Whiteboard Photo Review
by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally Posted: Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 10, 2000

I get asked to review lots of products -- and not just cameras. Usually, I'm so backed up with my real job and the camera reviews that I don't get a chance to do anything else. But when I briefly tried pixid's Whiteboard Photo software and was very impressed, I decided that a review would be needed.

Whiteboard Photo is a $99 software package for Windows (sorry, fellow Mac users) that can help rid your life of one of its most onerous tasks: taking notes. In my real life, I find myself facing page after page of flip charts that I need to transcribe onto paper.

Up until now, the only real products to get white board data into electronic format have been "electronic white boards", which cost over $1000!

With Whiteboard Photo, I can just bust out my Coolpix and take a picture! Here's how it works:

After a painless installation (for Windows, at least), you're ready to go. I took two test photos with the Coolpix 990 - one of the white board in my home office, and the other of a flip chart at my day job.

Above you can see a photo of my white board, complete with data I made up (okay, the chart on the top is correct). Magically, when you open the image in Whiteboard Photo, it finds the edges of the board!

The next step is to "clean" the photo, which requires one button click. And a few seconds later...

My white board has been turned into a graphic! The blue color is a bit off, but that doesn't really matter. So, instead of taking notes, you have this info in electronic form... but what about a print out? Well, just hit the print button and...

Out it comes! This is actually a picture taken with the Coolpix 990 of the print out (with the wrong white balance setting). As you can see, Whiteboard Photo has, in about a minute, saved lots of note taking! Of course, you have to bring your camera to meetings!

Here's the test with the flip chart:

Above you see the flip chart (or, what's left of it) on the wall at work.

And here's the end result. Unfortunately, you can see some of the content from the next page in the flip chart. I guess you have to take the picture before there's anything underneath. But overall, a pretty good job here too. [Update 9:30am PDT: I'm told by pixid that if I had used a flash for that picture, things would look much nicer.]

What can I say -- Whiteboard Photo is very useful, and cool too. The software allows you to tweak brightness, and correct the edges of the white board, but I never needed to. It's also easy to learn -- I never had to open the manual. The software currently has a $20 rebate, so it's a great buy at $79 for anyone that does lots of note taking in meetings. I highly recommend it!

I hope there's a Mac version one of these days, too. If there's enough interest, perhaps there will be!

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