Update on Scanning Issue: Software Patches To Come

Posted on Aug. 22, 10:00amET

Editor’s Note: The first wave of software patches is now available. Please read our latest blog post for more details.

Posted on Aug. 19, 2:50pm ET

Patch for Scanning Issues Available Shortly

Xerox engineers test software patch 

By Rick Dastin, corporate vice president and president, Office and Solutions Business Group

Our technology team has been working very hard to make the software patch available that addresses character substitution that can occur when “stress documents” are scanned on some Xerox office devices.

To confirm the patch effectiveness, we reached out to computer scientist David Kriesel, who first brought the issue to our attention. David has provided invaluable insight, and his willingness to collaborate and conduct additional tests has been extremely helpful.  We were pleased to hear back from David that the test patch we provided solves the problem and he no longer sees the substitution of characters on the document.

We’re finalizing our testing on the patch and availability will start this week, at which time we will announce and post a link on this blog site.

 

Posted on Aug. 15, 7:30 pm ET

Update from Rick Dastin, corporate vice president and president, Office and Solutions Business Group: We’re working hard to deliver a timely patch and we’re pleased with the testing results.  Stay tuned for an announcement shortly on availability.

Posted on Aug. 13, 1:45 pm ET

Editor’s Note: An updated Important Questions and Answers  document is now available.

Here is A Guide to Check And Reset Defaults 

Posted on Aug. 11, 6:00 pm ET 

Update On Scanning Issue: Work Continues on Software Patch To Solve Character Substitution

By Rick Dastin, corporate vice president and president, Office and Solutions Business Group, Xerox

After further testing of the scanning function we’ve now determined the unit’s “Quality/file size” factory default and highest modes don’t completely alleviate the problem of substituting characters on stress documents. This comes as a result of ongoing communication with David Kriesel who alerted us to still seeing character substitution in the factory default mode. This is consistent with what David has been reporting, and we thank him for his findings. The default and highest modes do substantially reduce the likelihood of character substitution but due to a software bug character substitution is not completely eliminated. We apologize for any confusion that came from our prior communications.

We continue to work tirelessly and diligently to develop a software patch to address the problem. We’ll pass along information about the timing of the patch as soon as we have it.

We want to reiterate, we believe the issue deals with “stress documents,” which include documents with small fonts, those scanned multiple times and hard to read. Regardless of the document condition we are committed to address any problem even if it is something our customers may never encounter.

We’ll continue to actively listen to our customers and the industry as a whole. We take your comments, questions and concerns seriously and appreciate your feedback.

Please continue to engage with us – you can do so with our principal engineer at francis.a.tse@xerox.com.

Impacted Office Product Families

ColorQube: 87XX, 89XX, 92XX, 93XX

WorkCentre: 5030, 5050, 51XX, 56XX, 57XX, 58XX, 6400, 7220, 7225, 75XX, 76XX, 77XX, 78XX

WorkCentrePro: 2XX

BookMark: 40, 55

Note: If your office device does not appear on this list, it is not impacted by this scanning issue.

 

Posted on Aug 9, 7:20 pm ET

Update on Scanning Issue: Working with David Kriesel on Solution 

By Rick Dastin, corporate vice president and president, Office and Solutions Business Group, Xerox

We continue to test various scanning scenarios on our office devices, to ensure we fully understand the breadth of this issue.  We’re encouraged by the progress our patch development team is making and will keep you updated on our progress here at the Real Business at Xerox blog.

We’ve been working closely with David Kriesel, the researcher who originally uncovered the scenario, and thank him for his input which we are continuing to investigate.  As we’ve discussed with David, the issue is amplified by “stress documents,”  which have small fonts, low resolution, low quality and are hard to read.  While these are not typical for most scan jobs ultimately, our actions will always be driven by what’s right for our customers.

We will continue to actively listen to our customers and the industry as a whole. We take your comments, questions, and concerns seriously and appreciate your feedback. As you’ve seen, we’ve replied to many of you through blog comments and tweets, and while we can’t respond to everyone individually, please be assured we are listening and taking feedback under immediate advisement. Please continue to engage with us – you can do so with our principal engineer at francis.a.tse@xerox.com.

Editor’s Update: Here are links to reference material on this issue:

Important Questions and Answers 

A Guide to Check And Reset Defaults 

Below posted on Aug. 7:

Translations to this post in: FrenchItalianDutchGermanRomanianSpanishPortugueseDanishHungarian,                    Latin Spanish, Finnish

By Rick Dastin, corporate vice president and president, Office and Solutions Business Group, Xerox

There have been reports regarding errors with the scanning function of some of our office devices in which characters can potentially be substituted for others.  This does not impact standard printing, copying and traditional fax functions.  In fact, the vast majority of our customers will not experience any issues.

Here are the two solutions:

  • Reset Scanning Defaults:  Xerox is providing a guide demonstrating how to check the current device scan settings and how to return them to factory default.
  • Apply a Software Patch:  Xerox is developing a software patch that can be remotely downloaded to each device.  The software patch will disable the highest compression mode thus completely eliminating the possibility for character substitution.  Xerox will begin rolling out the patch within a few weeks.

With this in mind, let me step back and clarify the issue itself.  It is important to know that Xerox devices shipped from the factory are set with the right compression level and resolution settings to produce scanned files appropriate for viewing or printing—while maintaining a reasonable file size.  You will not see a character substitution issue when scanning with the factory default settings.

To hear and see this frustration and confusion goes against all that’s core to Xerox’s heritage and future. We apologize for any confusion and inconvenience this has caused our customers.  We are working tirelessly to address these issues—working closely with our partners and customer service teams across the globe to both proactively inform customers as well as help them solve the issue.

Editor’s Note: If you are a member of the press or industry analyst community please contact Bob Wagner at robert.wagner@xerox.com.

 

 

 

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25 Comments

  1. Seume August 8, 2013 - Reply

    Yeah, Xerox, why didn’t you come up with that in the first blog post? Would have been a lot less embarrassing. Anyway, thanks for the patch, and of course, thanks to David Kriesel for persistently bringing the issue to everyone’s knowledge.

  2. Kurt Pfeifle August 8, 2013 - Reply

    => “This does not impact standard printing, copying and traditional fax functions.”

    So if this does NOT impact fax functions, why then does the user manual (from http://www.cs.unc.edu/cms/help/help-articles/files/xerox-copier-user-guide.pdf ) mention this in its *FAX* section on page 107?

    => “Normal/Small produces small files by using advanced compression techniques. Image quality is acceptable but some quality degradation and *character substitution errors may occur* with some originals.”

    Ok, this may concern only internet fax, not traditional fax…

    But this very same sentence occurs in 3 different sections of your manual: on p. 107 (Fax), p. 129 (Workflow Scanning) and p. 179 (E-mail).

    So Xerox has been well aware of the problem (but didn’t take it serious themselves when they found out about it ?!?!)

    Please don’t try to lull me by repeating statements like “the vast majority of our customers will not experience any issues”.

    The vast majority of users will not have *noticed* it (yet), but the vast majority of users will surely find the “normal / small file size” setting being quite attractive to use.

    My guess is this: this is a general problem not just of Xerox, but the whole industry. Other vendors may be affected as well, because they too use JBIG2 compression for scanning black+white text. Just waiting for more discoveries to be published….

    • kenericson August 8, 2013 - Reply

      From Rick Dastin: You are correct and thanks for pointing out that internet fax is not traditional fax. Actually, under the hood internet fax works much the same as scan to email where a scan creates a digital file and goes through the same compression path as scan to email. The digital file is then typically transmitted through SMTP/POP3 servers just like email. Traditional fax is the technology that has been around a long time which transmits information typically through telephone lines (PSTN… public switched telephone network) in analog form. With traditional fax we use a completely different compression algorithm (CCITT) so will never see the issue. The same is true for printing and photo copying which use different image paths and will never see the issue.

      You are also correct that we have documented in our user guides as well as within our devices that the high compression mode may cause character substitution which means we have known about the potential for this issue. Our design philosophy was to make available a very useful mode that creates small files while at the same time providing information about its limitations.

      Some typical applications where these small file sizes are of high value are storage of large quantities of low quality images for easy visual reference or transmission of image data from remote locations where network bandwidth is a premium. In these cases the character substitution possibility is not an issue.

      For business critical numeric documents we expect that most customers will use our factory default and higher quality modes as document quality is required for downstream processes like accurate OCR, legibility for legal documents and in many cases standards compliance. Our factory default mode also produces file sizes that are quite reasonable so the need for higher compression is typically limited to specialized applications.

  3. Guy August 8, 2013 - Reply

    “Xerox is providing a guide”

    The URL would be helpfull…

  4. kenericson August 8, 2013 - Reply

    From Rick Dastin– The scanning issue is not a quality problem and does not involve any of our partners. The high compression scanning mode was created to allow for small file sizes for those applications which are sensitive to network bandwidth and storage limitations and we provide messages to our customers on its use and limitations.

  5. Kurt Pfeifle August 8, 2013 - Reply

    @comment 7:

    Thanks for your response.

    I still maintain the strong opinion that there are two major blunders involved in this:

    1.) It was a major mistake to even allow to apply such a lossy compression to scanned text regions.

    Anybody implementing JBIG2 encoding *should* differentiate between 3 different segment of the input page:

    a) regions of text,
    a) regions of halftone images, and
    c) regions of other data

    And each of these regions should be compressed in a different way. Modern scanners have OCR built-in — so even if a user does de-select OCR and wants it to not go into the document you could have use that intelligence to discover: “Ah, there is text using font sizes smaller than 10pt — I’ll not allow for the ‘lossy’ JBIG2 compression here (and override what the user set), I’ll use lossless JBIG2 instead.”

    2.) The second major mistake was to name that setting “normal” in the user interface. Any setting allowing the user to loose data should be named “Very lossy” or “I’m happy to have changed the contents of my numbers”.

    Hmmm…. of course it could also apply to letters (there however, due to context in the surrounding sentence you’ll more easily discover it, and maybe blame the spellchecker or the highschool education of the author. With numbers it’s more difficult to discover, because there is no context.

    Anyway, there is a third blunder that Xerox is about to make right now:

    3.) Avoid to openly admit that there was a mistake on their side as well, but instead hemming and hawing and evading a clear statement which states their own error. Customers will take issue with this too!

    I hope you can still escape the third blunder.

  6. Dar August 8, 2013 - Reply

    I support about 500 xerox copiers in a Municipal Complex for a major Canadian city.

    Our Development and Building Approvals group, who pass or fail a building design based on engineering numbers, use Xerox copiers to maintain records of developments in the city.

    Just imagine the outcome of a situation where a building is approved using engineering design, but gets altered by simple copies going down to the construction groups.

    Try to explain how a building falls down because the copy shows incorrect load levels or some other critical calculation.

  7. Sam Baker August 8, 2013 - Reply

    Hello;
    Please confirm that this issue only impacts JBIG compressed files. MFD driven facilities that use other compression techniques, such as TIFF are not effected.

    Thanks

    • kenericson August 8, 2013 - Reply

      From Paula Siviy: File formats such as TIFF are not a factor in this issue. Scanning to TIFF files are not affected by character substitution because they do not use JBIG2 compression.

  8. j.colbert August 8, 2013 - Reply

    Xerox states: “You will not see a character substitution issue when scanning with the factory default settings.”

    I have run many tests on two different models of WorkCentre (7655 and 5665) copiers and found that default settings (such as those outlined in the Xerox guide to resolving this issue) do not resolve substitution. Even with “highest” quality (least compression), substitution is reduced but is still occurring. My results have been posted within David Kriesel’s latest blog update.

    • kenericson August 8, 2013 - Reply

      We took a look at the posted images and the products mentioned. We’re confident this is not character substitution which identically reproduces to the pixel level. More information to come.

  9. Oliver August 8, 2013 - Reply

    Please can you tell me whether the compressed image printed on the fax confirmation sheet is ever subject to the same compression algorithm (JBIG2). Ie even if the fax is correctly sent can the confirmation report be subject to character substitution and therefore differ from the genuinely sent fax?

    • kenericson August 8, 2013 - Reply

      We do not use JBIG2 for traditional fax or for printing including the confirmation sheet.

  10. j.colbert August 9, 2013 - Reply

    I produced a new set of tests from a 7655, forwarded them to Kriesel, and asked him to post it to his blog so that others may be able to examine them. I would love to forward the zip file of my results directly to you to help in pinning down the cause of the problem.

  11. Salman August 12, 2013 - Reply

    Xerox should not have sold out its engineering team to HCL. Xerox high compression algorithm has issues. Everyone knows that. But no one from the senior management was ever interested in trying out a new algorithm. This is what happens when you try to save on money and keep managers who are only interested in saving their jobs ESP in the imaging team.
    Good luck xerox. Hope it’s a lesson well learned the harder way.

  12. cb August 14, 2013 - Reply

    In the link above from the editor on aug 13 where is appendix B? The document is only 4 pages long and ends at appendix A

  13. It’s in point of fact a great and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Bo Beaudet August 20, 2013 - Reply

    This information will keep the University of New Hampshire informed.

  15. Daria Huddy January 11, 2014 - Reply

    What are the equivalent Fuji Xerox series/models, very concerned for human lives, especially in regards to hospital care, and other critical applications. I am from Sydney, Australia.

    • kenericson January 15, 2014 - Reply

      Thank you for your comment, Daria, we appreciate it. The scanning issue was resolved many months ago when Xerox Corp. deployed software patches on a global basis to correct the affected products. As for Fuji Xerox, specifically, please see the following information: http://news.fujixerox.com/news/2013/000955/. If you have further questions, please contact Fuji Xerox’s toll-free Australian product inquiries number: 1800 028 962. Thanks, again, for your comment.

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    • Gregory Pings August 21, 2014 - Reply

      Sorry you’re having trouble with the RSS. Try this: Subscribe to Simplify Work at http://xerox.bz/1l3d3eQ and you will receive an email notification every time we publish an update.

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