The Nest thermostat is a test case for the proposition that better consumer products can save the world. It is indeed an excellent consumer product, but the early results on world-saving are inconclusive.
Most programmable thermostats are clunky at best, and their user interfaces are about as intuitive (and technologically advanced) as the clock on a VCR. The Nest, conceived, constructed, and very cleverly marketed by a former Apple design engineer, was supposed to bring some much needed West Coast design mojo to this crucial but unexciting appliance. Sounds good! I got mine in May, and the installation and wiring were simple enough. It took a little while to figure out how to navigate the physical interface, which involves twisting and clicking an exterior ring—not the easiest method by which to enter my WiFi password—but things got easier from there. Twist left, the temperature goes down, twist right, the temperature goes up. Click the whole thing like a mouse and you get a menu of options—and once the WiFi is up and running you can do most of the serious programming by way of an elegant Web interface.
Thermostats don't have to make a lot of choices. Turn on the heat, turn off the heat, turn on the AC, turn off the AC. That's it. The environmental argument is that the motion-detector equipped Nest will "learn" how to make those decisions at the optimal intersection of comfort and efficiency. I set it up and let it go, per the instructions, but alas—as Brooklyn entered yet another record-breaking summer heat wave—I could detect no particular logic to its approach. Sometimes the apartment was too cool, sometimes too hot. Since adjusting things manually was
easy enough, I ended up treating the Nest like any other programmable thermostat: One temperature by day, another by night, and cranking it up or down as comfort and eco-guilt demanded.
The Nest is excellent in other interesting ways nonetheless. The immediate thrill of the Nest is that you can control it from anywhere. I did a lot of traveling this summer, and it was satisfying to remotely fire up the AC as soon as I hit the tarmac, both because I like having yet another gadget to fool around and because it is inarguably excellent to have a non-scorching apartment waiting for me at the end of a long trip.
The true world-saving features of the Nest are psychological, though. First there's the nudge factor: When you set it within certain energy-saving parameters, Nest displays a little leaf, a pat on the back not unlike that delivered by the "energy monitor" on the Toyota Prius. There's no denying it: I like to see the leaf. The Nest also emails me regular reports on my energy usage. Some months I do well, some months I don't. My guilt varies accordingly.
Then there's the larger, slightly weirder psychology of having a thermostat that's fancy enough to play a non-trivial role in my life: As I'm turning on the air conditioner from the airport, I'm forced to reflect not just on the fact that I'm flying too much, which is probably the worst thing a person can do for the environment, but also using too much air conditioning—a close second in terms of generating a massive carbon footprint. An irony of the consumer world is that now you can spend a lot of money on products that remind you what a terrible person you are for consuming so much.
That said, being reminded to consume less is certainly better than being reminded to consume more. And I've become very fond of my Nest. Move a hand past the motion-sensor and it comes aglow with a lovely temperature display: red if it's heating, blue if it's cooling. Sometimes at night I'll walk by and wave at it just for the little burst of color.
I like gadgets!
I like learning about new gadgets!
I do not like paying to much for expensive gadgets,
"Nest Learning Thermostate $249.99".
United Nations estimates the world’s population will reach 7 billion people, Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) says this figure represents nothing less than a crisis.-<a href="http://informationationblog.com/jeffrey-kale-flagg/">Jeffrey Kale Flagg</a>
Not sure if anybody is reading comments after the troll, but
what I got out of this article is that the Nest's most ballyhooed feature ( learning ) doesn't seem to work.
But, it's a good internet controlled thermostat ( hope nobody hacks it). whoopee.
When I get too cold, I turn up the heat, too hot, I turn it down ( or hit the a/c). When I get my energy bill, it makes me think about saving. sheesh
It's not about money being more valuable than children's lives, it's about freedom being valuable to a good life. You're not looking to restrict people making money off of something that someone, I assume you think it'll be you or someone with the same exact twisted beliefs, deems excessively violent or pervasive, you're looking to restrict the freedom of them to produce it and for me or anyone else to access it. You're looking to rob freedom away from me and any children you claim to want to protect because you somehow believe the scientifically disproven non sequitur that there is a causal relationship between entertainment media and active acts of violence among members of the society. Oh, and btw, you can look it up. Crime rates started declining rapidly twenty years ago(When video games first started becoming mainstream, fancy that.) and are at their lowest levels EVER. Explain that one.
If these things can CAUSE one to become violent and sociopathic, how exactly have you made it through the Internet to this website without watching or playing a violent video game, movie, show, or other entertainment media? Either you've never seen a violent video game, movie, or tv show, have and are now a homicidal maniac, or you've experienced these mediums miraculously unscathed from the psychological barrage and brainwashing that ensued. Please, if it's that last one, explain to us how you pulled it off because, if the threat is bad enough to warrant maiming freedom, it couldn't've just been the fact that you could tell the difference between fact and fiction and are sane. It definitely couldn't be that since most people are sane and can tell the difference between what's real and what isn't.
Beyond the fact that such inhibited freedom is disgusting and vile, I find it insulting that you think myself and other people are dumb enough and weak enough that we need your totalitarian rules to be enforced on us. I don't need a babysitter telling what I can and can't see or do. If you feel so feeble-minded that you can't keep from committing acts of violence because you saw someone get shot on tv, then you go ahead and stay away from those types of media and stay away from the general population, but leave everyone else out of it. I want no part in it.
Oh yeah, and while I do like the idea of ensuring gun owners have appropriate facilities to safely store their weapons and the idea of weapons recovery programs, any further limitations on the ownership of firearms goes against the point of the second amendment, which is that in the case of someone threatening the life of another, such as a school shooter but extending as far as our own government in the most extreme cases, as outlined by the founding fathers, citizens will have access to the means to defend themselves. If someone actually had a gun, as the second amendment allows, to protect themselves at Sandy Brook, there may have been a lot less dead bodies instead of the killer having no opposition while everyone waited for the guys with guns to drive over. We also can't forget the fact that someone who doesn't care about laws against homicide isn't going to care too much about your gun laws, so the only thing these tighter laws will do is make it less likely that a law-abiding citizen will have the means to defend themselves or others against an armed assailant.
Oh, and let's just take a minute to acknowledge the fact that school is hard enough without making children feel as if they're in prison with trained guards always present and watching their every move. There are a lot more productive things law enforcement officers can be doing, trust me. I went to a high school that, after having a bomb threat during both my freshman and then sophomore years, felt it was necessary to place armed state troopers wandering the halls every day, have dogs come in and sniff the building regularly, limit us to an individuality crushing dress code to avoid bullying over clothes, and no longer allowed boys to carry a bag for their books. Girls just used their purses, so I tried my own man purse and was promptly disciplined for wanting to avoid having my books knocked out of my hand while simultaneously making it easier to transport the books I was supposed to be learning from. Whatever happened to fostering optimistic, independent, and diverse young minds? Now, people like you just want kids to feel like a closely watched number and have a harder time focusing on any actual learning number because you're afraid and paranoid.
You also have no idea what you're talking about with NASA. NASA is incredibly important. Overpopulation of the planet is already becoming an issue and, naturally, as it worsens, the rate or reproduction increases. Children will someday be subject to war or systematic genocide due to a lack of resources and space. Someday, whether you like it or not, we either need to limit the population to levels about 66% of what they are now, begin bringing resources from space here, or colonizing hospitable extraterrestrial environments, man-made or otherwise. How are we supposed to do that without a space program, smartypants? That's just one thing NASA will do for us, beyond everything else they've already done. Even if it wasn't necessity in its purest form, NASA is cheap as hell compared to how much we spend on being better at killing people. It costs $1,000,000,000 more than NASA's ENTIRE budget JUST to provide air conditioning for TEMPORARY tents and housing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The total cost of keeping troops is about $20,000,000,000. That figure comes from Steve Anderson, a retired brigadier general who was Gen. Petraeus' chief logistician in Iraq. NASA's TOTAL budget is just $19 billion. That's just for keeping troops cool, which is probably one of the cheapest things the military does. Lets not forget how much money we spend on developing and manufacturing military technology so that we can be better at killing. Don't take my word for it. Look it up. I'll get you started. Here's my source: www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/21/air-conditioning-military-cost-nasa_n_881828.html
Look, you don't seem like a bad person, but posting this vitriol on a post that's celebrating a unique genre of art, especially when it's this misguided, is wrong. Protecting kids is a fine and noble effort, but you need to think these things through and look at actual facts before you convince other uninformed people to believe the same ludicrous stuff that you're spouting here.
please don't respond to the trolls, you only contribute to more drivel and pointless flooding (which is generally their intent).
my friend's aunt makes $70 every hour on the internet. She has been unemployed for 6 months but last month her paycheck was $16279 just working on the internet for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more www.Ask22.com
holy shit, did popsci get rid of their captcha thing? i haven't seen this many spammers and trolls since 2005.
but yeah, don't feed the trolls. anyways living in the great up north on the eastern coast, we learn a few things, the first is that a properly placed thermostat doesn't need a computer to set it, it just needs a five year old within the same building. the second is if you want to start the heater then you're going to need to toss another log into the wood furnace, or if you're lucky add some more pellets to the hopper. finally the last thing we've learned in the great up north is to not use air conditioners, because it cannot in fact get warm enough ever.
to mars or bust!
It sounds like the Nest failed at its most basic function: to optimize comfort relative to temperature. Perhaps the author's travel schedule made it impossible for the Nest to learn what temperature was comfortable, and when, but if you have to adjust the thermostat constantly, you might save a lot of money by simply buying the cheapest one. And, for half the price, you could buy a setback thermostat that could, with minimal configuration, do 90% of what the Nest can do.
Forget the learning part. I would just like to get a thermostat that you can read without difficulty. Looks like this one has solved that problem, but who will really pay $250 each for these?