Product Reviews

Whiteboard Photo

Translate projects from the whiteboard to computer without the expensive equipment

Simple, useful, innovative. Those are the words that spring to mind to describe Pixid's Whiteboard Photo product. Nearly every developer has probably run into the situation this product was designed for: you've just finished a long session with your team, and now the next round of the product design is up there on the whiteboard. Now what?

It used to be that unless you had one of those expensive (and in my experience, cantankerous) electronic whiteboards, you were out of luck. Now, you can use any digital camera to take a picture of your whiteboard, save it as a jpg, and import it to Whiteboard Photo. One mouse click will clean it up: correct the geometry in case you weren't perfectly square to the board, remove the background noise, despeckle the photo, and enhance the colors of standard whiteboard pens.

Does it work? Yes. I tried it out on several whiteboards around here and it performed amazingly well. A yellow background, or a whiteboard partially obscured by the guinea pig cage, were no bar to working well. The geometry detection isn't perfect (it tends to get confused by other straight edges in the picture), but a few moments of dragging with the mouse fix that easily. Just don't try it on anything other than a whiteboard (or similar graphic such as a flipchart or chalkboard). Just for kicks, I shot a picture of a laptop screen, and although the geometry correction worked flawlessly the color enhancement turned the results into a work of abstract art. But then, you can't fault a product for not doing things it wasn't designed to do.

If you design by whiteboard, and you own a digital camera, this one definitely deserves investigation.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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Reader Comments:

Sat, Dec 7, 2002 John Tandy Dayton, OH

The product really works for me. I'm a consultant and I take it from job to job. What's great is that I don't have to set up anything before the meeting. At the end I just snap off some photos.

If you donwload the trial version, it has a special "code" that lets you buy it for a LOT less money. I don't know how long they'll keep this going, tho'.

Mon, Nov 25, 2002 Marek Biernatowicz Anonymous

Pixid's software is just great, but company was acquired by Polivision and price was changed from 99$ to $249 !!!

Mon, Jul 8, 2002 Frank Applebee Tucson, AZ

Whiteboard Photo does an amazing job. I didn't think it would work on some of the terrible pictures I take. But I was wrong. It works great. The better in focus my photos are to begin with, the better a job it does.

It sure beats having to turn one of those electronic whiteboards on before a meeting... and it's a lot cheaper.

I was also surprised at the PolyVision web site. They seem to do it all...

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