Work, my mechanical minions!

I’m a big fan of not doing housework.

I have a couple of robots that support me in this:

The first is my trusty Scooba, Jacques. Jacques is a rescue pet. Someone was offering him up for free on Freecycle, because he “didn’t work.” I took him home, patched up his power connector, and he’s been running pretty well for many a year since. He mops the bathroom and the kitchen. His battery is finally getting a bit weak; when it comes time, I’ll do the required research of course, but right now I’m leaning toward the latest Scooba, which is small enough to fit behind the toilet.

Next is my Neato XV-14, Herbert. Herbert is the latest in a long line of vacuuming robots to live in my home. The first was a Roomba that I got at a flea market for $20. He lasted a few years, then started running around in circles. I found another one at a thrift store for $40, and replaced him.  The thrift store one lasted a good while, and then started developing several major defects at once.  I decided to actually buy a new robot. Since the Roomba was first introduced, a few other home cleaning robots have come out to compete with them. So when I started looking around, I had to actually do some research. And based on what I know of the Roomba, and what I learned, I chose this Neato.

The thing is this: Roomba (and Scooba) don’t actually methodically clean your room. They have a semi-random pattern that is statistically likely to clean your entire room if you let them run long enough. On the other hand the Neato starts by taking a look around the room, edge-tracing the obstacles and the border of the room, then methodically cleaning the rest of the floor, back and forth. If it encounters a door, it makes note of it and keeps going. Once this room is done, it goes through the door and starts over. If it gets tired, it goes home and recharges, then comes back and picks up where it left off. It’s a little creepy to watch. And it sucks. A lot. A lot more than the Roomba. It therefore picks up a lot more dirt and dust. So I bought a Neato XV-11. Which worked really well but had an annoying habit of not acknowledging that I’d put the dirt cup back after emptying it. After a while of that I complained about it, and they sent me a refurb XV-11. Which had the same problem right out of the box. So I complained again, and they sent me a brand new current-model robot: the XV-14.  Which looks almost identical, but has some upgraded internals. I like Neato; they know how to treat their customers.

I also have a Looj. Which is not actually a robot, even though it is made by iRobot: it’s a teleoperated tool for cleaning gutters. It doesn’t work as well as I would like. I seldom use it.

I used to have a CatGenie. I loved it. But the cats didn’t consistently like using it, which was problematic. So when it broke down, I just set it aside.


A guy in his early 50s, living more or less alone in a 90-year-old house, trying to keep it all together.

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Posted in Appliances, Cutting edge

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