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Nerd Remote

Because your iPhone is happier with friends… here’s what I call my “nerd remote,” my collection of iPhone apps that interact with other devices around my house.

ADT — For arming and disarming my home security system from afar, or just from bed. If I had to do it over (and I may soon) I’d probably go with a homegrown system, but for now ADT’s app is alright.

Google TV — Yes, I actually own one. The surprisingly attractive Sony Internet TV came with a remote control so bad it’s the stuff of legend, but it was available for a steal around the holidays last year and it makes a beautiful monitor for an Apple TV. Their iOS app isn’t much better, but it’s useful when you’ve lost your universal remote and you just want to adjust the volume.

Apple Remote — Just the best way to interact with an Apple TV.

Nest — You don’t believe me now, but owning a Nest will make you say “I love this thermostat.” Adjusting the temperature without getting out of bed: yeah, that sold me, too.

People Power — Monitoring your home energy usage hasn’t turned out to be quite as useful as anyone had hoped (hence Google and Microsoft both abandoning their efforts last year), but for those nerds who installed a device like the PowerCost Monitor, People Power lets you see your energy usage in real time, as well as historical graphs and future projections based on your current use. Still for the über-geeky, for now.

Dropcam — I installed this app when I ordered my Dropcam from Amazon.com in April. I’ll let you know how it works if I ever get it.

Tagg — The companion app for the pet tracker of the same name. Snap Tagg onto your dog’s collar and it keeps track of your pet via multiple methods: a low-power wireless connection with the tracker’s base station when at home, and Assisted GPS (GPS + Verizon Wireless) when away. The tracker’s location is updated every 3 minutes or so, so while it’s not real time, it is some serious peace of mind for those who get a little bit too worried about our pets when they wander.

iGrill — Possibly the strangest-sounding thing to connect to an iPhone, the Bluetooth iGrill thermometer lets you monitor the temperature of two different cuts of meat in an oven, in a smoker, on a grill or on the stove. They also sell an ambient temperature probe for your smoker. If you’re not yet enough of a pro to divine your meat’s doneness by chef’s intuition, the iGrill is incredibly handy in ensuring your stuff’s never dried out and overcooked again.

I’ve heard that the Model S will have an iOS app soon. Wonder how long I’ll be able to resist getting that one?

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