Extras - Product Review: Hotsend by Jetfax

KASCA & ASSOCIATES provides top-level online information research results to business and legal decision-makers in a timely manner. Specialties include business research and competitive intelligence, as well as market trends, product trends, fraud, and information useful in legal case strategy development. Karl Kasca was formerly with a Fortune 500 company with 16½ years experience performing operational and financial internal audits as well as vendor and conflict-of-interest/fraud examinations in diverse business situations.

HotSend is a great little free program that makes your life simpler if you ever need to transfer files that you are viewing on your screen (images, documents, spreadsheets, WebPages, and so on) to others. The really nifty part is that they don't have to have the same program that you do in order to view, or print, what you sent them.

It works like this: once you load the program on your PC (more on this later) it shows a small icon on the toolbar of every program you use that has the ability to print. When you wish to send an image, document, spreadsheet, etc. to another person you just click on the HotSend icon and choose "Email this Document". Then HotSend brings up your Email program's dialog box with a HotSend attachment already inserted and ready to go. Also a text message is pre-inserted in your Email that informs the receiver that the attached file is self-viewing. The text instructs the receiver to double-click on the attachment to view it. The message also cautions you that some email software requires that the attachment be saved to disk before double-clicking. And true to (the helpful) form for HotSend, created by the JetFax company, there IS more help available via their website (http://www.hotsend.com), including examples, FAQ's, etc. What could be simpler?

This is a truly useful program. Think about it: You don't have to ask a client what software or version of software they are using (ever go through the adventure of trying to determine exactly what version of Microsoft WORD someone is using, only to find out that it ISN'T the latest?). Of course you could always resort to text for everything you send - and would that be comma or tab-delimited text for your spreadsheet program? And would your client know what to do with that? That's the beauty of this program - what you see is exactly what they get: with the same colors, layout, and 'look'.

Another great use is with DialogWeb DIALINDEX, when using the web version of Dialog's File 411. Say you want the results of a search (even if they extend beyond the viewable screen), you can HotSend them to yourself via an email attachment and then view/print them. Unfortunately you cannot manipulate them within the attachment as yet (e.g., you can't sort or cut & paste the results).

There are a few downsides of the program at this time:

  • Attachments can only be viewed by personal computer users currently and NOT on MACs. That's because HotSend creates its attachments as 'Executable' or '*.Exe' files which run on any PC, but NOT on MACs. This may not be true for MACs with additional software to run PC programs or the new iMACs. According to HotSend's customer support, they will monitor requests for MAC compatibility to determine if they will create a version that will run on MACs.
  • When sending a spreadsheet you can only send one sheet at the time, the one you are currently viewing.
  • The text message is a little vague for persons who aren’t accustomed to opening email attachments. HotSend is aware of this and may improve it in a future version. The text message should have some further explanation for these users, such as:
    *Note: if you are not given an option to View the document, you should use the "Save As" or "Save it to disk" option. Save the file to a Folder (sub-directory) like c:\My Documents, right click on the Windows START button, choose 'Explorer', scroll down to the folder you saved the file in (e.g., c:\My Documents), locate the file (e.g., Example.EXE) and double-click on the file to open it.
  • The attachments can't be edited at this time. Actually I think this is a plus, such as when you want someone to be able to see or print a document, but would prefer that they not edit it. Also, this way you don't have to worry about copy protecting (or cell protecting) the document/spreadsheet.

Now for some more pluses:

  • The program is FREE!
  • HotSend's customer support is GREAT and very responsive! If you have a question or suggestion they are very quick to solve it and/or respond to you. For instance, I brought up a concern about a former version having fuzzy faces on a scanned photo image and they addressed the issues very quickly in their newest version. Note: be sure to use the "HotSend Email Attacher" print option when trying this, so that the photo isn't actually printed via your color printer!
  • HotSend handles multiple page documents just fine!

All in all this is a wonderful new addition to an arsenal of helpful PC tools that also happens to be of great practical value. The best way to see exactly how useful this program is, is to "Download Now" and try it yourself from http://www.hotsend.com.

Did I mention that it's FREE?