You guys are fast. Five hours after I posted a geotagged photo here, cagey reader The Mad Creator (Bill to his friends) and his pal Mick tracked down where the photo was taken and sussed out my clue to snag the prize.
There were a few good explanations in the comments of how to find the location. You could also simply have posted it to Flickr, which would have dropped it on a map. But however you went about it, the key is in the exif data--essentially metadata embedded in the photo. When you turn on Location Services with an iPhone, it adds coordinates to the exif data with every glamor shot you snap. Later when you post the photo to a blog, for example, or email it to your boss, anyone else can tell where it was taken (at least approximately, it's an iPhone not a missile guidance system) by looking at the exif data.
Oh, man, I'm scared now. They know where I am. Hold me.
It seems like quite a few people were able to suss out the coordinates, and at least a few swung by Buena Vista Park (where San Francisco's dead still speak their names). Yesterday afternoon, I grabbed a seat nearby and watched at least two people casually stroll on the steps for entirely too long and peek, cautiously, into the hedges. (I'm talking to you, blue Nike shoes man, and you white messenger bag guy.)
But you couldn't just peek. You needed to plunge. Bill and Mick dove boldly into the bushes where others feared to plunge, and came up with fistfulls of Star Trek Pez doods.
For real, it was totally street. By the time they got there, it was pouring rain and dark. And Buena Vista Park isn't exactly Disneyland after sundown. I mean, unless there's some sort of Heroin Disney's Nodding Hepatitis Adventure ride I don't know about. Here's his account of his perilous plunge:
Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Bill, a software engineer for a startup in Palo Alto. I live in Menlo Park.
As soon as I read your post yesterday afternoon, I started freaking out. I wanted to leave work immediately (see my posted comment). I pinged my roomate, Mick, who works for yet another startup up in SF. Since no one had tracked down the cache by about 6:30, I scooted up to the city, grabbed Mick, and we headed over the Haight. The prospect of fully sodden shoes and a potential shivving from a wandering bum hardly deterred us. We located the spot using google maps on my iphone and looked around for about 15 minutes before I re-read your "7up times two" hint. So, Mick walked up the deduced 14 steps, and I reached over the little cement ledge trepidatiously (who am I, Indiana Jones?). Lo, I pulled my arm back grasping the object of our desire: a worn American Apparel bag -- JACK POT! I had given myself about 30% chance that I was the first geek in the geek-dense SF area to venture here, but I was elated to be the first to nab the prize. Thanks so much for putting this together!
Anyway, I put together some photos proving we discovered the treasure in the cached location, and then promptly staged a little drama using the pez dispensers. I realize these are "collectors" items, but they're not going to be worth much for another couple dozen years, so I figure I might as well enjoy them now.
Well, I hear you. Collectible or not, I jammed 'em in a bunch of bushes on Haight Street in a park where dudes cruise for handjobs and street kids throw empty beer bottles at cars. It's not like I was taking great care of them.
There are many more photos, just click through to the full entry. Note that Spock speaks in Helvetica.