Universal and Ultraviolet, protecting their content?

I was redeeming an Ultraviolet authorization code for a Universal movie, and needed to create an account.


Passwords must be between 6 and 8 characters and letters or numbers! I thought the movie industry cared about protecting their assets more than this?

It’s hard to believe in 2013 that there’s a software developer and project manager that went ahead with this idiotic password requirement.

Nest Thermostat, Software Update 2.0

Nest recently released a new update to the software of the thermostat device (as well as their corresponding web and mobile applications).

Some of the details may be found on their blog.

A few of the new features include an historical view of the heating/cooling usage:


On Friday, April 6th for example, you can see when the heat turned on and what the set points were for the day for my First Floor thermostat. The data isn’t as interesting during our Midwest Spring as the furnace doesn’t run nearly as much.

Here’s from another day:


I doubt I’ll use this feature much. It only has 10 days of information available apparently right now, so I just can’t see this being very useful. I’m skeptical that this will affect my choices as it comes to how we use our HVAC system. I could see potentially how aggregate data of many users (in a similar geographical area) could become more compelling and potentially a source of data that Nest might be able to sell.

The settings for a thermostat have been tweaked visually. The same basic data is available as before:


The learning tab has been cleaned up as well:


For some reason, our thermostat that we’ve had for four months is apparently still in training (Time to Temp). That seems like an issue that maybe I’ll look into. Although I don’t really care much about the “time to temp” feature normally as I don’t manually adjust the affected thermostat much.

The “Away” tab changed:


Not a big improvement for usability. Probably more touch friendly (and it’s logically correct as it heats when less than 58 degrees for example), but it feels wrong. Thermostats aren’t normally left to right oriented (temp goes up and down), so this breaks a typical UX model.

On the Equipment tab, they’ve tweaked the UI as well:


I clicked on the Safety Temp word (? it’s not a button, nor a link, so I don’t know what to call it) and the above UI displayed. The same temperature range UX is displayed, but here I like it even less. I suppose we don’t have a maximum temperature in the house during cooling season, but this is clunky. (And given that it’s safety related, I wish it were more clear). I can hear some of you say, “but it’s clear to me.” I do understand it, but I’m confident there is a better way of displaying and adjusting these temperatures that would be more obvious.

(And Nest Labs, go ahead and spell out “TEMP” please? Thanks!)

The technical info tab is the same basically.

There’s now a lock feature (which I have no need for, and am not going to experiment with right now):


One of the big new TM’ed features is called Airwave™. Apparently, when it’s hot and the humidity is low (not typical for Wisconsin, as our summers are usually hot and humid), the thermostat apparently will try to do more cooling by turning off the air conditioning system early and using the fan more. (I always thought our air conditioner already did that as the compressor turns off before the fans). If it helps lower our electricity bill, awesome. I’ll report back if I can tell that it is working and helping (without historical data though, it will be difficult for us, especially as we added solar panels to our house last fall).

The scheduling tab looks basically unchanged. The support tab has more content, so you don’t have to go to their web site to read the information. That’s a nice improvement.

OK, this was very strange. As I was writing this post (and in the middle of using the application), I saw the following:




Now, the thermostats are all disconnected in some odd way:


A few minutes later, things improved (but not perfect):


Twenty minutes later, the BASEMENT thermostat is still disconnected. I reset the thermostat and it’s back now.

Nest Thermostat Review, Update #5

Update #6, Update #5, Update #4, Update #3, Update #2, Update #1, Install

I got my replacement Nest thermostat today via FedEx.

I was surprised to open the box and find a complete sealed package. Honestly, I expected they’d ship just the display and the base (as the support engineer hadn’t set any expectations, I apparently just made up my own!). But, I suppose at this point in the company, they just aren’t setup to ship just the two pieces. It has the unfortunate side effect of producing extra waste (as I can’t imagine that extra wall plates are going to come in handy anywhere). The little screw driver could be given away but the rest likely will end up in a landfill. I’ll ship them all of the unused parts back as I don’t want them – hopefully they don’t just trash them.

There’ve been some really awesome commenters in the past few days and I wanted to take a moment to highlight a few key comments.

From Curt:

I finally called Nest and spoke to a pleasant fellow. First off, it turns out the Nest does NOT anticipate a temperature set point. It will not turn on the furnace ahead of time. If you train it to go from the night setting of 60 to the daytime setting of 68 by turning it to 68 when you get up, it will always be 60 when you get up.

Wow, that’s a super disappointment. Honestly, I really thought it could do that.

Another from Curt:

It does not keep as steady a temperature as the primitive Honeywell round thermostat it replaced.

From Mark:

I’ve had my Nest for about 10 days. I would recommend waiting before buying one.


I’ve been considering replacing my Honeywell programmable t’stat with a Nest…but now I’m not so sure

David shares my disappointment regarding Nest Labs:

I would love to hear what NEST has to say about the variances…I would think they are monitoring these blogs…..If they are not…shame on them.

They seem to be way too quiet. They don’t seem to “get” social media.

And Matt provided a link to a very complete tear-down of the device:

Here is a good site that did a tear-down,lots of comments and people look like they really know what there talking about!


GregN is still enthused about his Nest thermostat:

You guys are right in all the above posts. But to be honest, I’m happy with setting a schedule that warms the house before I get up in the morning, and saves energy overnight. Yes, I had that functionality at a lower price point before the Nest. But I didn’t have remote adjustments or the great looking hockey puck on my wall before.

Thanks again for all the comments! Keep them coming!image

I won’t replace the poorly functioning Nest thermostat for a few days with the new unit (as it’s a nuisance to adjust all of the schedules, move the units around, etc.).

Today, the system had again auto activated the “away” mode apparently, and then did not activate the normal evening schedule. So, our house was cold when we returned from work, even though it should have been warming for about a half hour. I just don’t understand this feature. I don’t understand why “away” isn’t triggered at night.

I could turn off learning, auto-away … leaving me with remote scheduling.

Update: January 11, 2012 => Something triggered the “auto-away” feature two days in a row now. I don’t understand why it happens. The part that’s annoying is that the schedule doesn’t run when this happens apparently, so we came home to a cold house (and tonight I thought to check before leaving from work to see if it had happened again).

Nest Thermostat Review, Update #4

Update #6, Update #5, Update #4, Update #3, Update #2, Update #1, Install

A bit more about my Nest thermostat experiences.

On the weekend, I spoke with a support engineer from Nest regarding the issue I was having with one of the Nest units failing to properly read the room temperature. I swapped one of the thermostats with a thermostat from a different floor in our house and then monitored the results over the weekend. I noticed the same problem in the new location: the thermostat would regularly read a temperature that was 3 to 4 degrees warmer than the actual room temperature. As it doesn’t consistently exhibit the problem, it makes heating a room to a comfortable temperature somewhat challenging (and now that it’s 19F outside, I’d like it if it was a bit more on the mark).

I spoke again with the same support engineer from Nest today (Mark). He called back as promised at the telephone number I left with him. He agreed that it was the thermostat that had a problem and decided to ship me a new one immediately (overnight). As today was an “observed” holiday for most shipping companies in the USA, the new thermostat won’t ship till tomorrow.

Interesting tidbit is that the base of the device apparently has a serial number that is tied to the display and that they both must be returned at the same time when shipping a defective unit back to Nest.


When I arrived home this evening, my wife and I did our normal patterns. Go here, drop stuff off, etc. One of the places my wife walks nearly every evening takes her right by the Nest thermostat in a hallway on our first floor.

As we were sitting down for dinner about 30 minutes later I noted that the temperature seemed a bit cooler than normal in the kitchen so I walked over to the thermostat. “Auto away” had been activated. Arrgh. What’s odd (and annoying) is that the temperature should have been going to 69F starting at 5pm. At some point, it had decided that we were “away” and had never arrived home (I checked all of the schedules and everything seemed normal). I thought that there was some way to review the timings and choices it makes for that setting, but the “Energy” option on the thermostat reported “No data” for any of the recent days (I would have expected at least one day as I had moved the thermostat two days earlier).

UPDATE: Jan, 4, 2012: Ok the above happened AGAIN. I don’t know why I’d want AUTO AWAY to also DEACTIVATE the schedule? Seriously? Turn off learning. Turn off Auto-away. What’s left Nest?

So, I don’t know what to make of this new “feature.” Clearly, we were in the house and the auto away should have been deactivated by our presence (I thought?). We did not activate “away” mode manually either.


I definitely can’t give high marks to this product and wouldn’t recommend it right now. I know others are apparently having decent success, but until the kinks are worked out or they do a lot more explaining, I’d recommend anyone thinking about buying one to wait (maybe for v2 or a significant software upgrade).

If anyone from Nest is listening, please speak up!

(And anyone else with comments, questions, etc., feel free to leave them! I enjoy your comments and feedback and I know others are finding your comments very useful!)

I’ve created a new home for discussions about digital thermostats. Here’s a bit more information and here’s the site (digtstat.com). (And thanks for your help in getting it started!)

Nest Thermostat Review, Update #2

I’ve discussed my Nest thermostat experience a few times and am slowly becoming less convinced that it is ready for the market if you’re at all technically savvy and you’re easily frustrated by things not working the way you’d expect (like, you know how to setup e-mail on your phone).

Update #6Update #5Update #4Update #3Update #2Update #1Install

Here’s a image of the schedule for the second floor, where my computer/den is located.



On Monday and Tuesday of this week, my wife and I had the day off and were home most of the day. We spent a lot of time upstairs as her computer and crafting area is on the second floor, as is my den. So, the heat was turned up most of the day.

The “learning” mode of the thermostat decided that as we were home two days in a row, that the whole week likely was going to look like that apparently. As you can see, the same schedule was replicated through all week days. image

On a normal morning, I often go to my den and do a bit of tinkering before leaving for work. However, I rarely turn up the thermostat and instead just leave it at the preset temperature. I’m not in my den long enough to justify the amount of energy it would take to heat the second floor.

So, it’s frustrating that the thermostat would turn up the heat automatically at 9:30am, long after I’ve left for work and then run it all day long. Thankfully, after 3 hours, it apparently realizes there’s no one home, and will automatically adjust the temperature.

Since I didn’t turn the heat UP, I don’t expect to need to turn it DOWN before I leave (I leave earlier than 9:30am). (Turn it down from what?)

I could turn off the learning features. But, then one of the key features of the thermostat is turned off:


GregN left a comment yesterday where he mentioned that Nest support recommended to try turning of the learning feature (activating “learning pause”).

Now, I need to go fix the schedule to reflect my reality. Again.

Nest, are you listening? This is a perfect example of my user experience not matching with the expectations Nest has set.

Update (December 30, 2011)

I tweeted this post (and directed it at nest and they did respond):


Update (December 31, 2011)

My wife had the day off on Friday (Dec 30) and adjusted the downstairs thermostat after lunch. Apparently, the thermostat believes that’s going to be a new routine for Friday’s (at about 1:30pm, temperature is set to 68F).

Just the day before I’d fixed the schedule for every day. It’s not taking into account manual schedule changes and giving them proper weighting.


The learning algorithm needs some help.