No virtual whiteboard is perfect for everyone - and every virtual whiteboard service seems to shut down after a few years. While we've recommended several over the years, the only one still around is Twiddla, which is so feature-rich that it might feel too complicated (and ugly) for some projects. If so, try the simpler app RealtimeBoard.
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Online whiteboard Dabbleboard makes drawing diagrams, jotting notes and sketches, and sharing that work easy online. Dabbleboard comes with a library of readily-available objects for piecing together org charts, mind maps, network diagrams, floor plans, photo annotation, interface designs, and electrical diagrams. When you share your Dabbleboard work with someone via emai, you can watch, real-time, as he or she makes changes to it. There's also a public library of Dabbleboard drawings that you can copy and edit for your own purposes. Hit the play button above for a demo of what you can do with Dabbleboard. Dabbleboard
All platforms: Free multi-protocol instant messenger client Coccinella offers all the features of an IM app you'd expect, plus one more: a whiteboard. Chat on AIM, ICQ, MSN, and GTalk with Coccinella, which also supports voice chat. But the fun feature is the whiteboard which lets chatting pals collaborate with text, drawings, and image and audio files. Coccinella is a free download for Windows, Mac, or Linux.
Online collaboration service PalBee integrates video conferencing and whiteboard sharing so you can meet up with co-workers over the internet. PalBee supports one free hour at a time for up to five collaborators, and it can record the session as its happening for later review—the results of which can be embedded on any web page (similar to the video above). Naturally, since PalBee is web-based, it works on all platforms as long as you've got a webcam. PalBee is currently completely free to use, though pay plans are likely to emerge. PalBee
Twiddla, a free whiteboarding service that doesn't require sign-ups to start using, turns any web site, photo or graphic file into a canvas for marking and discussion. Winner of this year's Technical Achievement award at the SXSW festival, Twiddla isn't the only whiteboard service, for sure, but its ease of use and quick setup and extra features—including live conference-call-style audio chat—make it a stand-out. You can check out Twiddla's features without even launching a "guest" account by trying out its live "sandbox" mode. For web workers, design types, and anyone needing to draw out or discuss an idea, it's a worthy tool to keep bookmarked. Twiddla
Windows/Mac/Linux: Coccinella, a free Jabber chat client, is robust enough on its own instant messaging terms, with tabbed chat windows, foreign language support, and an easily theme-able interface. But what really sets it apart is its integration of a great whiteboard tool that's easily shared and forwarded between you and your chat partners. The whiteboard has the basic features of Microsoft Paint, but that's a step up from many black-and-white board tools we've seen. I couldn't get Coccinella working with my Google Talk/Gmail account during a quick setup test, but the features are likely there for integration. Coccinella is a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. For more whiteboard tools, check out the no-registration-required Scriblink or GE's instant online whiteboard.
Turn a notecard into a miniature whiteboard by wrapping it with packing tape. As shown above, packing tape can also be used to laminate notecards you want to protect. The downside to carrying a notecard wrapped in packing tape is that you'd also have to start carrying a dry erase marker. Regardless, if you're a frequent doodler, big thinker, or work in an environment where dry erase markers are abundant, you can reuse notecards that would otherwise get scrapped.
Make A Pocket-Size Dry Erase Board
Weblog Lifehack.org goes beyond the whiteboard to point out the myriad ways dry-erase markers can be helpful reminder and planning tools. Bathroom mirrors, filing cabinets, and even shower doors can be notated to remind and train yourself, but this tip in particular caught my eye:Mark miles or date of next service inside your car's windshield: A lot of service shops put a little plastic sticker with the date or mileage when you'll need your next oil change or tune-up; if yours doesn't, use a fine-tip dry-erase marker to write it yourself in an out-of-direct-sight corner of your windshield.My "next change" stickers invariably fall off, and wiping off the mileage number just before an oil change could ward off the heavy-handed guilt trip (and sales pitch) at the station. For more dry-erase DIY, check out removing permanent marker with a dry-erase marker, and two home-built dry-erase boards. Photo by ojbyrne.