The Digital World: Demystifying Technology

[Editor's note: The Observer is pleased to introduce our newest column, "The Digital World," focusing on un-complicating the ever-changing world of technology. Tak Sato, who owns a technology business in Westlake and holds a bachelor's degree in computer information science and an MBA from Cleveland State, has more than 20 years experience in the technology field. His column will address hot topics in the digital world and reader questions.]

In the history of mankind, inventions and subsequent innovations have changed our lives. I think Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant Mr. Watson would be pretty excited that we can now transmit images by building on their invention of the telephone. Is it far away that mankind will figure out how to “Beam me up, Scotty!” from the Star Trek series?

Some things change our lives so dramatically that there is a word for it: disruptive innovation. When the personal computer became available for public consumption it was initially "just another tool" that businesses could harness in their back-office operations. Computers, or should I say technology, became an indispensable tool for businesses. But back then people could still choose not to use computers at home.

As technology became more affordable and consumer-friendly features were introduced, more and more people started owning a computer outside of the office. This is similar to how I used to go to my friend's home to see Godzilla tear apart Tokyo on a color TV before it became affordable for my parents to buy one.

Then came the internet in late 1990s that changed everything (it was there before but not in a consumer-friendly manner). Internet combined with computers becoming as common as a TV in each household further fueled the penetration of this disruptive innovation into every nook-and-cranny of our lives.

This was, in my opinion, the mother of all disruptive innovations creating disruptive technologies. It changed everything: from how we communicate (email, web chat, smartphone); how we buy (online shopping, online flea market); how we curate family memories (digital cameras); how we bank (online bill pay); how we entertain (what happened to the corner video rental store?), how we relate (social networks, online dating) and many more daily functions that we consider as normal ways of doing things.

With the internet and technology penetrating our lives, it has become increasingly challenging to choose not to use technologies such as computers, smartphones and tablets these days. There are just so many technologies to understand to be an educated consumer living in the duality of the “Real World” and the “Digital World” with ever so blurring boundary between the two.

Fear not! The Westlake | Bay Village Observer, “the” community newspaper bringing local news that matters, is cognizant of the changing world and the need to demystify technology for their readership. They have enlisted me, a longtime Cleveland-area resident and self-proclaimed “geek,” to help demystify technology.

I will also answer questions in these columns so please send those questions you always wanted to ask but never did. I also request feedback, as I believe readership involvement is one of the tenets of a thriving community newspaper such as this paper I love. You can send them to the editors at (Please do understand that depending on the volume, not all emails will be replied to).

Next issue's topic: "OMG! What happened to my family memories?"

Tak Sato

Business and technology strategist/consultant with 20+ years of experience. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and MBA from Cleveland State University.

As founder of geek with a heart, he helps Individuals, Seniors, Families, Small Businesses, and Non-Profits utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

Read More on The Digital World
Volume 5, Issue 21, Posted 10:13 AM, 10.15.2013