Before everything descends into 18 hours of post-election punditry and chaos, a quick update on the dog.
Last week he developed an infection around the site of his April surgery, complete with oozing drainage channel just below his knee. After a couple days of antibiotics, he's stopped oozing. We met with his surgeon today, and she said that the infection is in retreat, so he probably won't need additional surgery to pull the plates out. We'll continue antibiotics for three more weeks and I'll keep an eye on his knee through the end of the year.
The surgeon also hypothesized that the proximate cause of the infection was, ironically, his teeth-cleaning last month. She said she has observed cases where mouth bacteria can get into the bloodstream during cleaning, and interfaces between surgical steel and bone make good hiding places for them.
Fortunately, at 12½ years old, Parker will probably never have his teeth cleaned again—at least not by a vet while under anaesthesia.
So, Parker is fine, with no further ill effects except for another few days with the cone.
Parker did not have a good morning.
I woke him up early, then "forgot" to feed him, and wouldn't even let him lick the cream cheese off my knife when I had a bagel right in front of him. All he got was an unpleasant-tasting amino supplement and a pain pill.
He did get a ride in the car, though, which might have gotten his mind off his appetite.
But then he got unceremoniously carried up two flights of stairs (the elevator at the pet hospital was out of order) and handed off to someone who smelled like frightened cats.
Let's not even talk about the thunderstorms forecast for later today.
So, Parker is chilling at the hospital right now, with his surgery scheduled for this afternoon. Because he's in the late group, I won't get to visit him tonight, which is probably OK because that might just upset him. He should be ready to go home tomorrow late morning.
I'll post again when the surgeon calls after the operation.
Yesterday, the Nielsen Norman Group released groundbreaking research on user interface design for dogs:
There are several key usability guidelines that help dogs to have the most usable experience on modern websites and apps, particularly on mobile, tablet, and other touch-based interfaces:
- Consistency is critical. While consistency in any user experience is important, with dogs, it’s even more so. Experienced dog trainers will tell you that, for dogs to learn proper behavior, consistency in enforcing routines, expectations, and commands is critical. Some common UI culprits that provide extra difficulty for dogs are swipe ambiguity, gestures without signifiers, tap uncertainty for flat UI elements like ghost buttons, and unusual placement of common elements like navigation and search.
- Tap targets must be large. We recommend 1cm2 for human tap targets, but paws (whether belonging to cats or dogs) require larger tap sizes (of at least 3-4cm2, or even larger for Labradors and Great Danes).
- Gestures must be ergonomic for dog physiology. While many wearable interfaces now involve gestures such as swiping left or right to dismiss notifications or switch apps, these need to be modified for more ergonomic canine movements (such as “shake”). Dogs have a greater ability to move paws with precision up and down, but dogs’ range of motion along the horizontal axis is limited and relatively imprecise, so all gestures must account for this limitation.
They also give special guidance on the risks of using hamburger menus and pie charts.
The New York Times last week suggested that people who sleep with their dogs sleep just as well as those whose dogs sleep elsewhere:
The dogs wore a device called a Fitbark, an activity tracker that attaches to the collar and records whether an animal is at rest and sleeping or active and at play. The people wore an Actiwatch 2, an activity monitor that records people’s movements and whether they are sleeping soundly or not. Both monitors were set to sample movement every minute, while the humans also kept a sleep diary.
Over seven days of testing, the researchers found that with a dog in the bedroom, both the humans and the dogs slept reasonably well. Humans had a mean sleep efficiency, or the percentage of time spent asleep while in bed, of 81 percent, while dogs had a sleep efficiency of 85 percent. Levels over 80 percent are generally considered satisfactory. People slept slightly better when the dog was off the bed; dogs slept the same whether they were on the bed or in another location in the bedroom.
Dr. Carlo Siracusa, a veterinarian and the director of animal behavioral science at Penn Vet in Philadelphia, added that a dog sleeping in the same room or bed with humans won’t make Sparky think he’s top dog. “Dogs can distinguish between the relationship with its human fellows and other dogs, and the way in which they regulate their interactions with humans in the house is not trying to establish a hierarchy,” he said.
First, don't think for a moment that I haven't considered getting a Fitbark for Parker. I've always been curious what he does at day camp; I suspect he sleeps about 90% of the time.
Second, no matter how well Parker sleeps, there are sometimes days like last Thursday when he woke up with an urgent matter that he immediately discussed with the bedroom floor, even though I could have gotten him outside in seconds had he asked.
In the last seven days, these things have happened:
Can't wait to see what the next week will bring...
I'm under the weather today, probably owing to the two Messiah performances this weekend and all of Parker's troubles. So even though I'm taking it easy, I still have a queue of things to read:
I will now...nap.
Too much to read today, especially during an hours-long download from our trips over the past two weeks. So I'll come back to these:
But more seriously:
Lunch break is over.
It'll take some time to sort through the photos I took at the Bristol Renaissance Faire today, especially since I've got a 9am flight tomorrow and haven't really started packing yet.
This one, though. I mean, I had to post it:
One of the first photos I took with my poor, now-deceased G5:
Last night's Sox game was more fun than I think I could have there. First, the Sox got 7 runs in the 6th, which kept me in my seat until the game anded. Second, the Sox set the Guinness World Record for most dogs at a sporting event, with 1,122 in attendance:
The Sox needed a minimum of 1,000 dogs in attendance for the record, and the dogs had to remain in their outfield seats for a period of 10 minutes, starting at the top of the third inning, in order for the record to count.
A clock in the outfield counted down the 10 minutes during the third inning, and the Sox announced the record was achieved in the middle of the sixth inning.
“They were a little noisy but it’s kind of fun,” Sox outfielder Adam Eaton said. “It brings a different atmosphere to the ballpark. I think that’s one of the beauties of The Cell, really nothing is off limits.”
Third, the weather was pretty good:
The Cubs, meanwhile, lost to St. Louis last night, keeping their Magic Number at 3 and bringing the Cardinals to half a game behind the Giants for the NL Wild Card. The Cubs play the Cardinals again this afternoon, and I'll be at Wrigley tomorrow night when they beat the Brewers to clinch the division title. I hope.