NO CAT CALLS PLEASE

Half a century ago Andy Warhol predicted that someday everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. He forgot to mention pets.

Now there are websites devoted to making your pet stand out from the crowd. Bowser or Fluffy can even star in their own story book. And of course you can post videos — with background music and sound effects. Don’t worry that people will think you’re some kind of nut, a recent report says 65 percent of pet owners post news of their pets twice a week. Where do they post? On pet social networks, of course.

If you search on the phrase “How to Make Your Pet a Star in Social Media,” you’ll get lots of advice. ABC News has “Expert Advice on How to Make Your Pet a Social Influencer.” The L.A. Times published a piece on making your pet an Instagram star. Some of these tips involve making money. “Jill the Pomeranian” has more than 6.1 million followers on Instagram and does publicity for movies.  A New York City talent agency, “Pets on Q,”  manages animals who star in commercials, have huge followings on Instagram and can arrange book deals. We offer a sample title of our own:
“Getting Beyond Woof.”

Petlandia.com creates story books for kids with their pets in starring roles. Each is $30. There’s one about two dogs “em-bark-ing” on a trip from “Mew York” to “Hollywoof” via “San Franbiscuits.” (Do not get sick on this page.) You choose the dog illustration that most looks like your dog, cat, bunny or other, then choose the adventure you want it to star in and tell the site the pet’s name. Ready-made story: “Curley Meets Grumpy Cat in Petlandia.” Later to be a series.

Places to start your cutie-pie’s adventure: Catster.com; Dogster.com; Dogalize.com; Petbrags.com; LoveMyPets.com; Cuteness.com — which has a cute butt contest; MyDogSpace.com; Unitedcats.com — and on into the night.

UpdateA global hunt has been launched to find a specialist to help make more pets online stars. See the job description: Petlandia.com/usa/work-with-us/

Which Apple Product?

We went with a friend to the Apple store because she wanted to play a Windows program. Yes, it’s looney, but stick with it. Her question was whether she should buy a Macbook and put special software on it so that she could run an old Windows program. This was important, she said, because her favorite bridge game, from JackBridge.com, is for Windows only. Why not buy a Windows computer then? Not part of the answer; she wanted a Mac.

This is a doable thing, but just barely. The problem with putting Windows on a Mac is that you have to buy a program like the $80 “Parallels” software plus a copy of Windows, which starts at around $70, for a total investment of $150. In our experience, using Windows on a Mac is clunky. It’s cheaper and more sensible to buy an old Windows XP machine for playing those old games. We bought one for $70 a couple years ago and it’s very fast and trouble-free. If you don’t go on the Internet with it, there should be no problem.

So our friend ended up buying a new iPad, because her old iPad Mini 2 ran out of storage space and a memory stick she bought stopped working. (Not to mention there are rumors that Apple will stop offering updates for the iPad Mini 2 and the iPad Mini.) The cheapest iPad at the Apple store is $329 and has 32 gigabytes of storage. The most expensive one, the iPad Pro, is $799. Its processor is the same as the new Macbook’s, so it can handle what’s called “augmented reality” and other super tricks of the digital future. She’s loaded so she got the expensive one — in a rose-tinted case.

We bought an iPad too, the cheapest one. Our iPad Mini 2 became an ultra thin doorstop when Joy cleaned it with alcohol. The Apple Store employee said they recommend “Whoosh” screen cleaner, which is also good for your glasses. So we bought some Whoosh for $10 on Amazon. Works great.

Getting back to bridge games, our favorite is an old Windows program too. It’s part of “Bicycle Card Games,” which has a dozen card games and works with all versions of Windows. Amazon sells a used version for $20, or new for $45. It’s a great way to learn bridge, since the program won’t let you make illegal moves and the hands go by quickly.

App Happy

“InvisibleHand” from GetInvisibleHand.com (a tip of the tam-o’shanter to Adam Smith). It notifies you of price drops on shopping, flights, hotels and rental cars. The name comes from the famous statement by 18th century economist Adam Smith, who said  the invisible hand of the marketplace does a better job than government in allocating goods and services. Has anyone in the government ever read his book: “The Wealth of Nations?”

Defense

We got a new self-defense gizmo sent in for review. It’s that time of year. We used to get a lot of these things but over the years we have offended so many companies with bad reviews, that we don’t get many review thingies anymore.

This one is a pepper spray with a light and a phone call. Bob is a small fan of pepper spray. One time he demonstrated it to a visiting friend and his kids, by spraying a short squirt on the door.  That was enough to make us all leave the apartment for a while.

This one is called TigerLight “D.A.D 2” and lets you do a practice “spray” where nothing comes out. That’s fortunate, since the real stuff is awful, though not deadly. According to a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department study, the D.A.D. 2 stops 96 percent of attackers. (But officer, what about the other four percent?)

Well, we don’t do much attack stopping in L.A. so we just looked at the company claims. They say the spray is six times stronger than the one used by U.S. Marines and can hit an attacker up to eight feet away. The extra gimmick they have is a button to alert any similarly armed friends within a mile of you. The connection works through your cell phone. Said friends also have to have downloaded the app that lets them get the alert.

There were a few glitches in setup. After creating an account, the only way to exit the setup screen was to hit cancel. After logging in, it said “Wellcome,” instead of “Welcome.” We also saw “truns” instead of “turns.” There were no instructions on how to insert a battery in the device and in fact we were never able to do it. We’re suspicious of companies that can’t spell.

 

 

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