Ether: the substance through which light energy propagates.
Cache: a small, hidden storage space.
Put them together and you get Ethercache - an incredibly simple yet brilliant new mobile app allowing you to share text messages with your friends - anywhere in the æther.
Ok, you say, that seems to make sense. But just what is Ethercache? It's a modern twist on geocaching wherein you hide something virtual in the virtual world. It's the latest in a long string of incredible new ideas made possible by the continuing growth of mobile computing.
And it's free.
Still can't figure it out? Just download and give it a try. We think you'll love it, even if you can't quite think of what to do with it. At least you'll give us credit for coming up with such a cool idea.
How to use Ethercache:
1) Physically go to the place you wish to hide your message.
2) Open Ethercache on your Android device.
3) Touch the "New" button and wait for the purple pin to drop.
4) Give your new ethercache a name, and optional message by touching the blue chevron
5) "Deposit" your ethercache in the æther - you're done!
6) Your ethercache is now available at that location for anyone to find.
7) Have fun!
Q: Hold on, where exactly is the æther?
A: Everywhere. Classically (we're talking Aristotle here), the æther was thought to be the stuff that filled the universe above the atmosphere, a dwelling place for gods. Fast-forward to Newton and æther was thought of as a universal material through which light energy flows. There are still a few modern conceptions, but a theory of æther as something physical was abandoned long ago. Still, the idea lives on in modern technologies such as ethernet - and Ethercache.
Q: So, does that mean I have to be an astronaut to use Ethercache?
A: Ha ha, good one. Really, it's simple and down-to-earth. We think you'll get the hang of it and start having fun in no time.
Q: Just what is this thing good for?
A: Ethercache is nothing more than good clean fun. You can use it for a scavenger hunt, to supplement a geocaching trip, or just to have fun with your friends and neighbors.
Q: Who uses this thing???
A: So far, there is a small group of users scattered around the world, mostly in Europe and America. The more people use Ethercache, the better it gets.
Q: How does it work?
A: When you 'embed' an ethercache in the æther, it is actually linked to your current geolocation and stored on a server. Later on, when someone searches in that location, they find the ethercache! So, in order for Ethercache to work properly, your Android device must be Location- and Internet-enabled.
Q: You know, I'm beginning to think this is a cool idea. Can Ethercache link up with other apps?
A: At the moment, there is no integration with other mobile or web-based platforms. All in good time.
Q: Will Ethercache steal all my personal data?
A: Absolutely not. We use and store only your device id and location. And none of the messages you enter are permanently stored on the phone (this may change in the future). Of course, we can't take any responsibility for what you leave behind in the æther!
1) Enable locations, open app, get location fix
2) Touch "New"
3) Type name and description
4) Touch "Deposit"
5) Later return to that location and "Search".
Your Ethercache is still there!