Waiting for Fax Machines to Die

I ordered a piece of professional sound equipment online from a company in New York today. A few minutes after I placed the order, one of their sales reps sent me an email with a PDF form for me to fill out and sign and fax back to them. They also wanted a copy of the back and front of my credit card. It’s something the company has to do with all international orders. When did Canada become international? Anyway…

I called up a friend who’s ordered from the company before and asked him if it’s safe to give the company a copy of my credit card. He said it’s normal procedure when setting up an account with the company. I said okay, fine (though I don’t like it and I plan to cancel the card as soon as the order goes through).

But here’s my problem: I don’t have a fax machine. Why can’t I just scan the signed form and the credit card and send it to them as a PDF? But I play nice and fill in the form, scan my credit card and print it, and then I go down to the local drug store and pay $2.50 a page to send the fax to New York.
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Gmail: Google Uses Tape Drives For Backups

gmail logoGmail screwed up yesterday due to a bug from a software update:

Imagine the sinking feeling of logging in to your Gmail account and finding it empty. That’s what happened to 0.02% of Gmail users yesterday, and we’re very sorry.

There are about 170 million Gmail users. 0.02% of 170 million is 34,000.

They’re in the process of restoring all lost email, but what surprised me is they use tape backups.

Tape backup technology has been around since the 1950s. It’s used by every major corporation – it’s the final backup solution – backups of backups resort to tapes in the end, despite their failure rate.

I use an external hard-drive, but tape drives are cheaper (in the long run).

Update: Some resources on how to backup gmail:
Back Up Your Gmail the Easy Way (or the Cheap Way)
How to Backup Your Gmail Account
Backing up your mail with POP (from Google)
– Or just google “backup gmail