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In 2018, a computer server used by the company PetNet had an issue. It caused the company’s automatic feeders to stop working. The feeder can give pets food 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. The company has now had its third outage, with the latest one lasting for a week.

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. In 2018, 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 time they have been updating their Twitter account. Many people are angry that the PetNet Twitter account hasn’t given more information.

The outages have annoyed people because they cannot trust the feeder. Customers expect the feeder to always work because it is so expensive. While the last outage only happened for 10 hours, the recent weeklong outage is much more serious. Some owners complained that their pets didn’t get food for a week.

After the third incident, many people do not trust PetNet anymore.

Difficult words

Server (n): A machine that connects the internet together.

Automatic (adj): Done without interaction from anything else.

Outage (n): Some time when a service is not available.

Intelligent (adj): Very smart.

Annoyed (adj): Being bothered and unhappy with something.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: Coming Soon!

American English:

Match the Synonym!

 1. Server  A. By itself
 2. Automatic  B. Unavailable
 3. Outage  C. Bothered
 4. Intelligent  D. Smart
 5. Annoyed  E. Internet machine.

True or False?

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

2. A problem with the feeder has only happened once. 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. feeder / can / by / give / itself / The / food / pets

2. the device / can / You / tell / to / time / feed / your animal / what

3. an / had / outage / server / The / PetNet

4. had / third / The / company / has / now / its / outage

5. they / This time / have / Twitter account / updating / their / been

Listening and Vocabulary

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

British English: Coming Soon!

American English:

Meals Wellness Issue
Updating Complained Anymore

In 2018, a computer server used by the company PetNet had an (1)_________. It caused the company’s automatic feeders to stop working. The feeder can give pets food 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 (2)__________. The company has now had its third outage, with the latest one lasting for a week.

PetNet says their feeder is “the world’s first intelligent pet feeder that will program itself around your life and the (3)____________ of your pet.” The feeder costs $149. In 2018, 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 time they have been (4)___________ their Twitter account. Many people are angry that the PetNet Twitter account hasn’t given more information.

The outages have annoyed people because they cannot trust the feeder. Customers expect the feeder to always work because it is so expensive. While the last outage only happened for 10 hours, the recent weeklong outage is much more serious. Some owners (5)____________ that their pets didn’t get food for a week.

After the third incident, many people do not trust PetNet (6)_____________.

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?