Bell Labs invented the first transistor in 1947. It won the Nobel Prize and paved the way for today’s many wonders. One is the smart thermostat, a full-time brain that monitors home heating and cooling, raising it when you’re there and lowering it when you are out or at night, when you’re sleeping. It keeps temperatures within one degree of what you set. Even in mild climates, programmable thermostats save money and have a short payback period. There are many types available, too, with different features and prices. One called “five-two” lets you set five weekdays and weekends. Others have a factory pre-set button that automatically programs it for you, based on the schedule of an average family. This is great for those whose VCRs still flash 12 o’clock. If you want to totally customize ups and downs, get a seven-day model and grab the owner’s manual.