Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dogster Dog Park - iPhone App Review

Over the last few days I've been testing the new iPhone app from leading dog social networking site, Dogster. Dogster is a very popular site that gets over 500k unique visits a month. To be frank, I'm not quite sure why.

Shortly after getting my puppy I signed up for a Dogster account. I spent a few hours building my profile and surfing around the site. Before long I started to get messages from dogs across the country. They sent me virtual bones and said they wanted to be my friend. Meanwhile my new puppy was chewing my shoe and causing as much trouble as possible. Personally, I'd rather be out at the dog park with my pup. My favorite dog websites and iPhone apps are the ones that help me keep track of my pup or find fun things to do.

Dog Park by Dogster has nothing to do with a real dog park. Much like the Dogster website, it is an app designed to let you send messages to other users in your best doggie voice. You can add a profile photo, post your status, and share virtual goods. However, it does not have any connection do your actual Dogster profile. Frankly the app leaves me a bit confused. Much of what it does can be achieve with your dog friends on twitter. And if I do want to message other dogs they should be the ones I already made friends with on Dogster. If all this sounds interesting to you then be sure to check out the Dog Park iPhone app from Dogster. It is free and currently live in the app store.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fido Factor Dog Friendly iPhone App

Here's a short YouTube demo video of the new Fido Factor dog friendly local search & travel iPhone app. Check back soon for a full review.

Best iPhone apps at AppStoreHQ

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

iPhone Dog-friendly App Review

The number of dog related applications in the AppStore is growing everyday. There are apps for tracking your dog's health, simulating a clicker noise, storing your doggie pictures, and most importantly for finding dog-friendly locations and services. Over the last few months I've been testing four applications that help you find dog parks and other locations: OffLeash, PetMD Finder, Eukanuba Off Leash, & Fido Factor.

OffLeash was one of the first popular dog park applications. The application was developed by The Casual Game Network and apparently was acquired by Eukanuba. Overall this was clean and simple app that only listed official off-leash parks. I didn't find it very useful in San Francisco since I already know where the main dog parks are and what I really want to discover is the hidden gems. However, I did use it once successfully when I was on a weekend adventure with my dog in Santa Cruz.

Eukanuba Off Leash has taken the The Casual Game Network's app and spiced it up with their own branding. The vibrant pink color is attractive and overall the user interface is very pleasing. The app gives you the ability to search by zip code or current location. Once you find a park you can save it to your address book, email it, view on map, or get directions. Unfortunately, there is no meaningful information listed for parks (water, fence, etc) and no pictures. For my local area I've been disappointed that many parks are missing. There is a prominent suggest feature that lets you email Eukanuba new locations. However, I find that I'm not very motivated to spend the effort to add new locations. Overall this is a good free app to have on your phone but don't expect too much from it.

PetMD Finder is the most feature rich dog-friendly application I've used. The app lets you search for daycare, parks, sitters, walkers, clinics, groomers, and hotels. Again, you can search by location or zip code and view the results as a list or on the map. Much like Eukanuba, their data is often lacking but I'm a bit more tolerant because they have such a variety of data. Also, their process for adding a new location is much easier than other applications because it has structured fields and utilizes the GPS. However, there is a major technical issue with this application that makes it almost unusable; the search functionality frequently gets hung up trying to connect to the server. This seems to occur on both the cellular network and on wifi. I would not recommend this application until the developer resolves this issue.

The most recent addition to the list, and by far the most useful, is Fido Factor. The Fido Factor app lists all types of dog-friendly locations including bars, parks, attractions, restaurants, and more. The dog-friendliness of these locations is rated in "bones" and "Fido Factors" which include availability of water, outside seating, poop bags, leash rules, and more. In addition to the application, Fido Factor has a great new website were users can write reviews and share them with friends through Facebook Connect. The application currently covers the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston with more national locations being added every day. In the meantime, users can add any U.S. location which will then show up on the iPhone app. As an added bonus, Fido Factor makes a donation to the SPCA every time somebody adds a location or writes a review.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dog-friendly Honda Element

Now if only they made a normal looking dog-friendly car. I'll take a dog-friendly CRV please.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dog-friendly Maps for Android

Last week I got the T-Mobile Android G1 phone. Of course one of the first things I did was to hit the Android Marketplace and see what dog related applications were available. If you're an Android user you already know that the pickings are pretty slim. However, after playing with my phone a bit longer I discovered the Google My Maps Editor application. The power of this application is that it brings any custom Google map to your Android phone. You can either create your own maps or you can search for public maps and save them to your favorites. Both of my dog-friendly maps, Bay Area Dog Life and Dog Life USA, can be viewed on your phone.

To get my dog-friendly (or any public map) on your phone just log in to your Google account and go to Google Maps. Then search for public maps and save them to your favorites. When you open the My Maps Editor application on your phone you will see all your favorite maps. When you view the map on your phone it gets cashed to the memory and becomes available offline. Although you can't search for specific locations, you can use the GPS "My Location" feature to drill down and see what's nearby.

Both of these maps are open for anyone to edit so please help me add new places to the map.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mashable iPhone Apps Review

Mashable recently reviewed a few dog iPhone applications including Off Leash & Pet Phone. There is an ever growing number mobile dog applications in the AppStore. I've already downloaded a number of the dog iPhone apps and one of these days I'll get around to reviewing them. So far I'm mostly unimpressed. Pet Phone is probably the only one I would recommend at this point and it could use some serious UI improvement. You can read the Mashable review here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Take your dog skiing

Looking for a fun places to take your pooch this winter? How about the nearest ski resort? City Dog Magazine recently profiled the top 10 dog friendly ski resorts. The list includes Whistler, Crystal Mountain, Mount Baker, Squaw Valley and others. Check out the full list here.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

When walking the dog is too much exercise

In case you haven't heard, dog treadmills are all the rage. In fact, Ashley Simpson was just seen exercising her Bull Dog on a treadmill in a Dog Whisper episode. If you're 72 years old or just to lazy to walk maybe a dog treadmill is right for you. Check out the happy pup in the DogTread video below. The treadmills start at $499 and get more expensive depending on the size.

Other treadmill vendors include Jog A Dog and Fit Fur Life.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dog Transportation

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dog Walking Arcade Game

As always the Japanese have found a new way to take pet ownership into the virtual world. Tokyo Mango has an interesting post on a new dog walking arcade game. I wonder what this is doing to the dog walking business in Japan. At least in San Francisco dog walking isn't cheap. Who knew people were willing to pay to do it?