“Everyone loves their Nest Dropcam,” reads the tagline of this ad. “Except this dog.”
And can you blame him? Not only can Henry be spied upon by the spiffy little wifi camera, but his owners — be they at work, out on the town or away on vacation — can also verbally reprimand him if they see him misbehaving, through the Dropcam’s “Two-way Talk” feature:
“Henry! … Bad boy!”
“If you’re like me, there’s nothing you enjoy more than hopping up on a couch, destroying a few pillows or chewing on a good shoe. So this new Nest Dropcam is a serious buzz kill. It’s always watching so people can keep an eye on me when they’re away and even chime in with their inane reprimands … Who’s to say who’s a bad boy and who’s not? It seems so subjective if you ask me.”
In real life, I doubt dogs even notice when a cam is spying on them — unless the dog’s human is using the device’s talking feature to reprimand, praise or otherwise confuse the canine from afar, which strikes me as more of a harassing moment than a teaching one.
What do dogs make of that familiar-sounding, yet disembodied voice?
In real life, I’d bet there are people who hate the Nest Dropcam much more than dogs do. Maids, nannies and visiting dogwalkers might have a problem with it, too — especially if they’re unaware it’s pointed at them, or of it’s eavesdropping abilities, or if they suddenly find themselves receiving orders through it.
Whatever happened to the right to face one’s accuser?
While this ad is aimed at dog owners, the cams are being more heavily marketed as security tools, or as yet another component of a “smart home” system that can help you remotely control your thermostat, DVR, lights, alarms, cooking devices, etc.
Among the concerns some folks have about such systems are what data they might be collecting, and with whom they might be sharing it.
Google acquired Nest, a home automation company, for $3.2 billion in January, but maybe it is wrong to read anything into that.
I’m not sure I’d want my home powered by Google, managed by Google or monitored by Google. For that matter, I’m not sure I’d even want a smart home. I don’t want my house to be able to outwit me — and if you put a computer in charge of it, you know that’s exactly what the device will teach the home.
“John,” the computer would say to me through the Dropcam, or one of it’s other audio outlets, “Get your feet off the couch.”
“But we discussed this and decided it would be OK,” I’d counter.
“I can only grant an exception if you provide the special 25-character passcode,” the computer would remind me.
“But I’ve forgotten it.”
“Then get your feet off the couch.”
I would not obey the Dropcam, and wouldn’t expect my dog to, either.
It is, after all, our home. And as living, breathing, thinking creatures, we are in charge, not the machines – at least up until the moment the smart home has the telephone call a locksmith to change the locks.
(You can find more of our “Woof in Advertising” posts — about how marketers use dogs in advertising — here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 4th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: advertisement, animals, cameras, cams, commercial, dogs, dogs in advertising, dropcam, google, henry, media, nest, pets, smart homes, streaming, technology, two-way talk, wifi, woof in advertising
Not since they started playing poker — at least on canvas — have dogs been presented as ridiculously and imaginatively as they are in this bit of cable television comedy.
Generally, dogs who are depicted as talking, or otherwise behaving as humans, fail to rise to the level of art, or even comedy, in my view. On top of never being too funny, the humanizing of dogs makes me wince. They’re perfect as they are; why drag them down to our species’ level?
But, in light of the point it makes, we’ll cut John Oliver some slack. Noting that cameras aren’t allowed in the U.S. Supreme Court, and that those courtroom artist renderings don’t make for riveting drama, Oliver suggested on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight” that dogs be used to act out the audio — the audio, unlike the video, being public.
“Cameras aren’t allowed in the Supreme Court, so most coverage of our most important cases looks like garbage. We fixed that problem with real animals and fake paws. Feel free to take our footage.”
In addition to what was aired on the show, he provided some stock dog video so that viewers can create their own dog-ified Supreme Court re-enactments. You can find that footage on YouTube. You can find some viewer submissions through #realanimalsfakepaws.
Oliver suggested broadcast news organizations use the animal footage with actual Supreme Court audio, instead of the boring still illustrations that they currently depend on. Doing so, he says, might get Americans more interested in what’s transpiring in the highest court in the land.
The sketch features dogs as the nine justices. That’s a bulldog as Antonin Scalia and a glasses-wearing Chihuahua providing the voice of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There’s also a duck as an assistant, and a chicken as a stenographer. The sketch uses audio from an actual Supreme Court session (dealing with Holt vs. Hobbs, a case that questions whether prisons can force Muslim prisoners to trim their beards).
It’s unlikely the comedic barb will lead to any change in the stuffy and camera-shy court’s refusal to allow its proceedings to be televised. And if anybody took the issue to court, guess where it would eventually end up?
Even if the Supreme Court did go fully public, and became a TV show, I suspect it would only take one or two viewings of SCOTUS Live — or whatever it would be called — to turn most viewers off. In truth, most of us don’t want to watch the Supreme Court on TV, we just want to have that right.
More likely, after watching the dry and dusty judges making dry and dusty arguments, we’d all be saying, “Bring back the doggie version!”
Posted by John Woestendiek October 21st, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: arguments, art, bulldog, cameras, chihuahua, comedy, dogs, ginsburg, hbo, hearings, john oliver, justices, last week tonight, media, poker playing, policies, rules, scalia, supreme court, supreme court dogs, televised, television
In the annals of Gotham’s crimefighting superheroes, Abby Weissman might not go down as one of the all-time greatest.
But at least he will be noted for capturing a dog pooping on camera and, far more important, that doggie’s caretaker not picking it up.
Faster than a speeding bullet, he posted it on Facebook:
In the post, Weissman fires a first blow in his quest for justice, and calls upon others to join in fighting the scourge of canine caretakers who don’t pick up after their charges — by submitting photos and videos of scofflaws caught in the act to his block association’s Facebook page.
Weissman is president of the South Oxford Street Block Association in New York’s Fort Greene neighborhood.
The association started a “Dog Walkers Hall of Shame” campaign July 30, after his home security camera captured a dog walker, busy with her cell phone, walking away from the mess the dog had just deposited on the sidewalk in front of his house.
Weissman hopes a little public humiliation will be more effective than the seldom enforced “pooper scooper” law, and its $250 fines.
Since 2013, 63 “pooper scooper” violations have been issued in Brooklyn, DNAInfo reports. An officer must witness the incident to issue a summons, according to the Department of Sanitation.
Weissman, like any good superhero, seemed to take a great deal of pride in catching the scofflaw, at least on video. “We always wanted a photo or video or someone actually letting their dog shit and purposefully leaving it there. Here it is, thanks to Dropcam.”
I’m all for owners taking responsibility for what their dogs drop, and all for laws enforcing that. And I’m fine with fines.
I’m just not so sure we have to view it all in terms of a “war,” and I question whether all the high tech weapons being seized upon — like hidden cameras, and sending dog poop to laboratories to see if its DNA can be matched to a particular dog — are a bit of an over-reaction, better used on terrorists than people who don’t pick up dog poop.
I have a problem with public “shaming,” too — whether it’s being used on deadbeat dads, the customers of prostitutes, or those who fail to pick up dog waste. It reminds me of those stocks and pillories we used to punish wrongdoers in colonial times. I’d like to think we’ve become a little more civilized since then. And I’d like to think we’re smart enough to realize people who engage in shameful behavior often don’t have a huge sense of shame in the first place.
Most of all I’m puzzled about how we let something with such a simple solution become so huge, and gobble up so much time, money and technology. How much is being wasted sending dog waste through the mail for analysis in laboratories? How many hours did Weissman spend watching video to pinpoint the culprit who pooped in front of his house?
Sometimes I think our species is prone to escalating anything that can possibly escalated.
Perhaps a psychologist could explain that to me.
In the meantime, can’t we all just pick it up?
Posted by John Woestendiek August 13th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, association, block, brooklyn, cameras, cams, dna, dog, dog walker, dog walkers hall of shame, dogs, dogwalker, dropcam, escalation, facebook, fight, fort greene, hall of shame, humiliation, law, new york, pets, poop, pooping, public, responsibility, scoop, scooper, security, shamed, shaming, shit, sidewalk, solutions, south oxford street, technology, testing, war, waste
A California casino manager was charged with animal cruelty after police reviewed a surveillance video they say shows him purposefully running over his estranged wife’s Chihuahua with his car.
Michael David Parker, 45, was arrested Jan. 3, a day after police found the remains of a dog inside a bag in an alley in Hawthorne.
The police investigation led to the surveillance tapes, which authorities say show Parker opening the trunk of his car, in which the dog was apparently being held, getting back in his car and running the dog over.
KTLA in Los Angeles, which aired the less gruesome portions of the video this week, reported that Parker’s estranged wife, Olga, believes her husband killed “Cow Cow” in retaliation for not giving him money from their retirement fund.
“If someone would do that to a dog… what would he do to my kids?” she told KTLA.
The couple’s divorce settlement is reportedly still pending, and they have three children, aged 6, 12 and 15.
According to the Daily Breeze, Parker is the facilities director of the Hustler Casino in Gardena. He posted $20,000 bail and faces a March 25 arraignment. Parker told detectives it was an accident, and he didn’t see the dog.
Police say the video indicates otherwise. “You can see him swerving toward the dog,” Hawthorne police Lt. Scott Swain said. “Parker backs his vehicle up, and then appears to accelerate rapidly, steering directly toward the dog. Cow Cow is run completely over.”
The couple’s two dogs, Cow Cow and Lucky, lived in their vacant house in San Pedro, and Olga Parker stopped by every day to feed them. Lucky is missing, she says.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 8th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alley, animal cruelty, animals, california, cameras, car, casino, chihuahua, cow cow, cruelty to animals, dispute, divorce, dog, dogs, estranged, hustler, killed, los angeles, lucky, michael david parker, money, pets, run over, surveillance, video
Maybe any monkey can’t be a photographer, but any dog can.
At least when its collar is equipped with a camera that’s programmed to snap photos at regular intervals.
The photos from just such experiment are the subject of a new exhibition in New York called “Dogtography: A Dog’s Eye View of New York.”
The idea was dreamed up by McCann Erickson, a public relations agency that was trying to gain some attention for a pro bono client – Mighty Mutts, an animal shelter and adoption service.
The company outfitted dogs with “collar-cams,” small digital cameras that can be mounted on canine collars.
The resulting photos show the world from a dog’s point of view — a lot of “feet and fire hydrants,” Sean Bryan, a group creative director at McCann Erickson told the New York Times blog “Media Decoder.”
The exhibit opens today, with a reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Hendershot Gallery at 195 Chrystie Street in Manhattan. Proceeds from the sale of the photos will go to Mighty Mutts. The exhibition is being sponsored by Mighty Mutts along with Biscuits and Bath, a chain of dog-grooming facilities in New York.
Each photo has a title, and the dogs who wore the collar cams get photo credits.
Dogs are invited to the event.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 10th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: cameras, collar cams, dog, dogs, dogs eye view, dogtography, exhibit, fundraiser, fundraising, herndershot gallery, manhattan, mccann erickson, might mutts, new york, photography, photos, photos by dogs, programmed, public relations
An Ohio firefighter who was fired for executing his two dogs walked out of an appeal hearing yesterday in which he was seeking to get his job back.
Santuomo, 43, was waiting for the hearing to begin, but left after a television news crew set up a camera in the commission’s hearing room.
“He came here with the intention of going forward but changed his mind,” said Barbara McGrath, the commission’s executive director. The commission had agreed to postpone the original hearing in the fall and informed Santuomo that his appeal would be dismissed if he didn’t attend today’s hearing.
Santuomo was fired in July after being convicted of two counts of animal cruelty and one count of possession of a criminal tool. Prosecutors say Santuomo tied his two mixed-breed dogs to a pipe in his basement and shot them so he wouldn’t have to put them in a kennel while he went on a vacation cruise with his girlfriend. He dumped the bodies in a trash bin behind his fire station
He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and fined $4,500.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, appeal, cameras, civil service commission, columbus, crew, david santuomo, dog, dogs, executed, fired, firefighter, firing, hearing, job, killed, news, ohio, pets, shooting, shot, television, two dogs, vacation
A New York City woman has been charged after police say she was caught on video kicking and jerking her Pomeranian on an elevator in the same housing project where surveillance cameras captured a dog being beaten earlier this month.
Tiara Davis was charged with torturing and injuring an animal Monday. The incident was recorded by video cameras in the elevators of the Grant Houses Sunday morning. Police released the videos Tuesday.
The video shows Sparky, her 4-year-old Pomeranian, being beaten and jerked by its leash until unconscious.
Davis, 31, said she lost her temper when the dog relieved himself before getting outside.
“I kept telling him, ‘Sparky! Wait! Wait!’ ” Davis, a vocational counselor for ex-offenders, told the New York Daily News. “I became a little frustrated,” she added. “It was never my intention to hurt him.”
Sparky is recovering at the ASPCA hospital.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 13th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, another, beaten, cameras, capture, chris grant, crime, cruelty to animals, dog, elevator, grant houses, housing project, new york, police, sparky, squad, surveillance, tiara davis, video, viper