At least twice a month some low-tech bonehead insists on sending me a fax instead of an e-mail. And I usually say, "Well, Mom, since it's you, I guess I'll dust off the old machine." For those times you need to get all 20th Century on someone's ass, Sharp's new BroadbandFax machine (Model UX-800SE) should serve as a decent bridge between your e-mail inbox and the world of paper.
Fax to e-mail ability is nothing new, but it's uncommon to see it in something this affordable — about $130 retail — so it might be worth buying in lieu of using a service like eFax. And with the broadband connection, you don't have to anchor your PC to it.
At a product demo in New York City earlier today, a couple of Sharp guys (ouch!) showed the BroadbandFax adeptly turn a couple of faxes into black-and-white pdfs, although the machine got a bit finicky when sending two-sided pages; the Duplex mode was supposed to ask for the sheet to be scanned again on the opposite side, but it was more like, "Other side? What other side?" At any rate, Sharp promises it'll work for you. The quality of the pdfs was about as good as, well, a fax, though planned upgrades for the next-generation model include color and Wi-Fi connectivity. I can't wait for their Bluetooth typewriter.