Tech Tip: Eliminate faxes with a fax to email service

#TechTip: reduce the amount of wasted fax paper by converting over to a fax to email service. Easy to delete junk faxes. Saves paper too.

Fax machines are that one technology that sticks around despite having so many better solutions.  Ask a law office or a doctors office to get rid of their fax machine and they would just laugh.  While revolutionary at the time, the need for fax machines have waned over the last decade while scanners and email have taken over document transmission.  Fax quality is poor compared to other technology.  You can actually get a better quality document taking a photograph of your document with your camera phone and emailing it.  Yet despite this fax machines still remain a requirement for many businesses. 

If you accept the need to receive faxes bit hate the idea of a fax machine or dedicated phone line then its time go consider a fax to email service.  It provides the benefits of a fax line for receiving faxes without the hassle of a fax machine. 

How does it work?

You would still have a phone number dedicated for faxes but when a fax comes in the call is routed to a computer that converts the fax into a PDF and then emails it to you.  Doing this not only saves the hassle of a fax machine bit also all the paper associated with it.  Deleting a junk email is a lot easier than having a junk fax print and then have to be recycled. 

Even though you will have a dedicated fax number you don’t need an additional fax line.  There are many service available that will run the solution for you.  There is no additional equipment needed to be purchased for incoming faxes, although an investment in a modern phone system can be configured to handle faxes through your primary phone line.

If you also need to send a fax you have a couple of options.  Some services will allow you to print a PDF to their system and have them fax on your behalf.  Other solutions include using your existing analog phone line and a computer with modem plugged in sending the fax.  For those that do require a fax machine do sending, faxing with a voice over internet connection is possible to avoid the extra phone line costs, but tends not to be as reliable. 

The best solution is to convert over to non fax technology , but if you still require faxes for your business, consider these options to reduce your costs and frustrations.

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Tech Tip: Remote Desktop access on the Go

Tech Tip: control your desktop computer from anywhere using remote desktop software. Even from your Smartphone or Tablet

Desktop computers may be seeing a decrease in sales and adoption, but they’re not completely dead yet.  In fact, Desktop computers still can do things that Tablets or even Laptops can’t really do.  The beauty of desktop computers is their ability to be upgraded, run power applications (Such as heavy graphics processing programs) or as servers that require a constant connection to the network and always powered on.

Despite how important these tools can be, the lack of mobility of a desktop computer is a major obstacle in an era of constant mobility.  The solution to this is a Remote Desktop application.

What is a Remote Desktop?

Quite simply, a Remote desktop application allows you to control your desktop computer using another computer or mobile device.  Your view would be the same as if you were sitting in front of your desktop computer, but accessible on your laptop, tablet or smartphone.  The trick is the video connection, as well as all the inputs for keyboard and pointing device are transferred over a network connection instead of through the cables that plug into your computer directly.  By giving you full control of your computer you are able to work on it as if you were sitting in front of it.

How do you connect?

There are a number of applications that you can use to connect.  One of the most popular is a program called TeamViewer.  While running in the background on your desktop, it awaits a remote connection to activate.  By entering the unique ID and password provided, you can use another computer to log on and take control.  TeamViewer works on PCs, Macs, Linux, and many mobile devices through apps.

LogMeIn is another solution I have used in the past and have been quite happy with.  LogMeIn clients log on to their website and have access to all the computers they have registered to their account.  Through LogMeIn, you can see if a computer is online before attempting to connect, which is helpful if you are doing remote support for someone.

While these are not the only remote desktop solutions available, these are the two I have used the most and I find work well for individuals and small business owners.

Both programs offer many other features than just remote desktop, such as VPN service and online meetings, so I encourage you to check them out to see what other solutions there are.  I will write about other features in future Tech Tip posts.