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Possible workaround for character substitutions in xerox machines

It might be, that a reader of this blog found the magic bullet, or at least a workaround to the issue. It seems to be a scan parameter within the machines, whose tendency to create character substitutions was even known to Xerox. This raises the question why several xerox support guys weren't able to help at all, even though they visited the machines several times since the end of July. But, first things first, here is the work around. Yesterday, I was made aware of a scanning parameter in the Xerox ColorCube 9203, which seems to at least diminish the issue. Have a look at the following screen shot:

It is made of the scanning parameters within the web management of the Xerox ColorQube 9203 (those machines, as the WorkCentres, feature an integrated HTTP-Server for management purposes). The reader raised the quality from “normal” to a higher setting, which – counter-intuitively – reduced the readability of the scanned document, however, reduced the number of mangled numbers drastically (maybe even to zero). The image quality was reduced in a way that even made some characters unreadable, but in this case, the user at least sees that something is not okay and rescans the document. The employer of the reader now will not use the “normal” setting any more.

Now, straight to the point: I can confirm the impact of the setting as described above for the Xerox WorkCentre 7535. There exists an analogue setting, with the same “character substitution” text, and if the quality is raised, the reading quality is actually decreased, but the number of errors is reduced drastically. Nice one!

As there is still no statement by Xerox, I can only hope, this information works out for you. The possible consequences as described in the original article (lots and lots of documents may be scanned in a subtle incorrect way around the world) unfortunately stay the same.

Other Xerox devices reportedly affected

Reading last night's mails, I get the information that readers have been able to reproduce the error on the following devices (thanks, Christian and others):

  • WorkCentre 7530, WorkCentre 7328, WorkCentre 7346, WorkCentre 7545

As usual, the following holds: I did not reproduce the error on these devices myself, so consider this as hearsay, even though plausible. My own Observations have been made on the following devices:

  • WorkCentre 7535, WorkCentre 7556

Other mails reported the reproductability of the issue on

  • Xerox ColorQube 9203, Xerox ColorQube 9201

There are also some readers able to reproduce errors, but understandably not willing to be named here for credits at the same time. I respect this attitude and then give credits to anonymous readers, so feel free to mail me even though you do not want to be named. After writing this article, I will add a “list of reportedly affected machines” to the original blog post.

Whats more, there is a new download. Lots of readers asked for a original scanned PDF of one of the affected devices, so there is one now in the lower part of the original blog post.

Xerox scanning errors: Cat images reportedly unaffected

Today's deadpan humor award goes to Metafilter with respect to their post about the Xerox Machines: Cat images reportedly unaffected - Xerox scanners/photocopiers randomly alter numbers in scanned documents. Nicely put!

As a computer scientist, I have to express my objections though. Please be most careful when scanning HTTP status cats.