Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Roomba 2: The Sequel

Fraternal Roomba twins separated at birth.

I am surrounded by failure. Firstly, neither of our cats can speak English despite 8 years of personal, one-on-one lessons. Secondly, their arch-nemesis, the Roomba, broke down numerous times over the last week. And when I look at my computer I see nothing but failure. (It was a one in a trillion chance, but both my regular hard drive AND my backup hard drive failed at the exact same time. I lost everything.)

Yes, everywhere I look there is failure. Even the Useless Men, with two new posts in the last 30 some-odd days, are performing particularly uselessly.

But let's get back to Roomba, its failure and iRobot's silly customer support. It all started when Roomba stopped beeping.

The Roomba beeps to tell you various things. The cute & cuddly beeps are charming like a Speak 'n Spell, or sad and scary like a pissed off R2-D2. Roomba says "DO-DO! LA-LA-LAAA!" when it is happy, and "Uh-oh!" when there is trouble. The beeps are the window to Roomba's feelings and innermost thoughts. When something bad has happened to Roomba, he tells you. With beeps!

But how can Roomba tell you his speaker is broken when he can't beep at you? On top of that, Roomba wasn't working - and because of the failed speaker, couldn't tell me why.

Enter iRobot Customer Support. After explaining via email that my Roomba no longer beeps, and I therefore couldn't figure out what made him sick, I received a reply. A ridiculous reply that went something like this:

"If Roomba beeps 'uh-oh' 2 times, it means...
If Roomba beeps 'uh-oh' 3 times, it means...
If Roomba beeps 'uh-oh' 4 times, it means..."

A box o' fun!You get the idea. Customer Support was useless, and in my curt reply I let them know it. But upon receiving a nice package at my door today, I wish I had been a little nicer in my email.

After the inital email, I received a second one from iRobot. The Customer Support agent apologized for the previous email, then told me that with a failed speaker, Roomba was in need of being replaced. That's right, a full replacement because of the failure of a part worth a little less than a gallon of gasoline. (And don't even get me started on the amount of fuel it took for them to ship it to me from Pennsylvania!)

While I waited for my new Roomba to arrive, I disassembled my Roomba to try and find the problem. Inside there were bundles of tiny wires. The wires lead to various sensors and motors. I found the speaker and it was intact. The speaker wire was also intact. I took apart the motor to the side-spinning brush. I re-greased the gears with nuts and gum and put everything back together.

After all my toiling, Roomba still didn't work. It would start, but jerk to a halt a few seconds later. Frustrated, and knowing a logo-less replacement was on its way, I vented my anger in the form of a powerful punch. Roomba came back to life instantly.

It seems a good flogging now and then is good for delicate electronics, and helps the Chinese workforce stay motivated to churn out the cheap Roombas destined for jerks like me who can't afford the Trilobite.

And if anybody's looking for me, I'll be hiding in Florida till Sept. 2nd. Au revoir!

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Friday, August 15, 2008


I made this all by myself
moar funny pictures

So much failure. No Olympic medals for Canada thus far and the worst part of all - I haven't been able to post anything new lately because of a hard drive failure. Yes, that is so much worse than Canada's showing at the Olympics. Why? Because Canada never does well at the Olympics so there are no surprises.

Anyhoo, my hard drive has unexpectedly and catastrophically crashed leaving me unable to boot up Windows. I have pictures but have been unable to transfer my photos to my computer or write anything.

So while you wait for me to get up and running again, enjoy this ad I found online, and many more failures at Failblog and I Can Has Cheezburger?.

And yes, this was a real ad I found. Yes, some 'business' full of incompetent employees who can't understand why the terrorist who masterminded the destruction of the World Trade towers is running for President actually thinks they have the ability to correctly test how intelligent you are. If you take the I.Q. test and believe the results, shame. You are certainly NOT "smarter than a eight year old."

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Costumed Caterpillar

Watch out for the eyes. The eyes shoot lasers through leaves.

August is here, and with it comes the 3 H's; Heat. Humidity. Halloween. That's right I said it. Halloween.

The Ween bug bites me every summer as I begin preparing for my annual Halloween bash. And, as is the custom, I've spent the last couple of days searching the web for exciting Halloween stuffs. So what could be more appropriate than what I found today in my backyard - a caterpillar with a scary costume.

Our crabapple tree, reaching down as though trying to bitchslap your face with its low-hanging branches, startled me when one of its guests nearly hit me in the forehead. It was one of the strangest caterpillars I've ever seen.

It was a bizarre, smooth, sort of quasi-transparent snot colour, and much fatter than any other I've encountered. But that wasn't the weird part. It was the eyes. Almost neon yellow, the predator-frightening eyes were false. As Suz said, it almost looked like it was wearing a mask. And for a brief moment she actually thought I had somehow sneakily painted the eyes on without her seeing.

The eye is charging up, just like the death star! Look out! Run Alderaan! Run!This amazing caterpillar with its bright fake eyes is a much more welcome caterpillar than the ones we had last year, which incidentally, killed my neighbour's crabapple tree, leaving only a skeleton of empty, grey branches. I am happy to have this unique caterpillar, a bricklayer by trade, living in my tree.

And when he builds his sturdy home, I hope he stays protected from the Blue Jays that have a nest nearby. Because when the time comes for him to emerge, he will, like Denis DeYoung, throw away his mask a la Mr. Roboto - and reveal himself as an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly - not a la Mr. Roboto.

And I can't wait to see him, because according to the Canadian government, this kind of butterfly is rare in Canada. And mighty tasty.

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This many people accidentally stumbled upon my site
...while searching for porn.