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This is a question Crap Gadgets

We wanted a monkey butler and bought one off eBay. Imagine our surprise when we found it was just an ordinary monkey with rabies. Worse: It had no butler training at all. Tell us about your duff technology purchases.

Thanks to Moonbadger for the suggestion

(, Thu 29 Sep 2011, 12:51)
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This is a tale of two men and their vacuum cleaners.

I have a Henry. It has a cheery face, it needs emptying about once per general election, and cleans well despite my having once rolled it down the staircase of a Victorian two-up, two-down by accident.

In the time I have had my Henry, a friend of mine has owned exciting, exotic and expensive robotic vacuum cleaners, at least one of which has excitingly, exotically and expensively destroyed itself to pieces.

My typical cleaning session goes like this: Recover Henry from cupboard. Plug in. Hoover round the flat, pausing to move the occasional rug or chair. Put Henry back in cupboard. Make tea.

My mate's goes like this: Program robot to start a hoovering cycle. Try to find out why it hasn't moved. Wonder why it hasn't got any battery charge. Jiggle robot and base station around until former starts charging from the latter. Go out. Come back home to find the robot has managed to clean a 14 foot by 6 inch L-shaped section of carpet. Plug all the cables back in the television where the robot has attacked them. Unbeach the robot from the shoe it has tried to drive over. Supervise the robot while it trundles round the lounge, occasionally rescuing it when it gets trapped under furniture or stranded on a ledge. Tidy up any more cables the robot has tried to drag across the floor. Watch the robot suddenly stop trundling and zoom back to the base station, only to stop three inches short of it and make a sad beeping noise before shutting down. Note with disappointment that large swathes of carpet have been ignored. Go and get the backup hoover from the cupboard. Do all the bits the robot missed. Wish there was time to make tea.

I'm sure all these Roombas and Trilobites and the like are amazing triumphs of human ingenuity and mastery of artificial intelligence... however, I can't help but wonder that they'd be more honestly sold not as vacuum cleaners, but as devices capable of finding the nearest shoe and beaching themselves on it with improbable efficiency.
(, Thu 29 Sep 2011, 20:16, 10 replies)
:D on a similar note
A mate was walking down a street in Bath last year.
When he heard an almighty clatter behind him, and turning round, he spots a now very smashed & broken Ex Roomba robo-hoover rolling into the gutter. Looking up he realised all the flats he was walking past had balconies with wide railings, and one on the 3rd floor had its balcony doors wide open....
(, Thu 29 Sep 2011, 20:25, closed)
But but but but but...
My roomba can tell when it's going over a precipice. The little fucker will happily clean a tabletop for hours.

Not that I make it do that sort of thing.

I have parquet floors, Roomba's seem to work very well on those, and I keep my cables all tidied away.

It does manage to beach itself on the door thresholds reasonably often though.
(, Fri 30 Sep 2011, 1:19, closed)
Your mate is clearly not the target market
I reckon they're meant for people with stainless steel kitchens, espresso machines (sparkling clean because their owners don't actually like espresso) and, most importantly, shoe trees. Motorised ones probably.
(, Fri 30 Sep 2011, 0:06, closed)
I always thought these seemed like such a good idea
Glad we didn't waste our money and went for an equally overpriced, overrated and shit Dyson instead.
(, Fri 30 Sep 2011, 0:22, closed)
I've got a dyson backup vacuum cleaner too. Never failed me, and the one my parents had was always easily fixed on the odd occasion something went wrong.
(, Fri 30 Sep 2011, 1:23, closed)
I've got one of the little cheapest not-standup dysons
because I've got lots of stairs, and a Henry won't balance and is too heavy to carry. The Dyson has done fine.

We have a totally inappropriate house for roombas.
(, Fri 30 Sep 2011, 13:21, closed)
Forget vacuuming
Roombas were really made for cats to ride around on.
(, Fri 30 Sep 2011, 9:16, closed)

(, Fri 30 Sep 2011, 20:19, closed)
Clearly he has the wrong one.
I've had a roomba for about three years now. The only problem with it was about six months ago when we finally had to replace the battery (and since the battery is listed as a consumable/perishable part that you should expect to replace at some point, two and a half years wasn't bad). We pair it with a handheld Dyson for doing the stairs, the car, and any other awkward places.

My typical cleaning session goes like this: chuck shoes and bags into the hallway, heave magazines, books, knitting, etc onto the sofa. Close doors. Set up virtual wall around my desk. Press button. Drink tea and read b3ta newsletter for 45 minutes. Feel smug and virtuous about having done housework.
(, Mon 3 Oct 2011, 21:41, closed)
Beached Roombas
Mine does get stuck occasionally. Which makes seeing the company's original military robots enthusiastically bounding around on rough terrain all the more annoying: news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/9606479.stm

Still wouldn't be without it though, it does mean I rarely break out the big vacuum. If you're supervising it going round, you're missing the point. Let it go every day while you're out; if it gets stuck under something then you're not there to care.
(, Tue 4 Oct 2011, 16:40, closed)

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