PetNet, the popular auto-feeding app that feeds dogs and cats while their owners are away, served up a big plate o' nuttin' when server issues put the kibosh on their kibble.
PetNet SmartFeeder is “the world’s first intelligent pet feeder that will program itself around your life and the wellness of your pet,” except for those times when it won't. The company blamed “server issues” for a major disruption that affected about 10 percent of its users for roughly 10 hours... not big numbers either way, you might think, but to those put out by the outage it's a very big deal indeed.
While the feeders can be programmed to operate on a previously set schedule, the server outage means users are unable to feed their pets remotely or change the feeding schedule via the app. “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 (her cat, Winston) receives proper feedings and nutrition,” complained PetNet user Taryn Studer. “I have had to arrange for friends to get keys from me at work if needed so he will get his food.”
To their credit, PetNet lost no time in emailing owners of the problem rendering their $149 purchase temporarily out of order. “We are experiencing some difficulty with one of our third party servers. This is currently being investigated,” the email read. Customers were advised they should “please ensure that your pets have been fed manually” until the issue was resolved. Kinda defeats the whole purpose... and it's easier said than done for pet-owners who live alone and/or who were on vacation at the time.
While remote pet-feeding systems like PetNet are genuinely clever and convenient, pet-owners shouldn't depend on them to work each and every time. Consider the consequences of a glitch... and who ends up suffering because of it. (via The Guardian and Product Hunt)