Einstein has his own Twitter account...

I got Einstein, my Siberian Husky, my best friend for over 10-years, his own twitter account through the neatest little gizmo called: Puppy Tweets.

Puppy Tweets is a Mattel product which consists of a collar widget for your dog, which connects wirelessly to a USB dongle on either your PC or Mac. The marketing (as opposed to the reality) of Puppy Tweets is simply - when your dog initiates some sort of physical activity - moving around, barking, etc., the device fires off a tweet to the dongle which is then sent to the twitter account you created for your dog.

  • Ever wonder what your pet is doing while your away? Whenever your dog moves or barks, the Puppy Tweets™ tag detects it and sends a Tweet via Twitter. You can follow your dog's Twitter feed on your computer or smart phone all day. Puppy Tweets™ is a great way to brighten any pet owner's day!

The "Follow Me" graphic, above, is the link to my dog's twitter account: woof_einstein.  After a couple weeks of tweeting, I'm happy, and somewhat concerned, to report that he has several followers and, yesterday, his first re-tweet.

Anyway, Puppy Tweet is currently offered by Think Geek, on-sale, for $9.99.  At this price, I couldn't pass it up.  When the item arrived, I hooked the device to my windows vista box.  Configuration has the potential for being a huge pain.  To initialize the device, which ships with the battery de-installed, you have to remove the back case/cover which requires a really tiny phillips screw driver.  The reset button for the device is hidden behind this cover so, potentially, any time you need to reset the device, you're going to find yourself digging through the crap and clutter of your desk drawer looking for that little screwdriver.

(Hint:  get your Dremel out and drill a paperclip-sized hole into the back of the case over the reset-button.  The device won't be "technically" water-proof anymore, but I didn't really see a whole lot of gasketing going on anyway when I had the back cover off so, meh.  If you have a water dog, you'll want to take the device off before you send the dog into the lake, you know?)

Following the set-up instructions on the website made installation and configuration easy.  Within minutes, the device was enable, configured and tweeting!

Ok - now the reality of the device.

  • On a windows box, it was nothing but trouble.  For some reason, I kept losing the signal from the device to the dongle.  And, everytime I lost the signal, I had to reset the device.  Which means rooting around for the little phillips screwdriver again.  Which became a real pain in the ass real quick.  So, after a day of this, I deinstalled from the windows box, and installed the software on my iMac under Leopard.  Since then, there's not been a single problem with the connection.
  • The tweets are random and have nothing to do with what's happening with your dog.  Puppy Tweets says the device has a sound and motion detector, but as far as I can tell, the tweets appear to be pretty random.
  • There's no tweet that tells me when the dongle has lost-contact with the device.  This was what I had perceived as being really value-add for the device.  If the dog escaped from the back-yard, breaking the connection by range to the dongle, I was hoping the dongle would be smart enough to tweet that contact would be lost.
    • (This doesn't happen.)
    • What does happen is that you get a little dialog that pops on your desktop telling you the dongle is no longer communicating with the device.
  • The tweets are original and entertaining.  You can set-up the tweet frequency of the device to one of three settings - Einstein uses the medium tweet frequency.
    • I did notice that when I break connection to the dongle, it resets the device and I see tweetpeats (tm).

This device is fun and, for $10, is good entertainment.  My sister recently got into the tweetsphere and I loved trolling her by telling her that Einstein has 5x the followers that she has...