FaxOrama iPhone application

January 8th, 2012

UnityFax is proud to introduce to you our new iPhone application for sending faxes from your mobile phone – the FaxOrama app, which is available through the iTunes store. Using this application you can snap images with your camera, then send them by fax or e-mail.

In this blog article we will describe to you how it works.

When you download, install and start the application you will see the splash screen:

Splash screen

You will then will be forwarded to the main page:

Faxorama iPhone app main page

Here the two main options are “Send a Fax” and “Email faxable PDF”. The first one is used to send faxes by snapping images from your camera and the second option allows you to email these images in a format that is ready to be faxed. There is also a “Help” button in the bottom-left which provides instructions on the use of the app and a “Settings” button at the bottom-right which will display the following screen:

This screen allows you to enter your name, email address and default page quality.  These global settings are saved and used to auto-fill when sending faxes or emails.

You are now ready to use the app!

When you select “Send a Fax”, the following screen will be displayed:

“Scan from Camera” will forward you to the iPhone camera screen:

When you snap an image, it will be ready for faxing.  You can review it by zooming in to ensure it is readable and quality is good. You can then select “Send Fax Now” or add additional images.

If you select “Send Fax Now”, the following screen will be displayed.

The “From Name” and “From Email” should automatically be filled-in with the information provided on the “Settings” page.  You can now add a subject, the recipients name and their fax number.

When you are ready, tap “Send Now” and your fax will be sent.

Fax letter sent

See – sending faxes using iPhone is that easy! Go ahead and test it yourself.

(*) The free service allows you to send two faxes (up to five pages each) per day. If you use your UnityFax.com account e-mail, then you will have no limits in sending faxes.

LNP – Porting Numbers

September 14th, 2011

People will frequently choose a new service provider, either due to more compelling offers,  or service reasons.   With fax services, it is no different.  If you have a fax number with another company, you can easily switch to UnityFax in order to take advantage of our fax-to-email services.  Porting allows you to keep your existing number, so it is not necessary to obtain a new one.  Your customers will not have to learn a new number, and you will not need to update or obtain new business collateral, ie. letterhead, business cards, etc.   So how do you transfer a fax number from one company to another?

The process of transferring a number from one provider to another is typically referred to as “porting”.   It is defined by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC‘s).   UnityFax fully satisfies and follows the porting regulations, which includes the following:

  • You must keep your number active with your existing service provider during the whole process. Therefore it is important that you DO NOT terminate your account until you receive confirmation that the number has been transferred;
  • Open a new account with UnityFax where a temporarily number is assigned to you.  That number will later be swapped out and replaced by your ported number;
  • Hand sign and fax (or scan and e-mail) to UnityFax a letter (use our authorization template) in which you request to port your number from your existing provider to UnityFax;
  • The UnityFax support department will initiate the porting process on your behalf;
  • Within several days UnityFax will receive approval or denial for the porting request. If everything is ok, the number will be ported to UnityFax and you can begin using our service.

The porting process is virtually transparent, with minimal or no downtime. The re-routing from your existing provider to UnityFax should not take more than a few minutes on the day it is scheduled to complete.

Please visit the UnityFax porting instructions page to download and view full instructions, which also includes an authorization template.

If you are not committed to porting your number initially, many people choose to forward their existing fax number to one of our numbers.   This allows them to keep their phone line for other outbound calls/faxes, but all their inbound fax calls will be automatically routed to the fax to email system.  Once you become confident with the system, you can then port your number.

UnityFax Storage – A Web Hard Drive

September 14th, 2011

Did you ever wonder how to backup your important files and have access to them from anywhere at the same time? Unityfax.com now offers another great new service, “Secure Storage”. It is similar to Secure Storage for Faxes – your important faxes are stored securely (password protected) on the server; however it is even more powerful as you can save any file type to it.

The new “Secure Storage” service is actually a web hard drive. Using the “Network Places” in Windows you are able to map the hard drive and connect remotely to the server. After you do that a new hard drive will appear in the “My Computer” next to the other local devices. You can browse the network hard drive, create folders, copy and paste files just how you are used to doing it on your local drives.

To start you must go to the Unityfax.com website and sign-up for a storage account. You will be given a username and password with which you can then login with at JumpSOS.com (this website is an alternative interface which will let you to download files with read-only access from your web hard drive). Next you can view a full tutorial regarding how to map your secure storage web hard drive at the following page:

http://www.jumpsos.com/shared/Map_Drive_XP.html

If you any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Unityfax.com support department. We will be happy to receive your questions or comments.

Mad Dog Attacks Fax Machine

August 25th, 2011

Remember how the cat attacked the fax machine? Well this beagle dog is thinking to do the same soon:

Fax – How it’s made and how it works

June 13th, 2011

The name of the technology “fax” is shortened from “facsimile” which means “an exact copy”. This is exactly what it is used for – to make copies of documents and send them remotely through a telephone line. The document, which is going to be sent is scanned, the image is then separated in rows (around 1mm which is about 1/25 inches) and every line is separated in dots. At the output of the scanner we receive electrical signals which are proportional of the coefficient of the reflection of every dot. These signals are sent to a modem (MOdulator-DEModulator) which is transferring them as a sequence of modulated signals. These signals are sent over a phone line and received by another modem on the other side of the connection. The receiving modem is demodulating the signals and the image is restored using a printing device.

Fax machines are like copy machines where the scanning and printing  engine are separated from each other and communicate via telephone lines. There are various models of fax machines with different qualities and features. They alll communicate through strict fax standards, which is how they are able understand each other.

Usually the biggest difference in fax machines is the printing device. In the early days of the fax machine, the most popular method was thermal paper. The construction of such printing device is very simple and they are very economical. The shortcomings are that the paper itself is expensive and it fades relatively fast with time, so it’s not very suitable for long term storage.   As Inkjet and Laser printers became the printing device of choice, they replaced thermal paper.

The protocols of fax transmission and that of modems over telephone line are very similar to each other. This made possible the invention of the “fax modem” which are devices which demodulate fax signals and transfers them through a computer.  The computer can then take the fax, save it as a digital document (TIFF, PDF, etc.), or alternatively, print it through one of its printers.  In this setup, a computer can work like a typical fax machine.

The fax to e-mail services work similarly – a fax modem demodulates the fax signal, it is converted to a digital document, and than attached to an e-mail. The advantage of this process is that it is up to the recipient if they wish to print the file or store it.

With today’s technology it is very easy to integrate microcomputers into fax machines. Multifunctional machines are now very common. They integrate fax, copy machine, printer and scanner - all in one device.

Group 4 – digital faxing

June 13th, 2011

In 1987 the ITU-T defined the standard T.6 for the fax machines known as “Group 4″. This standard is completely new and it has no backwards compatibility with “Group 3″ and therefore is not able to work over regular phone lines. The new machines require high speed ISDN lines. The speed of transmission is 64kbit/sec. The resolutions are 200, 300 or 400 dpi. Color faxes are also possible!

The scanning of the image is completely digital, while the previous groups were all analogue. The image is raster (made of dots). During the transmission the data is compressed. The “Group 4″ standard supports two-dimensional image compression – across the line width as well as the line length. These lines can achieve compression ratios of 15:1 for office documents and 20:1 for graphics with a resolution of 400 dpi.

The errors during transmission are NOT corrected. The “broken” lines are either skipped by the recipient or they are printed “as they came”. Usually if the line is good the errors are very rare and they are not critical for the image quality.

There are three classes of “Group 4″ machines. The “Class 1″ machines can only receive and send fax letters. The “Class 2″ machines are capable of receiving “telexes” and “mixed mode” (text and raster) data. The “Class 3″ machines can send and receive letters from any type.

During the 90s and the last 10 years the statistics show that “Group 4″ is still not very popular. It looks like “Group 3″ machines are still suiting the needs of most people.

More information for the fax standards can be found in Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fax#Digital

Blocking unwanted faxes

June 13th, 2011

A “junk fax” is any material sent over a fax line to any person without his prior permission and which usually advertises commercial goods or services. The “junk faxing” was very popular in the 80s and the beginning of the 90s. Even though it is not as common today (e-mail spam is much more cost ineffective for the spammers) it is still used as a way to advertise by some people.

In 2005 the US Congress changed the “junk fax law” and allowed companies with an “established business relationship” to send advertisements [1]. This means that these companies are able to legally send advertisements to your fax number, unless you explicitly ask them to stop. Of course “telling them to stop” is usually inconvenient because it normally requires you to send a fax letter back to the sending number, which consumes time and resources, which inevitably costs money.

Receiving a “junk fax” on a regular fax machine is very disturbing because it prints a hard copy of the advertisement. It wastes paper, ink cartridges and time. If you are using an Internet fax account (like the plans from Unityfax.com), then “getting rid” of the junk faxes is much more easier. You receive the faxes as e-mail attachments in your e-mail. Therefore they are not wasting ink and paper and additionally they are easily deleted within your e-mail client. That being said, we can say that dealing with “junk faxes” is not much different than dealing with normal spam e-mails. In some cases however, particular companies may be repeatedly sending you junk faxes.

Unityfax provides an option to stop junk faxes by blocking the originating phone number. This is easily done through the administrative control panel:

You just have to type the phone number in the text box and click on the “Add New Record” button.   The UnityFax.com system will block faxes coming from this number to yours.

Additionally you have an option to “Block All Calls with Unknown CallerID”. This is really helpful against most junk faxes (they usually do not use callerID at all); however this should be used with extra attention because you may block legitimate faxes too. If you work with repeated fax correspondence with known people/companies and you do not expect to receive faxes from unknown third-party, then this option will substantially reduce unwanted faxes.

Related articles:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junk_fax