The ideal scene I have in mind is using a tablet PC in full screen mode, eg. displaying a PDF presentation or a web page design, and some meeting attendant draws his/her ideas/changes/notes on the display, marking areas, writing notes right in place, etc. A piece of software that is (graphically) on top of the display actual in sight to the observer, i.e. has the focus, collects all those “screen touches” and assigns them to the open file. But this should also work with just a normal PC/mouse set up or any tough screen environment. The hard bit would be, so I reckon, for the software to assign some “notes capture” to a certain page of an open document been presented, a subset of the document that is. The two ad hoc solutions that come to mind include either a support for the overlay software by the presenting software, so the assignment is actually done by the presenter. Or else the overlay software hast to have an understanding of all possible file formats’ structures, i.e. PDF, bitmaps, just anything that should be marked. Now, if this file is opened the next time, and the overlay software is activated, it should from it’s database display all notes associated with this document’s page.
Easy stuff I thought, someone must have done that already. But I must be missing something. Eather I haven’t searched hard enough or it is really much harder to achieve than I think. The only mentioning I have come across so far was what reads to me as it’s the same idea by moomintrol. All hints on software in comments to his post are, as he claims, missing the point in some way or another. Up to now I haven’t reviewed it myself, though.
- VirtualTransparency by Evan Golub: The effekt comes close — the intention obviously is more or less the same afterall — but works on a screen shot of the desktop, so really is seams not to be much more than MS Paint’s possibilities.
- TweakWindow from it’s description seams to have the essential windowing features but doesn’t ship the annotation or marking functionality. This, of course, for simple scenarios could be helped out with, say, MS Paint or any other simple drawing program. I’d have to give it a try sometime.
- The progs on the list at softwareconnection.com seamingly all work on screen shots, judged by a quick glimpse. Right now I can’t be bothered to dig into them all.
- Delight Software GmbH has a private free software that sounds rather rudimentary and lacks a detailed description (see also at download.com). Might have to try it out, also.
Additional features could be:
- Gesture support for navigation of 1) the overlay software, eg. change of colour, and 2) the underlying program, eg. next slide commands.
- Network capability in terms of conferencing scenarios. This would make possible to have a local meeting/presentation of something on your local screen or present the same thing to another screen. This screen could even participate in annotating so you rather have two (or more) equipollent participants than a server/client structure.