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posted by n1 on Saturday July 30 2016, @08:55PM   Printer-friendly
from the in-the-dog-house dept.

Humans have been forced to temporarily interact with their dogs or cats -- perhaps both -- after PetNet's internet-controlled smart feeder system suffered a blackout.

For $149, the company provides a web-enabled dog/cat feeder that is pre-programmed to dispense food stuffs at certain time and portion sizes.

But PetNet warned customers [...] that all was not well in its virtual animal kingdom as it was "experiencing some minor difficulties with a third party server. This is being investigated."

[...] "You may experience a loss of scheduled feeds and failed remote feedings. Please ensure that your pets have been fed manually until we have resolved this issue."

Source: The Register .

-- submitted from IRC


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by nitehawk214 on Saturday July 30 2016, @09:05PM

    by nitehawk214 (1304) on Saturday July 30 2016, @09:05PM (#382052)

    Why can't the device run autonomously when it is disconnected?

    Do these things have any security at all? If it is like most other internet connected devices they are easily hackable, allowing someone to.. uhh.. overfeed your pet.

    Why does this exist?

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by n1 on Saturday July 30 2016, @09:20PM

    by n1 (993) on Saturday July 30 2016, @09:20PM (#382055) Journal

    Ok.... i'll take some guesses..

    Why can't the device run autonomously when it is disconnected?

    I'd guess because you use an app to configure it, which stores your settings on a remote server somewhere, communicating with the end devices when appropriate. Also, probably uses NTP to keep time.

    Do these things have any security at all?

    No.

    Why does this exist?

    Data mining pet owners habits and related. Get the device that makes life easy, so you can neglect your pet. The owners of the technology get to enjoy all the benefits of no doubt numerous unnecessary privileges on the 'smart' devices they're installed on, and the advantage to that is they also know you're a willing and paying consumer of stupid technology gimmicks.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday July 30 2016, @09:59PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 30 2016, @09:59PM (#382073) Journal

      Surely having a fallback time mode would not be too much to ask.
      Its not like the internet never goes down.

      We don't want to make it too foolproof, because, If it were legal, some people would feed their children this way.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by n1 on Saturday July 30 2016, @10:20PM

        by n1 (993) on Saturday July 30 2016, @10:20PM (#382079) Journal

        It's not too much to ask, but I can't see how that would benefit the companies or investors involved in this product.

        I can see how it would cost more in various ways for the company and investors, especially over a "*requires internet connection" disclaimer.

        If they don't keep detailed analytics on every interaction with the system, and retain full control over it, how can they possibly hope to improve the next generation of smart devices to absolve people of their responsibility for their pets and or children?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30 2016, @11:06PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30 2016, @11:06PM (#382092)

        We don't want to make it too foolproof, because, If it were legal, some people would feed their children this way.

        I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to the creation of Bachelor Chow™.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30 2016, @11:09PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30 2016, @11:09PM (#382093)

          Its already here.
          Its called soylent. [soylent.com]

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 31 2016, @01:13AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 31 2016, @01:13AM (#382126)

        Tell this to all the shitty sites that use Ajax that times out yet your browser will pretend the page loaded fully. The internet never goes down in the Web 2.0 universe.

      • (Score: 2) by edIII on Sunday July 31 2016, @04:39AM

        by edIII (791) on Sunday July 31 2016, @04:39AM (#382166)

        It's way more fucking stupid than that.

        Who wants to bet that isn't an embedded Linux/BSD device? CRON would solve that problem simply by setting jobs on scripts that disappear in a week, unless reauthorized by a central authority. Water doesn't need to be on schedule, and the most I could see is logging for watering events from GPIO, which means logging to disk locally. This doesn't actually require the Internet. Just log some timestamps on disk and upload them to centralized server in an opportunistic fashion.

        These engineering geniuses created a device fully capable of carrying out all instructions, yet chose to turn it into an overpriced remote control with the entire fucking Internet between them. Not some plants, a freaking out cat, or your misplaced foot between you and the remote sensor, but the whole fucking Internet including any other clueless engineers and malevolent PHBs.

        9/10 of us on this site could code their fucking doohickey for pizza in 20 minutes and we wouldn't need centralized servers :)

        --
        Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
        • (Score: 2) by driverless on Sunday July 31 2016, @07:05AM

          by driverless (4770) on Sunday July 31 2016, @07:05AM (#382197)

          Who wants to bet that isn't an embedded Linux/BSD device?

          More likely an Arduino or ESP8266 or something similar, the cheaper the better. All it needs to do is activate a solenoid at preprogrammed intervals, so you can get away with a minimum of hardware.

          These engineering geniuses created a device fully capable of carrying out all instructions, yet chose to turn it into an overpriced remote control with the entire fucking Internet between them.

          You've just described about 95% of the Internet of Things you Don't Need. It can't be an IoTyDN device if there isn't some Internet in there somewhere.

          I have a cat feeder that I use when I need to go away for a few days. Mains-powered, battery backup, runs off a built-in timer. No hipster iPhone interface that I don't need, all it does is feed the cat when I'm gone.

  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday July 30 2016, @10:24PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday July 30 2016, @10:24PM (#382081)

    This is the cloud model... it's the same reason it's so damn hard to place a point to point video chat on the internet.

    Some of it is traceable to IPV4 and firewalls, mostly, it's the structure favoring centralized businesses which retain access to all the dataflow.

    So, no, there's absolutely no reason why the pre-programmed schedule should be interrupted by a server outage, except perhaps corporate hunger for data access and control.

    --
    My karma ran over your dogma.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Whoever on Saturday July 30 2016, @11:34PM

    by Whoever (4524) on Saturday July 30 2016, @11:34PM (#382100) Journal

    Do these things have any security at all?

    Where have you been for the last few years, companies involved in the IoT don't give a single sh*t about security.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 31 2016, @12:06AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 31 2016, @12:06AM (#382113)

    Greedy stupidity, or stupid greed. Either way is accurate depending on your point of view.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by rigrig on Sunday July 31 2016, @12:19AM

    by rigrig (5129) Subscriber Badge <soylentnews@tubul.net> on Sunday July 31 2016, @12:19AM (#382115) Homepage

    Why can't the device run autonomously when it is disconnected?

    Because people would disconnect it and stop paying to use the device they bought.

    --
    No one remembers the singer.
  • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday July 31 2016, @01:01AM

    by sjames (2882) on Sunday July 31 2016, @01:01AM (#382124) Journal

    Well, beyond the obvious of lazy people, there's the elderly or disabled, people who need to be out of town overnight, people who do shift work, people who sometimes have to work late, etc.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 31 2016, @01:46AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 31 2016, @01:46AM (#382130)

    Why can't the device run autonomously when it is disconnected?

    Because if we built it that way, then we would have no way to keep you locked into the monthly subscription payment system, and we would have to, horrors, actually make our profit by selling the device for a profit.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by driverless on Sunday July 31 2016, @06:58AM

    by driverless (4770) on Sunday July 31 2016, @06:58AM (#382196)

    Why does this exist?

    The same reason why any piece of overpriced bling exists, because people are stupid enough to pay for it. I'd never get something like this. I mean look at it, it's iPhone only and my cat is a diehard Android user, it'd never fly.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 31 2016, @10:48AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 31 2016, @10:48AM (#382230)

    will this mean that my tamagotchis will go dead during this server-downtime? 😱

  • (Score: 2) by seeprime on Sunday July 31 2016, @01:33PM

    by seeprime (5580) on Sunday July 31 2016, @01:33PM (#382264)

    Relying on cloud services for things that can be done locally is madness. Too many things can go wrong, and do.