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Fax: Technology That Refuses to Die Under Attack

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the shriek-of-the-banshees dept.

Technology 281

securitas writes "The BBC Magazine's Paul Rubens reports on the ever-growing popularity of the fax machine, despite the widespread availability of e-mail and digital document/photo scanners. Why is fax still so popular? Partly because it is a mature technology that has legal weight and because of the emergence of Internet and Web e-mail-to-fax and fax-to-e-mail gateways, not to mention the relative lack of spam faxes. But that is changing. The New York Times Technology's Lisa Napoli reports that Infoseek founder Steve Kirsch is waging a battle against purveyors of illegal junk faxes (IHT) like Fax.com, which Kirsch has sued for $2.2 trillion, detailed at junkfax.org. Also joining the fight are lawyer and Telephone Consumer Protection Act co-author Gerard Waldron - he won $2.25 million from Fax.com. Finally consumer advocate Robert Braver's junkfaxes.org has 36 lawsuits pending against the junk fax industry. More evidence that spammers are among the lowest forms of life on Earth."

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281 comments

GNAA guys are GAY HOMOSEXUAL FAGGOTS! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823338)

really!

I WANT TO STICK MY PEE PEE IN YOUR POO POO HOLE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823339)

I want to stick my pee pee in your poo poo hole.

They still sell well... (5, Interesting)

micker (668555) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823345)

I have a dozen or so customers coming in every week looking for Fax/Modem Cards... Most of them actually just refer to them as fax cards and dont seem to even know that it is a modem, or that there even was internet before braodband, but oh well....

Re:They still sell well... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823495)

Well, the only thing people use modems for nowadays is to access the Internet. And even there, a modem's your last choice, provided faster networking is available and within your budget.

I am suprised to hear that people are actually using faxmodems for faxes. I myself much prefer not to have a separate fax machine, but until recently that meant dealing with really awful fax software. Also, people seem to resist the idea of folding fax functions into related devices. I've never worked in office that didn't have dedicated fax machines, even when alternatives were readily available.

Stacking the deck of Fax Cards (1)

micker (668555) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823515)

I dont know, most of my customers are it consultants building systems for other people. The concept of the fax server is still here, and alot of my customers are still using one.

Whats really surprising is that the platform of choice recently for a fax server seems to be winblows server 2003...

Re:They still sell well... (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823633)

I find that a lot of people use a modem to send their outgoing faxes, and have a normal fax machine to receive the incomming ones.

Windows 2000 makes sending a fax as easy as sending it to the printer. Receiving faxes through the modem takes a bit more effort.

Re:They still sell well... (5, Interesting)

Powercntrl (458442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823531)

Indeed.

My father is a realator and one of the things he had to do was fax house listings to customers. He used to do it by printing them out, faxing them, then throwing them away. Besides the obvious environmental impact, he was using an inkjet printer at the time which meant it was a very slow process that also consumed a lot of expensive ink.

When I found out this was how he was sending faxes, I purchased a new-in-box USRobotics Courrier 56k V.Everything external modem on eBay for about $20 (no, I didn't forget any 0's) and set him up with Winfax Pro. I remember those modems costing a fortune back in the days of BBSing... The Courrier was a good workhorse of a modem back in its day and being used for sending/receiving faxes in this age of broadband gives it a new lease on life. And hey, anything that saves paper and keeps electronics out of the landfill is a good thing.

A HA! (3, Funny)

Judg3 (88435) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823349)

So that's where Peewee Herman [imdb.com] ended up, working for the BBC.
Let's hope he doesn't any movie reviews!

Paul Reubens? (-1, Redundant)

skroz (7870) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823351)

Wait wait... it isn't this [imdb.com] Paul Reubens, is it? The only fax he's ever sent is to his parole officer...

I FOR ONE WELCOME OUR NEW FAX OVERLORDS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823354)

subject line says it all

Re:I FOR TWO WELCOME OUR NEW FAX OVERLORDS! (0)

foobar31337 (702156) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823387)

why don't i join in two?

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823355)

First post

YOU FAIL IT! (-1)

handybundler (232934) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823382)

that's right, YOU FAIL IT! please use ctrl-r so you don't FAIL IT! again.

Simple.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823363)

...when is the last time you received a FAX offer to enlarge your penis?

There is certainly a lot of FAX spam, but it's still quite useful today. Not everyone has a scanner handy, and it's often easier to sketch something up or jot a note on paper than it is to scan/crop/edit/add stuff electronically. If you happen to be discussing something static that you have a picture or a PDF of, fine, that's easy to email - but dynamic data has really yet to become widespread and easy to use. I know that there are some new PDF features for markup and such, but they're still not nearly as quick and easy to use as a pen.

Lack of spam faxes? (1)

grmb1 (732949) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823378)

> the relative lack of spam faxes

Not in this world.

Re:Lack of spam faxes? (5, Interesting)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823404)

Actually I get 4 to 5 spam faxes per day but over 2k spam emails per day. Most email spam are filtered but a significant number still make thru and requires > 15 minutes a day slogging thru them because maybe a client/customer is trying to get a message to me. Email is on the cusp of being near useless as a communication method. I am hoping for a significant reduction on Jan 1 but I know my hopes are misplaced.

Re:Lack of spam faxes? (1)

grmb1 (732949) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823424)

At office where I've used to work we got several meters of spam every morning.

Re:Lack of spam faxes? (1)

Isbiten (597220) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823604)

Problem is that what will people use instead? IM clients? Blogs?

And if there is going to be an alternative it needs to be widely supported.

2K? (3, Interesting)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823611)

I'd start looking at those e-mails because many of them are probably advertising the same company.

Look at the source and start filtering the domains that the e-mails link to. For an image and/or for the link people are supposed to click on.

For example:

I've gotten two e-bay spams that have

http://www.ertdfg.biz/index.php?id=3D173&affid=3 D7 22

I block ertdfg.biz and I block 100% of spam from them no matter what forged domain sends the e-mail. And no legitimate e-mail will ever be filtered out.

Spammers can't obfuscate the domains for the links or the images (aside from character codes but that's the only one and it's 100% unique) so blocking them is highly effective.

Blocking words doesn't work nearly as well because words get used a lot for many purposes so a program can't really be sure. ertdfg.biz has exactly one purpose.

I don't know if baysian filters take image domains and linked domains into consideration but they should. It blocks the company and not the spammer. Filters should give the user a complete list of the domains found in e-mails and allow the EU to decide which ones are spam (and how much of the link is spam: i.e. www.geocities.com/bigboobies you wouldn't want to filter geocities.com but you would want to filter that subfolder) and then the filter should add them to the expression watch and delete on sight.

Ben

Re:Lack of spam faxes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823609)

yeah. we get them all the time. this really sucked when printing with expensive thermal carbon spools.

----
support your local GNAA

well (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823379)

At least she is honest [bmezine.com]

Is that a guy or a girl? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823396)

If that's a guy, I find it really offensive.

If that's a girl, I find it strangely arousing.

Dads should never fuck their sons, only their daughters.

MOD PARENT INSIGHTFUL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823429)

Wow, I never thought about it that way any you're right!

I guess I don't know the gender, but I assumed it was a female arm because of lack of much hair on what we can see of the top of the forearm.

Here's more:
what do you think? [bmezine.com]

Technology for technology's sake (5, Interesting)

pinballer (655113) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823381)

Probably the same argument for IP telephony vs telephones may be applied. When IP or Internet voice calls become standard and analogue lines become antiquainted we'll see the emergence of some applicance (document scanner with an Ethernet interface).

I guess I'm getting too old! I say, if it works well enough for what you need it for then there's no need for a mad rush to replace something. Bah!

Re:Technology for technology's sake (1)

Felinoid (16872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823544)

It dosen't work "well enough"
You never really know if the fax got through.

Moderating so called "trolls" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823384)

Moderators. Think about this.

Do you want to be with the Slashdot groupthink or against it?

Some of you have a mind of your own. Why do you keep moderating smart "trolls" down?

What harm will a cleverly hidden goatse.cx link actually do? Why do you moderate an otherwise insightful post down just because it makes joke and links to goatse?

Re:Moderating so called "trolls" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823460)

considering that anybody who wants to see posts marked as trolls can jsut give them a bonus, why not mod them down?

Re:Moderating so called "trolls" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823505)

What harm will a cleverly hidden goatse.cx link actually do? Why do you moderate an otherwise insightful post down just because it makes joke and links to goatse?

This is a family show, think of the children!

Re:Moderating so called "trolls" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823592)

Personally, if modding a "smart" Troll down as "Troll" pisses you off I'll carry on doing it simply because it's funny.

Just think, whenever I moderate, I'm trolling you.

Maybe.. (5, Insightful)

niko9 (315647) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823385)

it's because fax machiens are soo easy to use. They don't have operating systems, or keyboards or mice. For the most part they are idiot proof, cheap, and portable.

But most importantly, hey do one thing and do it well.

Re:Maybe.. (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823409)

No keyboards? You have a fax machine that takes voice commands?

One thing and one thing well is it. We have a fax-email gateway at work. I've only used it once and it was a pain in the ass. And useless if I need to send a fax out, unless I have a scanner.

Re:Maybe.. (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823590)

One thing and one thing well is it. We have a fax-email gateway at work.

Well, call me crazy, but a fax-email gateway isn't really doing just *one* thing, now is it?

Re:Maybe.. (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823426)

Fax machines aren't really idiot-proof, or that easy to use. You can put the paper in the wrong way up, if you are an idiot (and all of us have our "Do'h!" moments.) You have to wait to make sure it gets sent to make sure it gets sent, none of this hitting the send button. You have to enter a phone number, more room for error. And paper does jam, sheet feeders mis-feed, etc.

What fax machines have going for them is they accept the myriad forms of paper, and paper has an easier "enter text right here" interface than any computer program I've seen, especially in combination with a pre-existing form.

Re:Maybe.. (1)

Down8 (223459) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823445)

Our friends at INITECH [movie-source.com] would disagree.

-bZj

Legal Documents (5, Insightful)

tobechar (678914) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823389)

Many companies reply on Fax to get signatures, or approval for a project and etc.

Faxed documents are used as practical legal documents in Canada, AFAIK. Companies rely on Fax to get their work done, which should keep Fax around for a long long time.

One question though, isn't it about time to move up from 14,400 baud Fax transmission?!

Re:Legal Documents (5, Informative)

Phoenixhunter (588958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823440)

There are 33.6k baud fax machines ya know...there are even *color* fax machines.

Re:Legal Documents (2, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823586)

My fax machine can transmit at 33.6k, on the rare occasion that it meets another 33.6k fax machine at the other end of the line.

Re:Legal Documents (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823591)

I have always wondered that too. Why is the fastest rate only 14.4K?

A Note to Our Canadian Friends (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823390)

Please keep your filthy diseased animals north of the border where they belong. Thank you,

Re:A Note to Our Canadian Friends (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823407)

Yeah, like there is nothing wrong with the US cattle soaked in steroids, amphetamines and antibiotics...

Oh no, there's nothing wrong with the US cattle, the disease must have come from abroad. GWB said so.

Re:A Note to Our Canadian Friends (-1, Offtopic)

tobechar (678914) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823430)

The last outbreak of Madcow desease prompted a thorough investigation, in where they found the tainted cattle to have come from the USA.

A Note to Our American Friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823484)

Please keep your fascist nutcase President south of the border where he belongs. Thank you.

MOD PARENT DOWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823514)

This is clearly an offtopic and flamebait message.

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823555)

No? really?

YHBT. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823613)

YHL. FOAD.

Re:A Note to Our Canadian Friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823601)

BSE does not spread by contact.

Mores the pity really. Texas could do with being wipped off the face of this Earth.

Re:A Note to Our Canadian Friends (0, Offtopic)

router_ninja (584254) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823615)

Yes well, at least they can spell correctly. Dumbass.

AHAAA!! (1, Funny)

miracle69 (34841) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823393)

1) Buy Fax Machine
2) Wait for Unsolicited Faxes
3) PROFIT!!!

junk faxes not new (2, Insightful)

Down8 (223459) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823398)

Junk faxing is not at all new, nor is it uncommon. I know my office was getting 1-2/day (multiple pages), back in 1998ish (and surely before I had started working there).

There are very specific laws against this, b/c unlike e-mail, it's easily proved that the junk mailer wasted your resources (paper/toner/phone line).

My idea of a good anti-spam bill would just extend the current anti-junk-fax laws to include any form of electronic communication, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen.

-bZj

Re:junk faxes not new (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823638)

They might waste your time etc, but it costs them for each fax they send, so they have a very targetted audience, from what I have seen the majority are just fliers from our suppliers.

Maybe its more of a problem elsewhere.

Re:junk faxes not new (1)

jaiger (166690) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823662)

My idea of a good anti-spam bill would just extend the current anti-junk-fax laws to include any form of electronic communication, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen.

While I would generally agree with this sentiment, I think it would be heavily lobbied against by phone soliciting companies. After all, isn't phone communication electronic communications?

-joe

Trillion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823405)

which Kirsch has sued for $2.2 trillion

Hmmm, does even the US government hold such amount of money ?

Re:Trillion (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823427)

Ok, found this [junkfax.org] just after posting my question...

Re:Trillion (1)

Duckman5 (665208) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823481)

Hmmm, does even the US government hold such amount of money ?
Ha! I'm sure the US government has more than that. Hell, the US government is in debt [brillig.com] for 3x that amount.

Email2Fax (5, Funny)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823414)

My dad got the Melissa virus faxed to him at work via a Email2Fax gateway. Over ten pages of VBScript printed out. He also got the first Nigerian Scam I saw via fax.

Re:Email2Fax (3, Funny)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823462)

Did he save it?

I'm sure that it would have brought in a pretty penny on ebay.

LK

Re:Email2Fax (2, Interesting)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823620)

He also got the first Nigerian Scam I saw via fax.

Hey, the Nigerian Scam was making the rounds years ago, before email became popular. I remember first seeing it over 10 years ago when I was a temp worker at the university.

And that's nothing, according to Snopes, the first varient of this scam was in the 1920's [snopes.com] .

Re:Email2Fax (3, Funny)

cuban321 (644777) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823645)

A while back I received the SirCam [symantec.com] virus via text message to my cellphone.

Hi! How are you?
I send you this file in order to have your advice
See you later. Thanks

Daniel

Still near universal (5, Interesting)

rueger (210566) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823415)

We still have a trusty old thermal paper fax machine. We added it after several years of fax modem only. The reason was the difficulty in getting WinFax and the faxmodem to handle Identi-Call rings reliably. (After going DSL it made no sense to maintain a second data/fax phone line).

Since then we have come to realize that everyone has access to a fax of some sort, even people that lack or don't understand e-mail and more advanced technology. If nothing else they can walk down to the corner store and fax us something.

The other realization is that fax maintains the design or layout of what you're sending without relying on HTML e-mail, attachments, or the sometimes slim odds of your recipient having the same software that you do.

Aside from that, any piece of paper, even fax peper, holds more weight and seems more legitimate than an e-mail.

Re:Still near universal (1)

Isbiten (597220) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823583)

The other realization is that fax maintains the design or layout of what you're sending without relying on HTML e-mail, attachments, or the sometimes slim odds of your recipient having the same software that you do.

PDF does all this, though you'll have to send it as an attachment :)

Re:Still near universal (1)

S.Lemmon (147743) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823680)

People generally hate reading PDFs - and not without reason. I guess they're ok if you really do intend to print everything out (and the person making the PDF knew enough lay out the page properly), but they're one of the most all time user-unfriendly formats to read on a computer. Usually to see the font clearly, you have to zoom in close enough to need horizontal scrolling, and the page to page movement is rather distracting.

That being said, people sending documents love PDF because it's simple. Actually most of the time they'd be happier with HTML, except it often requires a group of multiple files which can be a pain to send easily as an attachment.

Re:Still near universal (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823654)

Absolutely - its a heck of a lot easier giving out our fax number than it is explaining how to export to file, then add that as an attachment, and send it.

It is often simpler for even tech-savvy people to explain things. The Ball point pen can show me things no markup or PDF wizardry can come close to.

Fax on and on (3, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823420)

Somehow computers actually seem to promote the use faxes, rather than replacing them. For example, law firms often need to send copies of documents (proof that they've been signed, etc.). Faxes are the most common method (provided the document isn't too sensitive, since faxes are easily intercepted). Now, one law firm I know of has gone to using email attachments instead. But the firm's scanners aren't easily accessible or easy to use. Solution: send your secretary to reliable old fax machine and have her send the document to your voice mail phone number. The voice mail system automatically converts the fax to an email attachment, which it sends to the recipient. Who then forward the attachment to the recipient.

That's why the fax continues to be used: it's familiar, intuitive technology. Actually, that's the reason it even exists. When cheap fax machines started to appear in the 80s, a lot of us didn't take them seriously -- we purely digital media as the wave of the future. What we didn't take into account was the severe difficult of converting all those legacy print documents into some easily manipulated online. Tools for creating online documents have improved a lot since then, but they still don't tackle a lot of basic problems, and many (Word, Acrobat) are still biased towards creating hard copy.

my fax is unhooked (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823431)

I have to keep my fax machine disconnected unless I'm sending something or know something's coming in, thanks to fax.com and others. I've tried unsubscribing to no avail. They'll still occasionally "ping" my fax line looking for a way to advertise more junk.

still waiting for... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823433)

"Stick your penis into the rollers of this fax machine and win a FREE cruise to Nigeria!"

Because it is a direct connection (2, Insightful)

Enzo1977 (112600) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823437)

Why are fax machines popular? Because they are secure. Sure there are more secure methods of delivering information like registered mail. But the potential for someone between company A and company B to intercept information from an E-mail is greater. Likewise the expense of qualified people to setup your secure firewalls and what have you is a greater cost than having to spend on an ISDN line and a half way decent fax machine. Is it possible when sending a fax someone at the other end of the line could swipe the documents from the machine and take all the secrets that might be sent? Sure it is possible, but the chances of that are the same as the chances of someone finding an unlocked terminal. For that reason fax machines are much more secure because the average person can trust that there is a direct connection, and that no one at any point during transmittal is going to intercept any information. This also involves a level of trust with your telco, and that someone hasn't tapped your lines. This leads us to question whether the current standards for E-mail are suitable to replace the good old standby fax machine.

point and click (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823439)

The fax machine is the perfect assistant. It is almost 100% reliable with almost not setup, maintainance, or fuss. Put paper in, press a fewe buttons, and go. The last time I used a fax machine it offered two line capabilities, ability to store many pages, as well as computer printer functions.

Scanning in a document, attaching it to email, and then sending it requires more time, expertise, as well as less reliability. The time issue is the most important.

I use a fax program but only becuase I hardly ever need to send faxes and I don't want to allocate space for a fax machine. The complexity of me sending a fax from my computer, even if it is a document I create on the computer, is significantly more complex than using a fax machine. I also have used email-to-fax services, but these were only benificial for out-of-area faxes, in which I saved toll charges.

I see it similiar to Advantix camera. The advantix is probably of lower quality than even a simple 35 mm point and shoot. However, for most people is very much simpler, and therefore the quality issue is compensated for.

Re:point and click (2, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823522)

Also, because a technology has been supersceeded doesn't mean that it will be replaced.

With PDAs, computers and electronic documents, you'd think people would be asking why the use of the several millennia old idea of pen and paper hasn't been eliminated.

For so long as there is a practical use for a technology, it won't completely go away.

Re:point and click (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823569)

Put paper in, press a fewe buttons

Big on the button-pressing aren't we? or did you stick the paper between the keys on your keyboard?

Lisa Napoli (-1, Offtopic)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823452)

Definitely one of the most shaggable female tech reporters out there. Any other hot chick tech reporters?

Still a usefull technology (2, Insightful)

toasted_calamari (670180) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823453)

Slashdot is a technology oriented website, i can say with some certainty that everyone here has a fairly comprehensive knowledge of computers. However, this is not true of the rest of the world. For people who know little about computers aside from basic email checking and word processing, sending handwritten documents and other such things electronically is only feasible by fax. I have helped several people who send documents of this nature on a regular basis set up scanners they had purchased. They were absolutely mystified at how to set up the scanner and email documents that were scanned with it. Fax machines are far far easier to use than email and a scanner, and the recipient gets a paper copy of the document, something which is mentally comforting for many.

Faxes won't die because (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823458)

it rides over phone lines, and therefore inherits the very high quality of service inherent to the telephone system, whereas email, phone-over-IP, and anything based on the internet is a best-effort solution. You'll never hear "I don't know, I didn't get a fax from you" whereas one can believably pretend to never have received an email, to justify a lack of response.

Why Fax Machines Are Popular (4, Insightful)

Jerk City Troll (661616) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823463)

They just work.

When is the last time you just typed up an email address on the computer, slapped your document on the scanner, pushed a button, and everything worked flawlessly without any intervention.

Fax machines are incredibly easy to use and just seem to work, end of story. They have a user interface that just about everyone is already familiar with (the telephone) where as computers and scanners are just plain over complicated in really stupid ways. There's issues with drivers, non-standard UIs for scanning, and I have yet to see "one button" features work on any scanner on any platform.

It's a shame not more devices work as easily as fax machines and telephones.

How do they get your fax number? (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823465)

I have a private fax machine, have never EVER given the number out to anyone, and yet I get 1 or 2 fax spams a week.

Re:How do they get your fax number? (1)

Smask (665604) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823634)

Wardialers. Thats what fax.com use to get your number.

Re:How do they get your fax number? (3, Insightful)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823643)

Wardialing. It's illegal to do it, but just like spam and spam laws (and telemarketers using autodialing machines with recorded messages), it doesn't deter them in the slightest. Even worse, once they figure out your number has a fax machine attached to it, they then sell that number to all sorts of junk faxers. Soon you'll be getting all the toner, OTC stock tip, mortgage refinance, and free vacations in Florida junk faxes...

Because it's easy and fast (3, Interesting)

Via_Patrino (702161) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823467)

To (an average person) send a copy of a document to someone is much easier and fast using a fax.

If you scan and mail it takes sometime:
- turn the computer (if it's off)
- wait the scanner to heat (if you didn't use it less than 5 minutes ago)
- pre-scan (to mark the region will be scanned, it's usually automatic can't jump that phase)
- choose the right configuration (color and depth) or the result can be a mess and full the mailbox
- scan (time depends of the choosen configuration)
- final edition (ajust size, compression)
- pdf (if it's more than few pages)
- attach and mail

Someone may say you can configure that before, but some scanners demand you check the values on every step (and page) and also someone that used the scanner before can have changed the configuration.

There's also another point that is difficult to share a scanner in a work enviroment while with fax it's easier

Fax has its limits.. (3, Funny)

Handpaper (566373) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823486)

see here [userfriendly.org]

Fax Machines and Fax Modems (1)

CEHT (164909) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823501)

My fax machines from 10+ years ago still sitting around for sending and receiving fax. Although most of the time I use attachments with e-mails, I still use it a fair bit for sending documents. It is extremely useful for exchanging signed documents. Unfortunately, I don't use my modem anymore, and my desktop computers don't even have any installed. Getting a PCI fax modem, I found, is a waste of money. And there is no ISA slot in my Athlon or P4... Also, a new PCI or external modem is (~ 3-5 times) more expensive than a 10/100 network card?

Re:Fax Machines and Fax Modems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823676)

Is it more expensive than a fax machine? Wtf has a network card got to do with it. bugger all.

Remember how Samford Wallace got started (3, Interesting)

Felinoid (16872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823508)

Fax spam was actually a problem LONG before e-mail spam was an issue.
(However e-mail spam dose predate fax spam that's annother issue)

Before the famous greencard spam some companys engadged in fax spam. Including SCO.
Samford Walace was one of those people. But when fax spam was outlawed he switched to e-mail. However thsi method of marketting had already receaved a bad reputation from the green card spam and worse.

Samford however didn't care if he pissed people off.
If you complainned to Samford directly about his spam he'd put you on a specal mailing list where he'd send a message ever hour on the hour and then every 30 minuts with the express purpous of flooding your e-mail box.

What samford did was harrasment.. in fax and later in e-mail. He set the standards for the spam and junk fax industrys even if he started nither. Chances are good if he had chousen a diffrent field (one he maybe knows something about as he never got that harrasing your target market is very stupid marketting) we'd probably not need laws banning junk fax or e-mail and the industry standards would actually respect the target markets fealings by implamenting and enforcing it's own industry standards that come short of banning.
Such as no harvesting of e-mail addresses, no illegal products, no deceptive advertsing, honnor unsubscribe requests, always offer unsubscription forms, never sell unsubscriptions (as confermed spam lists).. or even spam lists (as there'd be no way to get off them if you sold the list)

Re:Remember how Samford Wallace got started (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823660)

Chances are good if he had chousen a diffrent field (one he maybe knows something about as he never got that harrasing your target market is very stupid marketting) we'd probably not need laws banning junk fax or e-mail and the industry standards would actually respect the target markets fealings by implamenting and enforcing it's own industry standards that come short of banning.

I wouldn't bet on it. There's an endless supply of jerks in the world.

Re:Remember how Samford Wallace got started (1)

triffidsting (594096) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823675)

At least there is legal recourse against junk fax, and it still costs something to send one long-distance.

lowest forms of life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823525)

"More evidence that spammers are among the lowest forms of life on Earth."

People whose families are murdered by an oppressive governmental militia would beg to differ.

Open source fax/vms software to filter spam? (1)

ibku (735269) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823541)

Anyone familiar with projects like VOCP [vocpsystem.com] ? I've gotten my share of fax-spam and am tired of dealing with it, actually. I'd like to prevent others from being able to send me voice mail, fax, etc, if their ID comes up as unknown number, or matches a list of companies I don't want to call me.
I've also considered using Nagios [nagios.org] to automate fax (or voice calls with a sound card) status reports and the like. Lots of possibilities here worth looking into.

SCO Connection (3, Interesting)

jcp797 (656922) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823563)


From the junk fax FAQ on tort law. Does anyone know if this could apply to the SCO case?

Q. Can you go after the individuals involved as well as the corporation?

A. Yes.

The "general rule," discussed in 3A Fletcher, Fletcher Cyclopedia of the Law of Private Corporations (perm. ed. rev. vol. 2002), sets forth as follows:

"An individual is personally liable for all torts which that individual committed, notwithstanding the person may have acted as an agent or under directions of another. This rule applies to torts committed by those acting in their official capacities as officers or agents of a corporation. It is immaterial that the corporation may also be liable. Under the responsible corporate officer doctrine, if a corporate officer participates in the wrongful conduct, or knowingly approves the conduct, the officer, as well as the corporation, is liable for the penalties. The person injured may hold either liable, and generally the injured person may hold both as joint tort-feasors.

"Corporate officers are liable for their torts, although committed when acting officially, even though the acts were performed for the benefit of the corporation and without profit to the officer personally. Corporate officers, charged in law with affirmative official responsibility in the management and control of the corporate business, cannot avoid personal liability for wrongs committed by claiming that they did not authorize and direct that which was done in the regular course of that business, with their knowledge and with their consent or approval, or such acquiescence on their part as warrants inferring such consent or approval. However, more than mere knowledge may be required in order to hold an officer liable. The plaintiff must show some form of participation by the officer in the tort, or at least show that the officer directed, controlled, approved, or ratified the decision which led to the plaintiff's injury. . . . A corporate officer or director may not seek shelter from liability in the defense that he or she was only following orders. Personal liability attaches, regardless of whether the breach was accomplished through malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance."

Id. at 1135.

In addition, an important distinction should be noted: "[p]ersonal liability for the torts of officers does not depend on the same grounds as 'piercing the corporate veil,' that is inadequate capitalization, use of the corporate form for fraudulent purposes, or failure to comply with the formalities of corporate organization. The true basis of liability is the officer's violation of some duty owed to the third person which injures such third person." Id.

Fax is not easy, apparently (5, Funny)

molafson (716807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823568)

I used to work in a small office. As a consequence of the work we did, we had to send out a specifications sheet several times a week. Now, every single time either my boss, her assistant, or the receptionist tried to fax this document they'd always screw it up. No matter how many times I showed them, they'd always screw it up. Eventually I got so pissed at having to stop my work to help them with the fax machine, I decided to save our specs to a PDF which thereafter they could email. Things proceeded a lot more smoothly after that. (Except when we updated our specs, but the receptionist kept sending out the old file for weeks... God, I hated that job.)

Sure ? (2, Interesting)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823580)

while computers and e-mails can carry viruses, fax machines can never be put out of action by a hacker or malicious program code.

Hmmm... Sure o'that ? I reckon' that if you have a look at the faxes firmware, some security holes would appear, at least in some machines. Enough to let you remotely print a fake fax, with wrong number id, or send faxes to other people. A fax virus would be perhaps possible, although unlikely due to the many different brands of firmware out there. Diversity and single-purposedness of faxes is what protects them.

Fax Revenge (5, Funny)

rf0 (159958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823582)

If you ever want to get revenge on a spammer and they have a 1-800 number just get yourself the following

A piece of blackpaper
Sellotape

Place the blackpaper into the fax machine and sellotape to make a tube.

Enter the number and hit send

All the other end will receieve it page after page of black printout. It might be an urban legend but apparently there was one type of fax machine that would overheat and catch fire if this was done to it

Rus

Re:Fax Revenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823636)

Most modern fax machines can detect this and won't print out page after page of black.

Re:Fax Revenge (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823655)

All the other end will receieve it page after page of black printout. It might be an urban legend but apparently there was one type of fax machine that would overheat and catch fire if this was done to it

I'm not sure if this is an urban legend.... or took place in reality.

I'm thinking the old thermal paper fax machines where the paper came on a roll, and physicaly cut when it reached the end of page.

I'm not sure if any of those units are left in service.... the last one I know of was when a friend of mine was ordering a 486 laptop, back when an active matrix 486 cost $4000 or so. Didnt have a Credit Card so had to pay COD / Moneyorder. The company asked for a fax of the money order before they would ship out a machine who's value was over $2000... which was most reasonable. Having only a logitech hand scanner and a smart one 14.4, he proceded to scan it in. Being thoughtful he scanned it in at high resolution, which i'm sure was somewhere between 200 and 400dpi...

Well, fax being fax, I believe 72dpi... did it's job perfectly, and printed the fax at a 1:1 ratio. They phoned bax and said, "We got your fax... we can see your money order, it's six feet long)... we'll send it out today, don't fax us again".

As far as an old thermal faxes catching fire.. I believe this is very possible. That termal paper based on my experiments ignighted at about 400F in my oven, where standard paper required required a 450setting.

Will this happen in the 21st century? Probally not. What would be more likely to happen is they would run out of ink if they are on paper fax, and at $30 a pop this is no small potatoes.

Re:Fax Revenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823700)

Bullshit, they use a fax modem to send them from a saved document. No paper on theyre end :D

You think theyre stupid? Just subscribe them to pantie porn or post as them on usenet (that by itself is enuf ot get them a shitola of spam).

Get the CEO's home number and call it at 2 in the morning, hang up, wait a while until he falls asleep, redial :D hang up. He will have a shity day the next day.

Plenty of ways to get revenge.

aut0tr0ll is teh sp0kE!? (-1)

Jack Froidalbungle (730156) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823595)

Hello master.

sid=90764
formkey=LSDkzSJmF0

This is a joint venture that will be mutually advantageous to both parties involved.

Who can remember 50bps Telex (2, Informative)

dbouius (88930) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823607)

Telex, that thing that the fax replaced. That required a number of years to die off after faxes became populer. It was fast, it could almost keep up with a fast typest.

The two big things that telex had over a fax is that
1. A telex message was a legel document a copy of the telex message was keeped a both ends.
2. A telex would work here faxes could not (bad phone systems, old exchanges, ship to shore)

Telex is not dead yet, just almost.

Re:Who can remember 50bps Telex (2, Informative)

enronman (664750) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823703)

Telex still exists and is used. I know that you can STILL send ExxonMobil a Telex, and they still send them out to get messages to some parts of the world. I got a telex as recently as '99.

Fax-Spam already illegal here (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823614)

You can be fined ( rather large fine ) for sending spam faxes here in my area.

It was passed long ago, since the person receiving the fax has to pay for it...

( much as we have to do for e-spam too , i know THEY are not paying for my bandwidth or storage or time.. )

Why I use fax (2, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823619)

I find that you get a much faster response to a fax than to any other form of communication.

It is much harder to ignore a fax sitting on your desk than it is to pretend that the email got lost in the spam filter, or the letter got lost in the post, or to sit for hours waiting for them to answer the voice telephone.

Fax spam can be a problem in the UK. Fortunately, my home fax machine isn't on any of the spammers lists, but at work we get about 15 spams per day, even although they are illegal.

If work was a Ltd company rather than a partnership then it would be legal to send them unless you put your number on the "do not fax" list (Fax Preference Service). A lot of spammers will stop if you put it on that list, but there are others who use the FPS as a list of confirmed working fax machines, and spam their own "Do not fax" services to that list. They generally want about GBP5.00 for you to be placed on the list.

If you try complaining about it, nobody wants to know.

Fax.com? Qualcomm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823657)

I thought fax.com was the place run by Qualcomm as the email-to-fax gateway and such. I didn't know qualcomm were into spamming. Learn something new every day I guess.

Calculators are another example... (3, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 10 years ago | (#7823661)

...despite the fact that every computer I've used since 1984 had a built-in "desk calculator" accessory (and friends who used SideKick have had one even longer), I have a pocket calculator in my desk drawer at home... and at work... and my wife has one on her desk... and so does just about everyone else I know.

I use several different versions of Windows at work (XP, Win2K, NT 4.0, and 98) and I can pull the calculator out of my desk drawer in less time than it takes to figure out where in the start menu they've put the calculator in THIS version of Windows.

In the old Mac OS the calculator was under the Apple menu, but it isn't any more and if I'm away from my own Mac it takes less time to pull out a calculator than to bring up a new Finder window, select Applications, select Utilities, discover that the Calculator isn't a Utility, find it in Applications, drag it to the taskbar--oops, excuse me, Dock so I can find it again...

And the real-world calculator always has the buttons in the right places (regardless of what keyboard I'm using or whether NumLock is on)--and is, as far as I know, free from arithmetic or roundoff bugs.

Oh, and it doesn't take any time to boot. And it runs for YEARS and YEARS on a watch battery (my PDA only gets six months on a set of AA's).

push-button topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7823687)

well, if this ain't a push-button topic!
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