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The Smartphone Is the New Universal Remote Control

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Healthy Connections

Lots of apps will track your health, and two have their own blood pressure monitors. You can drop your iPhone into the Blood Pressure Dock from iHealth (roughly $100 from various vendors). The Smart Blood Pressure Monitor from Withings has a cuff that connects directly to your iPhone (available in April for $129). Both devices come with apps that will allow you to keep track of your pressure and share results with your doctors or caregivers by e-mail.

You'd think that by now there would be an i-glucose monitor. Not yet. The Food and Drug Administration, however, is reviewing the iBGStar Glucose Monitor from Sanofi Aventis. This small dongle will plug into the bottom of an iPhone with no cables needed.

Turn Up the Heat

Heading home at the end of the day? Want to make sure the house is cozy and warm when you get there? A number of apps work with specific Internet-connected thermostats so your home is ready for your arrival. Among them: the IP Thermostat Controller App for Proliphix thermostats, Ecobee, ZWave Commander, and the Environ Smart Thermostat from Enphase.

And once you get home, you can monitor the progress of the roast in the oven with the iGrill. Stick the Bluetooth-enabled probe in the meat, then keep track of the progress on your iPhone/iPad, etc. ($99.95 at the Apple Store).

Eyes in the Skies

There are a whole range of security systems that will allow you to hook up home or business security cameras so you can watch and record from your smartphone. You can keep an eye on your house, or even keep an eye on a parent living alone. One of the more sophisticated systems is Swann's Pro-Series that's available with iPhone and Blackberry apps so you can monitor four separate video cameras at once. The system retails for about $400. Other systems come from Logitech, Lorex and a number of others.

And if you want to get a bird's-eye view of what's going on around you, just launch the AR Drone from Parrot. This $300 quad copter has both forward and downward facing cameras, and the only remote for it is an iPhone app. Perhaps not a serious security device, but it sure is fun.

This week, William Shatner, who will always be Star Trek's Capt. James T. Kirk to millions of us, delivered the wakeup call to the final crew of Discovery Shuttle astronauts. How obsolete his once marvelous communicator looks now.

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