Reading stories about technological advances hitting the marketplace often makes me roll my eyes — because many of those so-called innovations, in my view, are like those new clothes that emperor wore.
Case in point, fitness trackers — those devices you wear on your wrist to remind you to get off your duff. Perhaps they perform some more vital functions, but based on a TV ad — pretty much the extent of my knowledge about them — they will buzz or beep if you’ve been sitting still too long (which most often is a result of earlier technology, i.e. the computer and television).
If that weren’t ridiculous enough, there are also (eye roll) fitness trackers for dogs.
Forbes reports that Whistle, the maker of a fitness tracker for your dog, is raising $16 million in a Series B venture capital round, bringing its total funding to $25 million.
In other words, a lot of people with money believe in it.
Whistle’s $100 Fitbit-like dog collar features a 3-axis accelerometer to track movement, Bluetooth for connecting with your smartphone, WiFi, and an app that collects fitness data, allowing you to track the activity level of your dog.
Whistle has acquired Snaptracs, which makes Tagg, a GPS tracker for your dog that — in addition to tracking movement — also includes a temperature sensor to make sure your dog doesn’t get too hot or cold.
The interest of such companies is understandable, given society is nuts about gizmos, apps and pets. On the latter alone, Americans spent $58.51 billion last year, according to the American Pet Products Association.
I’m all for any device that helps find dogs when they’re lost, but really now, do we need devices to let us know whether our dogs are too hot, too cold, and getting enough exercise?
We already have two devices for that, called eyes. And better yet, they are rollable, and don’t need recharging.
(Maybe someday there will be a wristband I can wear that notifies me when I am rolling my eyes — and reminds me, perhaps with a gentle zap of electricity, that it’s not an attractive trait.)
We’re in danger of letting silly gizmos replace our common sense, while gizmo-making companies get rich on our gullibility.
That’s how my rolling eyes see it; others see it differently. As Whistle CEO and founder Ben Jacobs explains:
“As the Internet of Things moves into these initial areas, people are looking at other key parts of life,” he is quoted as saying in the Forbes article. “The pet is a member of the family and an interesting vertical in the Internet of Things.”
Is there an app to translate that?
Posted by John Woestendiek January 30th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, apps, collar, collars, collection, data, device, dog, dogs, eye roll, fit, fitbit, fitness, gizmos, gps, pets, products, snaptrac, tagg, technology, wearable, whistle, wristbands
It sometimes seems a new dog book leaps off the presses everday – some not so good, some far too precious, some (though we like goofy) way too goofy, some noble and some ignoble.
Often, the most noble ones are so preachy, pedantic and overwrought they leave you feeling like you’ve spent six hours locked in a room with an evangelist who’s more concerned with lassoing your mind than opening it.
“Dogs With No Names” is an exception to that — a collection of photos, thoughts and insights gathered by Dr. Judith Samson-French while she was on a mission to sterilize stray and feral dogs on an Indian reservation in Canada.
It has a point, without being preachy; it has heart, without being schmaltzy; it has depth, valuable insights and some awesome photographs; and it looks at the plight some reservation dogs face without being desperate, culturally insensitive or overly judgmental.
Millions of unnamed, unclaimed and often unwanted dogs roam North America’s indian reservations — some feral, some tame, many somewhere in between — doing what they need to do to survive, including repopulating.
Samson-French’s mission was to implant a new type of contraceptive into female dogs on a reservation in Alberta, Canada, but her insights extend far beyond Canada, and far beyond reproduction.
She exposes the adversity, despair and suffering reservation dogs often face, and she looks at ways to compassionately and effectively address the overpopulation problem. She examines the behavior of reservation dogs, and how they’ve evolved to the conditions they live in. And she doesn’t overlook the role humans have played — and could play – in the equation.
The book lives up to its billing as “an intimate look at the relationship between North America’s First Nations communities and dogs: seeing past our prejudices to build bridges and understanding between our often combative cultures.”
Samson-French is a veterinary clinician and surgeon with over 20 years of experience. She owns and operates a veterinary hospital in the Rocky Mountain foothills. A graduate of McGill University (B.Sc.) and the University of Alberta (M.Sc.), she received her doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Ontario Veterinary College.
All of the profits from the sales of Dogs With No Names are donated to the Dogs With No Names project, of which Samson-French is founder.
(Photo: The cover photo of “Dogs with No Names,” courtesy of evocativedogphoto.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 25th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alberta, animals, book, books on dogs, canada, contraception, control, controlling, culture, device, dog, dog books, dogs, dogs with no names, feral, implant, indian, Judith Samson-French, native americans, overpopulation, pets, population, reservations, stray
In our eighth month of bouncing about this expansive and expensive country, Ace and I seemed headed for our most frugal stretch yet – thanks mainly to lucking out and finding some free housing upon our return to Baltimore.
For the first time, in our continuing effort to see America while spending less than what we were while sedentary and housed – about $1,500 for rent, food and utilities – we were looking at a three digit number instead of four.
Now, thanks to my stupidity, and with an assist from Verizon, we’ve blown it, and somebody has some explaining to do.
Before we left on our journey, I canceled my home Internet service (through Verizon) and signed up for wireless mobile broadband (through a different part of Verizon), allowing us to get online no matter where we were for $59 a month – the package they suggested for a heavy user.
It worked pretty great. There were only two or three locations in our 22,000 miles of travels, where service was non-existent or spotty.
I was so pleased, I even eventually sent Verizon the payment they were seeking from me for home Internet service for the month following the date I moved out of my house. It was basically a choice between paying the money I didn’t really owe, being regularly harassed by the credit agency to which they turned the matter over, or spending far too much time on the phone, holding and then some, to try and straighten it out.
All was going smoothly with my wireless mobile broadband — or so I thought until last week, when Verizon informed me that for the past two months I’d gone over monthly limit, and that I owed them more than $400. Read more »
Posted by John Woestendiek February 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: a team, access, baltimore, bills, broadband, budget, chat, communications, device, dog's country, dogscountry, expenses, free, frugality, gigabytes, giggedtybyes, hold, hot spot, house, household, hulu, internet, limits, maryland, mobile, money, on hold, overages, savings, techno-whipped, technology, television, travel, traveling, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, tv, tv on the internet, tv watching, verizon, verizon wireless, website, wi-fi, wireless
Your dog may soon be tweeting.
Japan’s Index Corp., a mobile content provider, plans to launch an iPhone adaptation of the “Bowlingual” dog emotion translator that it says will translate dog barks into English and tweet them out to the world.
The original Bowlingual device, first offered in 2002 by Takara Tomy, consists of a microphone that goes around the dog’s neck and a handheld receiver with LCD screen that gives a written readout of the emotion a dog’s bark is expressing: sad, frustrated, needy, happy, on guard and “self-expressive.”
(That last one puzzles me. I wouldn’t consider it an emotion, and it seems any bark would be self expressive. Then again, maybe something is getting lost in translation.)
The Japanese company plans to launch the new iPhone app this summer, PCWorld reports.
Index is planning to charge $4.99 for the app, said Sonoko Tatsuno, a spokeswoman for the company in Tokyo — considerably cheaper than the $229 stand-alone version. A Japanese version of the new app will come out first, followed by an English version.
In addition to translating a dog’s bark, the software can capture a picture of the dog, using the iPhone’s built-in camera. The resulting picture can then be combined with the “translation” and sent directly from the iPhone to Twitter.
The original product proved to be a hit in Japan selling around 300,000 units, It was also put on sale in the U.S. and South Korea.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ap, app, application, barks, bowlingual, device, dog, dogs, emotions, frustrated, happy, index corp. takara tomy, iphone, japan, japanese, needy, networking, on guard, pets, sad, social, technology, translate, translator, tweet, tweeting, twitter
We’re going to withhold comment — since we’ve no experience with it — on how new, effective and convenient a product this is.
Don’t let that stop you, though.
Here, for your consideration, is the dog chastity belt, or PABS, which stands for Pet Anti Breeding System, invented by Dexter Blanch of Shreveport, Lousisana, who, as you can tell by his shirt, is president of Highly Favored Creations, LLC.
Blanch’s motto, when it comes to protecting the virtue of bitches in heat is: “Stop it, block it, lock it.”
Blanch touted his product at this year’s Westminster Dog Show where, according to him, it was a big hit with breeders.
The strap-on, machine washable device allows dogs to carry on with their bodily functions, but prevents any unwanted and accidental breeding. According to the website, Pabsforpets.com, the belts are a good alternative for owners that cannot fix their pets for health reasons, and for breeders who don’t want their prized bitches accosted/wooed by non-purebreds.
The standard model starts at $65 for small dogs and costs $85 for large ones, and the sanitary pads are extra.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 15th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: block it, breeders, chastity belt, device, dexter blanch, dog, dogs, highly favored creations, lock it, louisiana, pabs, pabsforpets.com, pet anti breeding system, pets, products, purebreds, shreveport, stop it, westminster
It pains me to report that the PooTrap, a strap-on device that catches your dog’s poop before it hits the ground, is not a comedy bit, but a real product.
Its website, pootrapusa.com doesn’t seem to be working right now, which I hope isn’t a result of high demand for the device, because it’s downright silly. I’m not certain dogs can feel embarassment, but if they can’t, a few hours in one of these get ups should do the trick.
Other than its possible use on an ill dog, ala diapers, the PooTrap, gets our nomination, sight unseen (other than in the video) for the dump.
A look at the website’s FAQs, as reported by Crunchgear.com, indicates the makers of PooTrap aren’t real knowledgeable about dogs, or the English language:
Posted by John Woestendiek August 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: catcher, catches, device, diapers, dog, dogs, environment, feces, harness, pollution, poo, poop, pootrap, pootrapusa, product, scoop, shit, strap-on, technology, video, waste
An entrepreneur in France has introduced the “Dog-o-Matic,” a laundromat-style machine that washes and dries a dog in about a half hour.
Romain Jarry, 31, says the device has been a hit in his home town of St. Max, and insists it’s neither cruel nor harmful to dogs, according to China Daily.
He charges about $20 for a small load, $33 for a medium-sized one, and $47 for super-sized.
“It doesn’t take long to wash the dog – usually a few minutes,” Jarry said. “The longest part is the drying. The dogs don’t seem to get bored. They just sit there and they come out clean. We are really hoping it will take off and that other places will start buying in the machines.”
Jarry said he hopes to make the machines available in England within the next year, but admits it may take time for people to get used to the idea.
Afraid we have to give this one — convenient as it might be — a big paws down.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 19th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: device, dog, dog-o-matic, dogomatic, dogs, dryer, drying, france, french, grooming, laundromat, machine, romain jarry, video, washer, washing