Paul Venezia of InfoWorld asks why the fax machine refuses to die. In what is a bit of a rant rather than a reasoned analysis, Venezia advises:
Consider what a fax machine actually is: a little device with a sheet feeder, a terrible scanning element, and an ancient modem. Most faxes run at 14,400bps. That’s just over 1KB per second — and people are still using faxes to send 52 poorly scanned pages of some contract to one another. Over analog phone lines. Sometimes while paying long-distance charges! The mind boggles.
A few reasons come to mind as to why some people still fax. One is that despite an economy that whips up lust for the latest tech gadget, we have a strong conservative bent when it comes to technology (as with many other aspects of our lives). After all, we’re still using internal combustion engines in our automobiles and talking on telephones connected together with wires. And fax machines can claim a long pedigree — and a Scotsman at the source. Evidently one Alexander Bain in 1843 patented:
improvements in producing and regulating electric currents and improvements in timepieces and in electric printing and signal telegraphs
Another reason, one said to be favoured by lawyers and doctors, has to do with the dubious understanding that a faxed document, particularly a signed faxed document, has greater authenticity in the eyes of a court than an emailed document.
A discussion on MetaFilter raises a number of other reasons why we still cling to faxes: it’s easier to fax than to scan and email an attachment; phone lines are more secure than the internet; using phone lines may be cheaper in some circumstances; and fax machines kick out a certificate of delivery.
So, do you still fax? And if so, why?