Monday, March 30, 2009

Making Earth Hour last the whole year ‘round

This past weekend was Earth Hour, the annual event sponsored by the World Wildlife Federation where everyone around the world is asked to turn off their lights for one hour to show their support for the planet. While the actual results varied, the point wasn’t really to hit a specific number. It was to get people thinking about ways they can reduce their own carbon footprint and environmental impact on the Earth.

I guess the first question I have is did you participate? Assuming you knew it was going on (due to all the media coverage about it), did you actually turn off your lights at 8:30 PM Saturday night? And if you did, did you leave them off or turn them back on at 9:30? I did participate, and felt pretty good about it.

Still, Earth Hour was largely symbolic. People like events, and being part of a global movement. So my other question is what changes will you make to carry forward the “spirit” of Earth Hour throughout the year?

Hopefully one is to think about your use of lights overall. The easiest change you can make is to follow your Mom’s yells to turn off the lights when you leave a room. While Mom was probably more interested in saving on the family electric bill than saving the planet, it works for both.

You can also think about whether you need to turn on the lights at all – or which lights you turn on. If you’re working or playing in a room with ample natural sunlight, why not leave the lights off? Switching from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescents (CFLs) can also help.

Of course, electricity consumption isn’t just about lights. Another easy thing you can do is turn off your computer when you’re done using it. Sure, it might take an extra minute or so while the computer boots up, but you’ll be making another contribution to the planet. I just saw an article that says half of all office workers still leave their computers powered up when they leave work. Shutting them down is an easy way to help save the planet. You can always get your morning coffee while it boots up.

Then there’s the fax machine. It’s constantly consuming power 24/7, even when it’s not doing anything. In fact, the US EPA says fax machines are the biggest power-wasters among all office equipment, even referring to them as “energy vampires.” Replacing fax machines with a green technology such as MyFax Internet fax service can have a positive effect not only on energy consumption but also on paper consumption and e-waste.

The point is, there are lots of little things we all can do to carry forth the spirit of Earth Hour. If enough of us do enough of them, those little things will add up to a significant impact. Best of all, doing them is pretty painless.

Friday, March 27, 2009

MyFax Introduces Winter ’09 Enhancements

Yesterday we announced our latest enhancements, which include several new features that we feel provide customers with increased productivity. Many of these features are based on MyFax customer feedback representing businesses of every size.

The new MyFax release includes the ability to save commonly faxed documents within MyFaxCentral, (our web-interface). Additionally, contacts to whom a fax is sent can be automatically added to the Contact Book, a feature similar to many email programs. Both of these features save MyFax customers time and increase productivity. Another time-saving feature, intended for customers with larger MyFax deployments, is the ability for account administrators to search and efficiently find users.

MyFax sends and receives faxes using an email account, removing the need for a dedicated phone line and fax machine. The service, which fully integrates with Microsoft Office, IBM Lotus Notes and ACT!, enables users to manage their fax communication and corresponding document management work flow more efficiently and at a lower cost than traditional fax servers or fax machines, regardless of physical location.

“These new enhancements make MyFax even more intuitive to use,” said Joseph Nour, CEO of Protus, the provider of MyFax. “We rely extensively on customer feedback for product improvements, and do our best to make sure we give our customers what they want. These enhancements are the latest example of that philosophy in action.”

The top new customer inspired features and enhancements include the ability to:
· Save frequently faxed documents for easy retrieval
· Automatically add new recipients to the Contact Book
· Retrieve context sensitive help at MyFaxCentral
· More efficiently locate users with search functionality on the Admin page
· Generate enhanced activity reports for enterprise customers allowing admins to generate reports by billing code

MyFax offers an uncomplicated price structure. The basic service is $10/month, includes 100 outbound and 200 inbound faxes and one year of fax storage. There is no setup fee and no hidden charges. MyFax pricing is based on usage.

MyFax recently earned its fourth straight #1 ranking Gold Award from TopTenREVIEWS, an Internet publisher of expert technology and entertainment reviews seen by millions of consumers.

Have an enhancement idea for MyFax? I’d love to hear about it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Interesting article on small business and technology

I saw this article the other day on bMighty talking about how technology helps small businesses become more innovative than the larger companies. If you haven’t read it yet it’s really worth a look.

The author, Fredric Paul, was referring to a study that is part of Intuit’s Future of Small Business series. Yes it’s that Intuit – the company that brought you QuickBooks, TurboTax, and Quicken, among other products.

In his article, Paul said that while he liked what Intuit had to say, he didn’t think they put enough emphasis on what technology can do for small businesses. In his mind, technology helps level the playing field between large, well-established businesses and small business. Specifically, he said that technology innovations are now giving small businesses the same tools that once were only available to large businesses. Hmmm, where I have heard that before?

You know we believe that here. It’s our whole reason for being, really. MyFax, my1voice, and Campaigner all make it easier for small businesses to communicate with customers, prospects, business partners, and others, improving efficiency while helping them show a more professional face. They do all of that while being conscious of the budget challenges facing small businesses, too.

One other point I really liked in the article was the statement that technology can actually help small businesses more than large enterprises, because small businesses don’t already have huge investments in legacy hardware and software. When they find a better mousetrap, they can move quickly to take advantage of it.

Your small business may not have the fame and fortune of the large enterprise just yet. But it doesn’t mean you can’t operate that way. There are all kinds of technologies out there that can help you lower your costs, increase your margins, satisfy your customers’ needs, and generally run your business with the best of them. The economy aside, there’s never been a better time to be a small business.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Do the neighbors have to know our business?

When I was a kid, we had these neighbors – we’ll call them the Jeffersons – who had a tendency to get into loud arguments. Many of the arguments took place on Saturday mornings in the spring and early summer, when people weren’t quite used to the fact that the windows were now open all the time.

It could be quite entertaining – almost as good as your average Saturday morning cartoon, and sometimes better. They’d be yelling and screaming at each other over some trivial thing or another until finally someone – usually Mrs. Jefferson – would realize what was happening and would shout, “Keep your voice down! Do the neighbors have to know our business?” Then the voices would get a lot more muffled, and we kids would have to find some other way to amuse ourselves, safe in the knowledge that the show would be on again next week.

I’m not sure what made me think of the Jeffersons today. Maybe it was the sweet scent of spring coming in through a window that hasn't been opened in a long time. But thinking about Mrs. Jefferson’s admonition to keep their voices down does remind me of one of the many ways an Internet fax service like MyFax is better than a fax machine.

When you have your latest test results with the doctor’s handwritten notes, or your application for a loan, faxed to a machine in your place of business, that information can wind up sitting in a public area until you pick it up or someone delivers it to you. After all, most fax machines sit where anyone can see what’s on them. Is that really where you want that confidential information to be?

With MyFax, received documents go directly to an individual email account, not a fax machine in a public area. It allows confidential information to remain confidential, helping you keep your business away from the prying eyes of others. Keep in mind that it’s hard to resist learning juicy little tidbits about your co-workers – and even harder to resist sharing what you’ve learned with others. MyFax helps your co-workers avoid both temptations while helping you maintain your privacy.

You may not be able to keep from being the fodder of office gossip forever, but you don’t have to help it along either. Remember the words of Mrs. Jefferson – your co-workers don’t have to know your business. MyFax will help you keep their noses out of it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

MyFax Introduces MyFax Free

MyFax now has a new free service for business and individual users who need to send a fax only occasionally. MyFax Free allows users to transmit two faxes per day of up to 10 pages without going through the fuss of setting up an account or providing a credit card number.
“In these difficult economic times, every penny counts,” said Joseph Nour, CEO of Protus, provider of MyFax and MyFax Free. “Yet whether you’re starting a business or ensuring your company is running efficiently you don’t want to give up value. We are committed to offering an option that delivers full quality while easing the cost burden for our users.”

MyFax, the winner of the prestigious Gold Award from “TopTenREVIEWS,” an Internet publisher of expert technology and entertainment reviews used by millions of consumers, is now offering a convenient, no-obligation version of the service. With an Internet connection, users can:
- Send up to two faxes per day
- Fax two 10-page documents plus cover sheet
- Transmit a fax for free to 41 countries around the world
- Use the most popular image and document file types including Microsoft Word, PDF and 175 other file formats
- Use the service without setting up an account
- Avoid using a credit card as there is no cost outlay or monthly service fee

MyFax Free allows users to send faxes electronically via a Web browser. This method helps reduce office expenses by reducing paper use and eliminating the need for a fax machine, toner and dedicated fax line. It also helps organizations reduce energy consumption. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists fax machines at the top of office equipment considered “energy vampires” – equipment that continually consumes power, whether it is in use or not.

In addition to being rated the No. 1 Internet fax service by TopTenREVIEWS in January, MyFax was named a finalist in the Customer Service Management Team of the Year and the Customer Service Department of the Year categories in the third annual Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

For more information about MyFax Free visit

Friday, March 13, 2009

Can your fax machine do this? #1

Maybe it’s just the latest round of snow making me realize how far away spring really is. Maybe it was watching that pet tricks show the other night. Whatever it is, I had an idea for a new series of posts. I’m calling it “Can your fax machine do this?” In each one, I’m going to lay out something you can do with an Internet fax service, and then ask the title question. Seems like it should be fun. Let me know what you think.

While it’s usually only one person who gets his/her face plastered on the billboards, the sides of cars, and the sign holder in shopping carts, real estate agents often work in teams. While that’s good in a lot of ways, it also presents a challenge: How do you keep everyone on the team up to speed with the latest developments on a transaction? Especially when a fair percentage of the information is being faxed?

If you’re using an Internet fax service such as MyFax, it’s not that difficult because you can usually have several email addresses receive the same fax at the same time. MyFax, for example, allows you to have the same fax sent to five email addresses.

So let’s say you’re a real estate agent and you have a partner and an assistant. If you receive a fax on a machine while you’re out of the office, hopefully your assistant will see it and let you know. But depending on the contents, it still may have to wait until you can get back and see it, or you may have to have your assistant re-fax it to you, which will basically turn it into hieroglyphics. You may then also have to get it in the hands of your partner, creating more potential delays and confusion.

With a MyFax account, however, all three of you can receive the same fax at the same time, even if all three of you are out of the office. As long as you can get an Internet connection you can check your email or log in to MyFaxCentral to see your latest faxes, no matter where you are. You can even forward a fax to someone else if needed. It’s all so clean and simple!

Which begs the title question: Can your fax machine do this? I don’t think so. It’s just one of the many reasons why it’s time to ditch the fax machine and get yourself an Internet fax service account.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Fun things to do with faxes

Most articles or posts about faxing (including mine, I’m afraid) tend to look at serious business issues. They talk about increasing productivity, complying with HIPAA or SOX regulations, saving the planet and other heavy-duty topics.

Perhaps I’m just in a whimsical mood today, but I can’t help thinking of the immortal words of the latest iteration of the Joker: “Why so serious?” Faxing isn’t just for business. There are a lot of uses that would fall into the category of fun, too. Here are a few examples.

You can fax recipes from mother to daughter or son instead of having to re-type them. Either recipes out of an old cookbook that’s on a shelf in the kitchen, or perhaps a handwritten recipe that’s been in the family for generations. The nice thing is, if they’re received on MyFax the recipient can store and organize them for quick future reference.

You can participate in office or personal pools more easily. Whether it’s what day Sarah will have the baby or a sports pool (such as the Super Bowl or the NCAA’s March Madness), faxing makes it easy to get your hand-generated picks in.

You can amuse your co-workers. Remember that scene in The Office where Jim sends a fax to Dwight, pretending it’s Dwight from the future telling himself to leave the office immediately or something bad will happen? Odds are you won’t actually get anyone to react like that. But you can break up the day a little and illicit a few laughs.

You can draw an explanation of how something works and send it to the person who’s just not getting it as you explain it over the phone. Sure, you could draw it on the computer and email it too, but unless you do it a lot it’s hard to draw something freehand on a computer. Most of the time it looks like you had too much coffee.

You can fax the floor plans to your new house to an out-of-state friend or relative, either to keep them informed or so you can show how much better you’re doing than he/she is. Everybody has different motivations.

What are your thoughts? How else can you use faxing for fun?