I'd love to learn more about innovative uses of technology in the home, beyond media/entertainment. I'm sure there's a lot of development going on out there, but how do I keep on top of it, and how can I find out what's really worth it?
Examples of what I'm thinking about:
The good: Devices like the Nest Thermostat
(which has some ardent adherents here on Mefi
) seem like a no-brainer: pricy though the unit may be, home heating and cooling is so expensive that something that brings much greater efficiency will pay for itself very quickly. Controlling remotely also makes some sense, i.e., it takes a while for a house to warm up or cool down and if your schedule changes you don't have to wear your coat and mittens in the house for half an hour...
The bad: Things that are getting "smart" but don't make much sense or actually improve function. Farhad Manjoo skewers "smart" refrigerators, washers, and stoves in this recent article.
The uncertain: Then there are things like the Hue lighting system
. Infinite color variation, lots of control. OK. Party trick? Actually helpful for saving money or improving functionality (day to day? While on vacation?) How do people actually live with this, and is it worth $200 for three light bulbs if you're not hosting dance parties in your home on weekends?
I would love to hear what MeFi users have used and loved (or hated), but I'd also love to find a dedicated resource where I could stay up to date. Is there a really good site dedicated to discussion and reviews of this kind of stuff? My first thought was Wirecutter but the home
section covers stuff like coffeemakers and knives too. Consumer Reports
doesn't call out innovative tech per se, though it does cover Nest and other online thermostats in its thermostat section.
Thanks for all suggestions.