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.