Tuesday, November 27, 2012

That's Hot!

Until last week, I had never given much thought to my thermostat. And living here in Southern California, I had even fewer reasons than many.

But recently, a technician came out to the house to do a complimentary service on the furnace he installed last year. He needed to confibulate the flik-flaks or calibrate the manifold exhaust valve pistons. The point is he needed to do something that involved gas and electricity, two forces of nature I usually shy away from.

When he left the house, everything was hunky dory. Then the weather turned cold and neither I, my wife, nor my two gadget-inclined daughters could figure out the thermostat.

I didn't want to program the thermostat because well we're just not pre-programmed people. But I couldn't figure out how to put the damn thing in manual mode. I would turn the temperature up to 70 degrees, the heat would kick in and within minutes it would shut down again and the thermostat setting would magically go down to 62.

And the little brochure, written in Korean pidgin English was of no help. I wanted to "bring great dishonor to cold" but I couldn't find the dishonor button.

So I sprung into action. Meaning I went to the Best Buy store and bought the second generation Nest Thermostat.

Designed by a former Apple Engineer, it has all the beauty and intuitiveness of an iPod. Even the packaging has the careful detailing one expects from the folks in Cupertino.

Naturally I was a little intimidated by the installation process but there were ample videos online that demonstrate just how easy the task can be.

I flipped the circuit breaker, unhinged the old thermostat and carefully drilled the base unit into the wall. As I was inserting the color coded wires, two of them touched and sent a low voltage jolt up my right arm. It was shocking, but not altogether unpleasant.

Within minutes I had successfully, and cleanly I might add, installed the Nest unit. Then I connected to the wireless network that runs throughout the house. Now I can change the temperature on my thermostat from my iPhone.

I realize I'm getting excessively exuberant about all this. But I'm a bit of a control freak and this is just one more element of my environment that is at my command.

If Apple or the people from Nest ever design a gizmo that can reign in my teenage daughters, I'll be the first one camped out on the sidewalk.

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