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Whiteboard VGA Out: iPad App of the Week

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This week’s iPad App of the Week is Whiteboard VGA Out, a tool useful

014for anyone who does presentations and teaching or who needs to sketch out drawings, diagrams or other information either alone or with a group of people. As a pastor, I have been using it to teach my church Bible classes. I connect my iPad to a video projector using the iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter from Apple.

When you open Whiteboard VGA Out you see the white drawing area and the two toolbars along the top and bottom. At the top are five buttons.

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The first button, labelled Connect, will connect the app via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to other iPads running the same app. Tap it and a list of available iPads running the app nearby will be displayed (see left below).

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The Open button (see right above) shows a list of albums to select so you can import pictures from  the Photos app albums. Unfortunately, the pictures in my albums always open upside down and there is no rotation features. One way to fix this is to simply rotate the whole iPad.

The Save button lets you save the current whiteboard to your albums. When you do save the drawing the app offers to upload it to the app’s website photo gallery allowing you to share with others over the Internet. I wish it would let you save it to other locations, like a Flickr or Photobucket account.

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The Start Over button lets you erase the screen so you have nothing but a white background showing. The Info button shows information about the app and its developers as well as giving information about your VGA connection. It shows if you are connected, at what resolution and what orientation the app is currently displaying.

At the bottom of the screen is a row of colored circles, which are preset pen tips. Each one can be customized using the area below that row. The color can be changed with the color picker. The two sliders are for changing the width of the pen and for opacity from. This can be useful for making one of your pens into a highlighter.

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When you start inking, you can use your finger and it works well. The motion is fluid. Some apps that allow inking have jagged curves so that your circles look more like stop signs. But with Whiteboard VGA Out, it actually is fluid enough to make circles most of the time. I use the Pogo Sketch Stylus with Whiteboard VGA Out and it works well.

In the row of preset pen tips there are two unique buttons. One is the eraser. Its width can be customized by the opacity cannot. It will remain at a solid 100%. The other unique button is the Green arrow that toggles the toolbar on or off.

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The other preset pen tips can be customized with a custom color, size and opacity. When you select a different pen tip and then come back all three attributes will be saved. Unfortunately, if you customize the presets, although they are saved during your session and you can come back to them, once you close the app they are lost, reverting to the application defaults.

When you have been inking on the screen for a while, you may want to clear the board. You could pick the eraser and increase the width so that you are erasing large areas. Or you could pick the Start Over button from the toolbar. But if you have the toolbars hidden, you may just want to shake the iPad. The accelerometer then senses this and offers to erase it for you. This reminds me of the etch-a-sketch. Be careful as the it is really sensitive. Sometimes I shake it more than once and it asks me two or three times in a row to start over. I wish it also had an undo button that would only change the very last thing you either drew or erased.

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I have tried a few different whiteboard apps, but I find this one to be the easiest and most useful.

Pros:

  • Simple to use
  • VGA out
  • Custom pen tips
  • Shake to erase
  • Save your work to Photos app or the app’s web site
  • Open photos to draw on
  • Connects to other iPads over both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Fluid inking

Cons:

  • Shake to erase a little too sensitive
  • Preset pens are not saved when you close the app
  • No undo for last action
  • No rotation feature with opened pictures

Kevin loves notebooks, tablets, gadgets and photography. He grew up with computers starting out on a Vic 20 and Commodore 64. The first computer he owned himself was an 8086 Compaq Deskpro. His foray into tablet computing began when he bought a Samsung Q1 Ultra. The smartphone market opened up for him with his Palm Treo 600.

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