Tuesday, March 11, 2008


First off, I would like to thank Ronan Duff for piping the accidentally misspelt URL of Maritzburgs' Blog back to our www.pmbblog.co.za . So drop by and set yourself up on our Maritzburg blog spot.

But if blogging isn’t your scene, maybe faxing is? Read on as I’m about to demystify how to receive and send faxes from your computer.

Before you sign up for a quick and free fax number via some service provider advertising this service, consider if you will need to send faxes, too, or if being able to receive faxes is good enough. Choosing your fax service provider depends on this decision as not all service providers also accommodate the sending of faxes from your PC. Here’s the lowdown:

It is easy to set yourself up with a quick fax number to which you can receive faxes. Incoming faxes will come through on your email and it is a free service which many service providers offer, including Postnet. Surf to www.postnet.co.za and click on their Fax2Email icon and choose a Postnet outlet near you. Then fill in your details, wait for the activation email to come through to you and click on the activation link. You will now already have an 086 fax number allocated to you, but Postnet still needs to set the 086 number up to pipe any incoming faxes to your email provided. They say it takes about 2 hours before it’s activated. When a fax comes through to you, you will see it as an email in your Inbox with either a tiff file (Tagged Image File Format) or an Adobe Acrobat Reader .pdf attachment.

If you need to send faxes from the comfort of your computer, here are further options:

If you still have a dial-up modem, and Windows XP or younger, you can send faxes from your computer using “Windows Faxing”, a facility which Windows provides, but which can be tricky to set up.

It involves adding the Windows Component ‘Fax Services’ in the Control Panel. The Windows Component Wizard should be able to set up the rest and you will be able to send a fax by pretending to “print” and instead of using a physical printer, use the Fax option. Read more about this on the Microsoft website by searching for “Faxing” when you’re at www.microsoft.com .

If you have moved onto ADSL, please note that an ADSL router cannot be used for faxing as it is a router, not a modem. I asked Des Ramsay of SAI for a technical explanation: “ADSL modems do not dial into POP's like your old dial up modem does. This time an ADSL modem works like an ADSL router, but connects to a DSLAM port. You can't put a telephone number into a ADSL modem, if that makes sense.” Clear as mud to me, but what I will remember is that if I had an old dial-up modem still connected to my computer, I could plug it into the phone line and use it to fax, even while using the ADSL router to surf the net and get my email.

However, remember that sending faxes this way incurs a cost as it is essentially a phone call you are making.

But, at a reasonable price, you could circumvent this roundabout way of faxing and faffing by asking your Internet Service Provider for a solution.

I asked SAI and they offer VAX Services. SAI, like Postnet, are able to supply you with a free 086 fax number which allows you to receive faxes. The good news is that even if you are not an SAI client, you can get your free fax number from them.

Should you require to send faxes, you can then ask SAI to install VAX Services for you, which enables you to use your email to send faxes. These sent faxes incur a cost, and a monthly premium of R35 covers this service. If faxes sent for the month exceed R35, the cost jumps to R70. Speak to them on 0861 33 22 11 or email them at freevax@sai.co.za.

Once Vax Service is installed, a fax would be sent from your email program with the recipient address showing the fax number like this: 27865183606@vax.co.za

Unused 086 fax numbers are recycled after three to six months, so if you rush out to get one just for fun, use it or loose it, dears. They are also not transferable between service providers. This is the geek faxing out the signal. Roger Roger.

Check out the Witness Geek blogspot on www.witnessgeek.blogspot.com or visit www.pmbblog.co.za

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