I think my Roomba really helps me keep my 525-square-foot apartment clean in a variety of ways, and it actually does clean the carpet well. It’s not perfect, but I almost feel like vacuuming is not a chore that I have to deal with anymore, which makes it worth the $100 I spent on it used. Would I buy it again? Under $200, yeah. Over $200 or have a bigger apartment? I’d wait for a better model.
It cleans my apartment. Whenever I use my Roomba, I find about two cups full of cat hair and litter that it’s pulled out of the carpet and off the linoleum. Even if I vacuum twice in one day, it’ll still get that out. Which is pretty good. I have nice clean lines in my carpet (even if they are zig zags instead of parallel lines), and the floor feels “crunchy” when I walk on it afterward, as though the carpet is not as compressed as it was before.
It’s easy. You only have to press one button, but you’ll probably end up sitting to watch it and positioning it exactly where you want it to clean. It’s times like that when I think I’m actually spending more time than using a real vacuum, but that’s because I want to micromanage my Roomba. Another easy point is cleaning the brushes. They’re color- and shape-coded, so you will always know which brush goes where. And emptying the bin is as easy as pulling it out and dumping it into the trash.
It really gets in there. The Roomba goes where no vacuum cleaner has gone before. It spends just as much time underneath my sofa and bed as it does cleaning the carpet in the living room (which could be a bad thing if you care more about the living room or if the battery is running low.) I know that even if a lot of cat hair collects underneath the bed, it’s still going to get clean.
It’s fun to watch. I’ve had it for three months now, and watching it make it’s way around the apartment is probably still more of an “event” than it should be. It’s fun wondering which way it will go and if it will ever cover a certain spot.
It motivates me to pick up clutter. Because the Roomba gets caught on clutter (cat toys, cords, etc.), I end up keeping the floor free to be vacuumed. And I move other clutter like boxes and clothes out of the way too, because even though the Roomba won’t necessarily get caught on it, I don’t want any of my floor to go un-vacuumed. The result is an apartment whose floor is usually very clean and tidy. Also, with some light objects (like the cats’ bowls), it’ll push them into the corner and free up my floor space.
It gets “stuck” a lot. I just had to get up from writing this because it tried to go underneath the entertainment center, even though it knows it’s not going to be able to get out. About 60% of the time I use it, it either get stuck or gets something bad stuck in the brushes, which means I have to play doctor a lot pulling cat toys and random plastic litter out of its brushes. This is not a complete minus, though, because sometimes this litter is something that would have had to be cleaned up anyway at some point.
It’s dirt detector seems off. There’s a blue light that comes on whenever it’s found a particularly dirty spot, and then it stays in that general area until it thinks it’s clean. My dirt detector, however, is off because its light will go off after it’s LEFT the dirty spot, and it’ll clean the wrong spot over and over again.
Bad for curtains and cords. I have some curtains that touch the floor and a few cords running around my room, and the stress that Roomba causes has made me use the included virtual walls (come in handy) to block off this zone of my apartment. Otherwise, cords and my beautiful curtains are aggressively pulled on, and they end up stuck in the Roomba. It’s a shame this zone of my apartment can never be vacuumed.
Battery life. I live in a 525-square-foot apartment (primarily just a living room and bedroom), and Roomba can BARELY cover the whole apartment before it’s battery dies. The box says it covers three rooms with a single charge, and it does, but it cuts it close. I know that technically it hits each spot at least once, but it seems like it will hit one corner (under my bed) five times, hit everywhere else once, and then the battery dies. One reason I bought it was because my apartment is so small, but it turns out that the battery life is small too. Sometimes I just close off my bedroom so it can focus on the living room, since the living room is seen more.
Not great at navigating home. Every now and then when I come home, the Roomba has made it back to it’s charging base. More often, however, I find it sitting in the bathroom or in the middle of the bedroom. Why? Because either it got stuck or because the battery died before it could find it’s way home. If I put the Roomba three feet in front of the base (which defeats the purpose), I know that EVENTUALLY it’ll find the base, but it really is only a handful of times that it has returned to the base from a regular vacuuming situation.
Cat hair. I have two cats, and even though they are short-haired, they still produce enough hair and kitty litter for the Roomba to pick up two cups of hair per battery life. The hair gets caught in the brushes, and it gets spun around so many times in the “hinges” of the brushes that it’s almost spun into a thick yarn that’s a little difficult to remove. I probably should have gotten one of the “pet models,” even though I don’t know how it’s any different.
Images courtesy unplggd.com
Imagine having a smart-home– a home that knows when you will be there and will react accordingly. With a home like that, you could have the HVAC turn off when the home is empty, seductively dim the lights on a date or during a movie, or light the stairs when the house senses you are about to go upstairs.
With today’s technologies becoming more accessible and available to the masses, it is not only possible–it is inexpensive! With the Schlage LiNK kit that retails for $250, you can begin turning your house into a smart-home that communicates with itself to ensure both convenience and safety–whether you are home or not. And with the ability to program “scenes” into your home-monitoring system, you can set certain temperature and lighting settings to happen when you have a party or leave for work.
There are multiple types of home monitoring systems, and there are three main types of home surveillance networks: Insteon, Zigbee, or Z-Wave. Zigbee is the most universal type of network, but Z-Wave is the most widespread and available, so we will focus on that.
The Schlage LiNK kit includes:
Other add-on electronics include:
All of the previously-mentioned products are available online at home improvement stores. Down the road, you can replace the wireless Bridge unit with a Vera 2 ($250), which does not require a monthly fee. According to the website, various third-party iPhone apps exist to control lighting, temperature, and even window coverings (opening blinds? Sweet!) from the iPhone or online. After ten seconds of searching through the App Store, I found one: iVera ($29.99) with great ratings.
There is, however, a FREE app called Schlage LiNK, which allows you to do pretty much the same things. I’m thinking that with the low cost of the starter kit ($250) and the monthly fee ($9), upgrading to Vera 2 plus the app ($280) without any real advantages may not really be worth it.
For more information, check out How to Monitor and Control your Home from Anywhere by Michael Brown.
Apple sent out an announcement that confidently put the iPad 2 on the map: “Come see what 2011 will be the year of.” On March 2, Apple will unveil the iPad 2 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco, effectively solidifying the existence of the magical device that the world has been anticipating since the first iPad was released.
iPad 2 followers have predicted some very likely improvements to the second model, such as lighter and more compact design, increased RAM and storage, and the addition of a front camera (for Facetime and Skype), and a back camera (for general photography.)
Speculations have also included very unlikely additions for the second go-around, including claims that the iPad 2 will be available in multiple sizes, have an SD card slot, a USB or HDMI output, and an increased screen resolution of 2,048px by 1,536px. However, after much online debate, many of these rumors have been put to rest. The iPad 2 is likely to stay at its 9.7-inch display because of its position as an e-reader and web-surfing tool. Apple’s big-brother business model would not allow the addition of an SD card slot because they’d rather we add our photos via iPhoto. The same goes for the USB slot, because Apple wants us to use iTunes to move files onto the iPad. And many speculate that the upscaled resolution would diminish the ten-hour battery life that is currently an important feature on the iPad.
Ever since I’ve had my Macbook, my AIPTEK “Slim Tablet” has only half-worked. It worked fine in place of a mouse. It let me click, drag, etc. (although double-clicking correctly is sometimes more trouble than it is worth). (more…)
This event was held by the student activities board of Kennesaw State University. It aimed to shock students by having them practice many different kinds of kisses on each other. I tried to make this poster as controversial as possible, and as shocking as I could. I made it fluorescent colors, and the striking image of a big set of lips drew a big crowd.
The clients wanted a professional look for a web portal connecting all members of a professional services organization. It features two sides to the site, a “residential” and a “business” side, through which users can access the contact information of trusted members.
This website was designed and developed to correspond with the phrase, “Be Inspired.” The logo represents the various concentrations available within the College of the Arts at Kennesaw State University, and the design provides a sophisticated feel. Art Direction: Cheryl Brown, Joshua Stone. Concept: Jason Royal. Visit the site here.
The client wanted a fresh design to promote the annual series in which artists perform from around the world. Art directors: Cheryl Brown, Joshua Stone. Concept: Joshua Stone.
Atlanta Executive Network is a professional group of executives that network with each other in order to support GLBT business in Atlanta. They were seeking a clean, modern, accessible layout that would present a lot of information in a very legible and easy way. The site is currently in the coding stage.
The client wanted to emphasize the health benefits of Emerald Nuts, so I chose to use a child in an education setting to show the improved performance one could expect after choosing Emerald Nuts over an unhealthy lunch. It shows that the boy who ate Emerald Nuts for lunch is thinking of school, while the other children are not. The stimulating colors show that the child is revitalized by the nuts.