read the full article at http://www.smartmoney.com/dealoftheday/ind...?story=20060717HOW WOULD YOU LIKE to be able to control the appliances in your home via a remote computer or even your Blackberry or cellphone?
While it might sound futuristic, the technology is available now. Turning on the lights, cranking up the A/C and even shutting the window blinds can now all be done with a mere click of the mouse.
"Home automation," as the geeks call it (translation: using gadgets to remotely control pretty much anything with a plug), has actually been around since the '70s, says Sam Lucero, senior analyst at ABI Research, a market research firm specializing in technology. Most devices never made it to the mainstream, diverging into sophisticated toys for the wealthy, and cheap, unreliable gadgets for the home-tinkerer. (Remember The Clapper?) That said, you're probably already automated to some extent â€” think programmable thermostats.
What's new here is a web-integrated setup. Here's how it works: Software on your computer links to your existing home automation hardware (more on that below). Using the web, you can send instructions to your computer and, in turn, that hardware. What this means in practical terms is that you can crank up the air conditioning just before you arrive home or turn off a forgotten appliance even from your Internet-enabled PDA. As long as it's wired, anything is possible.