Tuesday 21 October 2014

Digital: Control your central heating (almost) without lifting a finger

Published 25/01/2013 | 15:47

Perhaps one day, we'll look back and laugh at the time when humans had to lift a finger to get things done.

Need to change the TV channel? Why rouse yourself from the comfort of the sofa when you have the remote control, originally invented by Eugene Polley in 1955?

From washing machines to computers, advances in technology have saved our muscles while our brains take up the slack. In pretty much every case, brains win over brawn.

Undoubtedly, we'll chuckle loudest at the crazy notion of manually switching our home heating on and off.

Thankfully, a little sliver of the future has just arrived in the form of Climote, a clever little Irish-designed box that enables you to control your home heating remotely.

Think of Climote as a smart yet very simple on/off switch connected to both your boiler and the internet.

Like a conventional timer switch, you can set schedules for the heating to come on or go off.

Using its built-in thermostat or an existing one in your home, it will save energy by shutting down the heat when the optimum temperature is reached.

But the really intelligent bit is that Climote can be controlled via the internet while on the other side of the world as easily as when sitting on the sofa at home.

Now you can turn on the heat before you leave work or flick it off from your bedroom using an iPhone/Android app, the web or (how old-school) with a text message.

Dundalk-based Climote has worked hard to keep the interface human-friendly -- and succeeded. Installation for most homes is a painless process that merely replaces your existing timer.

Bought through Electric Ireland (formerly the ESB), it costs €300 all in, even if you're not a customer.

However, an annual fee of €36 applies after the first year if you want internet access, which operates via a mobile internet connection in the box.

GAMES

Game of the week: Devil May Cry * * * * ½

X360/PS3

The absence of a number on the end of the title clues you into the fact that this is no ordinary sequel to DMC 4 but rather that achingly hip contrivance known as a ‘reboot'. But, hey, it worked for Daniel Craig's Bond, it worked for Fallout, it worked for Street Fighter. Instead of a mere DMC 5, Ninja Theory (creator of Heavenly Sword and Enslaved) has taken over development duties and given us a reimagined version of the hack‘n'slash epic in a suitably demented landscape.

Cynicism aside, DMC mixes the new and the familiar with consummate skill, the latest version of demon-killer Dante a more-ish confection of fluid combat and sassy attitude.

Skewering enemies comes as easy as enjoying the ascerbic one-liners.

Visually astounding and breathlessly pacy, DMC loses steam only in later battles which degenerate in wars of attrition that target the inevitable “glowing weak spot”.

Mass Effect 3: Special Edition * * * * *

Wii U

Part of what made this spaceopera trilogy great stemmed from the meticulous tracking of your moral decisions in the first two games.

This Wii U version, oddly, lacks that interaction (the platform didn't exist for earlier games) but still packs an emotional punch and a real sense of moral conflict as you struggle to survive the threat of the merciless Reapers.

Filled with punchy dialogue, deep story arcs and meaty combat, ME3:SE manages to tickle both the brain and the reflexes in one narrative.

Little Inferno * * * ½

Wii U download

Every little boy (and probably a few girls) understands the fascination of setting fire to a thing just to watch it burn.

Little Inferno indulges your inner pyro with an aimless but amusing playground in which to commit arson.

But it gradually emerges that incinerating a random collection of objects unfurls a slight backstory that seems to take a jaundiced view of rampant consumerism.

Still, worth it for the pleasing array of effects when items catch fire, such as the popcorn from the sweetcorn or chemical explosions from toys.

Follow @RonanPrice

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