Sunday, May 23, 2010

Just the Fax

As part of the job hunt I recently had to print, sign and scan a document to either fax or email back to the potential employer. The woman who owns Pica Type, a computer dealer we're friendly with said "no problem" that she would be happy to do it for me.

But she also gave Leena a brochure of HP printers and scanners and things with a recommendation that if we want one, a low-end Deskjet with printing, scanning, faxing and copying would suit our home needs. It probably will, although we'd have to jump through some nasty hoops to get ISD in order to send faxes out-of-station...

But it got me remembering my first job at Maynard Rigby and Associates, back in 1992-1993. As the junior member, I was given responsibility for all the faxing the company did. The boss, to save money, didn't buy a fax machine. It was a spare computer with a scanner, modem and fax software. And a pain in the arse...

In order to send a fax I had to:
  1. Print the document the sender gave me.
  2. Scan each page, one-by-one, plus a handwritten cover sheet.
  3. Convert each page, one-by-one from the scan software's format to the fax software's format using some utility that only did one document at a time.
  4. Rename each page's file to the fax software's naming convention.
  5. Create a fax job in the fax program, specifying the base filename of the set of image files.
  6. Get everyone to not use that phone line.
  7. Hit a "fax" button in the fax software.
  8. Repeat steps 6 & 7 until the blasted thing was successful.
Very inefficient. Then again, as the most junior, cheapest and most technically skilled person in the office, it was less inefficient for me to do it than anyone else.

At my second job we had a real fax machine, the first one I ever used and what a complete luxury that was!

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