Monday, January 22 2018 23:14

The Blackboard by Boogie Board: New Tech for the Old-School Writer

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The feature is brought to you in collaboration between Blackboard™ and The Rock Father™

For a guy whose entire life revolves around a digital presence, I tend to be notoriously old-school when it comes to my tools of the trade. In an age where many work on tablets and multi-purpose screens, I still prefer to do the majority of my work from a desktop pc with a mechanical keyboard them emulates the typewriters of old. Sure, I use a laptop for working on-the-go, and I've got an arsenal of tablets in both iOS and Android flavors, but for me nothing beats being in my office, in the chair, ready to work within my comfort zone. Even here, there were some very non-digital quirks until recently - in fact, until the summer of 2017, I kept my monthly calendar on a dry-erase whiteboard (I finally switched to Google Calendar at my wife's urging), and was apprehensive of cloud storage for my backups, my habits remaining in a physical world. Likewise, I've always had an attachment to writing - actual writing - in a true form, and until recently, there was no way to bring that into a digital world... but that changed. A product I didn't even know I needed came my way - Blackboard™ by Boogie Board - and now old-school meets new-school in a way that just feels right. It's Liquid Crystal Paper™, and there's nothing else like it.

If you've ever held a tablet and stylus, it never feels natural. You can certainly get some things done, but for me the quality of my handwriting (which looks about as legible as most doctors, which is not a compliment) always looks poor. The lines look thicker and the stylus just can't move across the surface of the screen without feeling like you're writing on glass - which is exactly what you're doing. It's uncomfortable and unnatural, and because of that I'm still bringing legal pads and notebooks with me. 


Last summer, I was in California working on the promotional ramp-up to Disney•Pixar's Cars 3, and in attending the early press days at Sonoma Raceway, all of my filmmaker notes were hand-written on paper. Had I had my Blackboard, I could've done the same thing in a less-bulky, eco-friendly manner ("save the trees" and all) by writing naturally and storing digitally. It's a device that's not really a device at all, and that's intriguing.

The 8.5" x 11" Blackboard is the same size as a legal pad, and like other Boogie Board eWriters before it, it writes and erases electronically with no ink or paper. There's no lag, no delay, nothing to turn on or off, and absolutely nothing to plug in or charge. And unlike the expensive tablets and devices we all tend to lug around, Blackboard is lightweight and shockingly affordable with an MSRP of just $45. That also means that I'm not afraid to let my kids use it as well!

Actual Captures from Blackboard iOS App

I can take notes, do planning, make sketches - and all of it feels real. Then I can let the kids make doodles and at the press of a button it's gone. I can even erase with a pencil-like quality, and when I need to save my work, I simply snap a photo of it using the Blackboard iOS app for easy archiving. The semi-transparent surface allows for the use of templates for lines, charts and planners, plus you can trace paper and even digital screens.

Blackboard Features

“With Blackboard, we’ve arrived at an incredible cross-section where high technology allows us to create a back-to-basics experience that somehow feels revolutionary and familiar at the same time,” said Hunter Morris, Blackboard’s Director of Product Design when the product was launched last fall. “Quite ironically, we’ve developed a breakthrough tech product that resides so naturally in the stationery aisle. It’s inkless pen on paperless paper – without the inconvenience of chargers, plugs or ports,” Morris said.

He's absolutely right, and Blackboard is everything it's said to be.

Learn more and get yours: http://blackboardlcp.com/buy

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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