Re: OCR/barcode reliability

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Fri Jun 04 2004 - 08:32:05 CDT

On this same theme, One of the NM elections had to have a 60,000 ballot hand re-count because a clerk bought slighly thinner card stock that was slightly more prone to ripping and jamming. It was in fact card stock sold by an election supply firm so it's not like it was truly bad stuff.

Since barcodes often designed to be read by poorly aligned, (even hend held) stand-off scanners but all the OCR scanners that I have seen want well alinged close contact this is yet another reason to prefer bar codes.

-----Original Message-----
From: Karl Auerbach <karl_at_cavebear_dot_com>
Sent: Jun 3, 2004 9:27 PM
Subject: Re: OCR/barcode reliability

> Barcodes can do this. bank checks which are pretty simple can do this. ...

Well, it's been a while (nearly 20 years) since I last wandered through
the backroom at a large bank (Wells Fargo).

But I do remember the check reading machines - they were very long things
that reminded me of giant card sorters, except that they didn't sort.
There was a photo station on the input that photographed every check - not
only because of the Federal requirements but also because of the cloud of
paper shards that surrounded the machine from when it occassionally
reduced a check to paper atoms (related to, but not as fun as beer atoms).

One of my first computer jobs was feeding huge decks of 300,000 cards into
a card reader. Every now and then, typically more often than we liked, a
rpunch card would have to be removed from the reader by brute force - with
a card saw - reducing the card to paper atoms.

It's been a long time and technology has undoubtedly improved, but I would
suspect that the lesson of experience then remains the lesson of
experience today:

  Fast readers are not necessarily paper friendly. The results are not
  always reconstructable back into an original.

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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:06 2004

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