How to Send a Fax When You Don’t Have a Fax Machine

http://How to Send a Fax When You Don’t Have a Fax Machine

This is not a reprint of an article from 1992. (And no, next week I will not be reviewing floppy disks.)

It’s 2017 and faxing is still very much a thing. As crazy as it sounds, it’s easy to understand why. If you’ve got confidential documents in your email inbox, one wrong click could send them to the bad guys. It’s a key reason many financial, real estate, health-care and legal firms still require you to fax important forms.

When my financial adviser insisted I fax a document a few weeks ago, I asked if he could also recommend a good pager. Then I explored my best faxing options, none of which involved getting a fax line, making a toner-cartridge mess or listening to earsplitting digital noises.

Use a Fax App or Website

Rather than use old-school facsimile transmission over phone lines, fax apps and websites send your messages and documents via the internet. After you input your preferred ZIP Code, these services assign you a fax number so you can send and receive faxes via a website, mobile app or even email.

They all work similarly: Input your recipient’s fax number and name, write a cover sheet then upload your scanned document. Some even allow you to sign right in the app and fax a document straight back.

Among the four I checked out, I liked eFax and HelloFax the best. eFax has web, iOS and Android apps, though it charges a hefty monthly rate starting at $17.

HelloFax doesn’t have a mobile app, but it does offer a simpler web interface, five free trial faxes and, for sending faxes, a pay-as-needed option—99 cents for faxes up to 10 pages. (If you go over 10, each additional page will cost 20 cents.) If you want to receive faxes, you’d have to sign up for a plan starting at $10 a month.

Use Someone Else’s Machine

The next option is to track down an actual fax machine. See if your office has one and ask if you’re allowed to use it. If not, head to your local FedEx Office, Staples or another local shipping store.

Not all FedEx and Staples locations will charge the same amount. At a FedEx in New York City, it cost me $1.89 to send the first page and $1 for subsequent pages to a local number. It cost $2.95 a page to send to a long-distance number. At a FedEx in New Jersey, it cost $2.49 a page to send to a long-distance number. (At those rates, the fax machine itself was probably paid off in a week!)

Staples in NYC was a little better: $1.50 per page, no matter where in the U.S. you’re sending it.

In her weekly “You Got This” video series, Joanna offers quick mobile tips meant to be watched right on your phone. Watch more of her “You Got This” videos here.

Write to Joanna Stern at joanna.stern@wsj.com

 

Are Students Prepared for a Career in Computers?

AlexanderLakhanpalLeave it to Google to discover that American schools are not preparing young students for their future – a future in which many of them will be looking for jobs in a computer-related field.

Wired magazine ran a disheartening piece that looked at the seeming lack of awareness schools have regarding the modern job landscape. Schools in the US have apparently decided that there just isn’t the demand for computer science. This despite Gallup polls showing the opposite, that parents want their kids to learn to code, to program, starting at a young age. In a poll organized by Google, less than 50% of school leaders reported that their school boards want computer science education. How could this be true??

Start Them Early

Early exposure is critical in beginning to develop skills that will translate into careers. Students who took computer classes were more inclined to be interested in computer science in college. This is something we should be aiming for – jobs in computing are growing at double the rate of other jobs. In five years, there will be one million NEW computer science jobs created. Will American graduates have the skills to fill them all?

What’s Stopping Us?

It seems that in-fighting and bickering is getting in the way from what the data is telling us – that putting young students on a path of computer education is critical for their careers. That Americans want coding in the classroom.

If school administrators are right, and there isn’t enough money to support these programs – give them more! If teachers and students alike don’t have time because of all the standardized testing that has to be prepped – change the way that works! And if there aren’t enough qualified teachers to administer the curriculum, then jumpstarting a computer education initiative is more imperative than the article even lets on.

Google’s RISE Grants Seek to Change These Stats

Say what you will about Google, but the work they’re doing here is hugely beneficial to the country. Their RISE program gives awards in the forms of grants to groups that promote computer science literacy around the world, with a strong focus on women the poor, and minorities. With only half of principals reporting that their schools offer computer science classes at all, this is obviously a needed program.

According to program manager Hai Hong of Google’s K-12 education outreach,“If we’re trying to address existing disparities and access, we need the rigorous research to understand what the landscape of computer science even looks like.”