FAX Fixation - Why?

Discussion in 'Misc' started by TaliesinSoft, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. TaliesinSoft

    TaliesinSoft Guest

    i'm somewhat boggled that there are still those who will insist on
    sending and/or receiving information via FAX instead of email. FAX is
    an outdated over fifty year old technology that cannot begin to compare
    with the quality and ease of sending of email. So why is it often
    stated that a FAX is "legal" when an email is not? Is this another
    instance where the lawyers have had their say?
    TaliesinSoft, Oct 31, 2011
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  2. TaliesinSoft

    Your Name Guest

    Nope. Just another example of the incompetence of the legal system - in
    this case they're still decades behind the times.

    The silly theory is that an email / scanned document is too easy to change
    whereas a faxed document isn't ... complete and utter nonsense of course,
    especially in today's world of Photoshop where you simply scan the
    document, change it, print it (if necessary), and then fax it. :-\

    On a side note, the New Zealand government passed a law about a week ago
    banning unsolicited fax messages (i.e. junk mail faxes) ... only about 30
    years after the invention of the fax machine and at least five years after
    fax has been almost made extinct by email.

    There's a reason for the saying "The law is an ass" ... it's because it's
    slow, stubborn, and largely worthless just like a donkey.
    Your Name, Oct 31, 2011
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  3. TaliesinSoft

    Calum Guest

    Because it's true, at least in some sectors (esp. the financial sector).

    Another reason they're still used for 'critical' business communications
    is that they're actually still more reliable than email, and unlike
    email, they have a "message delivered" notification function that
    actually works (on a technical level -- still no guarantee that a
    delivered fax will be read by the right person, of course).

    Email outages are increasingly rare, but certainly not uncommon,
    especially within a single organization. (But as the recent Blackberry
    outage showed, worldwide cross-org outages are quite possible, too.)
    Calum, Oct 31, 2011
  4. TaliesinSoft

    Calum Guest

    That's just because NZ is a bit backward though :p We've had that law
    in the UK since 1999.
    Calum, Oct 31, 2011
  5. TaliesinSoft

    Your Name Guest

    The "message delivered" isn't a guarantee that a fax actually got there
    either. One place I work for gets quite a few faxes that have been sent to
    the wrong number (no matter how many times the sending company has been
    told it's wrong, they still do it ... must be on a speed dial button),
    then there's the "run out of paper" problem when some fax machines simply
    forget stored messages when the power goes out, etc.

    The only real way to guarantee delivery is to take it your self and hand
    it the the recipient in person ... even then there's no guarantee they'll
    bother to read it, won't lose it, etc.
    Your Name, Nov 1, 2011
  6. TaliesinSoft

    Suze Guest

    I have to either send snail mail or send faxes to a federal US Medicare
    contractor, simply because they allow no email communications of
    documents. Frankly, I'd much prefer to send the information via email,
    but arguing with a US government agency is a pretty low-yield endeavor.
    The up side of faxing to them is that they put the information in their
    electronic file within 3 days if I fax it, but they take up to 3 weeks
    to file it electronically if I snail mail it. So faxing is as good as it
    gets when dealing with them.
    Suze, Nov 1, 2011
  7. A. I've never got a virus from a fax. (nor from an email, but my boss
    and the accounting department did, it was the one from 'your ups' about
    the important undeliverable package. They even wanted me to open the
    message since it was 'really important', but their computer had quit
    working so they needed me to read it for them.)

    B. If I send someone a fax, I know they got it. If I send them an email,
    I need to follow up with a phone call just to be sure.

    I recently placed an order by fax. When the item didn't show up I was
    able to call and get it sent overnight at their expense. I frequently do
    purchasing at the small company I work for. Given the option, I always
    use fax.
    Mark Storkamp, Nov 1, 2011
  8. TaliesinSoft

    you Guest

    The basic reason for this, is that eMails can be changed, altered or
    messed with, where Fax's are normally unit to unit realtime. The only
    way to keep that from happening is to use an Encryption Signed and
    Verified email, but that technology hasn't been vetted by courts in the
    USA, YET....
    you, Nov 1, 2011
  9. Ssh! Don't tell anyone about fax modems. (or their modern equivalent)

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Nov 1, 2011
  10. TaliesinSoft

    Your Name Guest

    You may not get a virus, but you can get huge amounts of junk faxes and
    there's no way to filter them (other than manually).

    Nope. You know the fax was received somewhere, which isn't quite the same
    thing as the intended recipient actually getting it. Plus of course in
    some offices faxes can sit on the machine for days before anyone bothers
    to pick them up.

    As I said before, hand-delivering things to the intended recipient
    yourself is the ONLY guaranteed way to know it actually got there ... and
    even then there's no guarantee the recipient willl actually read it, won't
    lose it, etc.
    Your Name, Nov 1, 2011
  11. Case B is caused by poorly designed spam filters that confirm receiving
    the mail then throw it out. It's the recipient's fault when it happens.

    Some high speed fax machines will confirm receiving a fax even though
    they've buffered it in volatile memory. It wouldn't say that fax is
    more reliable at confirming delivery.
    Kevin McMurtrie, Nov 2, 2011
  12. TaliesinSoft

    Calum Guest

    No, it's caused by the fact there is no agreed standard for requesting
    and sending email receipts. Even the mail clients that do understand
    each other's receipt requests generally ask the receiver on a
    case-by-case basis if they want to send one, which they are quite
    entitled to decline.
    Calum, Nov 2, 2011
  13. TaliesinSoft

    Chris Ridd Guest

    Apart from RFC 3798?
    Yes, many clients can be configured not to send them. This does render
    them somewhat less useful...
    Chris Ridd, Nov 2, 2011
  14. The receiving fax does transmit its station ID, so if that matches who I
    wanted to send it to, then I at least know it arrived. After that, as
    you said, there is no guarantee someone will read it, but I can tell
    them the day and time the received it. That, at least, is not possible
    with email.
    Mark Storkamp, Nov 2, 2011
  15. TaliesinSoft

    Your Name Guest

    Yes, but few people bother to check that - assuming the receiving fax
    machine has even been set-up properly. Most people simply shove a piece of
    paper into the fax machine, dial a number, and walk away (in fact most
    people don't even know how to use the fax machine and get the office
    person to do it for them). Some time later the office person collects the
    pieces of paper, often simply because it's become messy and needs tidying
    up with any printed logs thrown away or shoved in a box never to be seen

    Technically the day and time *A* fax machine received it ... and as we've
    said, even if it's the correct fax machine it could have had no paper and
    stored the fax, and then had a power outage, then the fax would never be
    seen. :)

    The reality is that a fax message is not more reliable than email (either
    in terms of being modified or being received) and never really has been.
    It's simply another case of the legal profession being decades behind the
    real world.
    Your Name, Nov 2, 2011
  16. TaliesinSoft

    Greg Buchner Guest

    Why? Email encryption. I work for an organization that deals with health
    related stuff and HIPAA regulations say that any emails containing
    client information have to be encrypted. We currently aren't set up to
    do encrypted emails. Faxes don't have to be encrypted. So we fax, all
    too often. And some of the organization we deal with don't even have an
    IT Dept, just someone with a computer and an online email account. We
    have to take both ends into consideration.

    We are looking at different options for email other than running our own
    exchange server, but it's a slow process getting change through.

    Greg B.
    Greg Buchner, Nov 2, 2011
  17. TaliesinSoft

    Calum Guest

    Well, all I can say is that every company I've ever worked for has had
    at least one email outage of hours or longer during working hours, which
    would result in an email not being received during that time. But I
    don't recall there ever being a telephone outage. That makes faxes more
    reliable in my book.
    Calum, Nov 3, 2011
  18. TaliesinSoft

    Your Name Guest

    They may not have had a telephone outage (which is of course actually
    possible), but they will almost certainly have had a power outage, which
    produces the same result - no faxes.

    Faxes are simply no more reliable or trustworthy than any other form of
    indirect communication.
    Your Name, Nov 3, 2011
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