Page Two

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2004-02-13 Print this article Print

But theres another, darker reason for Microsofts Aura fantasy. And thats advertising. You know as soon as you enter the store, a little "helper" app will wake up on your scanning computer. And instead of getting Phreds opinion, youll get Charmins—thinly veiled as Charmaine from Sheboygan, probably. And the last thing I need is some nasty spyware bot discovering that, in fact, I prefer Cottonelle. Once upon a time, the dream was to have an Internet-connected refrigerator that knew when the milk was going sour, or the eggs were low. That idea passed on about the same time WebVan did. But now Aura wants to resuscitate the dream—this time at the point of purchase, and probably to benefit advertisers, not you and me.
Just as Im pretty good at figuring out when to buy more milk or bread, I know Im qualified enough to make my own decisions in the store too—especially when it comes to low-value consumer products. If Im buying a computer or TV, I check in with PC Magazine or Consumer Reports before I go. Even better, like with my recent plasma TV purchase, Ill research and then buy it online.
So Aura, let me introduce you to the Cue:Cat. Youll be getting to know each other quite well out there in the dead product-concept graveyard. Check out eWEEK.coms Mobile and Wireless Center at for news, views and analysis about wireless networking and mobile devices. Or you can never miss another headline by adding our mobile and wireless RSS feed to your My Yahoo.

With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


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