Fax modems



  • Is anyone else bothered that laptops (and desktop mobos) are still built and sold with a fax modem?

    I have an Acer Aspire*, and while it's not the latest, state-of-the-art thing in the market, it was already built in an era when the youth wouldn't know what a fax is if you asked them on the streets.

    So I'd really appreciate if the resources that went into putting fax devices into my motherboards were actually used for more useful stuff, like, I don't know, maybe a fingerprint authentication system.

    *A fax modem and a blu ray drive in the same machine, just to make this a bigger WTF.



  • I haven't seen a laptop with a modem for ages. It actually bothers me that my Dell work laptop has a place to put a modem, if you order one. Even though it has no modem.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]and desktop mobos[/quote]

    [citation needed]

     

    At any rate, a modern modem is a 10 cent port and a single 10 cent chip, plus maybe 10 cents in ancillary components taking up a grand total of 1 square inch of PCB. For 30 cents a unit, they don't cost much to make and you can charge them as a $10 extra. The answer? Profit. So every in-stock model will have one.

     

     



  • @Weng said:

     [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]and desktop mobos

    [citation needed]

    [/quote]

    Just check your own. I have two desktops at home, and there are over 200 just in the labs at the college I go to, most purchased last year, and all of them have an onboard fax modem.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]
    Just check your own. I have two desktops at home, and there are over 200 just in the labs at the college I go to, most purchased last year, and all of them have an onboard fax modem.[/quote] Not on a single enthusiast-grade motherboard for ten+ years. Nor any Dell I've ever supported (GX150 and up), nor on current-production Dells (dropped an IM to a buddy who just took a shipment of 300 new Optiplexes yesterday). Nor, in fact, on any computer of any description when I worked in electronics recycling. I can count the number of onboard modems that weren't in laptops that I saw in that entire time on one hand (if memory serves, they were all early-production PeoplePC and eMachines) - out of tens of thousands of computers of every description. What sort of bullshit thirdworld desktops are you using?



  •  raises hand

    My desktop doesn't, but my 2009 laptop does. I think the rationale is, for a laptop anyway, that there are still places in the world that don't have broadband, and if you find yourself in these sort of places, you could always plug yourself into dialup like in the old days.

    Desktops, not so much. My 2008 desktop's case does, however, have a slot for a floppy drive. I rigged it to hold an extra internal hard drive, though, since the mount form factor was close enough.



  • [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]Is anyone else bothered that laptops (and desktop mobos) are still built and sold with a fax modem?[/quote]No.

    It's there, it probably cost me all of $1, and it doesn't hurt me. Why should I care?
    [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]So I'd really appreciate if the resources that went into putting fax devices into my motherboards were actually used for more useful stuff, like, I don't know, maybe a fingerprint authentication system.[/quote]My laptop also has this. I think it costed me an extra $20. So obviously it's less of an issue regarding space and more of an issue of the manufacturer wanting to put it in or not.



  • Funny, just a week ago, i was wishing i had a computer that still had a modem so i could send a fax. Then i realized that i don't have a phone line, even if i did have the modem, so i walked to kinkos. None of the free "internet fax" services i found online appealed to me. Now i need to send another fax this week, guess its another walk to kinkos :(



  • @Reynoldsjt said:

    Funny, just a week ago, i was wishing i had a computer that still had a modem so i could send a fax. Then i realized that i don't have a phone line, even if i did have the modem, so i walked to kinkos. None of the free "internet fax" services i found online appealed to me. Now i need to send another fax this week, guess its another walk to kinkos :(

    Who is this person or company that you have to send a fax to? Can't you send them your stuff via email?



  • Bureaucracy likes faxes. Because of that, we just activated a fifth one where I work. Good that we have that 8-analog-port expansion card in our IP PBX.

    And I am pretty sure most of our Dell laptops (D6x0, E4xxx, E5xxx) was ordered with modems. I don't remember about HP laptops. None on deskop PCs, tho, no matter what brand.



  • [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]

    Who is this person or company that you have to send a fax to? Can't you send them your stuff via email?[/quote] You would be surprised.  Documents sent by fax are of such shitty unreadable quality I can't imagine why people continue to use them and yet, for some strange reason, there still seems to be a lot of companies/people who are stuck on the idea of faxes and completely unwilling to consider any alternatives.  Here is an actual conversation I had a few years ago:

    Them:   Fax me a copy of the document
    Me:       I don't have a fax machine.
    Them:   I need you to fax me a copy of the document
    Me:       Do you have an e-mail address?
    Them:   Yes.
    Me:       Great!!  Give me your e-mail address.  I will scan the document and e-mail it to you.
    Them:   You have to fax it to me.
    Me.       I don't have a fax machine.  Why can't I e-mail it to you?
    Them:   You have to fax it to me.

    Me:  

     



  • @El_Heffe said:

    Documents sent by fax are of such shitty unreadable quality I can't imagine why people continue to use them and yet, for some strange reason, there still seems to be a lot of companies/people who are stuck on the idea of faxes and completely unwilling to consider any alternatives

    I think it's often a combination of several factors. Many people / offices might still have fax machines around, but not a scanner. So sending a signed document, faxes are the only option they have. There's also the issue that in some ways, a fax is more secure than an unencrypted email or document (which most people probably wouldn't know how to do). And faxes have been around for a long time, so many people are just used to them.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @boomzilla said:

    There's also the issue that in some ways, a fax is more secure than an unencrypted email or document (which most people probably wouldn't know how to do)
    What? A fax and an email can both be intercepted only by someone with the appropriate equipment, hooked into any piece of telecom equipment on the path between the two parties. If you want to look at it this way, the email is MORE secure, because the window of opportunity to capture it in flight is IMMENSELY shorter and it's buried in other traffic the whole time, whereas the fax is, for at least part of its run, on dedicated lines.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    Here is an actual conversation I had a few years ago:

    Them:   Fax me a copy of the document
    Me:       I don't have a fax machine.
    Them:   I need you to fax me a copy of the document
    Me:       Do you have an e-mail address?
    Them:   Yes.
    Me:       Great!!  Give me your e-mail address.  I will scan the document and e-mail it to you.
    Them:   You have to fax it to me.
    Me.       I don't have a fax machine.  Why can't I e-mail it to you?
    Them:   You have to fax it to me.

    Me:  

     

    Send someone a clear, easily printable copy by email? Fie!
    The only thing that would make your story more exacerbating would be if the faxes went to his/her email.
    As for who i had to send the fax to, the city of Philadelphia.



  • @Weng said:

    A fax and an email can both be intercepted only by someone with the appropriate equipment, hooked into any piece of telecom equipment on the path between the two parties. If you want to look at it this way, the email is MORE secure, because the window of opportunity to capture it in flight is IMMENSELY shorter and it's buried in other traffic the whole time, whereas the fax is, for at least part of its run, on dedicated lines.

    Except that with an email, you now have multiple copies of the document sitting around, likely including on the recipient's and sender's PCs. Now one of them goes missing (i.e., stolen), and the document is out there. Which is one reason why companies have all sorts of policies about stuff like having SSNs and credit cards stored on a machine.

    I'm not saying an email is like posting a public notice or anything, but in some ways it's a lot easier to secure a single sheet of paper than the bits that have been copied all over the place.



  • @boomzilla said:

    Except that with an email, you now have multiple copies of the document sitting around, likely including on the recipient's and sender's PCs. Now one of them goes missing (i.e., stolen), and the document is out there. Which is one reason why companies have all sorts of policies about stuff like having SSNs and credit cards stored on a machine.

    Because when you fax a document, the sender's copy spontaneously combusts! I mean, don't you know how fax machines work?

    Slightly more seriously, at least the PC's copy of the document is secured by a password on both ends. The loose sheet of paper sitting on the desk, or sitting forgotten in the scanner tray, can be read by anybody with no authentication.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Slightly more seriously, at least the PC's copy of the document is secured by a password on both ends.

    Not necessarily. And probably not typically. How many people encrypt their disk? Obviously, I'm not saying that PCs are never secure, or always less secure. But it's also hard to read a piece of paper through a PC vulnerability. These disclosure stories about stolen SSNs and CC#s are not about filing cabinets walking off.

    In any case, I'm not advocating that no one use computers. I'm just saying that an attitude like, "There's never any reason to evar use a fax!" is pretty parochial.



  • @boomzilla said:

    In any case, I'm not advocating that no one use computers. I'm just saying that an attitude like, "There's never any reason to evar use a fax!" is pretty parochial.

    In a world where 9 out of 10 times, the faxing device and receiving device are both computers... there's never any reason to use evar use a fax.

    The only "fax machines" in my office are those big copiers, which are computers. When they receive faxes, they don't print them out, they email them to the recipient. To send a fax out, you can either email/"print to" the machine, or scan a document on its glass. If you email it, no paper copy ever exists, so every copy of the document is protected by at minimum a network login.

    I wager dollars-to-donuts that the vast majority of offices are in the same situation... when's the last time you saw a fax machine that wasn't a computer?

    (And before someone snarks, to distinguish between "PC computer" and "multifunction copier computer" is retarded. They're both fucking computers. If anything the copier is probably less secure.)



  • @blakeyrat said:

    In a world where 9 out of 10 times, the faxing device and receiving device are both computers... there's never any reason to use evar use a fax.

    Maybe, but I'll bet you we don't live in that world.

    @blakeyrat said:

    The only "fax machines" in my office are those big copiers, which are computers. When they receive faxes, they don't print them out, they email them to the recipient. To send a fax out, you can either email the machine, or scan a document on its glass. If you email it, no paper copy ever exists, so every copy of the document is protected by at minimum a network login.


    Like I said: parochial.

    @blakeyrat said:

    I wager dollars-to-donuts that the vast majority of offices are in the same situation... when's the last time you saw a fax machine that wasn't a computer?


    All the time. There's one right around the corner from my office.



  • @boomzilla said:

    Like I said: parochial.

    You're not going to rest until I look up that word, are you!

    @boomzilla said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    I wager dollars-to-donuts that the vast majority of offices are in the same situation... when's the last time you saw a fax machine that wasn't a computer?


    All the time. There's one right around the corner from my office.

    Where do you work?

    Seriously, you guys are idiots. Call your copier dealer and price out a multifunction. I can guarantee it'll be tons cheaper than maintaining a separate fax, and probably be a hell of a lot more useful as well. (For example, it can email faxes to the recipients directly.) There's no good reason to have a stand-alone copier and a stand-alone fax, except throwing money down the shitter.

    So I guess it's pretty "relating to a church parish" of me to assume that companies are run by sane people making sane decisions, and not dumbshits who have been renewing their fax machine's service plan for the last 25 years out of habit.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Seriously, you guys are idiots. Call your copier dealer and price out a multifunction. I can guarantee it'll be tons cheaper than maintaining a separate fax, and probably be a hell of a lot more useful as well. (For example, it can email faxes to the recipients directly.) There's no good reason to have a stand-alone copier and a stand-alone fax, except throwing money down the shitter.

    I have no idea how all that stuff is paid for. There's actually a Xerox workcenter or whatever that does scanning / copying / printing / emails. I don't know if it's set up to fax, but it wouldn't surprise me. Most floors are set up that way. Either way, a device that sends faxes is still different from a computer emailing something from a security / sensitive information standpoint.

    @blakeyrat said:

    So I guess it's pretty "relating to a church parish" of me to assume that companies are run by sane people making sane decisions, and not dumbshits who have been renewing their fax machine's service plan for the last 25 years out of habit.

    If that's what you got out of it, then I won't disagree with it. I'll just let you keep reading the other definitions of the word until you get it.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    ... there's never any reason to use evar use a fax.

    ... when's the last time you saw a fax machine that wasn't a computer?
    We have some of the big copier/printer things but I don't know if they have fax capability.  At least I've never seen them used that way.   But we do have a several regular stand-alone fax machines.  Why?  Because we've always had them.  And they are relatively cheap.  And when one breaks, someone in the area using that fax machine uses their corporate Amex card to order a new one from whoever we buy office supplies from.  And nobody seems to notice that we are wasting a lot money buying shitty fax machines every year.  And yes this is incredibly stupid.

     



  • Fax Off And Die?



  • @Scarlet Manuka said:

    Fax Off And Die?
    There you go.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I wager dollars-to-donuts that the vast majority of offices are in the same situation... when's the last time you saw a fax machine that wasn't a computer?
     

    Yep same here. The "fax machine" is also the printer for printing onto printable CD/DVDs and the "photocopier".

    Personally I used to have a fax-to-email and email-to-fax service. It was cheaper than renting a phone line, let alone buying/leasing a machine and all its running costs, but I didn't send or receive a lot of faxes.

    To send a fax one just emailed a secret email address and it would fax the attachment. PDF worked the best but it accepted a range of formats.

    To receive a fax I just got an email with a PDF. The sender couldn't have known any different (except the fact the number was in a different city from my business at the time).

    I still have some "new" PCI fax/modems I bought with the intention of reselling (I bought about 10 in 2005-6 and only have two left so there was a market) since I was a mobile PC support business it was handy having some stock of things like this.



  • If you can't connect to the internet, you won't have anything to fax anyway.

    If you can connect to the internet, you don't need your own fax machine.

    It's a WTF to include them on portable devices.  Especially with Unified Messaging in Exchange + Fax Services in Windows Server.



  • @hoodaticus said:

    It's a WTF to include them on portable devices.  Especially with Unified Messaging in Exchange + Fax Services in Windows Server.
     

    So are you complaining about the fax part of a modem, rather than the modem itself? There's no cost difference including fax if you have a dialup modem, to talk fax it's all in the firmware/software. It's almost like saying it's a WTF that your ethernet port can still run at 10mbps when gigabit is the norm. Or that my new 40 inch TV can still display an analogue signal.

    Dialup modems can still be useful in mobile devices, say you are out bush and there's no wifi or 3G reception. I know my ADSL provider gives me a "free" dialup account - that I haven't used in about 4 years. One advantage in Australia is the 0198 data numbers are a local call cost from everywhere.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.