Could it have been that easy, Xerox?

I keep getting comments and emails stating a very interesting thing. May it be, that included in the compression algorithm in question, JBIG2, there exists a flag “lossless” one just has to turn on within the implementation, and everything's in order? This press announcement (thanks, Flavio) suggests so. Money Quote:

supports traditional “lossless” compression, but also a new “lossy” type of image compression, whereby the compression factor is increased on average by a factor of about 3 to 10, without noticeable visual differences compared with the lossless mode.

The “lossy” one is the thing all is about here. The important thing to note from that quote seems that the 3-10x factor applies to lossy JBIG2, not lossless. Lossless JBIG2 will generally create files that are a bit smaller than other forms of compression, lossy will create files that are massively smaller.

Number mangling reportedly not a Xerox-only issue

The question whether or not the number mangling in scanned documents only occurs at Xerox devices seems to have been answered. I got an eMail of a Brother customer telling me he's able to replicate the issue using my test number sheets on a Brother MFC-9140CDN. He attached the outcoming scan and indeed, there is at least one 6 substituted by a nice, clean 8.

Edit: Brother replied and stated that their devices are not affected by number mangling. At first glance, the Brother MFC seems to substitute a lot less numbers than the Xerox machines. Of course, as I haven't been able to reproduce the error on the machine myself, and additionally, the device ID is not shown in the PDF (there only is to be read “Paperport 12”), so I can't really tell where and how the data has been processed, so please take the information as hearsay. Also, we can never be sure the mails I get are part of some spin doctoring campaign, so be suspicious. I'll be adding potentially affected devices to my “hear-say list of affected devices” though. 8-)

Xerox announces software patch

One day after their first Statement, which in essence contained information already known at the time, Xerox now published a second one.

In this statement, Xerox does announce a software patch to be developed that seems to completely eliminate the compression mode in question from their scan copiers. Pretty nice! Even though it is the most radical option, it is the one I wished for, for as I pointed out several times, patch based lossy compression seems to be uncalled for in document scan copiers. It's also a big leap for Xerox, as in their glossy brochures, they have been praising the compression mode in question as a top notch feature.

Almost nobody is short of disk storage space any more. Aside from this, customers not having legal certainty on anything they scanned using this mode, or others fearing to unburden the pensions office from their monthly payments to ol' grandma by just scanning her medicine prescriptions might not be what Xerox originally intended at all.