Fixing the Robot Vacuum

I own 2 iLife A4s vaccums that just run around my house cleaning up my mess and all the dust bunnies. For some strange reason, last week the one upstairs just wouldn’t work anymore. I would go backwards, then it would go forwards maybe an inch and then turn off and have this glaring red light on the top. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t work. So what’s a person to do that doesn’t enjoy spending more money on his toy? He takes a screw driver and pulls the whole thing apart looking for the problem of course!

Utilizing my trusty philips head screw driver, I took the entire vacuum apart. There was a ton of dust bunnies embedded in the vacuum from over a year of cleaning the upstairs. I cleaned the vacuum out and thought that it might be the motor for the main roller. That was fine though and I ended up putting the vacuum back together to see if it would work. The vacuum still wouldn’t work so I decided to try swapping out parts from the working vacuum downstairs. The only part I swapped out was the main roller and that seemed to be the issue but the main roller was $20. Taking it apart and putting it back together again took around 2 hours of making sure I didn’t have extra screws after I put everything in place.

I decided to put the old roller in and leave it alone for a day or so and watch some YouTube videos on what the problem could possibly be. On one of the videos it mentioned a bearing that I didn’t take out of the main motor assembly. Now that I had taken the vacuum apart the first time, I knew that I didn’t have to take the entire thing apart, just some of it. Although the parts I did have to remove are a real pain in the ass to put back (some silly rubber gaskets need to line up with some screw holes and you have to wedge it in under a circuit board…….). After getting to the bearing I saw that it was fairly clean and the mechanism was spinning ok. I found another bearing that was much smaller but it too looked fine. For good measure I decided to add some speed cream that I use on my skateboards to oil up the bearings. After 25 minutes I put it all back together but the problem persisted!!! GRRRR……

As a last resort I decided to check the roller again. To my surprise the roller came apart into 3 different pieces. I finally discovered why the roller wouldn’t move, there was hair wrapped around the inner axle of the main roller and it was wound up really tight so that the axle had difficulty spinning. I took 5 minutes and my Swiss Army knife to cut all the hair off the inner part of the axle and took her for a test spin. Right now the vacuum is back up stairs plying her trade by cleaning up my mess. It sounds like the main roller needs a little bit more cleaning but I can do that later, for now its back at work and it didn’t cost me a thing except my time.

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Long Live Touch ID

I must be one of the last hold outs that still like having Touch ID. Granted I have never owned a Face ID enabled device but most of my devices use it. I have iPads and iPhones that all use the tech and its nice to be able to share an iPad or iPhone with my daughter. While I can go ahead and use a passcode, Touch ID is still more secure but not as restricting as using Face ID where its only your face or using the passcode.

The use case that I use for Touch ID is managing my daughters phone. She has 2 fingers enabled, and my wife and I have a finger each which leaves one finger left. This is good for us since the passcode is pretty long and I don’t always want to type it in. It gives us instant access to the phone and its content (there isn’t a lot on it but its helpful when I need to muck around with the settings and stuff.

Most of the newer Apple devices are going to Face ID. All the new iPhones and even the new iPads use Face ID. MacBook Pro’s still use Touch ID but I think the implementation of it could be better. When I first start up the computer it requires a password, but after that I can use Touch ID when waking up the computer from the screen saver or after I’ve opened the lid back up. It also lets me pay for stuff with credit cards that I’ve saved in Safari. I can see Face ID coming to a future MacBook Pro so it works similar to Windows Hello which I’ve heard is awesome but most corporate computers don’t allow it.

I still think that Touch ID has its uses in phones and computers. Better use of Touch ID would be great on the Mac. So many people cover up the cameras on their computers it would almost render Face ID useless. I’m surprised that Windows Hello is widely used based on this phenomenon. I’ve seen some of the Android Phones on YouTube lately that are incorporating the finger print reader right into the screen. That would be cool to give the user a choice to unlock with their face or their finger. I’m waiting for the 2020 iPhones personally to upgrade. Thats when apparently Apple will support 5G and it will also be an “S” year, so they would have had a full year to refine their phone design and maybe they’ll bring back a little bit of the Touch ID magic back.

Slowly moving to USB-C

MacBook USB C Port image from iMore.com

It would appear that the tech world is starting to head towards USB-C more and more. My MacBook Pro from 2017 has USB-C and I’ve been dealing with that for about a year or so. My new GoPro Hero Black 7 also uses USB-C for charging and so does the Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, a lot of my other devices are still using lightning (in the case of Apple) and micro USB (Bose headphones and my external batteries). That means I have to carry 3 different types of cables with me when I travel for work or for pleasure. Not really painful but still, it would be nice if everything was interchangeable.

GoPro Hero 7 USB-C Charging/Data Port

My new work computer still using the clunky old proprietary charger but it also has a USB-C port. Now I can’t plug anything in there since the software bars me from actually doing anything with the USB ports except to charge my iPhone. If they go the Apple route and let you charge your actual device with USB-C that would be excellent for me personally, one less charger to bring along for the ride. On YouTube there has always been a lot of talk about being in dongle hell when you have a USB-C port only computer like my MacBook Pro, personally I haven’t really experienced that since I use an adapter for my USB-A cables and convert them to USB-C. I might be in the minority since I have 4 USB-C ports, 2 of which are the Thunderbolt ports which provide power.

My desktop computer is start to slowly die, even though it has a 1TB SSD in it to give it a nice speed boost. The 10 year old processor and 3GB of RAM is really starting to show though. My daughter has to use a website for her homework and it takes forever to load on the desktop but she likes using it since its in the office with her mom. I decided to load up the same website on my MacBook Pro and it screams, so I’m definitely looking for a new computer but its going to have to have USB-C. The current Surface Pro is the front runner but there’s no USB-C. That was a major omission in my opinion. As more and more of my devices go towards USB-C, that is what is going to drive my tech buying requirements in the future.

One of the reasons I refuse to update my iPad Pro and my iPhone is because they both use Lightning ports, the latest iPad Pro has a USB-C port which is great but then all my other I-Devices use Lightning. Right now its very convenient when I do family vacations to just carry a few lightning cables instead of having to mix and match all the time. When 5G technology is prevalent and my iPad Pro is running like shit, I’ll be ready to do a massive tech upgrade to USB-C. Truthfully, the only real reason I even use cables anymore is for charging. If I can get my iTunes backups for my I-devices onto my NAS, I’m just going to do network backups for everything.

I think in around 5 years, I should have everything on USB-C. That means I can finally use one cable to rule them all instead of the hodge podge I have to deal with right now. My RAVPower USB hub is helpful but man… so many cables….