Monday, February 02, 2009

Are You Ready To Roomba?

We have a new member of the household - small, red, noisy, and random its movements. Oddly, it is not a child, but rather one of those robot vacuum cleaners. Looking like a small footstool, it coasts randomly around the room, cleaning as it goes. Its predecessor was the “Mouse droid” from Star Wars, and I can only assume that if a Wookiee growls at it, it will run away.

One of my co-workers is moving to heavier carpeting in his house and wanted to get rid of his roomba, which was about three or four years old and picked up at a discount anyway. We had long ago moved back to hardwood floors , and I said yeah, I’d be glad to take it, if the Lovely Bride and the cats could put up with it.

The LB loves the idea of anything that will vacuum so she doesn’t have to, be it a smaller disk-shaped dalek or her understanding mate. There is a problem, though - Our architecture in the house is fairly open, so she has been setting up barriers at the doorways to keep it in the kitchen, or the dining room, or whatever. Since I walk through those rooms, sometimes without turning on lights, I can predict this new behavior will end in tears. This is a Dick Van Dyke show opening credits sequence just waiting to happen.

The cats have yet to determine if the rolling disk is predator or prey, and have by turns hunted it, then, when it turns and charges them, fleeing in terror. They have taken to following it and watching it from the high ground, like Comanches watching a cavalry detachment from the canyon walls, planning an eventual ambush.

As for me, I find it noisy and underfoot. It has decided the perfect place to power down is right under my chair at the dinner table, so I have tripped over it once alrady. I think the next generation of this things should be made of kickable plastic. Or at least it should run away when I growl at it.

More later,