Early internet pioneers devised nerdy schemes to save on shoe leather, such as emailing the vending machine to see if there was any Coke left.
These days, we're still developing the "internet of things", the idea that everything in our world is connected and controllable. Wiring up your home – switches, lights, etc – has long been possible, but at great expense.
But the Belkin WeMo technology simplifies and makes affordable the notion with its 'intelligent' electrical plug/socket. Looking like an overweight timer switch, it plugs into any wall socket and hooks into your home wireless network.
With the aid of an iPhone app, you can thus control WeMo as easily from your couch as you can from the other side of the world.
The possibilities are endless: firing up the heating as you leave from work, start your coffee machine from your bed. An add-on includes motion detection so that you can scare intruders.
At only €50 per socket (or €100 for switch plus motion detector), home automation just got foolproof.
Maybe MS feels ashamed about the way it abandoned Win Phone 7 users. Maybe it's not that different from WP7. I'll go with the latter.
Looking and operating remarkably similarly (which is to say quite good), there are some nice innovations such as kids' corner (which locks down what the phone can do when you hand it to your nipper).
But as likeable as WP8 phones like the HTC 8X are, they offer little that iPhone or Android don't.