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A computer server used for the company PetNet had an issue. The company has an automatic pet feeder. It can feed pets by itself. You can tell the device what time to feed your animal and it will do it. It can do this using WiFi and an app on your phone. The PetNet server had an outage and many pets did not get their meals.

PetNet says their feeder is “the world’s first intelligent pet feeder that will program itself around your life and the wellness of your pet.” The feeder costs $149.

PetNet sent an email to all of their customers. They also posted the same message on Twitter. The message said they were having some difficulties and to please make sure that their pet had been fed.

This made many people very angry because they were not home and the feeder is expensive. If it’s expensive, they think they should be able to trust it. This happened at a bad time because it was the vacation season. It being vacation season meant many people were not home and maybe not even in the same city as their pet.

The problem happened for about 10 hours. Some people did not know about the problem because they did not see the email. Some people called friends to feed their pets. Many people do not trust the feeder anymore.

The problem has now been fixed and will hopefully not happen in the future.

Difficult words

Server: A machine that connects the internet together.

Automatic: Done without interaction from anything else.

Device: A piece of technology like a phone.

Outage: Some time when a service is not available.

Intelligent: Very smart.

Season: A time when something is done.

Hopefully: Wanting the best.

 

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English:

American English:

Match the Synonym!

 1. Hopefully  A. By itself
 2. Automatic  B. Unavailable
 3. Device  C. Wishfully
 4. Outage  D. Smart
 5. Intelligent  E. Tool

True or False?

1.  The pet feeder does not work on its own. T / F

2. A pet owner can schedule a time for their pet to eat. T / F

3. The feeder costs $149. T / F

4. PetNet did not email its customers. T / F

5.  Everyone still trusts the pet feeder. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. issue / used / for / computer / server / an / PetNet / company / A / had / the

2. to / email / PetNet / customers / sent / their / of / all / an

3. said / message / having / were / some / they / difficulties / The

4. hours / The / for / problem / happened / about / 10

5. trust / the / Many / do / feeder / people / not / anymore

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: 

American English: 

 Email  Server Wellness
Difficulties  Vacation Device

A computer __________ used for the company PetNet had an issue. The company has an automatic pet feeder. It can feed pets by itself. You can tell the _________ what time to feed your animal and it will do it. It can do this using WiFi and an app on your phone. The  PetNet server had an outage and many pets did not get their meals.

PetNet says their feeder is “the world’s first intelligent pet feeder that will program itself around your life and the ___________ of your pet.” The feeder costs $149.

PetNet sent an email to all of their customers. They also posted the same message on Twitter. The message said they were having some ____________ and to please make sure that their pet had been fed.

This made many people very angry because they were not home and the feeder is expensive. If it’s expensive, they think they should be able to trust it. This happened at a bad time because it was the ___________ season. It being vacation season meant many people were not home and maybe not even in the same city as their pet.

The problem happened for about 10 hours. Some people did not know about the problem because they did not see the __________. Some people called friends to feed their pets. Many people do not trust the feeder anymore.

The problem has now been fixed and will hopefully not happen in the future.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think about connected devices in the home?
4. Do you have any “smart” devices in your house?
5. Is there a product that isn’t “smart” that you think should be?
6. Are devices like this feeder making people lazier?
7. Do you think people can trust smart devices?
8. What do you about the internet of things?
9. Is it a bad idea for the internet to control nearly all devices?
10. What devices should remain offline?
11. Do the conveniences outweigh the cons?
12. What do you know about smart cities?
13. Is the internet now a basic necessity along with food, water and shelter?
14. Should the internet be free?
15. Is it possible to live an internet-free life these days?
16. How many times a day do you use the internet?
17. Would your work be different without internet?
18. What jobs would the world lose and gain back if the internet disappeared?
19. Was life better or worse before the internet?
20. What do you think the future of the internet will be?