It came to me today as a sudden revelation (an “ah-ha” moment) that our fax machine is a total anachronism, like something out of the 19th century. Here it is the 21st century, and we are still sending back and forth images of paper documents over the phone lines, using an old-fashioned modem, completely independently of all the computer hardware that we use for everything else. It’s as if we were using our computers for everything, but to do a spreadsheet we still used a slide-rule. Or we lived in a parallel universe where computers did everything they do now except e-mail, and we kept around typewriters for writing letters. Because of this fax machine we have to have a second phone line with long-distance service. I spend money for this and then end up getting unsolicited spam faxes that use up my paper and ink.
I am looking into the alternatives. I think eFax or something similar will work. Faxes can be sent or received via email, where I can even view them on my Droid. A good fast document scanner (useful not only for faxes, but to declutter the office of papers) will be necessary. There will be a charge for the fax service, but I bet it will be less than having a second phone line, and the net result will be a decrease rather than increase in paper around the office. I need to research what service to use and what scanner to get, but I’m sure this is the way to go. Maybe next I’ll get rid of this teletype I am typing on and upgrade to a screen and keyboard (just kidding).