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Friday, August 12, 2016

Just The Fax, Ma’am

Bee-boooong-booooooonnnn - that’s the quaint, antiquated sound of a fax machine preparing itself to transmit a document from one place to another fax.

The sound is actually the initial transmissions sent by the facsimile machine to: establish audio gain; stabilize the clocks; set the transfer rate; and to begin negotiating the protocol as to who starts the dialog. Once the modems are properly connected, those sounds cease, and the modem tones standard for the negotiated speed of transmission (found HERE - I'm smart, but I don't squat about electronics.)
I’ve had to use a fax machine this year. Once. One last year, too. I could have waited until I got home and simply scanned the document and the e-mailed it - but I saw the fax machine and thought…. what the heck… let’s see if this thing still goes where it is supposed to go to.

It is, after all, outdated technology.  Just don’t tell that to Japan.

While my printer/scanner at home also contains the ability to send documents by fax, it is a completely digital arrangement on my end that will shoot out a printed paper copy on the receiving end. I have high-tech, out-dated technology. I’ve never had the opportunity to use it. Probably never will. But I have it.

For Japan… Japanese folks like to use the fax machine. It’s not a faux pas!


Per aged capita, Japan is the No. 1 utilizer of the fax machine. But how the fug would anyone know that?

I mean if 10 people used a fax machine in Vatican City, they might be No. 1. Holy Fax Machine, Batman!

Anyhow, the key was me writing “aged”. Ya can’t even call them grey-hairs, because, who knows if they are going grey! Atop my thinning black locks is hair dye to cover over the grey… and I’m no senior citizen. I’m no spring chicken, but I can still crow. Here, listen: Bee-boooong-booooooonnnn!

Musta had something stuck in my throat. I do, but at least it’s not cancer.

Anyhow, since Japan has waaaaaaaay more old people than young… and they prefer the older technology, fax machines are used a lot in Japan.

Actually… if you’ve ever been in a Japanese office building, they really, really, really, really like paper (like a fax) that they can hole punch and then place into a binder held together by string they tie up themselves. I’m not kidding. Not even duo-tang folders or three-ring binders… they have them, but I also saw plenty of those old string-bound collections.

Okay, I’m not going to lie to you, yes, facsimile machines dove with the rise of smartphones and before that computers… but in Japan, if you are over 60, odds are good that you use a fax machine way more than twice a year.

Mea culpa. It is true that I do not have a cell phone or any sort. Actually, my buddy Julien gave me an old one of his, but I do not have a phone plan associated with it because, quite frankly, I do pretty much all of my talking in person or via-email. I just do.

I am not afraid of the technology. I would get that technology and utilize it to its full potential, but #1) I don’t need the added expense, #2) I don’t have anyone to talk to.

Seriously, the one company I have called most this year, is CAA, the Canadian Automobile Association. It’s probably a good enough reason right there to have a cell phone… but a fax machine?

Sharp still sells facsimile machines in Japan.

Andrew Joseph



  1. I am currently involved in a project that has generated thousands of pieces of paper. It would be faster and more efficient to use an application to do it all digitally but each piece of parer needs a signature and that is hard to get on screen.

    We still extensively use fax for the same reason - the signature - though we have now converted a good chuck of that to e-fax so at least we kill fewer trees.