Fax Machine: RIP, good and faithful servant

Posted on by Mike Evans

Goodbye fax, it was nice knowing you. I cannot remember when I last had to send or receive a fax, so I'm opting out of this bit of 20th-century technology.

Two years ago I had my dedicated fax line disconnected and pensioned off the old HP all-in-one. But withdrawal set in and I signed up for the admirable MyFax service "just in case". For £5 a month I got a dedicated fax number and the ability to receive and send faxes  without the inconvenience of telephone lines and paper-handling contraptions. After paying MyFax over £100 and neither receiving nor sending a fax, it is time to quit.

Fax was an important means of communication in my business and reigned supreme until the mid-90s when email began to take over for all non-secure communication. But back in the mid seventies I was unaware of the potential impact of a machine that could transmit text and pictures.

One evening I was vexed to find one of my major competitors as large as life on a BBC current affairs television programme with a new-fangled device he was promoting. This early evening daily spot was to die for at the time and there was my hated colleague stealing the limelight with something new and interesting.

This wonder was in twin form -- one enormous electronic box sitting in the London studio and the other in Cardiff. My bête noir was confidently feeding a sheet of paper into the Cardiff-based box while the nation waited for a "facsimile" to appear out of the similar box in London. Nothing came, zilch, massive failure and I witnessed a red-faced competitor. To my eternal shame I  felt extreme Schadenfreude, but at least I was in at the birth.

Now I am in at the end, just as I was in Berlin on November 9, 1989 when the Wall fell. End of an era. And RIP, fax machine. You helped bring down Communism by your ability to transmit illicit truth; you deserve peace.

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