Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Little Known Fact

EXIF data is much more interesting than you might originally imagine. Background: Our house was robbed on Tuesday. It was horrible, not because they took so much but because Aimee came home and found the house in shambles and didn't know if they were still there or not. She was terrified. Because of this, and not at all because we care about our stuff, we are installing an alarm in the house. I've always been very anti-alarm, I don't know why. I guess it's because back home we don't even lock our front door. Like, we don't lock it when we all leave and go off to work and whatever. My dad leaves his keys in the ignition of his car in the driveway. Take that Phoenix, HA! Anyways, so our house got robbed and they stole all of my camera equipment. Now, I don't have a huge kit but I was proud of it and I'll tell you photography was something that I really, really enjoyed doing. I don't say that meaning I'm done with it, I'm just deflated because the took everything. Lenses, camera bodies (digital and film), chargers, flashes, memory cards - EVERYTHING. It is so strange too, they literally walked past 4 laptops (5 if you count the one under the bed) and a pile of Target giftcards from our baby shower but stole my stupid cameras. I wouldn't have cared TOO much if they had taken my laptops because they couldn't get our private date (yay encryption!) and, you know, it wouldn't be that hard to convince Aimes that we need to replace laptops :) But my freaking cameras. Grrrrr. So anyways, I cruised by a few pawn shops today and no cameras had been brought in but they said without serial numbers I was sort of SOL. Apparently the police automatically check the serial numbers of everything that gets pawned and flag things reported as stolen. Bummer.

So back to EXIF data. EXIF data is the silly stuff that your camera saves inside every picture you take. It's very meta. Time of day, exposure settings, lens information, etc. Just on a whim, I thought maybe the EXIF data has the serial number of the camera? First glance, no bones. Has the model number, has my name(?), but no serial number. So I turn to google. Turns out, there is a 'secret' binary field inside the EXIF data that camera manufacturers use to store lots of interesting information...and Canon is nice enough to store your camera's serial number. Ironically, this dataset is labeled 'MakerData' (creative aren't they?). So I download this nifty program, compile it, run it on one of my raw files and BINGO! Out pops my camera's serial number! I was wicked impressed. I also managed to find the serial numbers of 2 of my lenses in the original boxes (I don't know why I keep boxes...err, I mean I guess now I know why I keep boxes). Hello! So tomorrow morning I'm going to call the 'callback officer' and report the serial numbers and who knows...maybe I'll get lucky.

I still can't believe that they didn't take more of our stuff. I can only hope the dogs were going nuts in the back yard and they were scared.



Justin said...

Dude that freakin sucks, but thats crazy cool that you were able to figure out the serial code and stuff. Sorry about the breakin though man.

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