Fun with whiteboards

I had a marathon 7-hour meeting with a client yesterday, and a huge amount of data was captured on the white board, as often is the case in discussions of software architecture. As usual, I used my digital camera to take pictures of the whiteboard at various points in the conversation– a trick I pretty much thought I had invented a couple years ago because I hated copying down data into paper notes. (I got the idea because a consulting client of mine had really cool digital whiteboards based on plasma screens. I was jealous.)

Well, obviously, I’m not the only one who does this… and a company has created a piece of software to make it easier to turn the ugly pictures into something that is professional enough to distribute… at the click of a button. I tried it out after yesterday’s meeting, and was very impressed. (There’s a free 15 day demo.)

Very simple… you just open the digital photo and click “clean up” and the software does everything automatically. The picture below is from their web site (because I can’t show any of the whiteboards from my meeting yesterday for NDA reasons) but is completely consistent with the results I got when using the software without any tweaking. One thing I was particularly impressed by was that not only did the software automatically compensate for the angle of the photo, but also for the lense distortion caused by a wide-angle (i.e. fully zoomed out) lens! Very cool… one of those subtle things that they totally could have gotten away with not doing and 99% of people wouldn’t have noticed. Ah, developer gold plating, I love it so. :)

Check out the software. It is a bit expensive, but if you need it then it is worth it. I’ll probably wind up buying it.