Real SMARTs right there...



  • This stupid SMARTboard software is slowly driving me insane.

    Here's a short list of issues before the latest pièce de résistance:

    • The UI still looks like it's straight out of the Win95 era.
    • For a touch-centric piece of software it's not really created with "touch" in mind
    • You usually use special pens to write on the board but this way you can only use the colours black, red, green and blue. No change of stroke width, style or anything else really either (for that you have to use your fingers).
    • If you want to include a movie then you better hope to find a converter into .flv-Format (yes, Flash)
    • Any kind of interactivity is also through .fla (yes, Flash again)
    • The updater will always tell you that there's an update available and will always download the whole suite (about 1GB) when you initiate an update. You can only tell that there's been no real update because the version number in a hidden "About" menu does not change.
    • There's no changelog after an actual update
    • The software will sometimes become unresponsive, prompting a restart. This is really fun when you have 30 minutes of class notes up there. Also: No kind of auto-save.
    • It does have a handwriting-to-text converter. It does not have support for any kind of special characters (which means that it's useless for German - an ä will become 'a'

    So, the latest one is that I had hoped that an actual existing update would get rid of the freezing issue. Well, it did, of a sort.

    Because the whole update simply botched the installation. Failed with some kind of error and simply gave up. Now I can't uninstall the software because their shitty (un)installer will simply give up near the end and roll back. And I can't simply install the software again because that installer will also simply give up and roll back.

    Fuck those guys.

    By the way, they also proudly introduced "collaboration tools" so that my pupils could send content to the board.

    Yeah. I had a look at that: It's a simple page where you can do two things: You could do some very simple voting (rendered in horrible HTML), you can send single words to the board or you can upload a picture.

    I was able to create this kind of interactivity easily on one afternoon. With authentication, mind, this tool? You only need the link, after that it's free for all. No, there's no mandatory registration so if any of your pupils' misbehave, all they have to do is sign out and sign in again under a different name...



  • Name and shame.
    IIRC we had some cisco boards, which were somewhat similar but adequate, we only used it for saving notes and showing the computer screen



  • The thing is literally called "SMARTboard".



  • :headdesk: Damn marketing bastards, ruining language for the rest of us.



  • @Rhywden said:

    No change of stroke width, style or anything else really either (for that you have to use your fingers).

    I specifically remember changing the settings for the pens when I was in middle school. So the blue pen would be some wacky pattern until it was placed back into the receptacle on the front of the board



  • @rc4 said:

    the blue pen

    Wait, smart boards actually have separate pens for each colour? Wouldn't a switch on the pen make more sense?



  • They come with 4 different ones. I think that's because it emulates the real-world action of switching markers to switch colors, which makes sense. Plus you can stand to lose one...

    You can switch the pen color/thickness/whatever from its default, so you can make the red pen blue, green, rainbow, etc...



  • @PleegWat said:

    Wouldn't a switch on the pen make more sense?

    The "pens" are just hollow plastic with a foam tip. The board knows which one you picked up by a motion sensor in the tray it goes in. So if you take two pens out, the last one is the color. And you can draw with your finger as long as you have a pen out.



  • Dang. Anyone else remember when a film strip and a cassette player was state of the art?



  • @PleegWat said:

    smart boards actually have separate pens for each colour? Wouldn't a switch on the pen make more sense?

    What they have is a sensor in the pen tray that tells the software when pen has been removed. Yes, you can indeed mix up the pens in the trays and make it get the colors wrong.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    We have one of these at work. Or, at least, the board part. All the smarts have long since vanished. I use it as a whiteboard.


  • mod

    @boomzilla said:

    Dang. Anyone else remember when a film strip and a cassette player was state of the art?

    <beep>



  • @Rhywden said:

    Now I can't uninstall the software because their shitty (un)installer will simply give up near the end and roll back. And I can't simply install the software again because that installer will also simply give up and roll back.

    Fuck those guys.

    If I recall correctly their stuff is MSI-based. So you might be able to find clues about what's going wrong by turning on logging.



  • @Rhywden said:

    If you want to include a movie then you better hope to find a converter into .flv-Format (yes, Flash)

    .flv is just Adobe's container format for H.264 video files. Not really a WTF, it's pretty common everywhere and has little to do with Flash proper. (Except that it's the only video format Flash can deal with.)



  • @blakeyrat said:

    flv is just Adobe's container format for H.264 video files.

    Back in my day (pre v9.something) it was Sorensen Spark or VP6. IIRC it has the same/similar magic number as a SWF so it could play in the Flash Player without much bother. But yeah, similar in concept to any other container format like avi, mp4, etc.



  • Sounds just like the kind of software you sell to computer-illiterate teachers for a quick buck (no refunds).


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @boomzilla said:

    Dang. Anyone else remember when a film strip and a cassette player was state of the art?




  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @boomzilla said:

    a film strip and a cassette player

    I remember how difficult it was to perfectly synchronise them for playback. ding "Oh, crap, gotta get to the next slide!"



  • @flabdablet said:

    If I recall correctly their stuff is MSI-based. So you might be able to find clues about what's going wrong by turning on logging.

    And you can edit the MSI (usually cached in \windows\installers). I like InstEdit. Orca works too and comes with the MS SDK. (That way if it's failing when calling a custom action, you can simply set a condition of "0" on that and skip it.)

    Hmm - can you tell I've had far more experience with installers than I'd care too?...



  • That's one of those new-fangled double sided ones!



  • Well, turns out they have a "Go nuclear on this installation" type of executable. From the logs which scrolled by, it had its fangs deep...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Sure is...

    I hear they're in the middle of developing flexable ones on rollers. Got a sneak preview of one..


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.