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This column looks back at the days when we had direct, tactile control of our appliances and wonders what impact the loss of this control is having on our children's interest in engineering. Increased complexity in our work life also leads to our feeling this lack of direct control. Yet, perhaps it's a mistake to pine for those days of direct control. Maybe our children's ability to find and fix a problem by its symptoms will be essential for testing the products of the future.