Tuesday, September 26, 2017
PROS / The iRobot Roomba 650 was able to get over a lot of obstacles that stopped competitors.
CONS / This one struggled quite a bit on pet hair, leaving some behind and getting a lot caught in its brushes rather than into the dustbin.
VERDICT / This is an older model that lacks newer innovations like a phone app, but it has good suction and almost never gets stuck.
The Roomba 650 is one of the older models in iRobot's product line, but it is of such high quality, so well-known and so well-regarded that it still earns a spot in our comparison of the best robot vacuum cleaners. There is only one competitor that had more suction than the Roomba 650, which also was among the best for its ability to maneuver around obstacles. It may not have all of the latest upgrades, like a mobile app, but this unit does a great job of cleaning – and for a very low price.
In our home tests the Roomba 650 got up and over an almost 2-inch transition from hardwood flooring to tile quickly. After watching a long line of competitors hesitate and even get stuck completely on the same threshold obstacle, it was refreshing to see this one glide right over it and keep on vacuuming. It did have problems on one transition from hardwood to a thicker carpet but for the most part it was a champ in terms of self-sufficiency. This is one of the ones you would be safe to leave unattended and expect to find it doing its job when you return rather than getting stuck.
In laboratory suction tests this vacuum robot was very impressive. It struggled on pet hair, on both carpeting and vinyl flooring, but for other test messes like kitty litter and Cheerios it was always among the best.
You do not get a mobile app or remote control for programming and changing your settings with this vacuum, which can make it more difficult to control. You have to control it just using the buttons on the top. Also, its screen offers less information than some of the others, so it was not the most intuitive to use. One thing that makes it easier to use is its rubber bumpers on every side, which ensure that it does not leave scuff marks on furniture and floorboards.
It weighs just under 8 pounds and measures approximately 13 inches around, which is average. That size proved to work just fine in home tests because it was able to clean around the legs of the dining room table and under couches, even though it was not particularly petite. A carrying handle would have been nice, but since the 650 needs repositioning so rarely it won't matter very often. It almost never gets stuck, and when the battery is running low the vacuum automatically returns to its base by itself.
Monday, September 11, 2017
Developed and manufactured by the Citizen Watch Company, ECO DRIVE CHRONOGRAPH receive their power from any light source. Since the watches run on both solar or artificial light, their power supply is continuously being replenished. Eco Drive watches look like other watches and are made in a variety of styles and designs. This quality watches also contain the same type of quartz movement found in watches powered by other methods.
How They Work
The two main components of the power system of an Eco Drive watch is an energy cell and a solar conversion panel. Located under the watch dial, the microns thin solar panel is a disc made of amorphous Silicon. After capturing the energy from the light source that enters through the watch crystal and dial, the solar panel converts the energy into electrical power through a process called photovoltaic. The electrical energy is then stored in the energy cell providing the needed power supply for the watch to run. From then on, an Eco Drive watch operates in the same way as a regular quartz watch.
The energy cell of an Eco Drive watch is not like a regular watch battery. The following are the main differences:
- It is not affected by the normal cycle of charge and discharge.
- The energy cell is environmentally friendly as it does not contain the chemicals found in most other types of watch batteries.
- The energy cell never needs to be replaced when used properly.
The technical platform that made the Eco-Drive concept possible was the Eco-Drive caliber 7878 movement. This movement was the first light powered movement where the solar cells could be mounted under the dial. Previous light powered watches from Citizen and other manufacturers had the solar cell(s) mounted directly on the dial. This innovation was enabled by marked improvements in thin film amorphous silicon solar cells, which, by the early 1990s had become significantly more efficient. By locating a sufficiently translucent dial material over the now more efficient solar cells, enough light could pass through the dial face to power the movement. Though the Eco-Drive caliber 7878 movement solar cells remained slightly visible through the dial, the physical styling of the light-powered watch was no longer constrained by visible solar cells.
To store electrical energy the first Eco-Drive movements employed titanium lithium-ion rechargeable or secondary batteries. This battery type became available in the early 1990s, enabling an Eco-Drive 7878 movement to run 180 days on secondary power before requiring recharging via light exposure — a marked improvement in energy storage over previous light-powered watches. The movement also featured an "insufficient recharging" indicator.
Monday, April 17, 2017
I know we all want to do important things. We all want to work on important products, start important companies and accomplish tasks that could change the world and have an enormous impact. I see this in entrepreneurs and the tech community more than anywhere else.
The question we ask, whenever we hear about a new business or idea, whether it’s renewable energy or a messaging app or a fucking hamster sled, is this:
Will it scale?
Friday, April 14, 2017
Increasingly, more and more companies are looking for great design leadership these days. They are being told that their company needs a bigger focus on design thinking and are keen to adopt more design centric principles. But over and over, when these companies talk to designers, they hear about craftsmanship—about brand consistency, and polished design, designers who can code, and style guides, and prototyping, and testing — the designer’s craft.
All of those things are good — mandatory even. But for us to truly understand the best way to help a business we have to start focusing on what makes the business successful. We must first understand business in general. Then we will better understand where craft is important (and where it is excessive).
Instead, designers are often seen as someone that needs to have the important business goals explained to them in the most basic of ways. I think our suggestions about design would carry a lot more weight if we were able to have insightful conversations, and offer valuable suggestions about core business principles.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Video will not save your media business. Nor will bots, newsletters, a “morning briefing” app, a “lean back” iPad experience, Slack integration, a Snapchat channel, or a great partnership with Twitter. All of these things together might help, but even then, you will not be saved by the magical New Thing that everyone else in the media community is convinced will be the answer to The Problem.
I can tell you from personal experience over the last several months, having met with countless investors and leaders of media companies and editors and writers and technologists in the media world that there is a desperate belief that The Problem can be solved with the New Thing. And goddammit someone must have it in their pitch deck. A new kind of video app. The best news stories of the day, except all on video. Video, but with subtitles. Only 30 second videos, designed for vertical screens. A personalized Facebook bot that delivers only the video you want. Video on-demand, over-the-top, linear, succulent, meaningful, plentiful, attention-grabbing video!