Honeywell thermostat: sleek, responsive, smart too!

The Honeywell lyric thermostat was a nice find. It’s simple design features a knob-like interface that allows the user to change the target temperature. It displays a snowflake or sun as an icon of heating or cooling behavior and a backlit ring glows blue or orange to indicate the same.

Although it’s an automated system, I like that they left the manual controls on the device to keep a physical interaction for quick fixes.

The automation is all based on location of the household members’ cell phones. (If only I could train my AC and my WeMo to do this! Bravo Honeywell!) If all are gone from the house, the Honeywell system turns off, if one person comes home, it acts accordingly. It even takes local weather and humidity into consideration to create the feel of the target temperature, even if that means it’s a dry 72º instead of 75º.

It also displays the local weather — how great– Should I bring an umbrella? Check the thermostat on my way out the door!

But what about if your “home” but outside grilling and don’t need the AC on? Well, they thought of that too (good thinking!) The thermostat has a manual override to pause the system for a duration of your choice.

Remember when phones had real, illuminated press-able buttons? The legend reigns on with The Brick.


I took a moment to rock this retro awesome style for a moment with the brick.  And by retro- I mean retroactive, like, a clear reduction in the power of technology. A trip to the simple times – when your phone was simply a phone. It’s packed with a bluetooth connection to take that call FOR your cell phone.

Well, you know what? It’s awesome. And as tech-crazy as I am, if I had an office I would totally buy one and kiss my cell phone convo’s goodbye! (You can even put a sim card in it and use it without your “real” cell around.)

Plus, look how sweet I look with it?

nonnaTech : Sensor based senior surveillance for “Aging at Home”

This product utilizes ubiquitous sensors – literally all over the home – to act as an alternative to senior care. For example, a sensor placed in the bed alerts a loved one when the senior is sleeping abnormally.

Part invasive, part telling. This is a system that must require a serious talk with the person whom it is for, and trial to see if the system could actually help them. (Are seniors really THAT habitual?) I did enjoy their only active sensor – the Nonna button (I worked on a similar project called The Done Button) because it gave the senior a sense of control over the system, small as it may be.

thinkeco- like WeMo, backed by ConEdison, Awesome or Overbearing?

If you have an Air Conditioner, chances are you know you’re being a bit “power wasteful,” but can’t do much about it. Make that AC automated and control it with your phone, and you have a system rid of “oops I left the AC on and now I’m at work.” Sign up for the coolNYC program and receive a free smartAC kit to help!

Yay free stuff! But… there’s a catch (or, an opportunity to be a good citizen, depending on your viewpoint). By becoming a member, you “agree to participate in demand response events throughout the summer to help relieve the grid when it is particularly stressed.” Does that mean ConEdison can decide I’ve had enough AC for the day and throttle me? Kindof, yeah.

Hmmm…. humanity. Let’s think about it. It IS optional, but you have to opt out of each event or it’s automatic. I hope it says something like this:

“Dear Natasha, we know it’s a hot day, but the grid is particularly stressed, would you consider turning it down a bit so we don’t risk power outages? Thanks, Love, ConEdison”

If you are participating in the program I would love to hear from you! Do you feel controlled or liberated?

Make any speaker wireless with Rocki

I’m really excited about this product because it’s fulfilling a dream– to be able to play wireless music from any set of speakers you own — and better yet— from all (or some) of them once. It’s you’re choice! And at the $50 per Rocki price point, this is totally do-able!

The only downside is that they BECOME your wifi hot spot instead of joining it, so I could foresee some connectivity frustration here.  I hope I can try some soon to see if this is really an issue.

The design of the object makes me want one even though the design seems to be randomly associated with audio. Also – it looks so much like an iBeacon, wouldn’t you confuse the two?

IMG_5887 IMG_5888