Send Faxes From Home Without a Fax Machine or Landline
Reader Lenore lives with her sister, who needs to "fax lots of documents to her supervisor from home." Just one problem: they don't have a landline.
Actually, that's less of a problem than you might think. There are lots of ways to fax documents without a landline -- or even a fax machine.
For starters, find out if faxes are even necessary. I'm guessing your sister's supervisor would be just as happy (if not happier) with PDFs delivered via e-mail.
If that's the case, many desktop programs (including Microsoft Office) can generate PDF versions of the documents you create. That's a pretty easy fix.
Another option: InterFax, an Internet fax service that supports faxing directly from Google Docs.
To send a fax, you simply open your Google Docs document, then click the "Fax This" bookmarklet (which you can add to any browser). Type or paste in the fax number and presto: the document gets delivered. In my tests, it took just a few minutes for outbound faxes to arrive.
Now, if you're talking about actual paper documents (as opposed to electronic ones), you can scan them into your PC, then deliver them via e-mail or use an outbound fax service like Fax.com or MyFax. For about $10 per month, you can send and receive an unlimited number of faxes, using your computer as the "fax machine."
If you don't yet own a scanner, I recommend investing a multifunction printer (one that can copy, print, and scan) that has an auto document feeder (ADF). You should have no trouble finding one for under $100.
With that piece of hardware and one of the aforementioned services, you'll be able to send (and receive) faxes to your heart's content. There may be an extra step or two along the way (i.e. the process of scanning and then sending), but you definitely won't need a landline.
Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at firstname.lastname@example.org, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.