Just wanted to put a quick shout out to the person who recently sent me a request for an estimate on the cost to replace the LCD panel on their Acer Aspire D255 netbook. I am sorry but the email address that you left for me to respond to must have been mistyped. This is partially my fault for not having a more robust “Ask Dave A Question” box that asks the user to confirm their address by having them type it twice. I’ll be working on upgrading this box soon to add this feature. In the mean time, in the off chance you happen to see this post, the cost to replace your screen would be $30 labor plus the cost of the part, which in your case is $65, for a total of $95. There are slightly different models of the D255 out there so I would have to see the laptop to confirm the part number before ordering. Please contact me again if you are interested.
And just so everybody else out there reading this knows, I now charge a flat rate of $30 labor per device to replace LCD panels on all netbooks and laptops!
I recently bumped into someone who is a big fan of Skype and uses it to save money at his businesses, as land-lines cost far more for businesses than they do residential customers. He’s seen real savings by using it and was wanting to migrate his company completely away from the local telephone services and go 100% Skype. One of the hitches here was the necessity to have a fax line that you could send and receive faxes on.
Unfortunately there is no good way to send a fax from your computer using Skype. The audio compression that takes place when sound is transmitted from one side to the other undergoes a great deal of detail loss, and this results in error correction protocols taking over and throttling the speed of the fax modem down to a crawl. So in theory, you could use Skype somehow to send a fax but it would literally take forever.
Enter in online faxing services. These are companies that allow you to send and receive faxes over the Internet. In doing some research to find one that performed well and at a modest price I stumbled across someone recommending a company called PamFax. It was not long after first trying their service that I was pretty sure I could close the book on this egg hunt.
PamFax is delivered to you as a small program you install on your system and use to create your account. They offer a free membership program which allows you to send three pages for free to see if you like their product or not. I decided to sign up for the free account and then used a nearby fax machine where I work to send a fax to my new PamFax number. The instant the fax was sent my PamFax account page auto-updated itself to tell me I had received a new fax. Faxes are put into an inbox, just like emails, and each fax is downloadable in PDF format.
Sending a fax is also very easy. You can either use the PamFax program to upload files you want to send or use the virtual PamFax printer device to send your documents to PamFax when you press Print in any application. Here’s a video that demonstrates how easy it is to send a Fax:
Of course there will be times when you need to fax a physical document that’s already on paper. The best way to do that is use a flatbed scanner to scan the documents into a PDF file. You can do this very quickly with any number of Scanner-to-PDF style programs and any scanner. A free one I’ve found to work well is aptly called Scan to PDF by Ironfist Software. It is a free utility that you can use to scan multiple pages and then save all of them as one PDF file, which you’d then upload to PamFax for faxing to one or multiple recipients.
The cost for sending a fax varies based on whether or not you want to pay a monthly fee. If you don’t pay a monthly fee it will cost you 13 cents per page sent and you will not be able to receive faxes. If you step it up to the “Basic” package you will be able to receive unlimited faxes at a monthly rate of $5.84 plus 13 cents per page sent. The professional package costs $8.80 a month, includes 20 free page out per month (9 cents per page after that), allows you to keep your received faxes online forever, and gives you the ability to administrate employee access to the account and regulate their limitations. So there’s something for everybody.
In the end I was pretty impressed with how easy it was to install and use PamFax. What’s even more impressive to me is their support for Linux. It’s rare that I have to send a fax but the next time I need to I know exactly what I’m going to use. Good bye Kinko’s!