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The company PetNet, which sells an automatic pet feeder, had a malfunction with their Google rented server which caused 10% of their customers’ pets to go without meals.

PetNet’s product is an automatic pet feeder which runs on WiFi, a pet owner can control it using an app on their phone. It allows the owner to be able to either schedule a feeding or feed their pet when they are not at home. The company calls itself “the world’s first intelligent pet feeder that will program itself around your life and the wellness of your pet.” The product runs for $149.

The issue with the server left many customers angry and disappointed, not to mention all the animals who trotted to their bowls that day and wondered where their meal was.

The company sent out an email to all of its customers notifying them of the issue and asking them to please manually feed their pet. This malfunction happened to occur during the peak of vacation season. A device which many had expected to make their lives easier, had now created a difficult and stressful situation.

The server was down for about 10 hours, during which many people scrambled to call friends and family, hoping someone was available to feed their pets. A PetNet feeder owner named Taryn Studer said, “Most are unaware as their emails go to spam or are filtered and we didn’t receive alerts on our phone that the auto feed was down”. She continued, “This has sent me into a panic as I am a college student with multiple jobs and rely on this device to make sure he receives proper feedings and nutrition. I have had to arrange for friends to get keys from me at work if needed so he will get his food.”

Pet owners with the PetNet feeder have criticised the PetNet customer service as being unhelpful during this time calling them “dismissive and unapologetic”.

The issue has been fixed and PetNet assured customers that it would not happen again. Naturally, many owners are not keen on trusting the service in the future.

 

Difficult words

Malfunction: When equipment stops working as expected.

Runs: Sells.

Trotted: An animals movement, faster than a walk and slower than a run.

Notify: To make people aware of something.

Scrambled: To perform an action quickly and not in the best way.

Dismissive: Feeling or showing that someone is not worthy of consideration.

Keen: Showing enthusiasm.

Filtered: To remove unwanted elements.

Nutrition: The process of getting enough good food that is needed for growth and health.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English:

American English:

Match the Synonym!

1. Malfunction A. Sells
2. Runs B. Inform
3. Trotted C. Quickly
4. Notify D. Unenthusiastic
5. Scrambled E. Eager
6. Dismissive F. Removed
7. Keen G. Break
8. Filtered H. Nourishment
9. Nutrition I. Walk

True or False?

1. An automatic pet feeder had a malfunction. T / F

2. PetNet had not rented the server from Google. T / F

3. The pet feeder is linked with a phone application. T / F

4. An owner can use the app to schedule a feeding when they are not home. T / F

5. No pets missed their meals.  T / F

6. PetNet notified all of their customers through a text message. T / F

7. The malfunction happened during vacation season. T / F

8.  The pet owners asked their friends and family to feed their pets. T / F

9. Everyone has praised PetNet for their customer service. T / F

10. Some people no longer trust the automatic pet feeder. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. which / WiFi / runs / product / automatic / an / pet / on / is / PetNet’s / feeder

2. allows / It / the / a / to / to  / able / schedule / be / owner / feeding

3. filtered / unaware / go / as / emails / to / Most / their / or / are / are / spam

4. This / occur / happened / malfunction / peak / the / season / of / during / vacation / to

5. to / had / from / me / friends / get / arrange / have / to / keys / for / I

Listening and Vocabulary

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

British English: 

American English: 

Wondered Malfunction Unapologetic
Panic Schedule Assured
Program Unaware Automatic

The company PetNet, which sells an __________ pet feeder, had a malfunction with their Google rented server which caused 10% of their customers’ pets to go without meals.

PetNet’s product is an automatic pet feeder which runs on WiFi, a pet owner can control it using an app on their phone. It allows the owner to be able to either __________ a feeding or feed their pet when they are not at home. The company calls itself “the world’s first intelligent pet feeder that will __________ itself around your life and the wellness of your pet.” The product runs for $149.

The issue with the server left many customers angry and disappointed, not to mention all the animals who trotted to their bowls that day and ___________ where their meal was.

The company sent out an email to all of it’s customers notifying them of the issue and asking them to please manually feed their pet. This ______________ happened to occur during the peak of vacation season. A device which many had expected to make their lives easier, had now created a difficult and stressful situation.

The server was down for about 10 hours, during which many people scrambled to call friends and family, hoping someone was available to feed their pets. A PetNet feeder owner named Taryn Studer said, “Most are ___________ as their emails go to spam or are filtered and we didn’t receive alerts on our phone that the auto feed was down”. She continued, “This has sent me into a _________ as I am a college student with multiple jobs and rely on this device to make sure he receives proper feedings and nutrition. I have had to arrange for friends to get keys from me at work if needed so he will get his food.”

Pet owners with the PetNet feeder have criticised the PetNet customer service as being unhelpful during this time calling them “dismissive and ______________”.

The issue has been fixed and PetNet __________ customers that it would not happen again. Naturally, many owners are not keen on trusting the service 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 think 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?