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Death of the Fax Machine Print
Sunday, 15 July 2007 21:39

Death of the FaxWhy won’t the fax machine die? I hate them. Having transmitted images of document with a computer years before the success of the facsimile , I have just never been impressed. This is the age of broad band internet and computers. Does the term email mean anything to these Neanderthals still feeding these machines reams of paper? Why does the fax, an anachronistic 20th century technology still haunt me today? Well, I think I can answer my own question here. You can buy a fax machine now for fifty bucks. They don’t get viruses or spyware and their interface is a phone keypad plus a send button. When it doesn’t work you simply feed it more paper, ink, toner, film or whatever other money sucking thing they need. It’s simplistic and it works. I finally got rid of mine a few months ago and here is how I did it.

The first step is to quit receiving them. When I’m asked for my fax number, I reply “Could you email instead?” I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a no there. Ok, now you’re one step closer to fax freedom.

Sending can be a little trickier depending what you are sending. If you currently sending items that you print from your computer, you’re an easy convert. Just print them to a PDF and send the PDF as an attachment. BullZip PDF is a great free PDF creator, if you don’t need the form features of the full blown Adobe software. If, however, your documents don’t originate from the computer, you’re going to need a scanner. If you’re mostly sending one or two pages items, you can get yourself a cheap Canon USB flatbed ($50-$75). If you are sending multipage documents, I recommend purchasing a Fujitsu ScanSnap ($400-500). The ScanSnap is a little pricey but for the money it is a super fast document scanner. It scans the front and back simultaneously at about 18 pages per minute. It’s also a great step towards going completely paperless, but that is another article. Anyway, the idea here is to scan the document and send it as an attachment.

The previously mentioned Neanderthals, still clinging to their antiquated paper sucking devices will be the final hurdle. In my quest to rid my office of the retched device I have, on occasion, run into one of these beings. The best solutions here are web based. The two widely known big guys in this business are Send2Fax and eFax. I won’t go into detail here, but they both suck for one reason or another. The underdog, my personal champion is Faxaway. They offer free inbound faxes to your email which come in as a standard TIFF file, unlike the propriety formats of their competitors. Outbound faxing at about 11 cent per page is accomplished in a similar manner. You just attach the document to an email and using the recipients fax number plus an append to the end. Sounds simple, huh? I’ve attached Microsoft Word documents, bitmaps, jpegs, and PDFs all with zero problems. You provide the $10 to setup an account and they deduct from that until you’re zero and then you start back over at $10.

I’m not the best of salesmen, so although you might not be convinced to hurl your fax out in the street, I promise you the rewards are there if you’re brave enough for the challenge.


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