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Google's Nest smart smoke alarm is back on sale at a lower price after being withdrawn from store shelves for nearly a month because of a safety issue. "We're very pleased that Nest Protect is once again available to customers," Nest marketing chief Doug Sweeny said in a blog post. "And now, the price is $99 to make it …
Nest Thermostat, an energy-saving appliance that learns your temperature preferences and which you can control with your smartphone.
Some years ago I moved house. After doing so, I programmed the new house's thermostat/programmer with how and when I wanted my heating. I haven't touched it since, bar to change the clock twice a year.
Even I'm not f***ing lazy enough to really want something connected so it can do that last bit for me.
As for smartphone control, if I'm in the house the programmer is probably as close on average as my phone is, should I feel like overriding the timer. If I'm not in the house I don't really give a toss how warm it isn't.
Of course there's the: "Ah yes. But if you find yourself returning home unexpectedly and don't want it freezing, it's great to be able to activate the heating remotely" argument. If the temperature drop between heating cycles is such a serious problem, spending the money on insulation rather than a fancy connected programmer will both solve it and save you a shedload of cash.
 Also I can be 100% sure of exactly where it is at all times, unlike the phone, tablet, TV remote etc.
" I haven't touched it since, bar to change the clock twice a year. Even I'm not f***ing lazy enough to really want something connected so it can do that last bit for me."
That's one of my pet peeves, having to fuck around resetting clocks. The ideal fix would be for gormless politicians to wake up to the fact that the first world war ended the thick end of a hundred years ago, and we can cope without playing silly buggers twice a year for no good reason at all.
The second fix would be idiot appliance designers to build in MSF or DCF receivers so that the appliances sort themselves out (like every alarm in the house, and half of the watches). Internet connectivity seems a very expensive way of fixing that.
But coming back to Google's bloody expensive fire alarm. Who's daft enough to spend £90 on a glorified smoke alarm, when you could buy one for fifteen quid? Can you programme it to auto-tweet that you're on fire, and maybe broadcast live video to Youtube?
"But coming back to Google's bloody expensive fire alarm. Who's daft enough to spend £90 on a glorified smoke alarm, when you could buy one for fifteen quid? "
Thanks to the glories of the modern nanny-state, my local council refused to grant a construction permit for some work I was having done on my home unless the smoke detectors were brought up to code. This meant adding close to a dozen new smoke detectors, which had to be hard-wired to house current and to each other. The cost for the mandated alarms wasn't that much less than a Nest, and I might have gone for those and saved at least the cost of the inter-alarm comms cabling.
I was invited to dinner at my Mum's the other day. Well I say dinner. It was more to set up her new printer and sort out her heating controls.
Not that it's that hard to use, but the installers stuck it in a kitchen cupboard, so I have to kneel on the kitchen stool, and prop a torch up against the tea caddy. It's pretty unintuitive though, hence me being asked to sort it out. And the bugger crashed, so I had to find the master switch and power-cycle the whole system. On which subject, the stupid things always seem to lose their settings during power cuts.
Oh a final point, the house builder decided to rely entirely on thermostatic radiator valves. Which are shit, as far as I'm concerned. You need to be a qualified installation engineer to get even vaguely close to setting those up right, and with no overall thermostat, the heating just seems to run until the timer cuts it. As there always seems to be one radiator somewhere, demanding power.
Hence I want to get her onto a wireless thermostat. Google's NEST thing is no use, as it seems to be a wired replacement for one. And while doing that, why not give her control of the system from a friednly app on her iPad, rather than the crappy, cheap and hard to use controls that came with the boiler?
@ I ain't Spartacus
For something that can be easily driven from an iPhone, etc, take a look at Tado
It does require an Internet connection to work, but you have options for controlling based on presence detection (or not as the case may be). You can also schedule the Hot Water and Heating completely independently (should you require).
The thermostat can be placed anywhere and is solar powered so no pesky batteries to replace frequently.
As far as avoiding the nightmare of duff TRVs (thermostatic radiator valves) consider something like the Pegler Terrier iTemps as described here.
The best prices I found for those (they give a free one when you buy 3) was from these folks. You can get a USB programming stick as well that makes setting them up less of a chore.
I have all of these and whilst it's too early to tell if they're saving me money, the house was definitely more comfortable to be in when it was colder, earlier in the year. I like the fact that unlike our old heating controller, I can tell Tado to only heat water in the morning which should be saving energy.
Thanks for that link to Tado. They're cheaper than Google's NEST, but seem to do more, as you can either plug it into an existing thermostat (which Mum doesn't have), or connect direct to the boiler and use a wirless thermostat (which apparently comes with it). Also I don't think NEST deals with hot water, only heating.
That could be even better, in combination with TRVs that actually work - and are fit for use by humans, rather than commissioning engineers. It's a real shame that housebuilders are such cheapskates, as it would be so much easier if they installed zone controlled systems. You only really need 3, upstairs, downstairs and bathrooms. Or you can put the bathrooms on the hot water instead, either will do.
But TRVs are probably too complex for my Mum. Whereas a thermostat is something she's comfortable with, and can live in the sitting room - which is the place she spends most of her time when it's cold, and therefore is the only place that really matters.
As for the TRV's being complicated, once you've set it up, your mum wouldn't need to touch them. There are other TRV's that look perhaps less intimidating such as:
But they cost more. Also, they don't have any way to interlink with open window sensors etc which the Peglers do. For example, we regularly open our bathroom window to air the room after the shower has been used. There's a window sensor that causes the TRV in the bathroom to effectively close itself so we're not trying to heat the garden when the window is left open.
Once the window is closed, the TRV then reverts to whatever temperature is programmed for the time of the day.
So google want me buy something that can detect when I'm at home in my house, want to install a Google OS in my car, and want to be on my phone with GPS. They then want to slurp all the data and, I guess, hand it over to US agencies and our own gov will slurp the lot as they class it as external comms!
They also expect us to buy this, i.e. pay to install our own surveillance system.
Google can f**k off!
In case you hadn't guess I will not be buying one ;)
Did it depend on whether people were making random hand gestures, or pseudo-random ones?
How did they test that this problem doesn't still exist, after the "fix"? Have they tried all possible hand gestures, in all possible sequences?
My variation on the middle finger is to use that on my Win 7 laptops to login via the fingerprint sensor to the single admin account.
This is solely used for software installs and not used interactively for net access. All other access is through "normal" user accounts, usually via my index finger.
There's just something satisfying about giving Microsoft the finger....
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