S/W microwave seeks toaster

Isn’t it funny how time always seems to get away from you? I think it was the German philosopher Hegel who compared time’s elusiveness to that of Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget . Or maybe that was a dream I had. Either way, I think Hegel wouldn’t have had such a problem with time had he built his own oscilloscope clock, yeah?

On today’s edition of Gadgetbox we would like to share with you, our delightful readers, the latest in automated robotic servitude helpfulness, the oddest Xbox 360 peripheral to date, and the very best in combination microwave/toasters.

Exterminate pool scum! Exterminate!

As if having robot underlings who sweep and scrub your floor isn’t enough, iRobot now wants to put these mechanical beasts of burden to work by cleaning your luxurious outdoor pool. Look, let’s face it, these are the kind of menial tasks that children were designed for . What’s next, robots that take out the trash and pick up little Timmy from school? They already terrorize your pets; pretty soon, these buckets of bolts are going to start demanding allowances and spots at the dinner table.

But should you wish to entrust the care and cleaning of your pool to a robot, iRobot’s Verro comes in two models, the 300 and 600, priced at $799 and $1,199 respectively—the 300 is designed for pools made from concrete or gunite (sprayed concrete); the 600 is for vinyl, tile, and fiberglass. Either way, just drop Verro into the pool and they’ll clean the entire thing in 60 to 90 minutes. Just be nice to your Verro, or it might decide to raise the level of chlorine and really make your eyes sting.

In the end, this is really just another way for your teenager to get out of doing any sort of household chores. “But moooom, why can’t the robot clean the pool?” What the hell? When did we start living on The Jetsons ? [via Engadget ]

Xbox 360 luvs txting, LOL!!!!

Why so much news about the Xbox 360? If you must know, it’s because it’s become my new obsession (somewhere, Natalie Portman just breathed a sigh of relief). Though I don’t have a 360 yet, I’m planning on picking one up towards the end of the month, so I was pretty psyched to see news about the forthcoming software update for the 360.

The update will add a handful of new codecs for video playback, including the MPEG-4 and H.264 formats that are also supported by the Apple TV; previously, the 360 played only WMV files. 360 owners will also see improvements to downloading content, better family controls, more buddy features, and a host of other enhancements.

But the big news? Microsoft is integrating IM into the Xbox 360 using their Windows Live Messenger Service. You’ll be able to instant message with up to six buddies at the same time. But Dan, you say, how do I type messages? Glad you asked, figment of my imagination. You’ve got three options: use the virtual onscreen keyboard (bleh); plug in a USB keyboard (which you can’t use for gaming, alas); or use Microsoft’s new keyboard add-on device, shown above. Crazy looking? Totally, but an interesting idea, I guess. I would think it would hurt your thumbs, but smartphone users will probably be all over it like powdered sugar on french toast. I think I’ll hold off for a little while; I get my IM fix on my MacBook just fine.

The keyboard add-on will arrive in the summer, though the price has not yet been announced. The Dashboard update is coming the week of May 7th to Xboxes everywhere. [via Kotaku ]

The LG Defrost-‘N-Toast

Convergence belongs in the kitchen, as I’ve always* said. While LG’s new combination microwave may be no 3-in-1 breakfast making machine , it does look a bit slicker, and it has the added appeal of actually being available in the US.

LG’s device comes in two models: one integrates a coffee maker, the other a toaster. I don’t drink coffee, so I wouldn’t be the best target for that version, but toast? I know toast. The things this sucker could do for my toasting workflow (my toastflow , if you will) are frankly, unprecedented . I defrost a bagel and there’s no need to walk over to the toaster because it’s already there . Genius. Plus, nine levels of toast. Nine . Say no more.

I mean, sure, you’ll have to pay a premium of $150 for the privilege of glomming these two devices together, but I’ll say it’s worth it. Even though I can’t use them at the same time, since turning on both the toaster and the microwave will blow my kitchen fuse, setting into motion a chain of events that will almost certainly end with my apartment being ripped from the space/time continuum. Bummer. [via Gizmodo ]

[ *Always applies retroactively as of this very moment. ]

That’s it for this week’s installment of Gadgetbox. We’ll see you next week, as long as we have not yet been set adrift in the cosmic flotsam and jetsam or all too efficiently cleansed by our robotic servants.

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