It is not, nor has it ever been, a mojo -- that's just the name legendary counterculture journalist Hunter S. Thompson gave the machine when he used it to send in his long, drug-addled Rolling Stone pieces. That term has always meant something magical and, at least since Mike Myers created his Austin Powers character, something a little cooler, something a little more shagadelic, baby, than a fax machine.
The facsimile machine is a tired, clunky object used to send documents over a telephone line. The fax, at least as we know it, came into being in the mid-1970s (Almost Famous is set in 1973), when optical scanning, modulator and acoustic coupler technologies all came together. The process is fairly basic, and shouldn't have lasted into the Internet Age almost unchanged. Somehow, though, the fax machine has managed to survive. Like Horseshoe crabs or those giant flies in the jungles of South America, these things are positively Prehistoric -- and have proven nearly unkillable.
Today, you can find a fax machine in any dusty old office that still needs to transmit signed copies of paperwork -- or in your nearest office supplies store. The chains have made an easy business out of charging too much to fax a couple of pages here or there; they know that the majority of their customers -- even those who might purchase Post-It notes and staplers to take back to their dusty old offices -- are without access to a fax machine but, every once in a great while, find that one would come in handy.
That could be changing. The end of the fax machine may finally be here. So, clear out that corner of the office and buy your employees a dart board to fill the space, because we're about to take e-signatures to the tubes.
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In mid-July, Adobe acquired EchoSign. Jason Lemkin, EchoSign's CEO, announced the news is an extremely excited blog post: "We're extremely pleased to announce that EchoSign is now part of the Acrobat family -- Adobe has acquired EchoSign," he wrote. (First emphasis my own; second is original.) The purchase kicked off a string of threatening notes and discussions when RPost, an EchoSign competitor, filed a suit for patent infringement against Adobe. Contract management rarely gets this exciting, Spend Matters pointed out.
A contract management and electronic signature company, EchoSign raised millions of dollars since 2005 to build a service that allows you to sign all of your documents online. EchoSign makes it possible to sign your documents saved on its system via fax machine, but that's only because the company has adopted as many platforms as possible; You can also sign documents in any browser; with a BlackBerry or iPhone; or via an EchoSign widget, which can be added to any website. EchoSign offers integration with Google Docs, DropBox, SugarCRM, NetSuite, Evernote and a host of other document programs on the Web.