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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Google buys Nest for $3.2 BILLION!!!

Google buys Nest for $3.2 BILLION!!! (Page 2)
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Clinically Insane
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Jan 19, 2014, 03:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Your obligation to be fair only goes as far as your desire for people to think your point is fair.

Slamming Google for how they've redone YouTube comments, without even touching on how vile and corrosive the environment was before the change, weakens your point.
I DID NOT slam them for "how they've redone YouTube comments".

There are other changes to YouTube/Google+ integration which I've explicitly mentioned which bug the hell out of me.
     
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Jan 19, 2014, 04:01 PM
 
And those things you find annoying were implemented to some extent as a means to better the comments, no?
     
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Jan 19, 2014, 04:10 PM
 
I tell them I want to separate Youtube and G+, they say "OK!". A couple days later, they reintegrate them again... this has happened over, and over, and over... I get it, they want them merged, but that's obnoxious.
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Jan 19, 2014, 04:27 PM
 
Totally agreed.

As I said, Google screws stuff up all the time.
     
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Jan 19, 2014, 05:19 PM
 
So you're not disagreeing with me?

Excellent.

I'd hate to have to break out the whiffle bat. I haven't broken out the whiffle bat since seventh grade. And they never found out what caused all that lumpy bruising.
     
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Jan 19, 2014, 06:01 PM
 
I've been up-front about that agreement. Google ****s up all the time. They're social retards.

What I disagree about is the assertion Google puts advertisers ahead of users.

Your evidence was a bunch of mistakes they made in the pursuit of dealing with the largest user complaint YouTube has.

My argument is the efforts to fix the biggest user issue on YouTube, as ****ed up as the execution may have been, makes for a poor example of how Google doesn't care about its users.
     
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Jan 20, 2014, 05:49 PM
 
Getting back to the dangers of Google.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating.

Take my data. I want better ads.



My main email address isn't gmail. I actually send copies of all my emails to Google. Seriously. They can have it. The more data they have on me, the better their services will work for me.
     
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Jan 21, 2014, 01:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Getting back to the dangers of Google.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating.

Take my data. I want better ads.



My main email address isn't gmail. I actually send copies of all my emails to Google. Seriously. They can have it. The more data they have on me, the better their services will work for me.
You should have every right to do that, if you want all that extra "content" and those services, that's great. I don't. I shut down all ads, and even go as far as to prune the ads at my gateway before they even reach anyone connected to it, with the exception of a few whitelisted domains. If we had our way, we'd get all TV, discs, and streamed content stripped of all advertising, paying for everything à la carte. No joke, my PA goes through our PO box and filters out any junk mail that might get through the post office checkers. We see unsolicited advertising as a time-waster, and if someone wants to try and sell me something my office hours for that are 3pm-5pm every Thursday, by appointment only, excepting holidays or when I choose to do something else at the last minute.
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Jan 21, 2014, 08:09 PM
 
If you use an ad supported service, you're soliciting the ads, no?
     
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Jan 21, 2014, 11:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
If you use an ad supported service, you're soliciting the ads, no?
If there's no other option but the ad-supported service, I have no qualms with stripping the ads. That's simply a consequence of their crappy business model not allowing me to pay upfront. MacNN and a couple other sites are white-listed, but that's it.
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Jan 22, 2014, 02:29 PM
 
It's not advertisers that I am concerned with. How much would a potential employer pay for a report for detailing your web browsing habits, your internet postings and any other data that could be concievably collected.
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Jan 23, 2014, 08:48 AM
 
Lenovo to buy IBM's server business in China's biggest tech M&A - Yahoo Finance

Bought IBM's server business for 2.3 billion. That 3.2 billion Nest deal seems extremely expensive in comparison. But GOOG has money to burn. I wish Apple bought more (bigger) companies.
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Jan 23, 2014, 11:12 AM
 
Why?
     
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Jan 23, 2014, 10:04 PM
 
Seems to me to be a better use of their 170+ billion dollars. Break out a new category. Create a new Apple that does something else than consumer electronics, but betters mankind. Perhaps go into and put some of that money into renewable resources and start a cancer center or support an existing one.
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Jan 24, 2014, 02:32 AM
 
Branching out into a new product division for another market they have absolutely no experience had better be a MASSIVELY profitable segment to be worth the risk.

Iphone was worth it because even just one percent already meant breaking well even.
Plus, it was a well-established, huge market already, flooded with products everybody hated.

Something like Nest would have been an Apple TV for Apple for years - a vague notion that something needs to change, but without a clear idea how — except in a market that doesn't really exist yet in the mainstream.
     
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Jan 24, 2014, 03:58 AM
 
Just saying that it doesn't have to be profitable at all, just useful is all that is needed sometimes. The example I gave was to start a or fund an existing cancer research center.

Companies don't necessarily need to be profitable in order to do something. Take a look at Amazon for example.
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Jan 24, 2014, 07:20 AM
 
Amazon turns a profit on almost every transaction they make. The reason they don't post profits is that they are in the middle of a massive investment program.

To me, a profitless business model is one in which it costs you $2 to make a glass of lemonade but you have to sell it for $1 a glass at your lemonade stand. But if you sell a glass of lemonade for $2 and it only costs you $1 to make it, and you decide business is so great you're going to build a lemonade stand on every street corner in the world so you can eventually afford to move humanity into outer space or buy a newspaper in your spare time, and that requires you to invest all your profits in buying up some lemon fields and timber to set up lemonade franchises on every street corner, that sounds like many things to me, but it doesn't sound like a charitable organization.
     
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Jan 24, 2014, 07:38 AM
 
That is true and I admire Bezos for his endeavors. I like Amazon very much and will continue to use their services.
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Jan 24, 2014, 07:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Branching out into a new product division for another market they have absolutely no experience had better be a MASSIVELY profitable segment to be worth the risk.

Iphone was worth it because even just one percent already meant breaking well even.
Plus, it was a well-established, huge market already, flooded with products everybody hated.

Something like Nest would have been an Apple TV for Apple for years - a vague notion that something needs to change, but without a clear idea how — except in a market that doesn't really exist yet in the mainstream.
I'm not sure I agree.

I think Nest is a classic example of Apple thinking, except not done by Apple. Take something everybody uses but hates, a thermostat, and change the user experience from pain to joy.

I owned a bunch of early smartphones, but the iPhone was the first I actually wanted to use. Same with the Nest, for many people it was the first thermostat they wanted to interact with.

I just bought two Nest smoke and CO2 alarms. They are the first of their kind that were not a total PITA to set up and that interacted with me in a way that made sense. I also trust them to deliver on their promise to protect my family, should they ever need to. Simple clues, like the light pulsing green once when we switch off the house lights keep telling me "I'm here, I'm working, go to sleep, I've got your back".

Simple, but huge reassuring and classic Apple thinking.

Unless there's something huge afoot that we currently don't know about I'd say that Apple is on the back foot when it comes to innovation, right now.

The iPod and iPhone were huge, but the "icons on a grid" model is close to 20 years old now and needs to be replaced, or at least supplemented. Why is that kind of thinking not coming from Apple, but, of all people, from Samsung.

The new magazine style interface for Samsung's upcoming pro line is based on exactly the kind of thinking that made Apple great - how can we create a man/machine interface that serves the human, not the machine - but not only is this not coming from Apple, Apple seems to be resisting anything that could move it forward.

The same thing goes for size. According to the latest rumors, Apple is finally planning to bring a larger phone to market - only three years after the competition proved that there's a demand for them.

Apple isn't the company it once was and the competition has become smarter and better. For the first time in 20 years, we don't automatically buy Apple gear anymore, at home or at work. At work, we've got some staff working on $300 Chromebooks, rather than $1200 Apple laptops. My Nexus 5, for me, is a better and more useful phone than my iPhone and the Note3 is working for my wife in ways her old iPhone never did.
     
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Jan 24, 2014, 09:21 AM
 
Maybe the markets are different, but here, nobody I know uses a thermostat. We turn up the heat when it's cold, and turn it down when it's warm enough or when we're airing the flat. Centralized air conditioning is limited mostly to commercial settings and corporate environments.
And even those don't usually replace their thermostats more than, what — every fifteen years? Why should they?

Smoke detectors are legally mandated in rentals here, and are installed and maintained by landlords. My total interaction with smoke detectors in the past fifteen years has been to allow the "technician" to check the 9V battery once a year, to call in a neighbor from work when one of hers had gone haywire and was driving the whole house crazy, and to take a broomstick to the switch when my cooking set off the alarm in the hallway.

There is arguably a mass market for these things, in a similar way as there is a mass market for light bulbs or gas boilers, but nobody hates them.

And there is certainly nothing "computing" about them, and least of all in a "personal" way — which is what Apple, as a company, knows and cares about and caters to.

Nest took the Apple attitude to a market that has zero connection to anything the company has dealt with in the past.

Or am I misunderstanding something fundamental?
     
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Jan 24, 2014, 10:53 AM
 
Over here, and in the UK, nearly all houses are fitted with a thermostat. You program a cycle, warm in the morning, cooler during the day when the house is empty, warm in the evening, cold at night. It's convenient and saves energy - at least that's th theory. In practice, most thermostats are so difficult and unintuitive to program, few people bother. A bit like early smartphones.

Smoke detectors are the home owner's responsibility, and in countries where the majority of homes are privately owned, i.e UK, US, Canada, the market is huge - you need about three per household and they need to be replaced every five years. A huge market.

There was nothing about computing about the early iPod either. It was a personal music player, nothing more.
     
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Jan 24, 2014, 11:35 AM
 
Yeah, I've hated every programable thermostat I've had. They all suck. The user interface always feels like it was designed by Satan himself to spread misery and suffering on the planet. Simply the worst. Every damn one.

I've been tempted to buy a Nest, but it always feels like such a luxury bauble.

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Jan 24, 2014, 03:31 PM
 
The only thing which seems useful with a "smart" thermostat is the ability to remotely control it from bed.

I'd be all over the Nest, but I already have a home automation system. The Nest is in the wrong ecosystem for me. Another reason I got the First Alert alarms. They're compatible.
     
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Jan 24, 2014, 03:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
I've been tempted to buy a Nest, but it always feels like such a luxury bauble.
It is. I just spent close to $300 on two damn smoke/CO2 detectors, but the way they work is so well thought out, I somehow don't begrudge the money.

Instead, I'll be buying another one for the basement.
     
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Jan 24, 2014, 06:48 PM
 
Do you have the desire to light your house on fire — just 'cause?

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Jan 24, 2014, 07:03 PM
 
We don't use a thermostat here and I question their usefulness. If it is hot, we turn on the fan, and if it is cold, we put on another jacket. Having central air for a medium sized house where most of the rooms are unoccupied seems extremely wasteful.
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Jan 24, 2014, 07:23 PM
 
They're useful here.
     
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Jan 24, 2014, 07:42 PM
 
And here.
     
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Jan 24, 2014, 07:43 PM
 
The old skool version of the Nest alarm is your answering machine.

Call home. If you're answering machine answers, it's not on fire yet.
     
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Jan 24, 2014, 07:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
Do you have the desire to light your house on fire — just 'cause?
I actually did the same thing, but with the First Alert system. Three fire alarms, two CO detectors. That whole system cost $250. I'd be pimping the hell out of it, but it only does the cloud stuff if you already have an Insteon home automation setup.
     
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Jan 25, 2014, 06:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Or am I misunderstanding something fundamental?
I think the difference is the amount of insulation used. This is all from my personal experience, but houses in the UK and US tend to have much less insulation than houses in Germany or Sweden. With more insulation, the temperature doesn't shift so fast in the house, so you can set radiators manually at some nice level and expect good indoor climate. With less insulation, you need an active thermostat to compensate for weather changes.
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Jan 25, 2014, 07:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
Smoke detectors are the home owner's responsibility, and in countries where the majority of homes are privately owned, i.e UK, US, Canada, the market is huge - you need about three per household and they need to be replaced every five years. A huge market.
I'm willing to entertain the notion that a programmable thermostat is kind of nice when you have a family and buildings where the temperature would vary strongly otherwise.

What on earth does a "connected" smoke alarm do that a fifteen-dollar commodity device doesn't? Even assuming some sort of wireless connectivity that will trigger all local alarms if one of them goes off, just looking around, it seems to me that every home owner will be out $100-150 every five years.

Or $130 per Nest. What for?

There is no level of comfort I can see that the Nest brings to smoke alarms. Batteries last longer, and I can wave out any false alarm. Woo.
The Nest has a light ring to show me "the level of danger". Because I wasn't aware that I was cooking something. Or that the piercing noise that woke me up was beeping because the ****ing house is on fire.

These are problems that do not need solving. Smoke alarms are completely invisible until they become necessary, the battery needs to be replaced, or there is a false alarm. They do not have complicated interfaces (mine have a little blinking light and a single big button: I cannae figure 'im out, Cap'n!).

Toilet paper is a vastly bigger market.

Unless, again, there is something fundamental I'm missing.

There was nothing about computing about the early iPod either. It was a personal music player, nothing more.
It tied into the digital music collection you already had. And it hooked into the computer that had begun serving as your media repository/playback system.
     
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Jan 25, 2014, 08:36 AM
 
Let me try to explain.

First off, I know the Nest is expensive. I questioned the wisdom of the purchase myself when I first made it, but I figured if I thought it wasn't worth it I could always return it. Instead, I bought two more. That fact alone tells a story.

First off, the Nest is a combined (smoke/CO2) and connected alarm, which makes the price somewhat more competitive. You won't buy another alarm at feature parity for $15, but you might get one for $60. Still, the Nest is double that, so how does it earn its keep?

Remember that I didn't buy a Nest to add a gizmo into my life, I bought it because I wasn't happy with the performance of my previous alarms. Specifically, I did not trust them and the worry of whether or not they would work in an emergency was always at the back of my mind. Lack of working smoke alarms is the leading cause of death in house fires.

I don't live in a compact apartment like yourself, where you are always aware of what's going on, I live in a big, old, pile of a house, built in the late 1800's. It's long, it has multiple stairs, it has fireplaces and old wiring in places. If I am asleep and a fire would start at one end, I would never notice it before it might be too late to get the kids out safely. Knowing that my Nest alarms not only talk to each other, but are also connected to my phone that sits on the bedside table on its charger reassures me. If something should ever happen, I am confident that I'll know about it in good time.

Then, there's the user experience. With my old alarms I was never sure whether or not they connection amongst them was working. There was no clear and easy way to test them. There was no clear and easy way to check the battery level. And if they did go off, because I seared something in the kitchen perhaps, they all went off at the worst possible time, I.e when the kids were asleep. When it was time to change the battery, they started beeping. At three in the morning, the last time it happend. **** that shit.

With the Nest, I log into the app and see that every alarm is online and working as it should. I see the battery level. I see a history of alarm triggers, if any. When I walk underneath it at night, it pulses, telling me that it is working as it should. If it notices a small amount of smoke, say from the kitchen, it doesn't blare and wake the entire house, it asks me, on multiple channels, if all is well and if that's the case it fades away again. When the battery is at 20% it tells me by sending me a message to my phone, showing me which alarm needs new power, not by getting me out of bed in the middle of the night. Should an alarm ever go off, every single alarm will tell me exactly where the emergency is, i.e kitchen, basement, and not send me on a wild goose chase around the house.

The Nest doesn't cost more because it is a magic machine that does more than other alarms. It charges more because it answers the question "is my family safe?" And for that certainty, I'd pay them even more than they currently ask for.

As far as your iPod argument goes, my computer is as much connected to my home these days as it was connected to my emerging digital connection in days past. It's at pretty much exactly the same stage, actually. Alarm system, furnace, internet, smart switches are all accessible from my computing device and every week there are new devices arriving that make previously dumb things smarter.

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Jan 25, 2014, 10:21 AM
 
My dislike of Google has zero to do with my failure to see the point of these devices.

Your explanation makes some sense; it does not, however, seem like a scenario that constitutes a huge market.

That might just be my perspective, though.
     
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Jan 25, 2014, 02:37 PM
 
Re: thermostats

Some places have shitty weather. It really is that simple.

Irvine and Bremen* don't have shitty weather.



*I picked Bremen, because that's the town which has the musicians.
     
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Jan 25, 2014, 03:02 PM
 
Bremen? I'm not sure I know any musicians from Bremen, apart from some donkey, pets and a fowl tune.
     
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Jan 25, 2014, 03:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Re: thermostats

Some places have shitty weather. It really is that simple.

Irvine and Bremen* don't have shitty weather.



*I picked Bremen, because that's the town which has the musicians.
You're welcome to Gothenburg next November. Then tell me that a) that is not shitty weather and b) you think I'd be well served by installing a thermostat.
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Jan 25, 2014, 03:47 PM
 
Shitty weather isn't a particular time, it's the aggregate.

What makes the weather shitty here is the 60°C spread we get over the course of a year. It goes from arctic to Iraq.
( Last edited by subego; Jan 25, 2014 at 03:59 PM. )
     
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Jan 25, 2014, 04:52 PM
 
We have seasons, too.

Unless you're getting that kind of spread over a day, you're not making a point.
     
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Jan 25, 2014, 05:24 PM
 
How so?

When it gets over 30°C (which it does for weeks on end here) you want air conditioning. We're right on a ginormous lake, so it's generally humid as all ****, too.

When it gets below 5°C, you want heat of some type.

How much you really need either of those functions is going to be dependent upon how much of the year you spend at those extremes.

You mention you have seasons, we generally don't. The amount of time we have between the above mentioned extremes adds up to about two months if we're lucky.


At the other end of the scale, you have a place like Irvine. It doesn't go much above 30°C, and when it does, you have a nice ocean breeze. It doesn't get overly humid from the ocean because it's in a desert. As a desert, it gets cold at night, but not generally sub-freezing because the ocean is acting as a temperature regulator. Plenty of people in that region have no air conditioning and can even get by with no heat.

Because they spend most of the year between 5° and 30°.

I'm going to guess the weather profile where you are puts enough of the year below 5°, heat is a good idea. You might have a week or two above 30°, so that can be handled without calling in reinforcements.

Further, if you only need heat, you can use more specialized means of coping, such as stoves.
     
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Jan 25, 2014, 05:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
That might just be my perspective, though.
Yes. I think that might be the case. Anyway, I am not looking to start an argument, just to offer a different perspective.

In Germany, the majority of people live in rented accommodation As you've said, the responsibilities of home ownership are with the landlord - I remember that myself.

In Canada and the US (and the UK) the majority of the population live in homes they own. This means that they carry the responsibility for their smoke and other alarms as well as HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) equipment.

Germany has a temperate climate. Here in Toronto, and large swathes of the Northern US the temperature fluctuates between -20º in winter and +35º at the height of summer - made more intense by wind-chill and humidity indexes, days that feel like -30º or +40º aren't rare. Every single home has a thermostat fitted - because that's how you control your heat and cooling equipment.

When I lived in Hamburg, it was rare to have a winter's day below zeroº and equally rare to have a summer's day above 30º. The average annual swing is what? 20º-25º? Here it is 60º. You need equipment that deals with those temperatures.

Most homes are heated (and cooled) by forced air, not by radiators - we have radiators in our house, but that's very much the exception and a sign of an old home. Controlling the furnace is the direct and easy way to control the heat in the house. Different temperatures at different time of day make perfect sense, financially and environmentally. I don't want to walk through the house and turn down 20 radiators, I want to have a computer check the temperature, then adjust the heat output at the source to match the desired conditions.
( Last edited by Phileas; Jan 25, 2014 at 05:50 PM. )
     
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Jan 25, 2014, 05:50 PM
 
Around here, your basic rental unit built prior to the invention of air conditioning tend to have radiators, and then people put air conditioners in the window.

Newer units vary.

If it gets below 5°C in your unit, you can call the cops on your landlord. Hence a situation in my (radiator heated) loft where it's about 26°C right now.
     
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Jan 26, 2014, 02:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
When I lived in Hamburg, it was rare to have a winter's day below zeroº and equally rare to have a summer's day above 30º. The average annual swing is what? 20º-25º? Here it is 60º. You need equipment that deals with those temperatures.
Point taken, but c'mon: you lived here for a while. Cold spells with -5° to -15°C for weeks on end are not rare in winter. (It is -10°C right now, and has been for the past few days. Up to 2°C tomorrow, but this winter has been really weird…)

You're right that it rarely gets above 35°C (though it did for a bit last summer and the year before, IIRC) our normal span is about 40°-45°C.
     
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Jan 26, 2014, 02:27 PM
 
As I said, if you just need heat, a radiator or a stove is fine.
     
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Jan 26, 2014, 03:42 PM
 
Any semi-newish house likely has a programmable thermostat. We have old rads but also a programmable. They're indispensible for efficiency.

I looked at the Nest but just could not justify the cost - it's very much a luxury item. Yes, programmable thermostats are a huge pain in the ass to program, but it really does not take long (I just installed a new one last month and it was about 5-10 minutes to read the manual and another 10 minutes to program - and you only need to do it once or twice over the life of the thermostat). The only real advantage of the Nest that I can see would be to control heating/cooling remotely - a nice touch on those rare occasions when you're coming back into town from a vacation and don't want a cold/hot house.

Same thing with the CO2/fire alarm - the standard ones are reasonably priced and it's nothing to simply replace them every five years or so. I suppose there's a comfort factor there, and it's not a lot of money either way, but - again - they're definitely luxury items.
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Jan 26, 2014, 03:48 PM
 
You're forgetting changing the thermostat without getting out of bed. That's the key reason I want a new thermostat. However, like the alarms, it makes more sense for me to integrate with my home automation system rather than use a Nest.

Also, the new First Alerts complain when it's time to replace the entire unit.

Also also, I'm much happier with split fire and CO alarms. That's what really sold me.
     
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Jan 26, 2014, 08:18 PM
 
It's a programmable thermostat.. Every day is programmed to our routine. It already turns on when I'm getting out of and into bed.
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Jan 26, 2014, 11:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post

Also also, I'm much happier with split fire and CO alarms. That's what really sold me.
Just out of interest, why?
     
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Jan 27, 2014, 01:12 AM
 
Smoke rises, CO sinks. My smoke alarms are near the ceiling. My CO detectors are near the floor.

Also, I was able to put a smoke detector in the furnace room. A CO detector in there would potentially raise false alarms.
( Last edited by subego; Jan 27, 2014 at 01:29 AM. )
     
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Jan 27, 2014, 01:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
It's a programmable thermostat.. Every day is programmed to our routine. It already turns on when I'm getting out of and into bed.
Sometimes you're in bed and you have things set too high or low.

I should also mention I don't have anything resembling a routine.
( Last edited by subego; Jan 27, 2014 at 01:32 AM. )
     
 
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