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On-Board Faxes Are Worth a Look: The Complete PC Fax Board

Magazine article Online

On-Board Faxes Are Worth a Look: The Complete PC Fax Board

Article excerpt

The Complete FAX board (CFAX) from The Complete PC, Inc. is extremely easy to get up and running. Simply pop the board into your IBM or compatible, plug the telephone cord into the board, attach the cable supplied with the board to the modular wall jack, and your "onboard" fax is ready to go.

Well, at least it is almost ready to go. The board software, which comes with the board, must be installed and configured for your particular purposes. This was not a complicated process. I was ready and able to receive a fax document from another machine in less than five minutes. Transmission took just a bit longer: I spent twenty minutes preparing and sending a document.

One of the neatest aspects of the fax board is its background operation, really "must" for anyone who does not expect to dedicate their PC to facsimile operations. The board does not care what you are doing when it receives an incoming fax transmission. Someone can send a document to your machine even while you are running another program. The software stores the information in a file on the hard disk for later review. A software option lets you choose to receive an on-screen or audio announcement of an incoming fax message.

TECHNICAL PROBLEMS CAN BE SOLVED BY "NON-TECHIES"

Can you run into difficulties in setting up and using a fax board with your existing PC? As always with add-ons, the answer is yes. However, the extent of the problem depends upon the complexity of other add-on equipment attached to your PC. If your add-on (nonstandard) boards use the default interrupt and addresses assigned by the C FAX board, it will be necessary to assign a different interrupt and set of addresses through the configuration software.

If your technical knowledge is limited, take heart and don't panic. The new values can be set through trial and erro, r and eventually you will encounter a set of values that does not conflict with any other device. Actually most users will not need to shift these hardware values at all.

FAX BOARD ADVANTAGES

Any fax board mounted in a PC offers two stunning advantages over the use of a standard desktop fax machine. The first is related to the transmission of documents, the second to their reception.

While the standard desktop fax machine can send multipage documents to a single station, it cannot automatically send from a selection of documents sets of pages to several stations. With the CFAX board this is easy, since the documents are stored in an electronic rather than paper medium. A scheduler program provided with the board permits the operator to mix and match documents and destinations.

Secondly, since the fax board uses the printer connected to your PC, you automatically have an inexpensive plain-paper fax machine. This feature alone, avoiding the thermal papers with their unpleasant texture and tendency to curl, makes any fax board a viable alternative to a standalone fax machine. If you are not convinced, just check out the prices of standard plain paper fax machines.

LIBRARY NETWORK POTENTIAL

One can easily envision a fax board as a central node in a fax network. Incoming documents could be temporarily stored on the hard disk for sorting and redistribution. Once sorted, the documents could be faxed on to the proper library automatically during the late night hours.

DRAWBACK: PAPER DOCUMENTS MUST BE SCANNED

The drawback to a PC fax board as opposed to a standalone machine is that you must somehow get the documents into machine-readable form in order to send them out. …

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