Belkin’s new WeMo system ($50 – $100) is home automation made easy. It’s completely modular, so you can control as much or as little of your home as you like.
Turn on a light in another room, or turn it off from across town. Put your house on a schedule—living room lights go on in the evening, kids’ TV goes off at bedtime. You can check to make sure you turned the iron off, after you’ve already left the house. Have a fan go on before you get home. WeMo can even guard the front door.