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Friday, September 24, 2010

Fax desperados

Looks like Solix has a new fax server, or maybe someone finally figured out how to configure the one they had. I think maybe I'm the only person who sees enough PIA faxes and is obsessive enough to notice, but someone at PIA spent time and effort making this change, and I wanted to give that person a shout out, because the new header is better.

It's an improvement in a few ways:
  1. The first page is no longer dominated by an ad for the fax server manufacturer.
  2. The typeface on the header was too big, and now it's smaller. I think it's actually a little too small now, but it's still an improvement.
  3. The header shows the page number as "Page 001," which is an improvement over the annoying "Page %U-001" that was at the top of every page (and was "Page 1 of %U" before that if I remember correctly). Unfortunately, they didn't move to "Page 1 of 8," which would have been very helpful, but anything's better than that %U. I do wish that it didn't say "Page 001," because to me, it's a hint at the chilling possibility that I might someday get a fax from PIA with more than 99 pages.

I do have one criticism, though, and it's actually a significant one: I think PIA faxes are illegal. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act requires that all faxes identify what telephone number they're coming from. It's in black and white at 47 U.S.C. 227(d)(2): "The Commission shall ... require that any such machine ... clearly marks, in a margin at the top or bottom of each transmitted page or on the first page of each transmission ... the telephone number of the sending machine...."

Messages from PIA generally have the reviewer's fax number on the last page, but we should be seeing Solix's fax number at the top of every page.

By the way, "the Commission" mentioned in the code is the Federal Communications Commission, so maybe someone should get on this.

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