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Faxing for $2.50 per month

I barely ever send a fax. Ironically, I’m in an office building now with no analog phone lines available, so I’m setting up lots of VOIP stuff with Asterisk/Trixbox and the vendors want forms faxed to them. Ironic, since FAX is one of those things that VOIP vendors run away from scared when asked. I understand it’s possible with the ulaw codec and a sprinkling of luck, and I’m sure I’ll tackle it someday, but I needed to send some faxes, not tackle something.

I used to have an eFax account for years, until one day I didn’t. I did the usual round of searching, reading message boards, and examining TOS statements, and ultimately found TrustFax from Comodo Group. I used to use Comodo Group for my SSL needs until their prices skyrocketed. Besides the price, they were good to work with.

So, here’s the deal: for $30 upfront ($2.50 a month) you get 150 FAX pages, whichever direction you want. You get a toll-free number, a web interface, an e-mail interface (an API of sorts) and, they claim, no junk faxes.

I’m a bit skeptical about the last bit, but maybe because it’s a toll-free number that has something to do with it. I dunno. I’ll be happy if it’s true. At twenty cents a page, I’m going to complain if it’s not.

So, yeah, per-page this is expensive. But it’s their cheapest plan and run by a decent company, so if it works, 150 pages is more FAX than I’ve ever sent in my life, so it’ll be plenty.

And I just sent two faxes off without a hitch. OK, there was a hitch. My nice (hardware-wise) Canon LIDE-30 scanner has no Intel Mac drivers. Canon has decided they won’t support Intel Macs on this hardware because it’s too old to write new drivers for, even though they sold it since the Intel transition and fully support it under Vista. Anyway, xsane under linux (running under VMWare, even) saw it just fine, and I scanned it to PDF (run the pdf through pdf2ps inputfile.pdf - | ps2pdf - finalfilename.pdf to make Preview see it OK.)

When I’m in the mood to tackle something I’ll figure out FAX over VOIP – I’ve got a year to worry about it, though. Sometime during that year I’ll also find a new scanner – not made by Canon.