Son of 8-track inventor launches visionary online meeting software

Inventor Samuel H. Auld Jr. who held 26 patents on the 8-track stereo system would have liked to see his son, James Auld Sr., 45, launch his visionary virtual headquarters software today. Auld’s company is Universal Online Magic—and I have to say I understand the magic here.

“My father applied his inventiveness to electronic circuitry, motors, magnetic tape, and capstan rollers. I feel a real bond with him, inheriting his inventive and visionary nature. The only difference is my tools are pixels, live video streams, and hundreds of thousands of lines of .NET software code.

“The 8-track was the dominant music delivery medium for 17 years and was a major contribution to the music industry. I can still hear that familiar ‘ker-thunk’ sound it made when switching to the next track.”

Ok I get the nostalgia, I really do, but back to the 21st century. I got a chance to hang out in one of Auld’s virtual headquarters this week, and I have to say I was shocked at how my brain perceived the place to be real.

The truth is I was online in browser-based software that used super high-res 2-D graphics, sound effects, music, and group webcam connections. But the resulting perception was that I was in a real place with live people, moving from the reception area, to meeting rooms, to private offices. And it wasn’t game-like, it was professional and elegant.

I felt as if I was actually inside a headquarters, and the communication was much better for it. I still don’t know exactly why—it just was.

As Auld put it, “there’s a sort of magic that happens when you combine these simple elements in an artful way. This isn’t bleeding-edge and can run on a company’s legacy PCs and Macs, but the end result just ‘feels’ orders of magnitude more satisfying than using say WebEx or GotoMeeting. I liken it to how Disney revolutionized theme parks and sparked a magic in the rich environments he created. My ultimate goal is to make online communications feel like a Disneyland ride.”

It’ll be a few years before it’s as good as a Disney ride, but I like it just the same. The software does much, but not all, of what the traditional meeting solutions do, with a real focus on giving the hosts the ability to run slick media-centric presentations. And the live video and audio streams were stable, clear, and in-synch.

But I gotta say, in the end it’s that magic that really sold me. Also I’m partial to being able to hop into Auld’s own headquarters and ask him a question when the need arises. I know this kind of accessibility to the founder won’t last long as the company grows, but for now I’m a happy customer. is where it’s at.

disclaimer: I worked on the underlying tech in the past, but its been radically revamped since I last worked on it. (for the better of course)