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Today, plenty of companies would be happy to help you spend thousands of dollars, automating your home and everything in it. But if you're dubious of the whole "smart home" movement, here's an uncomplicated, affordable way to experiment with the possibilities. Simply plug the iDevices Switch into a wall socket, then plug something else—your coffeemaker, for instance—into the Switch. Now you can control your coffeemaker remotely, via smartphone, using the iDevices Switch companion app. In effect, Switch enables you to remote control (or define a schedule for) virtually anything that runs on electricity, be it a table lamp or an entertainment system. Available at Amazon; $50.
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