Fax Reader by Smalltalk Consulting Ltd and Follow Me Fax by EDocFile Inc

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs TX Broker 0513551

I don’t often write blogs about software but every now and then a company stands out and deserves to be recognized. This time I came across two great companies and products in a single project.

Over the past couple of weeks we began to transition from an online fax service to a fax machine and a fax server in our office. We had had problems getting our faxes from time-to-time so we either had to find a new online service or bring it back in-house. The goals were to remain paperless, retain functionality, and have no increase in cost.

The Brother 7820N can be used as a traditional paper fax machine or a paperless fax using Brother’s PC-FAX software. We had an old laptop so we loaded it with a fresh copy of Windows XP Pro, PC-FAX, and we had a nice little paperless fax server up and running. Remain Paperless, Check!

Follow Me Fax by EDocFile Inc

With an online fax service you typically get your emails via email in PDF format. We were able purchase Follow Me Fax which can convert the TIF format from the Brother into a PDF and send it out via email. We soon discovered that the TIFs produced by the Brother fax machine have a flaw that prevents the PDF engine in Follow Me Fax from producing a PDF file.

EDocFile, the software developer, was responsive and we were able to troubleshoot the issue. While they could not solve the ability to make PDF issues (it’s a Brother issue), they did update Follow Me Fax to deal with the odd files names produced by the Brother fax machine. The good news is we are able to forward the emails as multi-page TIF files.

The only downside to TIF files was that we would not be able to view faxes on our iPhones. We’re mobile quite a bit and the ability to view faxes on the road was a capability we wanted to retain.

Fax Reader by SmallTalk Consulting

In my quest for a solution, I came across Fax Reader by SmallTalk Consulting. Fax Reader is an application for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod that was designed to read multi-page TIF files. I quickly purchased a copy on iTunes and installed it on my iPhone.

I had problems getting it to work and dropped the developer an email at 2 in the morning. I was really surprised to get a response within a few minutes. We exchanged emails and determined that I had failed to allow Location Services to be active in the software. I made one quick change to the Location Services settings and we were up and running. Retain Functionality, Check!

We will be terminating the online fax service saving about $15 a month. We’re porting the number to our fax machine in the office at a cost of $2 per month. Follow Me Fax was $99 and Fax Reader was $3.99. We were able to reduce our costs by $13 a month with an upfront investment of $103. The project pays for itself in 8 months. No Increase in Cost, Check.

The developer of Fax Reader has given me five Promo Codes for a free thirty-day trial. Email me if you would like one of them.

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

Source: http://www.thebranchteam.com/wordpress/2010/12/31/fax-reader-by-smalltalk-consulting-ltd-and-follow-me-fax-by-edocfile-inc/

 

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Tom Branch and Gina Branch, The Branch Team with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs, service the greater North Dallas suburbs including Dallas, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Frisco, Lewisville, and Carrollton.  While Gina concentrates on traditional listings and buyer/tenant representation, Tom specializes in assisting distressed homeowners to avoid foreclosure.  Tom and Gina have published two books (Achieving Rock Star Status and The Field Guide to Short Sales) and are available for speaking engagements in the greater Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex. Subscribe to The Branch Team Blog.

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Brian Rugg
Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-818-6700 - Georgetown, TX
Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est

Hello Tom:

We written and pretty clever, but I do have a couple of questions.  Do I understand correctly that the a Fax is sent to your fax machine (via traditional phone line)  the fax machine sends the fax to the PC "server", the PC server then sends to your phones, and your phones are now capable of reading due to the new fax reader?

I too use an online fax service (from Go-Daddy) but have never had a problem receiving or sending.  I would like to save the cost especially since I get so few faxes any more so you solution intrigues me.  My only concern is that the process has lots of steps and the more complex things are the more chance for failures along the way.  In any vent, good post.

 

Happy New year

Dec 31, 2010 08:54 AM #1
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Tom Branch
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs - Plano, TX
Broker, CDPE, SFR, ACRE, Plano TX Ambassador

Brian,

You have it correct. We already have one POTS line that brings in our Internet and we use for outbound faxes. The Brother 7820N is an all-in-one that we use to scan, print, and outbound fax. The laptop is connected to the Brother via the USB interace and connects to our network. Follow Me Fax runs on the laptop and automatically forwards the faxes to us via email.  Finally, the Fax Reader app is on the iPhone so we can view the TIF format faxes on the iPhone.

The Brother 7820N is an older model and the newer machines will download the faxes directly to a PC on the same network (you would not need a separate PC as a server).

I don't have one of the newer fax machines and I also wonder if Brother fixed the TIF format bug in later models. If they did, then Follow Me Fax would work fine by itself and turn the TIF files into PDFs.

When we have to replace the 7820N, we'll do so with one of the newer Brother MFCs. The 7820N is 5 years old and still going strong. I think we'll be able to get another year or so out of it.

Happy New Year to you as well...

Tom

Dec 31, 2010 09:11 AM #2
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Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

Tom  I just stopped by to wish you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous  New Year

Dec 31, 2010 11:08 AM #3
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