Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

With This Gadget, iPhone Is for the Birds

We at AllThingsD are often bombarded with email pitches for new and innovative or “disruptive” technologies. But when we get one that says technology is for the birds, we can’t help but take a second look.

This particular pitch crows about Bird Photo Booth, a Kickstarter-funded contraption that lets bird-watchers remotely view, photograph, video and even talk — yes, talk, via FaceTime — to backyard birds. Users can then share their findings to social networks (which one must assume includes tweeting). It works with iPhone, iPod Touch and GoPro cameras, and has a suggested price of $149.

This initially brought to mind images of blue jays wearing GoPro cameras, or parrots squawking “Siri want a cracker?” into iPhones. But the device is actually a kind of bird feeder that houses your iPhone or GoPro, so you’re getting, uh, a bird’s-eye view of the birds at the feeder.

Okay, here comes the cold water: Since it’s a Kickstarter project, this bird feeder isn’t shipping yet. When you “buy” one, you’re simply contributing to future production of the product — assuming creator Bryson Lovett hits his fundraising goal of $35,000 in the next 27 days.

And while the Bird Photo Booth is said to be weatherproof, it’s not waterproof — so you probably wouldn’t want to forget about your iPhone and leave it outside in extreme weather conditions.

Interested bird-watchers can check out the full FAQ list here, which also includes helpful tips on making hummingbird nectar and how to attract different birds. (And if this thing could help me attract anything other than the New York City pigeons that occasionally bonk into my windows, I might actually take my tongue out of my cheek.)

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work