I just ran across this video on a Bloomberg Politics sidebar. As TechCrunch explained it back in February:
iCPooch… provides a plastic housing for repurposing an Android/iOS smartphone or tablet as a video terminal through which you can see and be seen by your dog when you’re not at home.
So, to be clear, you’re going to have to provide the most expensive chunk of hardware required to power this device yourself, fitting it between iCPooch’s adjustable brackets…
iCPooch holds pet treats (although it’s specifically designed for larger dog biscuits) that the owner can dispense remotely via the ‘drop cookie’ button in the corresponding app… because you’re using a smartphone/tablet, the app can also support placing a videocall (via Skype and piggybacking on your home Wi-Fi network) so you can view your dog while you send a treat, and — crucially — be seen by them…
iCPooch was apparently the brainchild of 14-year-old Brooke Martin, who is credited as inventor and spokesman on the Kickstarter project page, with her dad as founder and COO. The idea came to her after the family dog suffered “separation anxiety” as a result of everyone having less time to spend hanging out at home. Ergo she wanted a way to maintain some contact with the dog, when she was out and about…
Okay, that’s a pretty good project from a 14-year-old, and I fully understand how miserable (even dangerous) separation anxiety can be for both dog and human. But still… the Kickstarter project collected almost thirty thousand dollars, from people hoping to get first dibs on a $129.99 plastic box that will — once equipped with a tablet computer, a household wifi network, and a supply of treats — enable you to yell “Boris, get off the couch!” into your smartphone and have Boris, for once, comply.
As long as you put the treat dispenser far enough from the couch, of course.
Major Major Major Major
My friends make stuff like this all the time. I’m glad a 14-year-old girl is getting in on the hacking game, not to mention (presumably) profiting from it! Good for her.
Silly thing to buy, though, still.
ETA: Sure is a bunch of investors & hangers-on there, wow. Hoping she’s getting something out of this.
Never under-estimate the amount of money Americans will spend on their fur babies. It was $56 billion last year.
If it’s between that and buying a new sofa, chair and ottoman like I did this summer (darling Junior, our new addition to the family, chewed up all the arms and corners), I’d be willing to give it a shot. ;-)
Gin & Tonic
@madmommy: I just read that Americans spent $350 million this year on Halloween costumes for their pets.
@Gin & Tonic:
It’s amazing! Don’t get the appeal, myself, but it’s not my place to say what folks spend their money on. It’s legal, not hurting anyone and contributes to the economy. I love my dog, but rawhide treats end up buried in the yard, fancy dog beds get chewed up (she prefers a cheap blanket) and squeaky toys are gutted within a day or two.She will proudly bring me the squeaker-if it’s a stuffed squeaky toy then spreading the stuffing through the house is a bonus!
My Cocker barks when I’m not home. Last week I got a wifi camera with bi-directional audio. She seems very confused by my dis-embodied voice, but she does stop barking. I do tell her that she’s a good dog and she goes back to sleep.
@Gin & Tonic: They could have put it in nice safe blue chip stocks.
@BillinGlendaleCA: I can see that being a good thing, especially if you have neighbors who are disturbed by the barking.
My Peekskill friends only bought a “costume” for one of the greyhounds — her name was Red Nurse (a red brindle) and at a crafts show we saw a nurse’s cap made for a dog. We couldn’t resist. Red let us put it on her briefly and it was worth the momentary laugh.
@BillinGlendaleCA: Mine used to howl when he thought he was alone. It was fun when He was mistaken and I was in the house. I would come into the room while he had his head back and his heart into it, and the I would howl with him. Suddenly, he would realize that someone was there and he wasn’t alone. What a happy guy he would be then.
I remember seeing a story by (I think) Andy Ihnatko touting the powers of AppleScript, because one of the things he would use it for while he was traveling was to turn on his webcam at home, see if his cat was sleeping on the printer, and turn on his Darth Vader doll to scare the cat if it was.
@PurpleGirl: Being that I live in a duplex apartment, that was a major consideration in getting the camera. Actually the neighbors are really nice and haven’t had any complaints.
Also, we’re sitting here watching a documentary about Genesis. Neither of us are fans, but it’s surprisingly interesting, especially since they got everyone — including Peter Gabriel — to sit down for a group interview. I always forget that Phil Collins was there almost from the beginning.
@Mnemosyne: I telling the dog not to bark doesn’t work, I can turn the lights off and on remotely.
@Mnemosyne: Disturbingly, I have found out that the actress who played Collins in The Blind Side and Snow White in Mirror, Miiror is Phil Collins’s daughter.
Tree With Water
Woody Allen had a dog that suffered from separation anxiety, and consequently developed a speech impediment (of sorts). Every time it barked it would stutter, “bu,bu,bu,bu,bu,bu,bu bow wow”
He started as a child actor himself — he was the Artful Dodger in the original West End production of “Oliver!” and he has a small part in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Interesting bit — I didn’t realize that Phil Collins is the drummer on “Games Without Frontiers.” No cymbals!
Howard Beale IV
Japan is back in a recession-If the US holiday season is punk and if Ebola isn’t contained, stand back-shit will get real.
@Mnemosyne: He is a very good drummer, but an insipid front man.
@Howard Beale IV: The disease is contained in first world countries. Obviously, much more needs to be done in to contain it in Africa,
Now they’re showing some of the Mike + the Mechanics stuff and I’m watching the first video and thinking, “Why is Paul Carrack playing guitar and not singing? WTF?”
(He did seem to sing a lot of their later hits, including “The Living Years.” Seriously, though.)
@Mnemosyne: I have always seen Carrack as a keyboard guy, but he really is an all-arounder. Plus, he sings.
ETA: He was a Roxy Music castoff.
Also Squeeze. But, weirdly, I first saw him as a solo artist on MTV.
(Note that the backing band of that version includes Nick Lowe, another guy who’s freakin’ everywhere in British music.)
Well, the Squeeze connection is obvious, Tempted, was a big hit. Despite that, he is not the person who comes to my mind when I think of Squeeze.
The folks at the NSA are wicked smart. And no one would suspect a “14 year old” kid. Brilliant.
Don’t know if it something widely found, nor how the one here stays in business being that it is parked at an out of the way location, but there is a food truck here which sells only their own “homemade and organic” dog snacks.
I just saw Lily Collins play Rosie in Love, Rosie. Appealing actress, but the movie is a mediocre rom-com.
Was lucky enough to see Squeeze live a couple of times…………..just fucking great. Funnily enough, one of those times they were opening for Costello………………..turns out I’ve seen Elvis three times, not twice………
I just remember the Squeeze part of the show better. Huh.
Or, you can get a foobler and a webcam.
If he’d done nothing else, Phil Collins would still get into Heaven on the strength of “Easy Lover.”
Twas good that Difford and Tillbrook realized that neither of them had the right voice for “Tempted,” but it’s hard to imagine Carrick singing “Goodbye Girl” or “Trust Me to Open My Mouth.”
dance around in your bones
@Omnes Omnibus: You are awesome, howling with yer dog :)
We used to ‘babysit’ a totally crazy white German Shepard on our ranch, and she would bark and bark and bark at night. We didn’t have any neighbors to be bothered by the barking, but it sure bothered US.
My husband would say “I’m going to go read Akcha a magazine” and then he’d whack her with it a few times and then stuff it under her collar..
Jeebus, she was one of the dumbest dogs I ever knew. Pure-bred, of course.
@dance around in your bones: Well, look at it from Akcha’s point of view: She hated being alone in the desert in the dark. So she howled… which is, after all, how canids, pack animals, stay in touch with their pack members. When she howled — in your primate opinion — for “too long”, your husband would come over and she would not be alone for a while. Of course, he biffed her with the magazine when he did, but a German Shepard is built to take the ‘tough love’ from dominant pack members. What your husband taught Akcha was that, if only she howled loud enough & long enough, she would get her wish not to be alone!
Actually, Akcha was quite trainable… your husband trained her to howl for companionship no matter how long she had to keep howling. That’s not what you guys thought you were teaching her, so maybe we should say that Akcha taught him to respond to her howling?
dance around in your bones
@Anne Laurie: We had A LOT OF coyotes on our ranch, and I think that”s what Akcha was howling at, She was lucky she never got lured into a pack of those dudes, cause they would have torn her to pieces.
May I also say that she was just an extremely dumb dog? I mean there are all kinds of humans and all kinds of dogs, and some of them are just not necessarily smart!
I’ve had many (rescue) dogs in my life, and they were ALL smarter than Akcha ……,She was just a dumb dog!
I remember when her ‘parents’ were coming down to pick her up, and we’d taken her to the groomer for a bath and etc, and then she laid under the eaves of the farmhouse whilst my husband and friend were re-roofing the house. Just laid there and got hot black tar all over her White fur.
Dumb,dumb,dumb, I used to care for her a lot, so I knew her personality. Once I was driving back from Topanga Canyon to San Diego with my dog and Akcha in the Volvo, and I’d stopp ed ata butcher’s place to get them some bones. MY dog had no problem consuming the bones, but Akcha started choking and retching and I had to stop the car on the side of the freeway to let her get it out, cause I was afraid I might have inadvertently killed the stupid dog,
I must say that the dog my friends had before Akcha was just awesome, so it was nothing more than genetics that made Ahcha so bloody stupid ;)
@dance around in your bones:
Oh, quite possibly. But it sounds like she trained you guys successfully, by her standards!
As the GOP proves every damned day, you don’t have to be smart to succeed, as long as you’re very very very persistent. That’s the ongoing Democratic problem: We give up. We get bored. We “quit while we’re ahead” or “chose not to throw good campaign money after bad”. The Repubs, the worst ones especially, don’t know the meaning of the word ‘quit.’ (Or of many other words, but in this case, it gives them an edge.)
dance around in your bones
@Anne Laurie: Well, I guess we could have just stuffed our ears with cotton and IGNORED her, but she was SO persistant…….Once my hubby ‘read her a magazine’ she’d shut up. so we were ALL happy :)