Friday, October 29, 2010

Ten iPhone Apps for the "Pet-Set"

An email sent to my folks on Friday afternoon carried the following subject line: "I Drank the Kool-Aid" and ended with the default device signature line "Sent from my iPhone". So yeah, I did it. After long-resisting the mass iPhone (and smartphone) hysteria I finally pulled that trigger and purchased an iPhone and not just ANY iPhone - I went with the iPhone 4. 
Yep, I drank the Kool-Aid....and it was apple
flavored.

Then the next morning at the crack of dawn I headed off to the MVKC obedience trial - inadvertently leaving my laptop's power adapter at home - effectively forcing me onto the iPhone to get on the net. I spent a good portion of Saturday playing with the iPhone - browsing for apps and figuring my way around....and I really didn't expect to say this, but I'm already dependent on it and I'm  strangely OK with that... It's a great tool for so many reasons and I can do much more on it than I ever anticipated being able to do. As one of my iPhone carrying co-workers so gleefully said on Monday "Wow, you've got to be one of the fastest iPhone converts ever!" Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.... 

I spent quite a bit of time poking around the App Store looking for cool apps to play with. I downloaded a few (some of them were deleted almost immediately). I was warned by a fellow iPhone owner that the app store was a dangerous place - you could need a second mortgage if you aren't careful - and that second mortgage would come $1.99 at a time...

I found a few useful apps for dog show folks, pet owners, competitors and anyone else who might need to keep track of points, vaccinations and registration numbers. Here are my top 10 iphone apps for this group I'll call the "Pet-Set".

Agility Vision's iLog
1) Agility Vision's iLog:
Published by our friends at Agility Vision (the same folks who bring us livestream and DVDs of the AKC National Championships, European Open, FCI, etc), iLog ($19.99) effectively replaces the classic agility records book - plus some. It takes a while to get everything setup - your dogs' names, registration numbers, microchip numbers - all optional information - but numbers I need to have with me anyhow. Once you have a dog created you can start adding events (and runs). You enter the static information such as date, venue, club name, dog's name, jump height, SCT, time, Q/NQ, yards per second, judge's name, class, surface, etc and iLog wlll calculate MACH points. double Q's and YPS. Over time you can look at YPS over various surfaces and trial sites. There's even the ability to photograph your course map and store it with your dog's results for that course. SLICK! I spent a couple of hours entering Teller's runs for the last year or so - trying to get his MACH points in iLog to match AKC's records - I think I've accomplished that, but with the AKC lag in processing results I won't know for sure for another week or so - I'm within 5 points though! Agility Vision also produces a course designing app (Agility iMap) and a Rally Signs flashcard app.

2) DogPark Finder
Dog Park Finder
I'm generally not a fan of dog parks - I find that there are WAY too many owners who are intent on bringing dogs who are wholly not suitable for that kind of environment. I'm not a fan of "let them work it out" and I will not subject my dogs to the aggression, resource guarding and bullying that go on at most dog parks...however, I have two dogs that are very much accustomed to getting out and running off-leash every day AND I travel a lot. It's sometimes hard to find a place to let them run and fetch off-leash. I have found a few parks here and there that are relatively clean and I've been able to find times when there aren't a lot (or any) other dogs at the park (dinner time is a perfect time to hit most parks).  I distinctly remember visiting my parents in Virginia last fall and driving for HOURS from park to park to park looking for a place where my dogs could be off-leash. If I had this app I could have found one (40 minutes away) and waited for a suitable time to take them out. 
DogPark Finder by DogParkUSA is a FREE app, though there is a paid version (DogPark Finder Plus) for $1.99 which promises 250,000 more parks, beaches and trails than the free app. And includes data on dogpark amenities such as benches and bathrooms.

3) Rally Obedience by ACD Services Inc.
Rally Obedience is a flash card application for all current rally signs in AKC, APDT, UKC and ASCA. Some limited ability to put together a course (called a practice area). Rally Obedience is $.99 at the App Store.

4) iBooks and the AKC regulations documents
My iBooks loaded with
AKC rules and regs
iBooks by Apple Inc is native on the IOS 4.0. With iBooks you can download various out of copyright titles (I'm actually reading Alice in Wonderland at the moment), but iBooks can also open and manage PDF files. I didn't initially see the benefit here - now I do! I've downloaded all of the regulations books I might ever need access to: Obedience Regulations, Agility Regulations, AKC Agility Judges' Guidelines, Rules Applying to Dog Shows, Dealing with Misconduct (I'm often on various event committees for the local obedience/rally and agility trials). Now I've got all the answers at my fingertips - almost instantly! Slick eh?

5) Dog Show Pro by Brian Beninger ($1.99)
Dog Show Pro is to Conformation shows what iLog is to agility trials. Scalable for multiple dogs (I'm thinking professional handlers should make use of this app!), Dog Show Pro has sections to add each dog (Name, date of birth, Registration numbers (AKC, CKC, etc), Breeder and Owner. You can use Dog Show Pro to keep track of wins and points - but also enter opening and closing dates for upcoming shows. There's also a space for breed club information - including reminders when dues are - ummm - due. I've written to Mr. Beninger  (aka Grandpa Brian) in the hopes that he'll publish an obedience/rally record keeping application as well...

MyPets Info
Q the Kitty
6) MyPets Info by Gilbert Farabaugh (FREE)
MyPets Info is a database application that keeps records on all of your critters: Dog, Cat, Horse, Frog, Rabbit, Bird, Hamster, Iguana, Mouse, Turtle, Fish or "other". Here you can manage license and registration numbers, Vet's name and numbers, vaccination schedules and expirations. It's not a super powerful database application - but it's a free app and it serves as advertised. Plus, I really try to make sure that my "other" gets into the vet for it's annual vacinations.

7) DogTracker by Jonathan Hendrix ($1.99)
In a similar vein to MyPets Info is DogTracker. DogTracker is considerably more robust though - with a hint of nag. Fluffy is due for her bath and grooming. Your dog license needs to be renewed tomorrow. Users can configure daily routines and email reports of activities to multiple owners. I can see how this might be a great app for boarding facilities - but honestly it's a bit more detail than I really need to track (if you know what I mean).

8) Fido Factor - Dog Friendly Guide by Ketu Patel (FREE)
Calling itself the "ultimate mobile guide to dog friendly locations", The Fido Factor content is user generated, so the DB is constantly growning. Categories include Restaurants, Beaches, Pet Stores, Services (Groomers), Lodging and Veterinarians. 

9) 130 Dog Treats by iTech Simplified, LLC ($.99)
Regulations for Agility Trials
iBooks by Apple, Inc
Not so much an app per se, but a cookbook of pet treats. I didn't count all of them but I presume there are indeed 130 different recipes for dog treats - most with cute names like "Poodle Pasta", "ShihTzu Sushi" and "Sheltie Scones". Note: There's a Labrador Loaf - but shockingly no golden retriever inspired recipes....hummmm....Discrimination? I'm not a baker and I don't have a ton of time to spend baking bon-bons for the boys - but I'd consider some poodle pasta - as long as it doesn't contain actual poodles.

10) Road Trip LE by Darren Stone (FREE)
OK, so not strictly dog-related, but when you spend as much time in the van as I do MPG is an important metric of overall automotive health. There's a pro version of Road Trip ($1.99), but I have to say that the Light version does everything I wanted it to do - and I tried a dozen of MPG apps before I found one that I liked. The premise is that you enter your odometer reading at each fill-up, along with the total gallons consumed and the price per gallon. RoadTrip does the rest - plotting the data over time. I've long managed all of my gas mileage (first with my Saabs, then with my Saturn and now with my Kia) - but I'd been tracking MPG in a spreadsheet with formulas. This is SO much easier - and no more hunting for missing slips when it's time for data entry!

Bonus App:
11) Audible by Audible Inc.
I confess. I'm totally addicted to my audiobooks.They've become such an enjoyable part of my roadtrips and Audible has made that happen for me. Sure, I could go to the library and sort through their meager selection of current audiobooks, then feed cd after cd into my CD player (the one in my van that I've actually never used) - or I can visit audible and use my monthly credits. No trip to the library to pick-up or drop off, no late fees and no more banged up crappy over-used media that skips and pops because the last borrower's toddler decided to chew on disk 5.


1 comment:

Garrett @ Fido Factor said...

Thanks for mentioning Fido Factor! We're getting 50-100 new locations a week from our users as well as lots of reviews. It only takes one or two active users in your area to make it a great resource for everyone.

We're also planning on making some updates to our app (like better search).

Don't forget we have a great website and also a mobile site which works on any smartphone and has a more powerful search: m.fidofactor.com