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Old 03-04-2005, 08:51 AM   #1
Steve Rindsberg
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Default Fax alternatives

I'm tired of my fax machine. I'm tired of feeding it ink carts, I'm tired of the miserable quality of the printouts, I'm tired of the occasional glitches visited upon me by the fax switch box I use (I find that the message waiting light on my phone and possibly Caller ID don't work because of it).

It all seems like a LOT of aggro for the number of faxes I receive ... other than the occasional overthetop contract, I probably don't get more than a dozen pages a year.

I've toyed with the idea of an internet faxing service for receiving faxes and wonder if anybody has any experience/recommendations with that. Groucho, you used to use one of these things, didn't you? Given the number of pages I get, it almost seems silly to pop even the ten bucks a month they ask.

I could always just ditch the machine and tell people to email me a PDF or scan or whatever. Worst case, I could, I suppose, set one of the XP boxes to receive the fax if there's no other way.

   
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Old 03-04-2005, 09:01 AM   #2
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Is Jfax still around? I think that's what he used/uses. At one point I pointed one of my siblings to it and she set up an account, but less than a year later I discovered she wasn't using the service anymore and had bought a multifunction machine.

I'll see what I get via Google...

OK, got this set of search results and it looks like there are a number of services out there: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...=Google+Search

   
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Old 03-04-2005, 09:44 AM   #3
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There are some really nice All-in-One printer/scanner/fax combos out there, and I seem to remember some of them having Fax-sense (ffilters faxes from "normal" calls. Problem is, they're getting harder to come by, as the FAX option is being dropped model-by-model. Fax really IS dead, it's just that we haven't had the collective heart/resolve to pull the plug and bury it.

   
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Old 03-04-2005, 09:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rindsberg
I'm tired of my fax machine. I'm tired of feeding it ink carts, I'm tired of the miserable quality of the printouts, I'm tired of the occasional glitches visited upon me by the fax switch box I use (I find that the message waiting light on my phone and possibly Caller ID don't work because of it).

It all seems like a LOT of aggro for the number of faxes I receive ... other than the occasional overthetop contract, I probably don't get more than a dozen pages a year.

I've toyed with the idea of an internet faxing service for receiving faxes and wonder if anybody has any experience/recommendations with that. Groucho, you used to use one of these things, didn't you? Given the number of pages I get, it almost seems silly to pop even the ten bucks a month they ask.

I could always just ditch the machine and tell people to email me a PDF or scan or whatever. Worst case, I could, I suppose, set one of the XP boxes to receive the fax if there's no other way.
I use eFax (http://www.efax.com/), and have been reasonably happy with their service for several years. They used to forward incoming faxes only in a proprietary format, but now they offer the option of PDF, which works very well. (Of course, it's still an image, as any received fax must be.)

Their base-level service is free, as long as you're willing to accept a fax number that may not be in your area and don't receive more than a small number of faxes each month. I was on that plan for several years until a client foolishly sent me a lot of fax pages one month--they then told me that I had to switch to the paid plan or give up the service. I'm paying $140/year (a small discount from the $13/month rate).

Since I don't need a second phone line, the price seems worthwhile. I send faxes directly from my computer using my main phone line, and incoming faxes are forwarded to my email account and arrive via the broadband connection.
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Old 03-04-2005, 10:24 AM   #5
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Thanks!

eFax looks workable for my needs.

I've just done some further testing and found that indeed it WAS the old fax switch box that loused up Caller ID and MessageWaiting features. Thought about it all a bit more and disconnected it and the fax machine. I can use XP's fax receive/send feature for nearly everything I'd need to do here at the office. I might pick up some other fax software for when I'm away (my usual carry-with computer runs on Win2000, so no freebie fax software).

In the meanwhile, eFax should tide me over tidily. .

   
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Old 03-04-2005, 10:26 AM   #6
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<g> It struck me that for the number of faxes I get in a year (the ones I *want* at any rate) I'd be better off paying for the Fedex charges to send 'em to me than buying new hardware and supplies.

   
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Old 03-04-2005, 11:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottleyes
There are some really nice All-in-One printer/scanner/fax combos out there, and I seem to remember some of them having Fax-sense (ffilters faxes from "normal" calls. Problem is, they're getting harder to come by, as the FAX option is being dropped model-by-model. Fax really IS dead, it's just that we haven't had the collective heart/resolve to pull the plug and bury it.
Thankfully it was still very much alive six months ago when we were going through all sorts of durm and strang [sp?] selling our house. FedEx just wasn't fast enough!

That said, I can see eventually dropping our dedicated fax line eventually. I don't get that many faxes these days either. In fact, I think I've received only 1 in the five and a half months here in our new location. I have sent several, however, all of them to get various entities proof that, yes, we really did sell the house the date we said and, yes, we really do not live there anymore, nor hold any interest in that property. Geez, it sure takes a lot to convince insurance companies and government people of these things should they get it wrong in their systems! Don't know how we'd have done it with any efficiency without faxing.

   
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Old 03-04-2005, 01:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ElyseC
That said, I can see eventually dropping our dedicated fax line
I've announced to all of my current clients that I am dropping my dedicated fax line (which I've maintained for 12 years) in April, and will be using my business voice line for incoming faxes after that. I just don't get enough faxes any more to justify the cost.

Like Steve, I've had bad experiences with gadgets that supposedly distinguish fax from voice calls. I won't go that route.

Which means that I must be here to accept faxes, unless someone warns me ahead of time, and I configure my fax softwaare to answer before the telephone's voicemail.

I'm encouraging my clients to email me PDFs instead, and I've been sending them out in lieu of faxing for the last year.

   
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Old 03-04-2005, 01:38 PM   #9
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Other than selling the house last year, the two main uses for the fax has been 1) for one client to fax me a copy of the checks for my invoices along with the courier tracking information and 2) for that client's manufacturers to get me packaging artwork specs. Number 1 came about when one payment (happened to be a large one) never made it to me and seemed to have disappeared into the ether. We both decided anything of value had to be sent via trackable courier, especially when it had to cross oceans and numerous borders. Number 2 has lessened dramatically, because their current crop of suppliers have been providing the specs in electronic form (usually JPEG images and PDFs).

I don't know that I'm ready to let go of a physical fax, given how it saved the day multiple times last August and September. It would be nice, though, to save the cost of that line every month...

   
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Old 03-04-2005, 01:55 PM   #10
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I love my littel fax Panasonic PC/Fax Store 80 which stores faxes and then I retrieve them via my pc...I don't fax all that often but do enough that I'll keep it and my 2nd phone line...

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