More Robot Help

About four years ago, I welcomed the first robot into my home, hoping for no more household chores for me. And since then my Roomba has helped tremendously in my never-ending struggle against dust bunnies. If you’re lazy, but still value a certain level of cleanliness, a robotic vacuum is a must-have.

Scooba and Roomba

Unfortunately, even with regular Roomba patrols, there was still some dirt on the floor. The kind of dirt that a vacuum just can’t get off. So when I saw a Scooba 230 on sale for just 170 EUR, I had to try it out. Granted, I was hesitant at first, because while everybody loves their Roomba, Scooba reviews were really mixed. And I have to say, the Scooba isn’t a no-brainer like the Roomba. Here are my observations after getting the Scooba to clean my bathroom, hallway and kitchen for the first time:

  • You can’t program the Scooba, so you have to be there when it gets started. Fortunately, it’s quieter than the Roomba, so it’s not that annoying having it working in the other room. It is annoying, however, that the room is wet afterwards. I know that’s silly, but I kind of wish it came with a cloth or something that would dry the floor.
  • Preparing and cleaning the Scooba is quite a lot of work: filling it with warm water before, removing the dirt water and rinsing it afterwards, manually plugging in the charger. You have to wonder whether getting out a mop and filling a bucket might actually be faster.
  • The Scooba has really tiny wheels. Hence it can’t climb the small step into my bathroom. I either have to have it clean my bathroom separately (and close the door), or get it started there and hope it gets the room cleaned before finding its way out and never getting in again.
  • I have one radiator that is just low enough for the body of the Scooba to fit under. Unfortunately, the Clean button on the top is a bit higher than the rest of the robot. So at one point, the Scooba drove under the radiator at an angle that it pressed its own Clean button and consequently stopped. Bummer.
  • Because the Scooba has brushes but no cloth on the underside, I feel there is some dirt it will never get off. Like the kind of hard-to-remove dirt that accumulates when you have never mopped the floor in six years. I guess I could try to rub the floor really clean once myself and then have just the Scooba keep it that way by preventing new dirt from accumulating. But I refer you to the laziness part in the introduction.
  • Not to be a negative Nancy, I have to say that the Scooba did get a lot of dirt off my floors. The dirt water tank was filled with some really dirty water. And ,my bathroom tiles look sparkling clean. So it works.
  • I also like that the Scooba includes some clever design tricks: while the first generation Scoobas had one clean water and one dirt water tank, this one contains a dirt water bladder that expands as the clean water bladder contracts, meaning no space is wasted inside the Scooba’s tiny body. And it’s really tiny. Which is really beneficial to get into the my bathroom’s tight corners.

So overall, I’m happy with my purchase. I hope that with some practice, tending to the Scooba’s maintenance needs will go a little faster. But as I said in the beginning, I don’t think it’s a no-brainer like the Roomba. At the right price, though, why not.


Random Names

Sometimes I hear or think of a phrase and think to myself, “wow, that would be a really cool name for X”. Well, here’s a brief list of those names and the things I think they would be perfect for.

The Faulty Stove

This would be a cool name for a restaurant and/or bar. Its logo would feature one of those old-timey cast-iron stoves (such as a potbelly stove) with black smoke coming out at the side. The restaurant itself, though, would not actually contain such a stove. I believe that would be a health code violation.

Tears of Joy

I’m not quite sure why, but I think this would make a great name for my debut album. Note: I do not plan to release an album. Ever.

Sierra Hotel

If The Faulty Stove went well, and I decided to expand in the hospitality business by opening a hotel, it would be called Sierra Hotel. There’s isn’t actually anything about the various meanings of Sierra that I particularly like. However, if you spell out my initials using the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, you would get Sierra Hotel and I think that would be cool.

Osmium and Wolfram

In the book The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle the Mossbachers have twin dogs named Osbert and Sacheverell. I’m not sure why, but that made me think of the elements Osmium and Wolfram (another name for Tungsten). These are two the elements making up filaments in incandescent light bulbs that gave the lighting manufacturer Osram its name. This is why I think they would make great names for twin dogs. Note: I don’t like dogs and will probably never have one, let alone two.


I really enjoy thinking up names for things. It’s one of my favorite perks at work, as the person in charge of a new development project is also the one picking a name for it. I actually have a long list of possible names that I add to whenever I hear something cool. Too bad that there a lot more cool names than I have time to do new projects.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever have a need to name a restaurant, album, hotel or twin dogs. So feel free to use those names for your own restaurant/album/hotel/twin dogs. But if you do, send me a picture. And a share of the profits. Actually, you can keep the picture.