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Our new sextuplet Roombas (model 891)

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A new fiscal year has started. To start the new year fresh, we replaced the Roombas in the main office area. At e-Jan, due to security concerns, we clean the main office area ourselves. I don't like the idea of someone we don't know well coming into the office afterhours to vacuum the floor. Of course, we always make sure that confidential information is stored away in the right places and not left out in the open, but still, it wouldn't feel right.

The sextuplets were unboxed and set up last Friday, when I had a little extra time. When I opened the box, at a glance, the Roomba did not have any buttons to set up the timer. This time, my plan was to auto-schedule the Roombas to operate at night time, so those buttons were critical. I regretted that I had assumed the buttons would come as a default feature and didn't even check its availability.

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Going through the manual didn't give me much information about scheduling other than the availability of iRobot Home App for smartphones. So, I downloaded it and started learning what the app could do. I found out that the scheduling feature was available via the app, and naming each one with a unique name was also possible. I named the sextuplets after the members of AMG (Administration Management Group); Alex, Ayako, Miyuki, Ryo, Yuka, and Yukari. I scheduled them to start cleaning at 23:30 each night from Sunday through Thursday.

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On Monday morning, after running their first course during the previous night, I came into the office looking forward to seeing the records of their operation. Alex had started working at 23:31, endured 60 minutes, and completed his job after 4 dirt detect counts. "Dirt detect count" is the number of spots where they found it dirty. Ayako had failed to start for some reason. Miyuki had started at 23:30, worked for 59 minutes, ate too much and got full, completed her job after 2 dirt detect counts. Ryo had started at 2:40 for some reason, worked for 42 minutes, and completed his job after 2 dirt detect counts. Yuka had started at 23:32 and got stuck somewhere after recording 3 dirt detect counts. Yukari had started at 23:31, worked for 59 minutes, and completed her task after 2 dirt detect counts.

How enjoyable it is to have names for the sextuplets and seeing their characters somewhat reflecting their name owners. The name owners confessed that they had some attachment to the Roomba named after them. Interesting, isn't it? In the morning, whoever notices if any of the Roombas got stuck somewhere, has to take it back to its dock. From now on, I will not be required to be physically present at the office very early in the mornings just to turn them on. It was one of the biggest barriers preventing me from actualizing my telework!

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The Philosophy behind the Robotic Vacuums in the Office

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