Sunday, July 12, 2009

Faxing made difficult...

I've got this online fax facility by signing up with Pfingo.com a Singaporean enterprise linked with Starhub. It is good in that you do not need to have a fax machine to fax out documents and to receive faxes. But there are a couple of short-comings associated with this facility. For one thing, you need to convert all the documents that you want to fax out to .pdf format. One easy way I know to convert documents to .pdf is to scan the documents using and Epson scanner and save the scanned files as .pdf files. Whether this works for other scanners, I would not know. But the thing is that using this method, the .pdf files are pretty large and faxing these out takes a very long time. I discovered that saving the scanned files in .jpg format reduces the file size considerably. These .jpg files can then be assembled as an open office document and exported as a .pdf file. These .pdf files are very much smaller than the ones created by the scanner software.

Besides the bother of having to convert files to .pdf files, Pfingo also has an interface that takes getting used to. When faxes are sent successfully, they are put into a "sent" box and if the fax connection fails and the faxes are not sent out they go into a "out" and they are labelled "failed" Well, I did not realise this at first and kept going to my "out" box to see if the faxes had been sent. The failed ones were there but the successfully sent ones were not. So what I did was to send the faxes out again. On one occasion when I had an urgent fax to send to Australia, I sent it out 5 times before realising that all had gone through. What a nuisance for the receiver.

I don't think that the fault is entirely mine because if one opens the "out" box, the list of failed connections appear and below this you will find the following explanation:

SENT - The Fax was sent successfully to the destination Fax No.PENDING - The Fax is in the process of being sent to the destination Fax No.SENDING - The Fax is being transmitted. RETRY - The destination could not be reached. System will try to send the Fax again. FAILED - The Fax could not be sent. Please try again later. No charges have been incurred. CANCELLED - The Fax send has been cancelled. You may be billed for any part transmitted. RECEIVED - Retrieve your fax at pfingoMAIL. Click here

Naturally a novice would expect that the labels, sent, retry, cancelled, received, etc to be found in the same "out" box. But alas, not so....the "out" seems to have only one label and that is "failed".


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