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Roombastic! - Arvind Narayanan's journal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

Roombastic! [Sep. 12th, 2007|07:09 pm]
Arvind Narayanan
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[Current Mood |excitedexcited]

So I bought a roomba. A budget model retails for a paltry hundred bucks, so is there any reason not to buy one? I really don't think so.

Well, there's the trifling matter that it sucks at vacuuming. Think of it more like picking up the dirt from one part of your floor and depositing it in another.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I love the thing to bits. It makes the perfect pet: it's cheap, it's moderately intelligent, great fun to watch, and makes endearing noises while doing nothing particularly useful. Oh, and you have to take out its poop once in a while.

Especially if you have kids, I think it's essential that you get a roomba. When today's kids grow up, they're going to be in a world full of (hopefully useful) robotic critters all around them. For good or bad, they'll develop some sort of emotional bonds with the little things, just like we do with pets. That kind of thing is much harder to get used to when you're an adult. Kids, however, take the world around them for granted and form their expectations and attitudes for adulthood around it.

Just so long as you don't get too hung up on the whole vacuum cleaning angle, owning a roomba should be loads of fun!

Edit. It's now 8 minutes after I posted this. I googled the title of the post on a whim to see how many people came up with the same cheesy word.

This very page comes up on the first page of results.

Seriously creepy.

Edit 2. It doesn't really suck as much as I made it out to.

[User Picture]From: mmk
2007-09-13 04:52 am (UTC)

More creepy?

It doesn't show up for me.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2007-09-13 04:55 am (UTC)

Re: More creepy?

Well, it's moved to the second page for me now.. that might be it.
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[User Picture]From: floopilot
2007-09-13 05:08 am (UTC)

Re: More more creepy?

how in the **** do you two know each other??!!
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2007-09-13 05:27 am (UTC)

Re: More more creepy?

Ha ha..

Actually we just read each other's ljs. Maybe you should introduce us some time :)

And believe me, I've had a significantly more bizarre case of how-the-hell-do-you-two-know-each-other with someone else on my f-list.
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[User Picture]From: annamaryse
2007-09-13 07:05 am (UTC)
HHA.... it ended up that two people on my flist who had absolutely no idea I didn't know, ended up being brothers. I had NO IDEA they were related since we three had all linked up somewhat randomly. They saw each other on my list and assumed I knew.

Such a surprise.

Now, about that roomba. I always wanted one, but if it does not vacuum well, that changes things. We require good vacuuming power, alas.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2007-09-13 07:13 am (UTC)
Ok, hold on. I was only half serious there about the thing sucking.

There are some problems with it, sure -- it can't do the edges at all, takes way longer than regular vacuuming, and misses some spots. It does re-deposit dirt sometimes, but since it covers most areas multiple times it tends to get it eventually.

I turn it on when I leave the apartment, and on the whole I consider it completely satisfactory for my purposes. I don't think I'm going to retrieve my Hoover which is in Houston or buy a new one.
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[User Picture]From: annamaryse
2007-09-13 04:10 pm (UTC)
well... at least a little I need to claim "roomba envy".
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-09-13 10:23 am (UTC)

this my friend

Is seriously cool. I mean I had no idea that things like the 'Roomba' existed (i know you are shaking your head, but the third world country I come from ..) Its not technology as such that I am ga-ga about, but their adoption for something as common place as this.I mean its no more science fiction if you read ' And so Jack came home and found that his cleaning robot had a done a good job of it while he was away at work' Wow. Remember Arthur C Clarke's 'the house that died' ?

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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2007-09-13 04:36 pm (UTC)

Re: this my friend

Ah, future shock. Entirely forgivable in these crazy times.

In fact, that might be one thing hurting roomba adoption. It still feels like sci-fi to most people. (Of course, that helps its uptake in the geek market, but I bet it hurts it overall.)

I believe Japan is way ahead of the USA in household robot density. (They're way ahead in a lot of things, but this is one :-)

Out of curiosity, may I ask, which third world country?
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-09-14 06:42 am (UTC)

Re: this my friend

India. I am sure it still qualifies for being third world. But my point was that even in a city like Bangalore, I dont know of any place that sells a product like the Roomba. Even if they did, it would be very expsensive and be the perogative of the very swank stores. Which is bullshit I think. Compare this to the availability of things/gizmos/do-it-yourself thingamajig's available everywhere in the US. Ofcourse this begs a discussion on the whole free market thing and economy and all, but we'll stay way from that.

Anyway, what really fascinated me was the fact that a robotic cleaner was now available straight off the store shelf. Thats awesome. Technology matures and progresses only if it is widely adopted and ubiquitous. Then it becomes like the TV, everyone knows that all you got to do is plug it in and it works. Nobody knows or cares about setting one up or worries about it not working all of a sudden (wish I could say the same about caertain computer and software products).

Ho hum. I think I'll stop my ramble here.
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