I work for a large defense corporation and we are relatively technological despite our populous.  However, we still have fax machines around and they are still the only means for transmitting documents in certain situations.  I.e. when filing for a corporate credit card we have to print out a form, sign it, and then fax it to the proper office.  The thing is, faxes have been completely replaced by this AMAZING NEW technology called “email.”  Click to read more…

Yeah, I said it. EMAIL has made the fax obsolete.  Anyone with a touch of youth on their side completely acknowledges that faxing is a nuisance more than anything.  The thing that frustrates me is that we use these copy-center machines at work to do the faxing, so they can copy, fax, and scan documents into a PDF that is then emailed to any destination address.  Why then does the fax still need to be used?

The thing about faxes that makes them so worthless these days are the need for a cover sheet and the grueling dial-up speed in which each individual page is transmitted.  It’s just unnecessary.  No additional benefit is gained from the use of fax (such as security, ease, flexibility), so why do some people still insist on it?

Recently my wife was seeking some tax information from one of her financial institutions and they required that she provide them a fax number for them to send her some files.  It was either that or snail mail.  As soon as I heard that I thought, “why don’t they just email the documents to her?  If they are worried about security they can zip the documents up with a password-protected archive or add a password to the documents as a PDF.”  They can even transmit the emails using SSL encryption and my wife can check the email while logged in to a secure mail server (with https:// in the URL).  There really are no reasons that validate insisting on the use of fax.

I’m even going out there and saying that email has also replaced snail mail these days.  Don’t get me wrong, the post office still has its purpose: sending things other than documents, guaranteeing in-person delivery, etc. but for all intents and purposes most of the mail delivered these days could have been done without the need to waste paper.  Hence the ability to sign up for eBills and eNotifications rather than getting bogged down with paper.

For a while I wanted to keep paper documents for my records and tax purposes, but all credit card companies and banks keep online records of your transactions these days, so there is no need to store all of your receipts and files for long periods of time.  If you are concerned about the bank servers going down or having your info lost somehow then typically you can download your statements and summaries to your computer for maintaining local copies.  After that, as long as you keep backups of those files on a separate drive or computer you will have access to accurate financial records whenever you need them and you won’t have to store them in a box under your bed (um, fire hazard?).

These are just my rantings based on experience.  People like to make excuses and avoiding action due to laziness.  I know because I have fallen victim to it myself.  The thing about my suggestions is that they actually require less effort because all you have to do is copy a file to the directory you specify and set up automatic backups to occur whenever you’d like.  Remember, the idea behind the Digital Age is that things are supposed to be made easier and more efficient.  If you are not experiencing that added ease then you are probably struggling with the initial learning curve and will get the benefit of your efforts soon enough.  Don’t give up the good fight and help rid the world of obsolete technologies like fax!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 at 9:46 am and is filed under Basic Computer Use, Tips & Tricks. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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