Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dog Whistles and Headaches

I was doing what everyone else does when they're bored and armed with an iPhone.  I started looking for free apps.

Dangerous?  Not really, I've found some quite interesting apps on the iPhone.  I use it like an iPod Touch which is to say I don't use it as a phone since the data plan is about $100 a month.  While at home, it's playing one of a number of streams via the internet.  All of which are done using a free app.

While looking at the list of free apps on the app store I found one that got my curiosity up.  It was simply called the "Dog Whistler".   Cute.  It had a plot of grass there, a picture of a dog whistle, and a helpful slider telling you the frequency that you can broadcast a sound at. 

Having been listening to Classical Pops all morning, I thought lets see what it does.  After figuring out that it doesn't play with the headphones on (probably a very good thing) I managed to get it to burst out a tone.  

Or so I thought.   Wait, I can't be that deaf, my hearing isn't THAT bad!  Lets try this again...

Turn the volume up full, try it again... ahhh there we go, I can hear it.  The volume was set for Bach, Mozart, and Resphigi, not "animal testing".

12000 Hz tone blasting out of the little speaker means that it's not particularly loud.

They call it a dog whistle, lets see what the result was on the dog.

Nothing.  Mrs Dog was asleep and not getting up for "animal testing". 

Walk over to the bird cage where Oscar the Parrot was.  Press the picture of the whistle and ... he walks over to the phone and tastes it.

I live with two pets that are so laid back and so used to weird sounds that the dog sleeps through it and the parrot tastes it.  After all, the parrot laughs like me and says hello when he wants something like my peanut butter cracker this morning. 

No, silly bird, mine.  Not for birds!  In fact the little kitchen in this house gets very crowded when I'm making food with critters begging for samples.

I'm playing around with the app thinking I should be able to get at least a reaction from the dog out of it other than boredom and contempt so I drop the frequency.

The result?   Mrs Dog opens her eye.  Not both, just one.  Continues to snore but looks right at me.   Dog on Auto-Pilot Auto-Contempt.  The parrot continues making a mess by eating his kibble.  I know that for a fact because a red orange crumb shoots between the bars of the cage and goes down the back of my polo shirt.

One other thing.

I now have a headache.

The rule is if you want to be cute and use an annoying piece of software be careful.  You may end up with crumbs down your back, a headache and a withering look from your dog.

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