OT Why is the fax machine not dead

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On 4/13/2009 8:21 PM Mortimer Schnerd spake thus:

Or better yet as a GIF. PDF, while useful for lots of kinds of documents, is *horrible* for bitmapped images--el bloato. Nothing like getting a 4 megabyte PDF that takes 5 minutes for me to download (dial-up).
I've been making lotsa 16-colors GIFs lately (grayscale). Nice and small, easy to handle, all modern web browsers and mail clients can read 'em. Easy to make w/Paint Shop Pro.
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PDF's should be optimized for "web" display. I am always amazed by the small size of the pdfs derived from my complicated word files with many pictures. 5 MB to a few 100 kB is normal.
Moreover, one can digitally sign pdfs once you're set up for that (OK, I have Acrobat 9 Pro - academic).
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On 4/14/2009 4:14 AM Han spake thus:

That's true, and people who make PDFs should be merciful and make them as small as practical. But what you're gonna have is a lower-resolution picture, which may make it useless. A raw GIF is always going to be smaller than any PDF made from an image; the file format puts a pretty hefty "wrapper" around the image.
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Good program if you need all the features. We use PDF995 and it does everything we need for 10 bucks instead of $300
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I could get the academic version discount. Acrobat 9 Pro for ~$90. Since it is for work, it isn't my $90 either. But ..., I hate the bloat of the program, and the fact that the menu structure changed, plus now it does not support having child windows anymore, and opens complete new windows for each document. But I needed it for work - filling out forms etc for grants. Yuck!!
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metspitzer wrote:

Get an account with one of those online fax companies. There used to be freebie one's available, but they may be no more.
My printer is also a fax machine. If I expect a fax, I turn it on. Otherwise, it isn't on unless I'm printing, and doesn't bother the phone machine.
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wrote:

I think they are still available for free. I periodically get spam offering it, and I signed up for one. There is Fax-to-pc and there is pc-to-fax I'm not sure if both are available free from the same company, but you can sign up for each free half at two different companies if you really want.

I used to send out about 10 faxes every 2 or 3 months, hiking schedules to newspapers. Somewhere after I stopped doing that, my Fax-modem software stopped working and now less than once every 2 or 3 years I go to a cell phone store or staples or something to send or receive. A dollar a page last I looked, and if you call them, they'll tell you their fax number. Sending at Staples is self-service.
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On 4/13/2009 4:40 PM metspitzer spake thus:

Speaking of astounding things, along with why fax hasn't gone the way of punch cards and acoustic modems is how much *spam* you'll get if you set up a dedicated fax #. I worked for a guy recently with a separate fax line, and every day the "vacation in Cancun" and "refinance now" shit filled up the fax machine's tray.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

Hi, You can register on Do not Call List. Or you can program the machine to block certain numbers. If I get junk email or fax, I trace it and I'll send 1000 replies.
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metspitzer wrote:

Hmmm, I use fax a lot on my small business operation. Also fax being sent over copper line, in a way it is secure. We also have distinct ring feature on our line. Fax answers automatically when fax is incoming.
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It's all about the signature...
We fax documents all the time. Documents are signed in our office by our clients and ourselves and then faxed to insurance companies, banks, lawyers, financial institutions, etc. Due to compliance regulations, all documents get approved by one of a small number of people and then faxed from one central fax machine. This fax machine not only faxes the documents to the recipient, but it automagically sends an image of the fax to a centralized storage server for archiving purposes. The paper copy is also filed and eventually sent off site for hard copy archiving.
To do this via e-mail or e-fax, we would have to set up a centralized scanner, either networked to the PC's of the operations staff that actually does the faxing, or attached directly to a centralized PC - which would have to be set up with individual accounts for each person in operations since compliance rules don't allow anybody to do anything under a shared userid. The operation staff - not the most tech savvy group around - would need to understand how to access the documents, address them correctly (is it an e-mail or an e-fax?) and then send them. They would also have to receive documents, print them out and distribute them. Since we send and receive dozens of multiple- page documents every day, there is way too much chance for errors.
Somehow a single machine with a simple numbered keypad just seems so much simpler - read: idiot proof - for sending and receiving documents.
Maybe that's why they've lasted so long.
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For outgoing mail, a email would be no different than a fax for you. You'd still use paper to get signatures, etc., and when it was time to send, you'd drop in on the same machine. Then you'd push the email button instead of the fax button. I imagine that most of the people you fax to are people you routinely deal with (insurance companies, banks, etc). Once you've programmed in their email addresses, you would just pick them from the address book and hit send. Then you'd take the same paper copy and stick it on the stack for archiving. It would save you a little time (scanning might be quicker) and you would save phone charges. Otherwise there would be little difference expect if you send "big" documents -- which go quicker via email than fax.
I have a fax here, but I don' think I've used it in a year. I tell everyone it isn't working and then they email it to me.
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re: Once you've programmed in their email addresses...
You are assuming that the recipients have an e-mail address into which to accept the documents. I can honestly say without any reservations, that no company has ever offered an e-maill address as a means of receiving signed documents.
The conversation typically goes like this:
Them: I can send you the forms that need to be signed by regular mail, email or fax. How would like me to send them? Me: email please. How should I send them back to you once they are signed? Them: You can either mail them back to PO Box xxxx or fax them to xxx- xxx-xxxx.
They almost always offer 3 ways to get the blank forms to me but never, ever offer anything other than mail or fax for getting them back - and I'm talking about dozens and dozens of major companies, not just 1 or 2 mom & pop shops.
Granted, I can't say whether or not the fax number they give actually produces a hard copy, or if it indeed goes into an e-fax electronic mailbox, but as I said, an email address has never been offered.
You may recall that I said that all of our outgoing faxes automagically get stored digitally on an archiving server, so it's very possible that many of the faxes we send actually end up as digital images on the receiver's end also. In other words, I'm well aware what the technology is capable of and the options available. All I know is we are always given fax numbers, not email addresses, to send them to.
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On Tue, 14 Apr 2009 08:40:02 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

I scanned my signature and I paste it on word docs I Email. Nobody who would take a fax has ever refused it. It is still not an original document, no matter how you send it electronically.
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On Apr 14, 12:35pm, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Actually, an electronic document with a proper electronic signature is valid as an original. It's a little more than signing and scanning into PDF. You go into PDF and use a self-signing security feature (on my version 5.0). It produces a signature (visible or not visible) that allows both parties to verify the signature and to tell if the document has been altered.
Other forms of electronic signatures are things like your PIN number at the ATM. That's your perfectly legal electronic signature.
I do a lot of work with state and federal grants. They are almost all 100% on-line. There is no paper version of anything and no paper signatures -- we're talking multi-million dollar funding application with nothing but an electronic signature.
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re: we're talking multi-million dollar funding application with nothing but an electronic signature
And I can't transfer $100 from a joint account to one of the individual owner's accounts without submitting the request on-line *and* submitting a form that must be signed by both joint owners, myself and a manager.
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I have a small business and tired of junk faxes and the machine ringing softly in the middle of the night. I turned my fax number off:)
The machine sits here mostly unused,. I ask everyone to e mail it to me instead.
Faxes and beepers are both mostly obsolete:)
beepers replaced with cell phones and so much more
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bob haller wrote:

My cellphone will never replace my pager/beeper. I've had the same service for 25 years and the same number for 20 years. Someone can always leave a message.
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote:

I had pagers for years. For a while they were good until cell coverage really improved. The biggest disadvantage of a pager was that if you were out of range the message was lost forever. With a cellphone if someone sends a message the system will keep it until your handset registers itself on the network. Same is true of voicemail. The pager carriers tried to address this with two way pagers but it was too little too late.
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wrote:

IBM and Motorola worked on this as a joint project in the late 70s and actually had a working prototype I saw in Phoenix in 1980 but this quickly morphed into the Motorola Portable Terminal. Once you go 2 way, why not actually send some data? That was basically a Blackberry in a 30 oz "brick" about the size of your typical router these days. We had them in our hands in 1985. That used the same basic RF technology as the Moto "brick" phone with a 68000 processor, 40 character display and querty keyboard.
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