For years, technology companies have been promising that there will be easy-to-use, easy-to-install home control solutions that will help you automate a lot of what goes on in your house.

The promises include everything from turning on or off the lights in your house to raising or lowering the temperature to starting a bath so it’s ready to go when you get home.

But really, who needs to turn on the bathtub while you’re driving home. Do most of us jump into the tub right from the garage? In our dreams, perhaps.

The reality goes more like this: You’ve just left the house and are several blocks away when the thought hits you: “Did I actually lock the door to my house? Did I set the alarm?” This actually happens to me regularly and more often than not, I have forgotten to set the alarm or lock the door.

Wouldn’t it be nice to figure out whether the door is locked and the alarm is set from wherever you have access to the Internet?

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, I saw some new home control technology that is actually easy to use, simple to install (thank you wireless!), practical and mostly affordable.

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February 6, 2009