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Tag: watch dogs

Turning stray dogs into crime fighters

Strutting down the street together in their matching vests, these Thailand dogs look a little like an alliance of superheroes — and that’s the idea.

The nonprofit animal welfare organization Soi Dog has teamed up with an advertising agency in Thailand to develop a program that will turn Bangkok’s stray dogs into crime fighters.

The plan is to outfit strays with camera-equipped vests. The cameras activate when a dog wearing the vest barks aggressively and the video is transmitted to police agencies or anyone else who wants to watch via a mobile phone or commuter application.

Stray dogs are abundant in Bangkok and other Thai cities — and they are often looked down upon or abused.

smartvestThe “smart vest,” according to those refining the prototype, could help their public image, protect them from foul play and provide more eyes on the streets and alleys of Thailand’s big cities.

In that way, the dogs often viewed as nuisances would become guardians angels on the crime-ridden streets and alleyways where they live their lives.

“It will make people feel that stray dogs can become night-watches for the communities,” Pakornkrit Khantaprap, a member of the creative team that came up with the idea at the Cheil advertising agency, a subsidiary of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics, told Reuters.

The project began in March this year and took about five months to reach the point where it could be tested.

The developer says a lot more tests are needed before the vest can be introduced into communities for trial runs.

Martin Turner, managing director of the Phuket-based Soi Dog Foundation, which works to save stray dogs and cats across Thailand, welcomed the initiative.

Turner says there are many cases of cruelty against street dogs in Thailand, despite the introduction of the country’s first Animal Welfare Law in late 2014.

The long-term goal of the project is to create a more harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship between strays and their communities.

“Our aim is to get people to perceive stray dogs in a better way and ultimately, solve the stray dog issue in the long term,” Pakornkrit explained. “The stray dog issue is becoming more crucial in Thailand. This issue leads to a bigger problem of animal cruelty and dog meat trades. We do not want to see that.”

(Video and photo from Reuters)

Fireworks silenced after complaints they were too loud — in a video game

A temporary Independence Day fireworks celebration in the online game Watch Dogs 2 was silenced on July 4 due to concerns that they were too loud.

At least one player said they were scaring their dog.

The fireworks had been added to the game as part of a temporary update that was scheduled to stay in effect from June 29 through July 10.

But the bangs were turned off on July 4 after the company caved in to complaints that they were annoying.

Too bad we can’t do that in real life.

This story — reported in Kotaku.com — has several layers of absurdity. We’ll just point out a few of them.

First, as you might be asking yourself, if the game noises are so bothersome, why don’t players just mute their devices?

Or why don’t they just not play, as in turning off the whole game? The answer to that one is probably that they are so hopelessly addicted to it that the idea doesn’t even occur to them.

Beyond that, though, there’s something weird about people launching a campaign to silence the turn-off-able fireworks in a virtual game when, in real life, there has never been much of a sustained effort to silence the non turn-off-able ones.

Could it be that some of us have become more concerned about the quality of their virtual lives than the quality of their real ones?

In any event, the protesting gamers took to Twitter, where they described the sounds of the fireworks as “completely obnoxious,” “f—ing annoying” and scary to dogs.

WD2Ubisoft, the maker of Watch Dogs 2, initially defended the fireworks, stating on a Reddit forum thread that “While you may find them loud in-game, they are really loud in real life too! The sound carries over the water and you can hear them all over the Bay!”

On the Fourth, though, Ubisoft announced it was silencing the fireworks.

“The people have spoken and we have carried out their will! There was an annoying bug that snuck into our Independence Day Event that made the sound effects from the fireworks noticeable from everywhere on the map. They have been turned off as to avoid any further noise complaints,” a company representative noted on Reddit.

(We’d suggest watching no more than the first two minutes of the video above, which is plenty of time to get the idea.)

” … When you’re playing the game at night for hours and can’t escape the popping no matter where you are, that’s not a positive experience for the player,” a representative admitted. “It’s not possible to rush a fix for this so we made a tough choice to remove them. The heart says no but the ear drums say yes.”

If only the promoters of real fireworks could get that message. Dogs everywhere — and more than a few real life humans — would appreciate it.