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What would it be like if pets had cell phones?

By C.J. CASTILLO
Nov. 2, 2008 at 5:02 a.m.
Updated Nov. 4, 2009 at 5:04 a.m.


I recently wrote an article about parents communicating with their children through text messaging. Sending a text message is an easy and quick way to keep tabs on children, find out where they are, when they are coming home and remind them to bring in the trash can.

Well, what about those of us who would like to call up our pets now and then? (Disclaimer: I am in no way comparing owning a pet to having children. Please no angry letters or e-mails). I'm sure plenty of us out there (OK, maybe just me) wouldn't mind catching up with Fido or Fluffy during the day just to find out what they are doing.

For those of you who think I've totally lost my mind (maybe it's the lack of sleep, or the seven energy drinks I've consumed in the last hour), just indulge me for a moment.

A couple of years ago I remember reading an article in Wired magazine about a cell phone that was targeted at pet owners, dog owners to be exact. The product was named PetsCell, a bone-shaped cell phone that attaches to a dog's collar. PetsCell combines the use of GPS technology and two-way communication in an effort to help track your dog if it ever got lost. Although PetsCell is not commercially available yet, don't you wonder what it would be like if pets had cell phones?

I imagine that certain pets would be easier to communicate with than others. If you had a golden retriever named Bo, I'm sure he would always return your calls, call you to see how your day was going and phone you when he was going out in the yard to chase squirrels. Once he got text messaging down (kinda hard to text with paws) Bo would let you know the mailman delivered your package from The Sharper Image. A cat on the other hand, well, that would be different.

Take for example, my cat, Mango. She would never return my calls. She would look at her cell phone, see my name on caller ID then look away in disgust. When she finally does decide to call me back two hours later, she would probably say something like, "Hey, what's up with all the store brand cat food? Ever heard of a brand name? Later. I'm going to Mittens's house for dinner. Her owner serves Fancy Feast."

I imagine a text message conversation with Mango would go something like this (keep in mind my text messaging skills are horrible):

CJ: Wherz u adt? (Translation: Where you at?)

Mango: Out

CJ: When will you return? (This is actually a preprogammed text, the only one I have. I use it for everything.)

Mango: l8r (Text sent out to after 30 minutes.)

CJ: Ipk b hbm po 7 (Translation: I'll be home at seven, see you then)

Mango: Whatevs

CJ: Sde ou8 ac hnb2 (Translation: See you at home)

Mango: k

CJ: When will you return?

CJ Castillo is the interactivity editor for the Victoria Advocate. Questions about all things tech can be e-mailed to cjcastillo@vicad.com or sent care of Victoria Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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