Tiny digital whiteboards on a computer screen are fine for making small points, but it's tough to express yourself simply by clicking a mouse. Meetings, even virtual ones, require broader gestures. Enter the wired whiteboard.
The $500 Ibid 100 from MicroTouch Systems is a full-size board with a two-foot by three-foot writing surface. Power it up and plug it into a serial port on the back of your computer, and with special software (included), you can record every org chart and inspirational sweep of your marker on a desktop computer. Staffers working off-site can view your sketches in real time using NetMeeting from Microsoft. Or you can print out your jottings by pressing a button on the side of the virtual whiteboard.
Using the Ibid, however, requires some practice. For example, if you're writing with a black marker and you switch to a red marker to highlight an important point, you must remember to press a button on the side of the board to change the color of the computer screen's "pen" from black to red. That's because the wipeable board is pressure-sensitive, not color-sensitive. That said, those who shun slide presentations in favor of dynamic whiteboard musings will quickly take to the Ibid.
Coordinates: MicroTouch Systems, http://www.microtouch.com
A version of this article appeared in the October/November 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.