Export to GGZ and macOS Monterey 12.3

Recently Apple released the latest update of macOS Monterey version 12.3. Since that version Apple removed the build in Python support. Unfortunately exporting geocaches to GGZ relies on a Python script that converts the GPX files to a GGZ file. This means that export to GGZ is not working anymore from this macOS update.

I looked for a short time solution (manually installing Python), but that did not work out. So I am now rewriting the export and replicate the steps that happened within the Python script in native (Swift) application code.

As you can imagine, that is not a few hours task, but quite big. So while I work on that, please don’t update to this latest macOS version if you rely on GGZ files in your workflow. I will update this article when the fixed update of iCaching goes out.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Bookmark sync feature

Hello iCachers,

It’s been a long time since the last post here. This summer I quietly released iCaching 10.0 with a very great new feature: automatic sync of bookmark folders.

When you have bookmark lists on the Geocaching.com website, they will now automatically appear in the left pane of iCaching. Changes you make to the list in iCaching will sync back to Geocaching.com and vice versa. These Bookmark folders work like the normal Folders in iCaching, so you can drag and drop caches in them, remove caches from them etc. But then it syncs.

This makes iCaching the perfect companion for the mobile geocaching apps; first you start exploring a nice collection of geocaches on your big Mac screen, and put them in a Bookmark folder.

Then you go out in the field with the mobile app and search geocaches from the synced Bookmark folder in the app. For the geocaches you find, you create a quick ‘draft’ log in the app.

And once your back home, enjoying a nice coffee or beer, you go to the Log window in iCaching and you get the draft logs from Geocaching.com and you make nice complete logs from them, describing your adventures finding those caches.

I really hope you enjoy this feature, and please let me know what you think of it.

Happy (i)Caching!

Happy birthday; iCaching 10 years!

Unbelievable, but it is already 10 years ago that iCaching was released in the (then brand new) Mac App Store.

As geocacher and Mac user I was at that time searching for a tool to help me prepare geocache trips. But there were only a few very limited tools available. When I prepared a trip with a friend I was a bit jealous on his Windows tool called GSAK. In the same period I was trying to figure out developing software for the Mac as a hobby, while I created some small tools on Windows before I switched to Mac. So that became the start of iCaching.

Few months after I had the first very limited version of iCaching, Apple introduced the Mac App Store. Then it became my goal to make my little tool available for other Mac geocachers. Around three months after the inception of the App Store, I had a version that was good enough to release to the public.
For reference, the most actual macOS version at that time was 10.6 Snow Leopard.

iCaching 1.0

In all those years, many many hours of development went into the app, which is now a really mature versatile geocaching tool. My goal is still what it was back then: make a tool that is easy to use in a way that Mac users expect. So respect the user interface guidelines and sometimes don’t add features if it will make the user interface cluttered and unclear.

I wish everybody a lot of fun with iCaching in a lot more years to come.

Marius de Reus

Ps. If you want to recommend iCaching to a geocaching mate, then now is the time to do so. For this special occasion I do a one time promotion with 30% off the usual price from March 15 to April 14 2021.

Personal note and coordinate sync

Hi dear iCaching people,

Last week a new version of iCaching rolled out. The tentpole feature of this version is the new sync for personal notes and corrected coordinates.
This was a much requested feature.

At first I was hesitant to build it, because of the fact that it will overwrite the values that you might have entered on Geocaching.com. Therefore, when you change a personal note (the yellow area on the Info tab) or you change a corrected coordinate, iCaching will ask you if you want to send it to geocaching.com.
You can check the ‘never ask again’ button to remember your choice depending on your preferred workflow. You can always change this choice in the Preference window.

When syncing personal notes, iCaching needs to do a separate network call to the Geocaching API for every single note. And this is only allowed once every two seconds. So when editing several notes simultaneously , this could have resulted in a very slow operation. This meant that I had to remove the ability to edit the personal note for several selected geocaches in one go.

If your workflow depends on downloading GPX files from Geocaching (instead of calling the API functions to download geocaches), then be careful; if you send the corrected coordinates to Geocaching.com, they will replace the coordinate in GPX files with the corrected one without any indication that this is a corrected coordinate. So when you import those into iCaching, the original coordinate will become the same as your corrected one, which might be very confusing. In the API responses there are luckily separate fields for original and corrected coordinates. So no problem there.

Groundspeak only allows this feature for premium users.

I really hope you enjoy this new version!

Happy (i)Caching in 2021

Happy new year folks. Wish you a good and healthy year with a lot of finds!

Version 9.0.1 out, problem solved :-)

Last week I proudly released version 9.0 of iCaching with a whole new look, fitting in macOS Big Sur and native support for the new M1 Apple silicon Macs.

Unfortunately, the new search item on the toolbar appeared to crash on machines that are not upgraded to macOS Big Sur yet, even though Apple promised that this search item is backwards compatible.

So I stopped the roll-out of version 9.0 (only 10% of you received that update yet) and submitted version 9.0.1 in which I reverted to the old search item.

Version 9.0.1 is now available with a fix for this problem. Sorry for the inconvenience

It is coming….

Today is a very special day, Apple will tonight announce the first Macs with their own processor replacing Intel processors. I also expect them to announce macOS 11 Big Sur availability somewhere this week.

The good news for iCaching: I am almost ready with a new look fitting in the new Big Sur design language. And also native support for Apple silicon!

Here as a sneak peak, I reveal the new app icon. It fits in the now all rounded-rectangular icons for Big Sur. The color is closer to the Geocaching green and the GPS looks a bit more modern. Watch out for version 9.0, soon in the Mac App Store… Keep you posted

Happy (i)Caching

Unexpected crashes using Map functions in macOS Catalina

Since the release of macOS Catalina some users report crashes when using one of the map views in iCaching. Unfortunately these are caused by a bug in macOS. When using those views, the system should ask permission for iCaching to be able to access the location services. However, instead it crashes the application.

I reported this bug to Apple, but did not receive an answer (yet).

Luckily there is a workaround. You can manually grant iCaching permissions to the location services. That will fix the crashes.

  • Go to system preferences.
  • Open the ‘Privacy & Security pane’ and go to the ‘Privacy’ tab.
  • In the services list on the left side choose ‘Location Services’
  • And add iCaching to the list of applications on the right.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

iCaching 8.0 finally available in the App Store, but…

You might have seen that Apple finally approved iCaching 8.0. But they gave me a warning that they could not ensure that for a next update they might still have problems with the login screen for the API.
They want me to remove the ability to sign up for Geocaching.com there, which I cannot do as this is a Groundspeak webpage….
The rush to the API switch deadline was the reason that I was not able to test and finish everything for version 8.0 as I am used to do. So unfortunately there are a few issues in this version. Biggest of them is a last minute change that I made that now results in caches marked as being unavailable when they are imported via the API (all due to a stupid typo in the code).
As that is the most annoying bug, I fixed that now in a version that you can download from: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1lwb4kodbyejr5t/iCaching%20beta.zip?dl=0
In the meantime I am also preparing my new home, so my time is pretty constrained. Please bear with me, I’ll do what I can to bring iCaching back to the quality level you are used to as soon as possible.
Have a good weekend, happy (i)Caching,

Apple continues messing with the update of iCaching

As you might have read in my previous post, I’m having big difficulties to get the latest update out in the App Store.

Apple decided to go on subscription witch hunt, and iCaching is the victim.

After the first (granted) appeal, I submitted iCaching again for review. However the second time it was rejected again. For similar reasons, but even going a step further. This time because the login screen offers the ability to sign up for a Geocaching account. This login screen is a website provided by Geocaching.com, so that one is not in my hands at all… And funny enough: it’s already there for 4 to 5 years…

So I appealed again. After two days I got a mail that I would be called within 5 business days. Luckily I still had the number of the previous appeal, so after the weekend I called myself. After a day I finally was connected to a (friendly) Apple employee. This time I had to remove all mentions of ‘geocaching.com’ from my app description in the App Store (which are there since iCaching exists (3 months after start of Mac App Store).
And secondly I had to make all premium-member features invisible for non-premium members. I was flabbergasted because in the first appeal I was asked to make those features disabled (greyed out) for non-premium members, which was exactly what I did before resubmitting….!

I did these changes the same day, and now I am waiting for 5 days again for Apple to look at the application and to decide about the login screen. They don’t want to give any timeframe or estimation. They don’t seem to care at all about you, my customers, that are stuck with a version that does not work with the new Geocaching API. And in the meantime I’m managing a flood of user mails because users are confronted with a non working part of the application.

I was always a sort of Apple fanboy, but my admiration for Apple is quickly going down at the moment. They are acting so wrong here.

The separate downloadable version that has this API support is still downloadable from here. Sorry for the continuing inconvenience. I’ll keep you posted…