Bad Roomba!!!

I bought a Roomba this week.

It’s a $200 robotic vacuum cleaner made by a company named iRobot (wonder if Asimov’s
estate gets any fee from that). Works pretty well at finding its way around the room,
though the first time we ran it, it bumped into a picture leaned up against the wall.
The second time it bumped against the wall, the picture fell, and landed on Roomba.
Roomba got stuck, and shut off.

After that, Roomba got scared and went and hid under out bed at the other end of the

Review: Well, two sessions does not a good product make, but if you’re willing to
sweep the pizza boxes and cans to the side, it does a pretty good job, and it’s fairly
amusing to watch. You do have to hook it up to a charger (somewhat a bummer), but
since you have to empty the container fairly often anyway, making that purely automatic
wouldn’t help much. A pretty sophisticated device.

If I’m going to keep anthropomorphizing the thing, it really needs a better name.
If you have suggestions, let me know.


Comments (19)

  1. How about Mr. Clean? You could even glue an earring on one side.

  2. Neil Cowburn says:

    In the UK, we have a household cleansing brand called Mr Muscle [ Link: ]. The tagline for the TV commercials is: "Mr Muscle: loves the jobs you hate". For that reason, I think Mr Muscle is the perfect name.

  3. Jeff Julian says:

    I have been meaning to purchase that vacuum cleaner, but I was wondering if it was loud?

  4. Eric Gunnerson says:

    It’s not quiet, but it’s not as loud as most vacuum cleaners. It seems to be in the "dustbuster" arena of loudness.

  5. Rory says:

    Since your Roomba is kind of like a slave, you should probably give it the name of someone you’d like to boss around.

    For example, my Roomba’s name is Hitler.

    "Clean the living, room, Hitler!" I can often be heard to say.

    "Hitler! I want that carpet so clean and shiny that I can see my reflection in it!"

    Er. That last one doesn’t make much sense, but you see where I’m going.

    You could name *your* Roomba Osama Bin Ladin, if you wanted.

    Or, even better, Larry Ellison. I’d love to be able to tell Larry Ellison to clean the bathroom.

    You’ll have to decide on your own, though, who is worse: Osama Bin Ladin or Larry Ellison.

    Just don’t say that Rory never did anything for you.

  6. Eric Gunnerson says:

    I was really looking for something exotic sounding (though Hitler is unique). Then after a bit of thought, I realized that would probably mean a foreign name, and I don’t want people to get the impression that foreign people are the ones who should be doing my vacuuming. So now I don’t know.

    I could name it "R. Daneel", but that seems almost as bad as "HAL".

  7. How about Rosie from the Jetsons? Or is that going to run into gender stereotype issues…

  8. andyall says:

    How ’bout Sebastian, after Sebastian Cabot, the butler on the old tv show "Family Affari".

  9. Brian Keller says:

    CLR? (as in, garbage collection?)
    I suppose depending on your type of carpet it’s also providing thread management.

  10. Get the fast charger. Being able to charge it up in an hour and a half means you can use it a few times a day, which makes it much more useful (to me anyway).

  11. Neil Cowburn says:

    How about using old fashioned names like Herbert, Gertrude, Winifred, Albert (remember the butler from Batman?), etc.?

  12. theCoach says:

    It seems to me that it should, when done, get itself to a place where it can unload itself, and then jump back in the charger. Houses should be redesigned to do their fair share in helping intelligent products help end users.

  13. David Evans says:


    just couldn’t stop myself 😉

  14. Diana DiCicco says:

    My sister-in-law bought 2 of these Roomba Pro Elite’s and they seem to be doing a great job. I find them to be very quiet and they do the job very well. I myself just bought one but have not received it yet….I will return with my assessment………

  15. Jane says:

    If I get one, I’m naming it Sunny after the robot in the new movie, I-Robot.

    Can anyone tell me how often one has to empty it and whether it’s easy to do? Also, do you have the original Roomba, or the newer ones that have bigger capacity? Or one of the new ones that docks itself to recharge. Sounds pretty awesome. Also, how about pets? Anyone have any issues? My black lab loves our Shark vacuum and tries to get it. I’m worried that she’ll corner it, which is ironic because I only need it for taking care of her shedding!

    Now if only they’d invent one that would dock and recharge while emptying itself into a bigger container. That would be awesome.

  16. As many of you know, we have lived with a Roomba for a few years. He’s been a faithful servent, though