Cleaning Up with Roomba Jason Toon and Luke Duff work for the Web site woot.com. Their favorite gadget is something they bought from themselves: a Roomba. It's a small robot that sweeps up dust.
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Cleaning Up with Roomba

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Cleaning Up with Roomba

Cleaning Up with Roomba

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

You are listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

This week at this time, people who see a lot of gadgets in their lines of work are telling us about their own favorites. Today, we're going to hear from Jason Toon and Luke Duff. They work for the Web site woot.com. It sells mostly electronic accessories.

What's unique about the Web site is the way it describes its merchandise - in fun, mini-essays, that are mostly written by Jason Tune. For example, they pitch Bluetooth headphones like this.

Mr. JASON TOON: Sorry. I can't hear you, there's a tooth in my ear.

BLOCK: And a watch that shows the phases of the moon like this.

Mr. TOON: You're sitting down to dinner with your future in-laws and you feel the transformation coming. Stubble sprouting on your face and hands. Canine teeth extending and sharpening, spine arching, an intense craving for venison. You're shifting into your wolf form.

Nobody wants to allow their daughter to marry a werewolf. You're sure to lose that girl now and all because you forgot about the full moon tonight. This moon phase watch is the silvery bullet that could have kept your nighttime problem from ruining your waking life. As shimmery and glimmery as old Luna herself, it looks equally great with formal dress, casual wear or a dense coat of fur.

BLOCK: And the favorite gadget around the Woot office?

Mr. TOON: We bought this from ourselves. A Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. I don't know if people have seen this. It's about the size of, I don't know, maybe a large pie, I guess. I don't know. It's a big disc thing that motors around the room vacuuming up the floor.

Go ahead, Luke. You probably know more than I do.

Mr. LUKE DUFF: It's actually a sweeper. It's not technically a vacuum. It's just these brushes that brush along the ground and put all the dirt in a little container in the back.

Mr. TOON: But as far as how it moves, it just goes randomly, right?

Mr. DUFF: Yeah. It doesn't try to map the room or learn where everything is. It just moves around randomly and eventually it gets everywhere.

Mr. TOON: Like not only is that kind of cool to sit here and watch this robot, you know, zipping around and watch how it gets out of various positions that it gets kind of trapped into, but we would kind of set it off at night as we were leaving the office and come back in the morning and it was always kind of, you know, an amusing morning ritual to try to hunt down where the Roomba had gotten hung up over the night.

One time we actually found it in pieces, but the pieces just kind of snapped back together. We weren't sure what happened as far as that went, but it actually, you know, more than just the novelty value. It works to keep the floors clean, which is pretty cool. Luke has one in his house.

Mr. DUFF: It's great if you have cats.

Mr. TOON: A lot of people with cats like them, I hear, because they fight.

Mr. DUFF: They - yeah. They don't know what to think, I don't know, if it's alive or whatever. They would follow it around and watch what it's doing, too.

Mr. TOON: I mean, it's got all kinds of little appendages on the bottom to try to get itself out. It'll spin its wheels different directions to see if that works. It'll kind of push itself up with kind of a little arm that swings down out of it, and it's actually really good at getting itself out of scrapes. And then if it kind of finishes its job before it gets hung up somewhere, it finds its own way back to its little docking station and parks itself and starts charging its battery again. It's pretty neat.

BLOCK: That's Jason Toon and Luke Duff of woot.com. Tomorrow we'll hear from you about some of your favorite gadgets.

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