The Best Robot to Buy to Vacuum Your Dirty Home

The $350 iRobot Roomba 560 is my pick for a robot vacuum cleaner.

First thing’s first: a robot vacuum cleaner is not a replacement for a traditional vacuum. These bots are designed to supplement, not replace, manual cleaning. As I found when I compared several models for Wired last year, a robot will rid you of ignorable, but irritating dirt and dust that gathers on your floors, extending the time between major household cleanings, but eventually, you’ll still need to vacuum by hand to pick up the grime that the robot couldn’t wrestle free. But they will give you more time between major cleanings—you can go a month or two between manual cleanings rather than sweeping or scrubbing once every two weeks. Or if you’re concerned about allergens, every day. For anyone that has pets that shed, or allergies to dust or pollen, the little bit of cleaning a robot vacuum can do on a daily basis can go a long way.

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The Best Summertime Gear

For most, Summer peaks sometime between the summer solstice and the fourth of July, but in San Francisco, it never comes.

The Best Water Bottle

Water is delicious and good. Bottled water is delicious and bad--it's costly for the environment and consumers alike. After hours of research, I decided the $18 Klean Kanteen Classic is the bottle I'd use to tote my ice cold water in this summer.

The Best Workhorse Laptop

In my 15 years of reviewing laptops — including dozens of computers in this class — it's got the best combination of performance, value, durability and usability of anything else on the market. And I'm not alone in that opinion.

Maybe You’re Thinking About Buying an Air Conditioner

If you’ve got a small to medium-sized room you want to keep cool this summer, you should buy a LG LW8011ER 8000 BTU Air Conditioner.  Priced at $259, it offers a great combination of features, a five-year warranty and enough power to easily cool a 225 − 350 square foot space with some people in it.

If you’ve got a medium to large sized space you want to drive the temperature down in, you should think about stepping up to a 12000 BTU unit like the LG LW1212ER 12000 BTU Air Conditioner. It’ll keep a space up to 550 square feet cool for $319.

Why am I recommending two different air conditioners to you? Well, air conditioning is a complicated technology.  What I found over 15 hours of research, is that what works for one room or house may not be a good solution for another.

You Probably Need a Standing Desk

But first, why would I want to buy a standing desk at all?

Here’s the Chef’s Knife You Should Buy

If you want a sharp and affordable knife to prep food with, you should get the Victorinox Fibrox 8 inch Chef’s Knife.

The Swiss aren’t renowned for their kitchen knives, but based on the $30 Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef’s Knife, they should be. In a head-to-head test, the Victorinox beat out a comparable knife from notable German knife maker Henckels which cost 3 times as much.

Buying a chef’s knife is a lot like buying a musical instrument. There’s going to be a lot of variation, even among instruments of the same kind. As an amateur chef, you want an instrument that is not only appropriate to your current skill level and budget, but also one that won’t hold you back as your skills improve with practice.

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Let’s Be Mindful Together About This New Apple Stuff

Apple just came out with some upgrades to their computers and gave the world a look at the new tricks that macs, iPhones and iPads will soon be able to do. It’s exciting to think about all the shiny new gear but here’s a sober look at what will make a difference in your life.

A new High Res Notebook: There’s a next generation 15-inch Macbook Pro that has a super high-resolution display that has more pixels than most 27-inch monitors. That is useful for working from the field and getting enough desktop space to fit lots of windows side by side, but I don’t know how readable that is going to be. It’s a 15-inch notebook that is about as thin as a Macbook air, weighs as much as a lot of 13-inch notebooks (4.6 pounds) and has no optical drive. It’s surprisingly not as expensive as I thought it would be at the $2200 starting price. But then I remembered it’s not 2002 and lots of solid laptops cost around a grand and change. Here’s the thing: Since it has got a lot of hardware built from the ground up, you should wait a few months to get one if you are really interested while they shake the bugs out. That’s it.

The Fan You’ll Want to Have When It’s Hot

When the heat and humidity set in this summer, I'm going to thank my lucky stars that I'm able to work in an air-conditioned office.