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The idea behind pervasive computing is that embedded and invisible technology calms our lives by removing the annoyances. Everyday life, however, is shaped by what people do, how they do it, and how they perceive what they are doing. As a consequence everyday life is difficult to grasp in computational terms. A look at the pervasive computing literature indicates that in a number of pervasive computing scenarios these difficulties are addressed by assuming that it is feasible to build intelligent behavior and common-sense understanding into pervasive computing environments. We believe that such assumptions are prominent among the reasons why many pervasive computing scenarios still sound like science fiction although most of the technologies required are readily available. Making these assumptions along with known difficulties explicit would greatly help pervasive computing become part of everyday life. Example scenarios from the pervasive computing literature will be used to illustrate a number of difficulties and some of the lessons to be learned from related disciplines having investigated similar ideas before.revised 30 September 2002