January 2005 Archives

January 15, 2005

Tools I'm catching up on

There are taxonomies that divide users of technology into innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. There have been times when I've been in the innovator category, but perhaps lately I've fallen back into the early adopter category. Or maybe I've always been there. Can't tell.

I've just got around to a few tools that a number of folks have mentioned before, namely del.icio.us and Bloglines. I've looked at Flickr, but I have my own picture site that doesn't come with bandwidth upload restrictions, so I haven't really tried that one yet.

Read on ...

Continue reading Tools I'm catching up on.

January 5, 2005

Dyson Animal: Disappointing

We've not had good luck with vacuum cleaners. We're long time subscribers to Consumer Reports; a few years back we found one the upright vacuum cleaners near the top of CU's list (a Kenmore, I think), went down to Sears, and bought it. It wasn't good. Too heavy, not easy to put attachments on it - just not good. We were looking around for something better.

So when we started hearing about the Dyson vacuum cleaners, we were intrigued. Their marketing pitch was aimed straight at the intelligent consumer who wants to know why they should prefer one product over another. And when the Animal model came out, how could a high-tech family with three kids, three cats, and one dog resist?

At first we were happy. We'd pull the the canister off after every room and marvel at how much dirt and hair had been lurking in our house.

But then we got new carpet last year. And I'm not proud to say that in retrospect, it probably wasn't the best carpet around - the pile was a bit thinner than we realized at first.

That cheaper carpet has driven our Dyson nuts. The Dyson self-adjusts to the height of the carpet - but the thinner pile fools the Dyson, and the result is it feels like we're shoving a push mower across the carpet. On occasion the height adjustment gets completely out of whack; the resulting noise sounds like the Dyson is pulling the carpet right off the ground.

And to top it off, Consumer Reports has panned the Dyson. There are better vacuums for less money, CU says.

We've given it a chance. We've had it for more than a year. But it's hard to admit that we spent over $500 on a vacuum that isn't quite doing the job. Oh, well. It's easy to clean. It looks cute. (But it sits in the closet, so that's not worth much.) But it wasn't worth it. Oh, well. I guess the Dyson wasn't designed to clear carpets for the hoi polloi.

The story has an ironic ending: our Dyson Animal was stolen in December of 2006. Good riddance! Now our insurance will give us $500 to buy a decent vacuum cleaner.