Home Tech

A Review of The NEST Thermostat

I was first introduced to the Nest as I was scrolling through my large list of RSS feeds in Google Reader in the fall of 2011.  Since then my interest has grown in the product.  The idea is perfect… take one of the items in your house, the thermostat and make it better. In the past the Nest was sold only through the website but on May 8th, 2012 the Nest became available at Lowes and more recently at the Apple stores and It is always nice when a product comes to a local retail store so I can get some hands on experience and see the product in action even if it is only a demo. Recently I discussed the Nest on The Home Tech Podcast show # 72. At that time I was in the final stages of making my decision whether I was going to purchase the Nest and replace my current thermostat.  As you probably guest I did go forward with the purchase and have been using the Nest in my home for about a month now.  The reason I decided to spend the money on the Nest was because of the automation, energy/cost savings and design of the product.  I am interested in home automation and this is the first step I have made in that direction thus far.  This device has become a very interesting conversation piece when family and friends are at our house.  In the past episodes of The Home Tech Podcast I had brought on John Hughes who is the founder and developer of Code Core Technologies which is a full home automation solution.  Although, I am not at that point yet I do enjoy the automation that I am getting with the Nest already. There is not much to installing the Nest.  The first thing I did was make sure that my current thermostat wiring was going to work with the Nest.  You never know what has been done in the past by the installers.  If you go to the Nest compatibility site you can pop off the front of your current thermostat and document the wires that you have.  Then fill out the check boxes on the compatibility site to see if the Nest is going to work with your existing wiring.  I got a “Your system is compatible” message which gave me a green light to the next step.  Who was I going to purchase it from?  Like most people when you want something now and not later I was glad that Lowes was carrying the Nest and has a few stores close to me so I did not need to wait for shipping from   Now that I had my own personal Nest I started to plan how I was going to perform the install.  I knew that I was going to need to shutdown the power to the existing thermostat and this might be intrusive to the other family members so I resisted my urge to install that night and waited till morning while all but I were still sleeping. I then proceeded to shut down the power to the thermostat and furnace.  The rest was almost easier then shutting down the power.  I removed the old thermostat and installed the new Nest thermostat turned on the power to the furnace and the Nest was up and running.  The next couple of steps were configuring the device; put in my zip code, my min and max temperatures as well as get the Nest connected to my wireless Wi-Fi network.  The Wi-Fi connection allows me to see and control the Nest via a webpage or via the Nest application on my deluge of mobile devices.  The Nest also utilizes the Wi-Fi connection to measure the weather outside to optimize the performance based off the temperature and humidity. The Nest takes about 5 days to learn the behavior of the family and after that starts building a customized schedule that fits our needs and saves power when we are away automatically.  Some of the other features of the Nest that I am enjoying are Energy History, Airwave, Time to Temperature, and The Leaf.  Energy History is exactly as it sounds… the Nest gives me a simple interface to view what my trailing energy history.  Airwave is the Nest ability to shut down the compressor outside and continue running the furnace fan to save on energy while still cooling the house to the desired temperature.  Time to Temperature is also exactly as it sounds… after the Nest learns the time that it takes to get your house from the current temperature to the desired or set temperature you will start to get a time estimate that the system is going to take to reach that desired temp.  The Leaf, this is a method of coaching the user of the device to choose temperatures that help save energy. I am very happy with the Nest so far and enjoy the simplicity yet advanced feature set.  I have thought about tracking the cost savings with the Nest but I don’t think the data would be very comparable.  If meteorologists can’t figure out what the weather is going to be for the day I don’t think that previous weather data is going to compare to current and future weather patterns.  I will be sure to give updates on future Home Tech Podcasts as new updates and features come to the Nest.
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Home Gadget Geeks

Oracle v Google, Bing and Facebook, IE Only on Windows 8, NEST, Vudu and Microsoft v Apple Sales Numbers – HT072

Jim and Christian are joined this week by special guest Gordon Schmidt for show 72 of The Home Tech Podcast.  We tried using the very new Google+ Hangout feature called “On Air.”  The show video is now available on YouTube at the Average Guy Podcast Channel.  Give it a try. MozyPro–secure online backup for businesses Join us for the show live each Thursday at 8pmC/9E/1UTC at Listen Mobile:   Christian’s Corner Christian decided to cover enterprise matter this week. We talked Oracle v Google, Facebook helps out Bing, Microsoft returns to it’s excluding roots and of course a deal of the week. Gordon covers the NEST Thermostat, Walmart using Vudu to convert DVD’s to Digital and the Microsoft Touch Mouse. Jim takes a look at the real sales numbers for both Windows and Apple. Microsoft: 1.    At its peak in 2006, Windows XP was sold and operated on about 400 Million PC’s worldwide (legally).  They roughly sold about 10 million copies a month while it was available. 2.    Windows Vista sold 384 million copied before it was discontinued in October 2009.  Also 10 million a month 3.    Since its introduction in 2009, Window 7 has sold 525 million copies as of January 2012.  It’s currently selling about 20 million copies a month.  This puts it on track to sell around 200 million more copies (700 million total) before Windows 8 debuts late this fall.  Early indications are that Windows 8 will get off to a slower start with it containing a major UI change in the Metro interface. Apple: 1.    As of February 2012, Apple has sold a total 122 million Macs since they were introduced in 1984 2.    Compare that to 80 million iPod Touchs (in 4 years) 180 million iPhones (in  4 years) and 55 million iPads (in 2 years) 3.    The Million iOS devices (iPhone and iPads) that were sold in the fiscal Q1 of 2012 was more units per day than the number of babies being born globally each day 4.    In Q2 2012, Apple sold million iPhones and million iPads. Facebook Page:  Facebook Group: If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Or, you can now stream the show online at at The Show Announcements and Schedule: #!/TheAverageGuyTV Jim’s Twitter: #!/jcollison Andrew’s Twitter: #!/unrealshots Contact Christian: Contact the show at Find us on Facebook: Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Some links may contain affiliate codes that benefit the Average Guy Podcast Network.
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Home Gadget Geeks

Drobo HQ in San Jose, Disk Defragmenting, In-flight Internet Access, Steve Jobs and Weather Stations – HT046

Jim and Andrew and Christian are joined by Bill Paulmenn for this week’s installment of the Home Tech Podcast. For those of you hearing the show via iTunes or your podcatcher of choice, thanks for switching feeds – if your friends are missing this episode, please remind them to switch to the new feeds – the link is below! Christian is back this week, taking a break from the school work for an hour or two, catching some time for technology! Listen Mobile: After some updates from Bill and Christian, Jim tells us about his trip to the San Francisco Bay Area to visit Oracle World, and his visit to Drobo – watch out for the podcast that Jim recorded with Mario Blandini from Drobo while he was visiting.  Jim tells us about the performance of in-flight Internet access on his flight, a great way to be able stay online whilst in a flight, and not have to resort to reading a book while flying! Andrew joins late, and the guys pay tribute to the passing of Steve Jobs, and discuss the amazing contributions he made to the technology world.  For those of you who wonder just how much of a contribution Steve Jobs made to the world of technology, the New York Times listed the patents registered with him as an inventor. From Christians’ Corner, Christian brings us Disk Defrag from Auslogics, which Christian recommends as it is more efficient and has more features than the built-in Windows Defrag. Christian talks about the benefits of running Check Disk following an unexpected power shutdown to help avoid File System corruption. The guys go on to talk about the benefits of installing device drivers from the hardware vendor, instead of installing the default drivers that come from Windows Update.  Christian and Bill give some tips on how to find the correct driver for the hardware you have installed using Google. Christian remind us to use to review the applications that automatically start with Windows – take a look at what is automatically starting on your PC – if  you disable the apps you don’t use on a regular basis, your PC will boot up faster.  Christian also talks about speeding up your PC using various tips and tricks, as well as checking the performance of your hard disk using HD Tune Pro.  You can always check the startup time of your PC using the following script from Seven Forums. Christian talks about some of the performance issues that have been seen in older versions of Mozilla Firefox – if you are using Firefox, and finding that your PC is a little sluggish, make sure you upgrade to the most recent version. This weeks’ Deal-of-the-Week is the Seagate 3TB XT from , which runs out at $ when used with the coupon code EMCKAHA26 at checkout. Andrew returns from greeting the in-laws, and talks for a while about the trip they are having with their caravan in tow.  The guys talk about road trips and technology for uploading images when on the road. Jim and Andrew talk about the potential of moving from an Android  phone to an Apple iPhone, and the reasons why they would move over. To close out the show, the guys talk about Bills’ weather station, and the Davis Vantage Pro2™ hardware, and options that Bill has added onto the unit, and why he uses it. Don’t forget our feed location has changed – click on to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Facebook Page: Facebook Group: If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on  to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Or, you can now stream the show online at at The Show Announcements and Schedule: Jim’s Twitter: Andrew’s Twitter: Contact Christian: Contact the show at Find us on Facebook: Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at
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Home Gadget Geeks

SSD Drives, RAID, UNRAID, Apple, Android and Windows Phone 7, Rich’s Random Podcast Generator Beta – HT037

One weekend, Rich O’Neil (and some of tech guys that hang around the Home Server Show Podcast) thought, “what would happen if we just recorded some of the conversations we have around our tech stuff?”  The result was this podcast that we recorded on July #160; Rich’s Random Podcast Generator was born!  Interested in your feedback. We used Google+ Hangout to record the #160; If this project is successful, we will try it again on it’s very own RSS feed! We chatted about SSD Drives, RAID, UNRAID, problems with Apple, Android and Windows Phone 7 and much, much more. Listen Mobile: Here are some links for the show: ;Tpk=yeti%20blue ;ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes&var=sbar&_lwgsi=y #entry23868 , Thanks to those who joined us on the podcast – John Zajdler, Bill Paulmenn, Mike Howard and Mike Faucher Facebook Page: Facebook Group: If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on  to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Or, you can now stream the show online at at The Show Announcements and Schedule: Jim’s Twitter: Andrew’s Twitter: Contact Christian: Contact the show at Find us on Facebook: Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Some links may contain affiliate codes that benefit the Average Guy Podcast Network
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Home Gadget Geeks

Paper.li, Event Management with Eventbrite, Web Browsers, RunKeeper and the Stuxnet Virus – HT018

Jim, Christian, Andrew and special guest, Rich O’Neil get together for this edition of the Home Tech Podcast. The guys start off talking about the Twitter aggregation service , which “organizes links shared on Twitter into an easy to read newspaper-style format. Newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list or #tag”, and go on to discuss Eventbrite, which is an online service to help you plan, promote and co-ordinate and even sell tickets for your meetings, conferences and events. Join us for the show live each Thursday at 8pmC/9E at Listen Mobile: After a quick update on the RunKeeper application, which now allows 2-way sync with your Android and Apple devices, the guys discuss the latest releases of Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer. From Christian’s Corner, we get the Deal of the Week, being the 2TB Samsung F4 Hard Drive, a bargain at $ from , and the Speed Tip of the Week, where Christian talks us through turning off Indexing to make Windows more usable more quickly. Our Special Guest, Rich brings to us talk about the Stuxnet Virus, which although written to target industrial equipment, is quite a scary virus, given the impact it could have it were used to target Internet users. Facebook Page: Facebook Group: If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on  to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Or, you can now stream the show online at at The Show Announcements and Schedule: Jim’s Twitter: Andrew’s Twitter: Contact Christian: Contact the show at Find us on Facebook: Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Some links may contain affiliate codes that benefit the Average Guy Podcast Network.
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