The Forgotten Role of Technology: One Step Away from Magic

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I’ve noticed an increasingly more prevalent theme this year. The core theme is the concept of technology that is so ubiquitous and elegant that it appears to work like magic. For most of us that is rarely our experience. Often technology, whether we’re using an electronic tool that performs some physical work, or a piece of software that executes a virtual action, rarely seems like magic.

Some of this is simply due to the fact that most of us have developed a specific level of expectation over time through gradual changes that occur across the span of decades. There are certainly many things that might be perceived as magical to someone from an earlier time, whether it was someone from five hundred years ago or only a decade ago.  Perhaps magic, in this context, might be defined as something that is done for you that you didn’t even think about when you made it happen. Like turning on a light switch or opening a door, except the level of interaction is subtler.

Earlier this year I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join a college at a conference where Josh Clark, a user interface design expert, presented along with several other experts. While there we also had the opportunity to speak with him directly at one of the lunches, where he joined our table. Much of our discussion was on this very subject as was his presentation. His topic, of technology functioning like magic, was engaging and, in my opinion, a change heading toward us rather quickly.

I love technology. I enjoy learning about new innovations and gadgets and I have spent several late nights and weekends just tinkering with devices and software, sometimes without a defined goal. Some of those projects were dead ends. Others were successes. I learned from each one.

Yet, over the years, I continue to notice one problem with much of the technology that we have at our disposal.

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Preparing to Install a Solar-Powered Gable Vent Attic Fan

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Attic-Gable-Vents
Attic view of gable vents where the fan will be mounted, facing south.

This is a home improvement project I’ve been thinking about for a long time that may offer considerable benefit. It’s been on my mind since our first summer in the house. Cooling our home in the summer to a comfortable level is somewhat challenging and expensive. Our home was originally built in the 1920s. As a result, it simply doesn’t have much insulation. Yes, some was added over the years, but it just isn’t sufficient for a home of our size.

Unfortunately, due to other factors related to when this home was constructed, we can’t simply drop more insulation everywhere in the attic. I’ve added some, but it simply cannot be done in most parts of the attic without some major renovation.

Recently, I ordered a Natural Light Energy Systems 30W Gable Mounted Solar Attic Fan. The intention is to cool down the attic considerably, thus also making it easier to cool the house.

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