Aris Silzars Display Technology Consulting


 So Quick to Change…

Across the street from our house is a wooded idyllic trail that runs along Lake Sammamish.  This is the perfect place to take a walk – with dog or not – to relax from a busy day of activity, to do a bit of quiet meditating, or to simply do nothing but enjoy the peaceful lake and forest canopy overhead.   It’s a blessing to have such an opportunity in the midst of busy suburban neighborhoods. 

But is this the way most of us are taking advantage of this special place?  Well, not from what I see.  Most of the people that pass me by are busily talking on their cell phones or texting as they walk.  Some are even trying to control their unruly puppies or pushing baby carriages while also holding cell phones to their ears or texting with one free hand while pushing and/or pulling with the other.  So what has happened to the quiet walks in the woods or the idyllic strolls along the beach?  We no longer seem to be able to take even a few minutes away from our wearable electronic devices to simply enjoy what nature has to offer.  That makes me sad. 

In last month’s column, I discussed what I believe are the fundamental driving forces of Compute Power, Image Processing Software, Communications Bandwidth, and Location Independent Communications.  These fundamental driving forces have guided new product developments for the last several decades and can be expected to continue to be relevant for at least the next decade.  But while these fundamentals have proven to be stable and reliable guides in how technologies are evolving, there have been rather dramatic and rapid changes how specific products -- that are based on these driving forces -- have come to influence the way we make use of new capabilities.

How many years has it been since the introduction of the iPhone?  Not very many at all.  How many years since the iPad?   An even shorter answer.  Yet in that brief period, we have come to accept the desire – even necessity – of non stop communications with everyone we could possibly know.  When the plane lands there is a frenzy of activity as everyone instantly checks for messages on their iPhones.   In restaurants people are texting and talking on their phones instead of to their dates or colleagues. In stores shoppers are talking on their phones while selecting items.  And of course, no matter what the laws say, texting and talking while driving continues to be a perceived vital necessity – no matter what the risks may be.  Given all this, there can be no surprise that a quiet and peaceful trail through the woods is just another location for talking and texting.  After all what else could one possibly do to occupy those few minutes of peace and quiet? 

The rapidity of this behavioral change is something that I do not believe anyone anticipated.  It’s not all that different than if we had all suddenly become addicted to a powerful drug.  Technology was simply the facilitator.  The more interesting and unpredictable result is the rapidity and depth of behavior change that has taken place. 

So what can we conclude from all this as we approach the Christmas Holidays?  The practical side is that the gifts of choice this year are more cell phones and more tablets – in other words more “Location Independent Communications” devices.  Better images and better ways to capture and send them are a natural and now expected part of having these devices.

But will Christmas morning and Christmas day consist of each family member busily texting and/or talking on their communication devices while ignoring family members in their physical vicinity?  Most likely, yes. 

Given that this basic behavioral change in how we interact with the world took place in the span of only a few short years, what other surprising changes could there be that we have not yet identified?   Will some new technology driven product come along that will have as major an impact on our society?   Could it be in the area of education and learning?  Could it be in transportation such as self-driving vehicles?   Could it be in some new way that we acquire purchased items? 

In the meantime, perhaps we can slow down for a few minutes – at least on Christmas day – and just be at peace with the world and with our lives.  Doing nothing can be a great way to renew and refresh.   However, it’s not as easy as you may think.  Just try it.  Take a few minutes to just breathe and let your mind be clear of everything.  That may be the greatest blessing and gift that you can bestow upon yourself this Christmas.  

Take a walk along the lake and through the woods – unaided by your wearable electronic gadgets.   Then if you wish you may send me an e-mail directly from this site, or to, or call me at 425-898-9117 and let me know how it went.   Thanks, and we’ll chat some more next year.       





19916 NE 30th Ct. Sammamish, WA 98074 Call 425.898.9117

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