Some technologies never die

Do you have a fax machine at home?

Of course not (I hear some of you thinking). What a silly question?

Are you sure?

Well, yes–I mean, I’d know if I had some bulky old machine attached to a phone line and using roll paper, wouldn’t I?

OK, here’s a related question: Do you have a dial-up modem?

An equally absurd question. Next you’ll be asking whether I have a wire recorder…

One more question: Do you have a multifunction printer (all-in-one or copier/printer combo)?

If the answer to that one’s no, then never mind: We won’t take this any further.

But if the answer to that one is yes, then don’t be surprised if the answer to the other two “Do you have” questions is also Yes.

If you have a numeric keypad on the multifunction printer, I’d almost bet on it–and there’s a decent chance it’s true even if you don’t.

Go look at the printer. Look at the connection area(s). See one with a little phone icon?

Guess what? You do have a dial-up modem…although you can probably only use it to send or receive fax.

Check your instruction manual (if you can find it). Or just look at the front panel for a phone icon. Or, what the heck, open the printer-apps launcher. Don’t be surprised if there’s a fax option lurking in there somewhere.

All you need to do is disconnect a landline phone (if you have any landline phones) at the phone, reconnect that cable to the multifunction printer, and, lo and behold, you have a fax machine.

(The same discussion applies to libraries that believe they stopped dealing with fax some years back…)

And sometimes it’s convenient

Sure, it’s faster to “sign” a PDF and send it back or, at worst, print something out, fill it in and sign it, scan it to PDF and attach it to email.

But some institutions–financial ones, for example–won’t accept that route. They want USMail or fax.

I speak from experience. Not only within this millennium, but within this month.

[The first time I really could use a fax, I knew I had the fax–but assumed I didn’t have a dial-up modem. I was wrong.]

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