Redmond, WA. There is no denying the appeal of interactive whiteboards: to interact directly with the image transcends the mouse-and-keyboard experience, opening opportunities for memorable learning experiences. SMART Technologies, who introduced the first interactive whiteboard or "smartboard" in 1991, dominates this market, thanks more to its outstanding suite of applications than to SMART Boards, themselves.
But, what if you didn't need all those applications? Why fork out $2k-$10k for an all-too-small whiteboard? What if you could get most of what you needed for less than $100? Could you to do without some features (like recording capability) in exchange for others (such as the ability to have up to four people write on the board at the same time)? Would that be good enough?
What if you could achieve smartboard functionality on any kind of display, using only a $40 Wii video game controller and a few parts from Radio Shack?
Continue reading $99 DIY Smartboard →
To the Editor:
I enjoyed reading your treatise on Good-Enough innovation and wholeheartedly agree with your assessment. I know many people who won’t even attempt anything new unless the result offers some guarantee of perfection. They always talk about how they’ve got their eye out for opportunities that can deliver the “big win” and the “slam-dunk” but these folks never seem to get much accomplished. Maybe they think it’s too risky?
Please accept the following list of good-enough innovations that I think are worth mentioning.
If you decide to post this please sign me,
1949, Lego-brand “Automatic Binding Bricks” (a.k.a. “Legos”). How could you guys have missed this one? Legos were all over Bob Capp’s article in Wired: The Lego version of Nirvana’s Nevermind album cover was clearly meant to represent MP3’s harsh rendering of music. The Lego sculpture of a desk telephone tells me that Skype may not be as good as a real telephone, but it’s close enough for jazz (no pun on the previous musical reference). A Lego model of the Predator plane can’t actually fly, but then the actual MQ-1 Predator is too small to carry a pilot, so it’s kind of a toy plane that drops real bombs. Lego bricks are kind of an anti-toy because the play they inspire has to come entirely from the child’s imagination. Legos are about the only toy that adults can play with without shame. As a kid, Legos inspired my little brother to flush them down the toilet. He really liked plumbing.
Continue reading Good Enough: A Reader Chimes In →