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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.

Some words with respect to the increasing media coverage: Usually, if one newspaper or newscast presses ahead, others follow. Since yesterday in the evening, there is such a pioneer in form of the renowned German Magazine “Spiegel” (see here). Thus, it is likely that other newspapers and -portals will follow these days. In a few hours, the USA also wake up again, which were responsible for almost two thirds of the hits yesterday. In case the concern grows further, I think there will be a Xerox statement in the near future, which I am looking forward to.

In any case, I do not any more think Xerox can just sit through the issue, as grandma Jane Doe currently needs to worry about her pension awards getting messed up by some Xerox machine. Apart from this, I think there is reasonable hope for the issue being able to be solved by a software update, which is positive. A further, obvious strategic disadvantage resulting from Xerox' silence is, that technical information about affected machines, as well as workaround proposals actually arrive in my mailbox and not at Xeroxes. Not bad for you though – once I get a running and tested workaround I am able to reproduce, I'll be most happy to let you know at this place.

Another thing becoming increasingly unlikely for Xerox to do, is forward defense like “the issue is a consequence of handling errors”. I want to take this opportunity and preventively express a warning not to handle this, like other enterprises did in the past. If the issue turns out to be some sort of simple handling error, that's fine with me, but in this case different Xerox support employees would have had more than one week of time to figure this out. Instead, the company where the issue occurred to me Wednesday, July 24th, is still sitting on the number-mangling machines, with Xerox being aware of the issue since July 25th. Additionally, Xerox or Xerox related companies have been on-site several times in the mean time without coming up with a solution.

Let me point out one last thing, as I am getting emails that tell me to bash Xerox: This is no Xerox bashing site here. They are ringing me up self-motivatedly, they seem to be investigating, and such errors just happen (even though this is one heckuva bug, admittedly). They might be getting more than enough problems in the future, as they might get sued for myriads of subtly incorrect documents, possibly produced over years, in maybe tens of thousands of enterprises across the whole planet. If this is what's coming to them, then the last thing they need is some blogging dude in a corner of the internet telling them “See?”. This site is not for gleefulness, it's for finding solutions.

Comments

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Do a search for xerox and “character substitution errors may occur”, and you'll bring up official xerox user manuals. This is a known issue since at least 2010.

1 |
Blah
| 2013/08/06 14:03 | reply

I can also confirm that this problem is present on WorkCentre 7545. In my test the digit 6 was often converted to 5.

2 | | 2013/08/06 18:01 | reply

@Blah. Yeah. Also a Computerworld article from today quoting Xerox as claiming that it only exists for certain combinations of quality and compression settings. Which falls just a tad short of explaining why Xerox hasn't fixed the bug in 3 years, or at minimum disallowed the settings combinations likely to produce it. Irresponsible much?

-Vinny

3 |
VLG
| 2013/08/06 22:53 | reply

@Blah. Yeah. Also a Computerworld article from today quoting Xerox as claiming that it only exists for certain combinations of quality and compression settings. Which falls just a tad short of explaining why Xerox hasn't fixed the bug in 3 years, or at minimum disallowed the settings combinations likely to produce it. Irresponsible much?

4 |
VLG
| 2013/08/06 22:54 | reply

I have reproduced the problem on a Xerox WorkCentre 7855. Scanning to PDF, quality Normal. The default resolution of 200 dpi had a fair number of problems, but I noticed a few substitutions on 300 dpi. When scanned at 600 dpi, I saw no errors in the first two columns and part of the third (I did a stereogram crossing of my eyes to compare). I did not see problems with Higher and Highest.

NOTE: unlike for other models, when you select Normal on the control panel of the printer, it does NOT give any warning about character substitution.

5 |
Tim McDaniel
| 2013/08/07 21:15 | reply

@Blah:

Do you realize that these statements in the official manuals that “character substitution errors may occur” make the situation even worse? It maneuvers Xerox into a much more uncomfortable position.

It proofs nothing else but: They knew it! And they still *approved that their users may use such a setting*…

Now just wait and see for some fierce lawyer to start a Class Action Lawsuit. This could turn out to be a very costly case.

Imagine a car maker like BMW putting this statement into his manual:

"Using our 'standard driving dynamics' setting, you
can easily go faster than 100 mph and save petrol at 
the same time, compared to using 'sportive driving 
dynamics'. However be aware that this setting, on some 
routes and in rare cases can cause your engine to
explode. -- But driving fast with this setting will
take you to your destination in shorter time and 
is considered environmentally friendly behavior."
6 | | 2013/08/08 20:02 | reply