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This little guy has some pretty terrible reviews. They're downright scary. But when Amazon offered Scooba at over 34% off MSRP I decided to take a gamble. I have been very pleased. I have sealed solid oak hardwood (not prefinished, and definitely not laminate) throughout my downstairs and vinyl in the kitchen and bathrooms. Our house isn't huge and I'd estimate all together the non-carpeted areas total around 700 square feet. I use my Roomba 760 before running the Scooba since it can't vacuum excess debris like the full size scoobas. I find the charge doesn't last a long time but I can easily do 1 large area per day, sometimes a medium area and a small bathroom. I'd like to address some of the critiques that others have mentioned (most in the kit with 'essentials' http://www.amazon.com/iRobot-Scooba-Essentials-Robotic-Vacuum/dp/B004VMXDMU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334446083&sr=8-1) :
1. It takes too long to charge and the battery doesn't last long enough. This is probably valid, but it's working with a tiny little battery that has to be watertight. It takes about 8 hours to fully charge from dead, and I have been getting 2 cycles (about 1 hr total) from a single charge. I have no problem letting it charge overnight and doing my house in increments. Still better than me having to mop, and let's be honest. It might take only 10 minutes for me to mop the same area, but I don't do it. So even with long charge times I'm better off than I was with my old mop.
2. "Scooba leaves big pools of water on the floor." I have not found this to be the case at all. Since my home is mainly hardwood I was concerned but I think scooba does a better job of getting up water than I do with my old fashioned mop. There are a few areas about the size of a silver dollar that do take 5 or 10 minutes to dry but they aren't puddles. If you don't look at them at an angle you don't know they are even there. I can walk on the floor safely as soon as "Steve" finishes his cleaning cycle and plays his little song.
3. Scooba doesn't clean well/There is still stuff on my floor - I have 2 shih tzus, a toddler, and a husband who doesn't ever take his shoes off at the door. Our floors are a mess. Scooba does not get every last dried on bit of gunk off the floor. Neither do I if I don't put a little elbow grease into it. But I was very happy to find that he does get most things. My daughter smashed and smeared play doh on the floor in the living room. I scraped up the actual dough but there was a film left behind. Scooba picked up every bit. the same goes for a sticky juice mess in the kitchen. I also noticed that some spots that were missed one day, were caught just fine the next time I ran the machine. As with anything cleaning-related, frequency is key. I also find that if there is something particularly dried I can squirt it with a little water before starting Scooba Steve and that helps soften it so he can clean it up.
4. Scooba doesn't fit behind my toilet - Mine either. But he comes pretty darn close. He gets all around the sides and most of the back. Let's face it. I wasn't getting down there every other day and mopping around the base of the toilet. Steve does. I feel my bathroom is much more sanitary now because of this.
5. This Scooba doesn't help you with troubleshooting. There is only one light so you have to guess. - Not true. People, read the manual that came with the device. There is only one light but after indicating a problem Scooba beeps. Count the beeps. Now look in the troubleshooting guide. Each number of beeps represents a very specific problem. Earlier today Steve beeped 5 times. I checked the guide. It indicated something was stuck in the vacuum tubes. I cleaned the base really quickly and sent him back on his way. No problems.
6. This Scooba is not as good as *insert model number here* - Maybe not. I don't have a big Scooba to compare but this one also cost less than half the price of the next cheapest model. I would hope that for double the money there would be some improvement.
Overall I love this little guy. No he doesn't have a dock and he takes a long time to charge, but he has really helped me keep my house in a more sanitary condition and for a busy working mom like me, that is worth a lot.
Let me start by saying I am a novice machine sewer at the age of 28. I certainly have background in crafting/embroidery etc but the machine really intimidated me and I have no one (grandmother etc) to teach me. I really love this book and think it has made me a more confident sewer. It will NOT teach you how to use your machine. It won't teach you basic techniques like pressing, cutting/measuring fabric, using a rotary cutter etc. There are plenty of blogs and youtube that helped me with that. She does include an introduction with the kinds of tools you will need and/or are helpful as well as a basic introduction which is nice but you may need to do some research about your machine or consult a more comprehensive guide like Vogue for the details on the most basic techniques. What it does have are cute and useful projects I actually liked (as opposed to other "beginner books" filled with ugly and/or dated things I would never want to purchase let alone make) Each chapter is divided into 3 projects, with each project building on the skills learned in the previous. So, for example, the first chapter is themed around dining/kitchen. First you make simple dishcloth (learning to sew in a straight line, folded corners, making a basic hem, pressing fabric etc), then the next project is a set of cloth napkins (still sewing/cutting in a straight line, but now we add in "fancy" mitered corners, and finishing edge stiching), finally a table runner with pockets for flatware (add seamless pockets). By the end of the chapter you've really mastered the basics (straight line sewing/hemming, mitered corners) and are also comfortable with a more advanced skill (seamless pockets). Each chapter builds on the previous, though the author maintains you do not have to work the chapters in order. I am about halfway through and just chose to go in order because I want to build my skills.
Each project includes a high quality color photographic image of the final product. The actual directions include text and black and white drawings. At times I had to go back and reread a step several times because the picture isn't as detailed as I might like, but overall everything is simple to follow even for a beginner.
I have a friend who borrowed the book and is a very advanced sewer. She ended up getting her own copy because she likes it too. The projects are simple but also interesting enough for an accomplished seamstress. I think one thing that helps with this is for each project she suggests ways to alter the directions to make the project your own. For someone starting out the plain cloth napkins might be challenge enough but for a more accomplished sewer she suggests adding decorative trim or embroidery, or to use a higher quality fabric to make heirloom quality table linens.
I would have given this book 5 stars but I took one away because I think there should have been more pictures/detailed diagrams for the more complicated projects and basic instruction for things like cutting or tracing a pattern onto fabric. For a true beginner this would have been helpful. Overall I highly recommend it!
This is a nice little soother and helped create background noise for my daughter. Once she was around 9-10 months she would sit up and push the little bird button to start the music/lights herself. If you have it set for music only it plays for around 12 minutes. If music and lights a little less. If you have the music light and motion all going it only goes for 5 minutes or so before shutting off. I realize the manufacturer probably did this to save batteries, but that's not really long enough for a child to be soothed to sleep even if they're close to drifting off. I have to stand there and push the button again or risk her waking up.
The other huge issue I have with this item is that the water for the fish evaporates out. We've had it for a year and the water is halfway gone. I'm not sure how this happens but now the fish blows "bubbles" which are just puffs of air and since there isn't water there it makes this clicking noise. The motion setting is now worthless. I really expected more from a device that cost this much. I had hoped to use it for a second child but not now. I've noticed at second hand shops that every one I've ever seen has the same problem so I don't believe this is an isolated issue.
Lastly if you have really wide crib railing it is really difficult to get this attached to the crib. I had to mess with it a long time and then just BARELY got it snapped safely. Definitely something to consider if you have a convertible style crib that has a thick decorative railing up top.
While this is a decent item, it is a bi pricey considering the issues we've had with it. My daughter much prefers her glowing seahorse and for a quarter of the price I would recommend it over this.
We received this toy as a gift and thought our 13 month old daughter would love it. She likes squirting toys and water play in general. Prior to trying it in the tub we let her play with it and she really enjoyed the little spinner ball that is to be balanced on the whale's tail. We put in batteries (AA - not included) and unlike other reviewers ours floats upright as he should. If you try to float him without batteries he tips over, I'm not sure if that's the issue others have had with it. When you press the "water" spray on the whale's head he lights up, swims around, and squirts water out of his blow hole. The water stream on our toy is pretty powerful, so I'm not sure why others have stated theirs only dribbles. Perhaps this is another battery issue? Ours does all the things it is supposed to do just fine.
The problem is, as others have noted, that the toy is quite loud and mechanical sounding while swimming around and squirting water. My daughter was TERRIFIED of this toy when we turned it on in the bath. She screamed and cried long after we took it out of the tub. If she even sees it sitting stationary on the side of the tub she screams. I think the loud mechanical sounds are what were so scary. For an older child this might be a better choice. My husband and I think it's a very cute toy and both agree we would have liked it as children, but for a timid or easily frightened child it is scary to have a loud whale spinning around spraying with water in the tub! She does really like the little floating/spinning ball that came with it but that's hardly worth the price!