deprecate” it. Scrub the public links to virtuals, for instance, so they aren’t as readily available to find. Turn off the ability to add new boxes. Then turn off the ability to record finds and just leave them as logbook pages. And eventually remove even those.
Thoughts? Is there anyone even left who cares about them anymore?
These are a few pictures to show Mouse Troop. Their letterbox with a handcarved stamp of a roasting marshmallow on a stick went missing. Someone replaced it with a store bought stamp in a freezer baggie. I had assumed that this was the original letterbox but it turns out that it’s a throw down.
2 cute kids demonstrating what letterboxing is about.
I’m trying out the Press This feature on WordPress to bump an old post about my Virtual Letterboxes. I hope people will enjoy armchair letterboxing now that cold weather has settled in.
Since October 12 2007 – the day I posted my first virtual letterbox, I’ve spent many enjoyable hours creating virtual letterbox puzzles. I like to make my virtuals as close to real letterboxing as possible. They involve some type of hunt and you are rewarded with a handcarved stamp image carved and created by me.
My inspiration was the Peat Bank interactive virtual. That’s the first and probably best virtual letterboxing experience I know about. the closest thing to real letterboxing. You hunt the virtual moors for a hidden letterbox box and when find it you get a custom-made stamp image. Years later I created my own interactive virtual: Northern Village Interactive Virtual
It took almost a month to create and perfect. Later Ryan – AQ’s webmaster, made it a lot easier by creating code to emulate this type of virtual hunt. Here’s my other my interactive virtual using Ryan’s Image Search code: Letterbox Gem Under a Large Rock
Here’s a list of my other Virtual letterboxes:
The thing that keeps me motivated to maintain, create and keep active are the online comments I get. Thank you everyone who have left me feedback.