Cafe Witness

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Mystery of the Fax Machine

Ray and I see eye-to-eye on technology. Achewood © Chris Onstad

What is it? Why do we use it? Where does all that information GO?

Here in 2007, when you can email, text and Instant Message anyone, anywhere -- even on planes -- business STILL use fax machines to transmit "important documents."


I can see where this technology was useful 20 years ago. I can also see where the need to transmit signed documents containing private information must be made feasible.

But there has to be a better way.

Last weekend, I had to transmit a Non-Disclosure Agreement for a client. I faxed it from a copy shop because I don't own a fax machine -- who does? -- and the copy shop told me everything went through fine. $3 please.

Yesterday, I get an email from the client asking where the NDA is. I say I faxed it. They say they never received it.

So I traipse out to another copy shop and re-fax it. $5.35 please.

I still haven't received confirmation that the client received it. Meanwhile, at least one other fax machine has access to all my personal information -- including my social security number -- because of the mysteries of fax culture.

And, somehow, this seems like the smart way to do business?

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  • this why when people ask me to fax them I send a .pdf of a document signed. If they won't accept it I'll send registered mail. Still cheaper than going to get a fax that may or may not work.

    One process we have at work that thankfully I don't have to deal with is to have a form signed by managers then scanned and emailed, faxed AND sent vis US Postal.

    By Anonymous spoon, at 2:10 PM  

  • Yeah, I do the old flatbed-scanner and email thing, myself.

    Oh, and Achewood is the proverbial shizzle!

    By Blogger KevinKS, at 2:39 PM  

  • where i work we have a rightfax program that faxes things directly from our computer. we also receive things this way so we don't waste paper. i really like the program. i can see a document someone sent to Boston but get it signed here without the mess of beeping and screeching fax machines. yup.

    By Blogger 37, at 2:57 PM  

  • Absurd.

    I love the cartoon because it demonstrates just how asinine someone requiring a fax to complete a transaction really is.

    I actually have a fax. I never use it and am miffed when I'm required to. In fact, I find that I'll spend more time arguing for a better "easier" way, rather than going upstairs and aquiescing to their demands.

    I'm sorry, but anyone who wants someone's social security number can get it. We need to be less concerned with the trivial information about our respective existences and focus more on those things that truly compromise our safety.

    Mine is 191-67-2467. Steal my identity and you'll be working for VISA for life.

    By Blogger Andrew Smith, at 1:19 AM  

  • Back to the fax thing, I once ordered pizza from the pizza place up the street. On their ad there was a fax number for fax orders. After eating said pizza, my friends and I drew pictures of dinosaurs and dialouge balloons that said "Thanks for the pizza" and the dinosaurs were eating pizza. They faxed us back a picture of a huge pizza smashing the dinosar that said "you're welcome."

    By Blogger 37, at 9:16 PM  

  • I just read your article and found it informative. Well, if you are looking to buy a fax machine for your home or office use then it is recommended to check different reviews before buying. There are many different types of fax machines. I'd recommend to check this list fax machines before buying. I bet you will find the best one.

    By Blogger Rickyponting, at 9:25 AM  

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    By Blogger john robert, at 3:56 AM  

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    By Blogger john robert, at 3:33 AM  

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