Thursday, April 12, 2007

Roomba Rumba

I don’t think of myself as a gadget person. Among the reasons I so love knitting is that it is low-tech and time-honored.

But when the Roomba first came out, I was one of the first customers. The NPR Gadget-Guy's review coincided with Al throwing his back out so that he could not vacuum. And I wasn’t keen on adding vacuuming to my lists of chores.

The solution? A robot vacuum cleaner, of course.

The original Roomba worked ok for a few months but then rapidly declined, losing charge and effectiveness until it became sluggish and downright annoying. Then it sat in my house for a long time while I tried to figure out how to responsibly dispose of it or trade it in. Having failed on both counts, I sent it to a landfill somewhere in New Mexico and racked up many bad environmental karma points.

Several years have gone by—and in the last few months I have noticed the accumulation of dust bunnies under the couch and bed (I can see them when I do my floor exercises). That didn’t happen when we Roomba’d, because the pizza-shaped robot went under the furniture. Too cool.

So I wanted to have routine removal of dust bunnies again. And pet hair. Daily. We do not have a pet yet, but we are very close to getting a puppy—a long-haired, shedding breed of puppy.

And then I saw that Amazon sells factory refurbs of newer models of Roombas.

New ones can costs $300+, but my factory refurb of a recent (but not newest) model was $84. This one has several improvements over my first early model.

One is that it the new one charges in a docking station (Home Base) and returns itself to the docking station when it is finished vacuuming. (It knows when it is finished when it stops sucking up dirt.) The newer models recharge faster. And they come in fashion colors.

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