Several years ago, when we were buying our first house, we had a fax machine. This made it very easy to send and receive the various paperwork for that process. Since we had voicemail on or main line, we could not leave the fax machine set up to receive faxes unattended. (The fax machine would answer the phone to see if it is a fax transmition, but if it wasn't there was no way to send the call back to voicemail.)
We solved this problem by having a second phone line installed, for the fax machine. This worked great, but became a waste when we were sending or receiving faxes. So we decided to cancel the second phone line, and sign up for a eFax number. This worked great, and eventually we signed up for an upgraded account, when we wanted a fax number in the same area code as our home number.
We periodically receive faxes, but never send faxes through it... Until this week. I needed to sign and fax some documents, and since we don't still have the fax machine, I was thinking that I would have to make a trip to Kinkos to fax these documents. But then I remembered that we have the new multi-function printer that has a scanner. This hadn't been set up yet, so this was a good opportunity.
The setup went pretty quickly, and soon I was able to scan the documents. Then I wanted to fax them with the eFax application, but only five files could be sent in a single fax, and there were seven pages. So then I looked into combining the images in to a single document. I had two problems when I did this:
- When using GraphicConverter, the combined image was scalled to fit on a single 8.5"x11" paper
- Importing this into Microsoft Word, didn't work, as Word wouldn't allow the scanned image to go to the edge of the paper.
So I gave up on attempting to combine the images, but decided to attach only 5 files to a single fax, and then would send two faxes. Everything appeared to work correctly, until I received an email like this:
from Mail Delivery Subsystem <MAILER-DAEMON@jfax.com>
to paul@ paulstimesink.com
date Apr 30, 2007 3:33 AM
subject Returned mail: see transcript for details
----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
(reason: 552 Message size exceeds fixed limit)
----- Transcript of session follows -----
... while talking to sendrelay14.j2.com.:
>>> MAIL From:<email@example.com> SIZE=12950549
<<< 552 Message size exceeds fixed limit
554 5.0.0 Service unavailable
Final-Recipient: RFC822; firstname.lastname@example.org
Diagnostic-Code: SMTP; 552 Message size exceeds fixed limit
Last-Attempt-Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 10:33:45 GMT
So it looks like all the eFax application and web pages is doing is adding the documents to an email and sends the email to an eFax server. The problem is that their SMTP server is not accepting emails with large attachment sizes.
After getting frustrated with this experience, I did go to Kinkos to fax the document.
I am thinking of canceling this service. It doesn't make sense to me why they would have a limit on the size of the email. In order to get the best possible quality for a fax, I want to scan tthe document at a relatively high resolution. But it looks like this usage pattern is not handled by eFax