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Nest Learning Thermostat 2.0 - $249
The father of the iPod is at it again and he's developed something for your house that can save you money this winter. Tony Fadell, former SVP of Apple Inc.'s wildly popular iPod division has turned his attention to something more pedestrian: home thermostats. The first Nest thermostat (my May 2012 review) revolutionized home HVAC systems allowing you to control it via the Nest Mobile app from just about anywhere.
The Nest concept is brilliant: install it then turn it up and down like you would on amanual thermostat. Nest learns from your patterns and notices that you like it at 72 degrees when you wake up at 7 a.m. and 70 degrees when you arrive home at 5:30 p.m. Nest is also smart enough to know that no one's home from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will automatically set itself to "away mode" saving you money.
The second-generation Nest Learning Thermostat hardware is 20 percent thinner, even easier to install, and compatible with 95% of low voltage heating and cooling systems and whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers (you can check compatibility here). But the biggest changes come in the Nest 3.0 software, which was pushed to every Nest device.
The updated software includes enhanced Auto-Away mode, more languages, Auto-Schedule in Heat/Cool mode and new System Match technology that automatically activates specific features like True Radiant, Heat Pump Balance, Early-On and Filter Reminders. Although it's spendy, after you use it for a week, you can't live without it. As a bonus Nest emails you a monthly Energy Report that details your energy usage with tips to help you save.
For more information read the CNET review.
FoxL v2 Bluetooth speaker with apt-X - $199.99
The FoxL v2 Bluetooth speaker's ($199.99) huge sound belies its tiny size, it produces mids and lows that I didn't think could come from such a small footprint. I loved it when I reviewed the original FoxL in 2011 and the updated version adds apt-X support which produces CD-like quality when Bluetooth streaming from apt-X compatible devices like the Mac Mini, MacBook Air, iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro (with OS X Snow Leopard or higher).
The FoxL v2 sounded better than every Bluetooth speaker (of the same size) on display at my local Apple Store -- especially when playing songs in my "bass test" playlist, like the opening minute of Outkast's "The way you move." The FoxL v2 also has an amazing battery that I charge less than once per month. It's the perfect shelf speaker for the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom and it's small size makes it an ideal traveling companion for an iPhone or iPad.
BookArc Pro desktop stand for MacBook Pro - $49.99
The desktop computer is dead. Long live the desktop.
If you're like me you use a MacBook as your primary computer and connect it to a large monitor and keyboard when the need arises. A notebook computer is simply more versatile than a desktop which is why most people them as a desktop. If you're in this camp (and your desk looks anything like mine) you need all the space you can get. Enter the BookArc Pro desktop stand for MacBook Pro which essetially turns your notebook into a desktop by keeping it vertical and out of the way while running with the lid closed (a.k.a. "clamshell mode").
TwelveSouth engineered BookArc to fit the MacBook Pro perfectly and it even added subtle touches like integrated cable management to keep your desk from turning into a rat's nest. It includes silicone inserts for both the unibody and Retina MacBook Pro in the box. BookArc is also available for the MacBook Air ($39.99) and iPad ($29.99) and doubles as a great shelf stand to store your expensive Mac gear up and away -- which is amazing if you have little kids at home.