Probably someone too young to have ever used a fax


This business rewires its offices to put voice and data jacks at every spot that might conceivably need them, reports a support pilot fish on the scene.

"There are two phone jacks at each location: an 'A' jack for voice and a 'B' jack that can be activated for fax use -- although fax machines are few and far between," fish says.

But one department has an all-in-one fax/copier/scanner/printer that's having problems with the new wiring. As wave after wave of techs confirm, it's properly connected to the 'B' jack, but incoming faxes aren't being received unless someone is there to press the Receive button.

The techs check the all-in-one's settings, but those look fine. They call the manufacturer, who suggests updating the firmware and software, but that doesn't fix things. They replace cables, which doesn't help, and even swap in a replacement device from the manufacturer -- but it doesn't make a difference.

After a few months, the ticket is reopened yet again, and this time it lands with fish.

He and a co-worker start by trying to send a fax to the problem machine. As expected, it doesn't answer. They send a fax from that machine to another fax machine, and it works properly. They try sending a fax back the other way, and there's no answer.

"Frustrated, my co-worker dials the 'bad' machine's fax number from his mobile phone," says fish. "It rings four times -- and then goes to voicemail.

"We stare at each other, then check the settings on the fax machine again. It's set to pick up after five rings, which never happens because voicemail picks up after four rings. We set the fax machine to pick up after two rings and everything is fine.

"But really, whoever heard of having voicemail on a fax line?"

Sharky's fax machine stopped answering years ago, but that's no problem -- just email me your true tale of IT life at You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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