Sharp finally yanks the fax chain with BroadbandFax: I've only been asking for this for a decade. This is a fax machine with an Ethernet port. It walks, talks, and breathes like a fax machine over phone lines, but it can also "fax" via email (converting two-sided documents to multi-page TIFF or PDF files), and can send incoming faxes directly to email. These are black-and-white only, and it can (yawn) print incoming faxes via its ink-jet printer. There's a full keyboard on the front to enter email addresses, but you can also use a Web interface to set up addresses and groups, to send a single fax to multiple parties. Best of all, $160 list price, which SciFi.com says means $130 retail. Thank you, Sharp.
Back in the 1990s, Adobe briefly had a fax option that was built into some printers. Incoming documents could be delivered as PDFs; outgoing documents would be sent via a phone line, but if another Adobe Fax printer was the answering party, the two printers would talk PDF instead of fax protocols.
This is far better. It means that you can gradually transition out of landline faxing without losing the simplicity of throwing documents into a fax hopper. While there are plenty of electronic faxing services, they all require having some kind of method of getting non-electronic documents to them. (A shout out to MaxEmail, a great and inexpensive option for receiving many faxes and sending very few.) [link via SciFi.com]