Friday, April 3, 2009

Just the Fax 101

As I continue to work at Staples while I'm revamping my life's goals, I'm always amazed by one of the most interesting, annoying technological inventions ever created.

Let's start with the important stuff. Lemme dispel some myths that cause people to get all miffed when they have to fax somethin', k?



1. Fax machines DO NOT send your originals. You do not have to make copies for yourself before you "send them". Maybe "sending a fax" is a misnomer. Or, maybe we've all just forgotten that "fax" is our dumbed-down word for facsimile which means, "An exact copy, replica, or duplicate."

2. A fax machine is nothing more than a scanner, a telephone modem, and a printer. No teleporters, matter deconstruction/reconstruction devices, or even laser beams (usually) can be found anywhere near a fax machine. You place your original document so the machine can scan the print, which it then turns into data that can be sent over a phone line...(and this is important)...to another fax machine. Which brings me to #3.

3. Fax machines are worthless unless there are two. You need a fax machine (I'm including computer-based faxing as well) to send, and another to receive. If the sending machine appears to not be doing anything...it may be waiting for the other to respond. One of the biggest complaints customers give us, is that our fax machine is sleeping, when really, it's waiting for the receiving machine to wake up!

4. Read your confirmation sheet!!! You wouldn't believe the time wasted because confirmation sheets aren't looked over. Here's a hint: If it says "Okay", and the correct number of pages is there, and it displays the correct fax number...It got there, folks! I promise! (This doesn't mean the receiving fax still has paper or toner to be able to print the facsimiles, but the data got there.) On the other hand...if your confirmation sheet says "busy" or worse, "no response"...well, I'll give you 3 guesses.

Personally, I think fax machines need to go away. Scan it, email it as an attachment, and be done with it. Not only does faxing waste paper, but it requires a landline phone, and again, at least 2 fax machines. Does anyone have a valid use for this antiquated junk? (bonus points if an 8bit musician comments) Got any other tips I missed?

And...no matter how hard you try...it is impossible to fax a cat.

photo credit: anomalous via Flickr 

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