… adds scanning and print driver features for sending faxes worldwide.
Back in August PamConsult, publishers of the Pamela universal Skype utility with call recording, conversation archiving, message personalization and audio emoticons, entered the Skype Mashup competition with their beta release of PamFax. At the time PamFax would allow you to select a (Word or PDF) document and fax it to any destination. At the Prague developer event in September PamFax was announced as the worldwide winner of the (first?) Skype Mashup Competition. Dick Schiferli at PamConsult reports that PamFax has been quite busy delivering faxes for Skype users since the September launch.
Today PamConsult has released a gold edition of PamFax which adds two important new features:
- the ability to scan a document from any Windows-compatible scanner for faxing, and
- a PamFax print driver which allows you to select PamFax as a printer and turns every fax machine worldwide into a potential printer for your Windows print operation.
I have been beta testing the new edition of PamFax with three scanners: a 5-year-old HP4470C, a 7-year old HP OfficeJet T45 and a one-year old Lexmark 8350 over the past few weeks. It is safe to report that, after several iterations, PamFax now works flawlessly with these scanners or multi-function devices. PamConsult has also been running beta tests with several other parties to obtain feedback on a wide range of scanners. (I think the HP4470C and its siblings presented the biggest challenge but now they work fine.)
PamFax installs as a Skype Extra. Initially you will have to download it from the PamFax website; the released gold version (188.8.131.52) should appear in the Skype Extras within a few weeks. My only caveat: after installing PamFax reboot your PC to ensure that all the “appropriate association” between PamFax, the scanner(s) and Skype are properly established. You can then launch PamFax from the Skype Extras menus, a desktop icon or as a Printer for any Windows application.
To quickly review PamFax:
- is a web-based program accessed via a Skype Extras client
- has three document source modes: Wiindows document, scanner and printer driver
- allows optional selection of cover page
- uses Skype Credits, via the Skype Extras transaction engine, for payments
- there is now an alternative for USA-based suers to use Amazon payments
- delivers fax status notification via Skype chat, e-mail and/or SMS
- provides a user portal for tracking fax activities
- has SSL security
- is totally ad hoc: no upfront payments, no subscriptions, no registration
- is added to the Windows Explorer “Send To” menu as “PamFax Recipient”
While, for cost reasons, I will probably continue to use my home office fax machine for sending scanned documents within North America I can see using PamFax for faxing documents:
- to destinations outside North America
- from remote “road warrior” locations: hotels, customer offices, coffee shops, airports, or any available WiFi access point
- locations that have been charging $1.00 per page or more.
PamFax has become another disruptive communications application that, like Skype itself, transcends specific carriers and eliminates geographical restrictions and physical barriers to sending faxes. And, as one who has never mastered the complexities of WinFax, PamFax provides a much easier, more user friendly “faxing from anywhere” solution.
Tags: Skype, PamFax, Skype Extras, PamConsult, Pamela, Dick Schiferli