You'd have to have been in Tahiti for the past three months to have missed all the press on Nest.com's high-tech thermostat.
Programable thermostats are great if you have someone else install them just after painting your walls. Otherwise, they can be complicated to program, and nothing is more frustrating than taking the '60s thermostat off and putting a new on in, and then realizing you have a halo of newly exposed paint gracing your living room wall….
Nest's shape is eerily like the '60s thermostat--no halo!--and best of all, it takes the ''programmable'' out of ''programmable thermostat'' and does the programming for you. Fuzzy logic runs our rice cooker, and it apparently runs the brain of this thermostat too.
It can tell if you're in the house, adjusts for your early-to-bed-on-Thursdays-before-Friday's-dawn-bike ride routine, and can be adjusted remotely over the web. Stuck in Chicago for another 3 days? No problem. Just tell your machine to drop down to 55.
They'll be doing over-the-net system improvements through time. I gather Best Buy sells and installs them. Will try it out and report on that next quarter. Nest.com, $249.