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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