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Other Things That Don’t “Just Work”

January 2, 2008

A frequent regret concerning new personal technology (especially PCs) is that it should "just work" the way cars and DVD players do.

But there is a lot of non-computer technology that doesn’t really "just work" either; among them:

  • Battery back up sump pumps. In our case one rated for 180 minutes did not prevent an inch of water from accumulating in our basement within that time.
  • Electrical power. In the two years we have lived in house (a couple of miles from the Chicago City limits) the power has failed about a half-dozen times for multiple-hour stretches.
  • Lampshades. Our dining room chandelier has had problems with correctly rated bulbs getting the shade hot enough to create a brown spot.
  • Yard drainage. There is an are of our yard that is always damp, even after installing a series of french drains.
  • Cameras. It is very difficult/expensive to take nice indoor shots in the evening without a flash that creates unnatural lighting.
  • High Speed Internet. When our Comcast service works it is great, but recently we have been experiencing several outages a month. (Ok, maybe this is computer technology too.)
  • Office Building HVAC. A common complaint of office tenants is that individuals’ office temperatures are off by 5 degrees or more. It may not sound like much, but who wants to work in a 65 degree or 75 degree office?

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