A.J. Feather

Journalist, Developer

I'm a Missouri native currently seeking a dual masters in computer science and journalism from Columbia University in New York City. Every week I also host an awesome podcast called "Integrate" with my friend Mikah, which you can find at Integrate.FM.

Before moving to New York, I obtained undergraduate degrees in journalism and economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia. In Columbia, I hosted a weekly show called "Talking Politics" for KBIA, the local NPR member station and produced, wrote and anchored video for Newsy.com way too early in the morning.

There has never been a political column I did not enjoy reading or an Apple product I did not enjoy using.

Automate Everything

I installed a Nest Thermostat in my apartment last week.  It was something I'd been considering for a while, and I finally pulled the trigger when I could just unhook it and take it with me when I leave.  It's only been installed for about 8 days, and it's already started setting itself on auto-away when I leave the house, telling me exactly how long it will take to adjust to the set temperature and announcing how much energy it saves on a day-to-day basis.  That said, that our last thermostat wouldn't even display what the actual temperature in the house was, so buying any thermostat manufactured in the last 10 years would have been an upgrade.

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It's been interesting to hear people I know bring Nest up in conversation.  My initial thought was that this device will probably be another device geeks know about and utilize, but it seems to be having an iPhone-like introduction to the market.  In fact, Nest is shipping 40,000 units a month, according to The Verge.  Although it's a bit pricey at $250, it ends up paying for itself in the long run.  That's because even if it doesn't pay for itself in the first year or two, it will eventually, and you can take it with you if you move.

Now I realize I'm one of those pretentious yuppies that uses Amazon subscribe & save automatically ship me coffee cups, breakfast bars and soap and uses iPhone apps to track my sleep.  But in a data driven world where that data can improve your life and save you time and money, won't this be where the market takes us?  Just like when modern appliances that we now take for granted became economically viable, such as washing machines, dishwashers, and microwaves, the new generation of technology, which uses data about our behavior will revolutionize the world world by making itself and the individuals who use it more efficient, saving energy, money, time and brainpower.