I think if I were to make a list of personal possessions that would cause me the most trauma if I lost them, my wedding rings, laptop, and camera would be at the very top.
I love my Nikon (even though I don't treat it very well, being as how I constantly tote it around in the bottom of my purse and thus have to Photoshop dirt-specks out of nearly every image) and I can't afford a new one. Losing it—or worse, having it stolen—would be a colossal bummer.
A programmer named Matt Burns knows exactly how much it sucks to lose a camera, and he's created a very cool web service designed to help those in need. It's called the Stolen Camera Finder, and it ... well, it does just that.
Every photo you take with your digital camera contains hidden information about both the image and the camera—such as the make, model, and date. This information, called EXIF data, can also include a unique serial number, which identifies your camera.
The idea is that if your camera goes missing, you upload a picture from that camera to the Stolen Camera Finder website. It then examines the EXIF data from your images and looks for the serial number, then checks the web for photos with an identical serial number. If the thief posted, say, some Flickr images from their shy new toy, you've now got a way to identify the person responsible for stealing your camera.
It's definitely a clever idea, although a match doesn't necessarily mean that the camera-stealer uploaded photos to the web. It can very well be a photo that you uploaded to the Internet before the camera was stolen. Not only that, but savvy criminals may scrub the data after they rip you off.
Still, this site is worth a shot if the worst happens. Bookmark the Stolen Camera Finder, and hope you never need it!
Image via StolenCameraFinder.com