I've been having a bad week, a string of bad days ranging from simple fatigue to downright pissyness. so when it comes to blogging I'm going to write about the only thing that's made me happy today: a new roomba!

our old roomba

yes, here is our old roomba, lying in dead bug pose, its little side brush waving in the air conditioned breeze. this robot provided us with about two years of faithful service before finally waddling to a halt and beeping nine times. the manual only tells us to call irobot customer care for that beep code, and the blogosphere was not kind when describing their encounters with irobot customer care. maybe it was because i called utah at nine am eastern time, but i had a good experience with my call. sharry the service representative led me through troubleshooting the cliff sensors before finally diagnosing a wheel sensor issue. unfortunately the wheels are not replaceable in the discovery/400 series, but sharry gave me two options that were better than replacing my robot on my own. i was offered a replacement 400 series body for $100 (i supply my own battery and brushes) or an upgrade to a 500 series for $200 (normally $330 at irobot.com or currently $290 at amazon).

cactus inspects the new robot package
was it worth an upgrade to the 500 series? we'll see. my previous robot was a roomba discovery, which i dont see available on the irobot site; maybe they don't make it any longer. however, all of the 400 series robots would be a step down from the roomba discovery: they dont spot clean or dock with a home base. our new roomba 530 doesn't have any of the really spiffy features like wireless control, scheduling, or "lighthouse" interaction (lighthouses are like waypoints that tell roomba which rooms to clean), but the 530 does boast a lot of improvements: improved obstacle sensing, improved vacuuming, improved detangling ability.

though i haven't had a chance to use my new robot as of this writing (battery still charging), i am pleased with the price offered from irobot customer care as well as the troubleshooting service. sharry could have just jumped to the sales pitch when i said i had a defunct model beeping nine times, but we went through all the care and cleaning steps anyway. i wasnt even pressured to make an immediate decision, the offer would still be there if i decided to take it up in a few days. i love my new robot! this is what i imagine it would sound like if it had a voice.

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