The Nest… Cooler Than You

Growing up in Texas, I can tell you that many of the conceptions about the Lone Star state range from the completely false (everyone rides horses and owns guns…err…maybe just rides horses), to the begrudgingly true (for PR sake, let’s go with everyone drives pickup trucks). The one aspect of the great state of Texas that is undeniable, however, is the intense, blinding heat that they get in the summer. Anywhere from 100 to 110 is considered pretty standard, and you’re pretty much forced to deal with it as complaining about the heat is a surefire way to get a “Hot enough for ya?” out of even the most scholarly of natives.

However, from stocking up on Walmart shorts (what a deal!) to raiding the local HEB for some good ole Blue Bell Ice Cream (sorry, getting nostalgic here), every Texan still desperately looks for ways to try to beat the heat. The most popular answer to this question has long been a good central AC unit, because as they said in “Dogma”:

Yet since my time back home, the one innovation in this field I seemed to miss out on is The Nest. Developed by the ex-senior vice president in charge of the iPod group, Tony Fadell, and former iPod software engineer Matt Rogers, the Nest is a smart thermometer that is capable of learning your heating and cooling needs while providing input on when you are able to save on energy costs via a handy leaf icon that lets you know when you are at an optimal setting. You can also use your smartphone or computer to change the temperature setting while you’re away to adjust for inclimate weather, and also view a readout of your energy settings to learn how your settings effects your energy bill and how you can modify it accordingly to save in the future. And of course, since it was developed by former Apple employees, it’s incredibly sleek. Its look is straight out of a sci-fi movie and has the appearance of the kind of invention a James Bond villain would use to cool down his volcano lair.

The design of The Nest isn’t just for eye candy, but rather is meant to alert you to the fact that while other lesser thermostats may have similar features, the Nest really is the complete package. Texas-based energy company Reliant Energy has apparently realized this also as they recently announced their plans to stock the Nest thermostat and offer it to anyone who signs up for the Reliant Learn and Conserve Two-Year Plan.

While The Nest is available at Lowes, Home Depot, Apple stores and Amazon, there’s no denying the major boost that a direct partnership with one of the nation’s leading energy companies can have for the company, especially one that’s based in one of the most prime markets for central air units.

Also, the fact is that the more you see of The Nest, the more you realize you need one. Sure, it’s another accessory that’s bringing us closer to the Cyberdyne world of machines running everything, but with glowing reviews from publications like The Wall Street Journal (“Suddenly, I can’t imagine my home without a Nest”), to CNET (“The thermostat of the future can restart an industry”), I’ll accept my fate at the hands of technological overlords as long as my last days are spent at an intelligent (and cost-cutting) level of temperate comfort.


Is This the Greatest Coffee Mug on the Market?

In my usual hunt for an interesting and unique bit of technology news to share with you, I must admit that I came up blank. Technology is always shifting and moving, but unfortunately, some days it does so like sand in the wind, and on others like a glacier at sea. This would be a glacier day.

In fact, the most interesting thing I stumbled across was actually… a new coffee mug.

This isn’t just any normal mug, though, but a mug that has an LED indicator on the side in the form of a battery charge icon. If you pour in a beverage above 96.8 Fahrenheit, about the temp of a typical cup of coffee, then the indicator fills up to the top as you pour, and then goes back down as you drink. The gag of course being that as your energy depletes, so does the mugs.

Some are already calling this the coolest nerd mug on the market. I honestly wasn’t going to dispute this opinion until I did some research and found that the field of novelty coffee mugs is surprisingly strong. In an effort to try to lend some finality to this debate then, I found some of the best novelty cups I could and measured them against the battery mug.

The Toilet Mug

Maybe the original “Outside the Box” mug. This is for the guy who may have left the frat house, but refuses to abandon the cheap laugh now that he has to be “grown up” or…pffft whatever.

It may be a classic gag, but once the novelty of letting coworkers believe that you are drinking from a toilet ends, so does the use of the cup. Since I put that timeframe at anywhere from an hour to a day depending on the size of your office, I give the battery mug the edge.

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