Badly Drawn Dogs

Quick post today, since I’m lazy and burned out from work and haven’t had time to properly author an exciting and engaging post.

I recently got a promotion at my day job and, to celebrate, I upgraded from my old iPad Air 2 to an iPad Pro 12.9. And, using some incentive points I had saved up, I got the Apple Pencil to accompany it. 

Since I had a stylus and a tablet, I downloaded the digital artist’s iOS app of choice, Procreate, and thought I’d take a metaphorical stab at sketching. 

I used to sketch fairly often. I started out in college as an architecture major with dreams of being the next Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava or Frank Lloyd Wright , and thus thought I needed to be able to sketch out ideas as they came to me. But those dreams were dashed and my college career progressed from architecture→computer engineering→management information systems.

So, consequently, I stopped sketching and haven’t really sketched anything in over two decades (also, I was just shocked to realize I graduated from college over 20 years ago!).

So now that I’ve picked up Procreate, I’ve started to familiarize myself with its myriad of tools and, I must say, I’m quite impressed. There’s a ton of different drawing tools/brushes available, from sketching to charcoal to painting. And, with the Apple Pencil, they’re extremely accurate and pressure-sensitive. You can tell that the engineers behind the app are artists as well. 

After a basic familiarizing, I gave a try at getting back into sketching by doing a quick two-minute sketch of our youngest dog, Etta, lying on the floor. To quote Dylatov, it’s “not great, not terrible“:

3.6 roentgenI then took a shot at some portraits of the other dogs:

Millie:

MillieBonnie:

BonnieOur beloved departed Winston:

WinstonAnd finally, back to Etta:

EttaMan, that was rough. My skills are not-so-great. But I plan on keeping at it, improving my sketchiness and learning the tool. If I improve enough, I’ll try these same sketches again in the future and share them here.

A Lightweight EXIF Data Viewer

If you’ve read the title of this post and are wondering “what is this EXIF thing?”, then here’s a bit of information. EXIF is an acronym for EXchangeable Image File Format. And, no, I don’t know why it’s not “EXIFF”. Basically, it’s metadata tagged onto a digital image that contains information about that image. This, along with another group of metadata, IPTC, is used by digital photographers to keep track of information about such things as camera/lens settings, geographic information and copyright of a given photo. 

Some photographers post their images online with this information intact, while others will strip it out when posting, keeping their secret sauce to themselves. For myself, I keep it intact as I hope it might be helpful to other photographers to understand how a photo was capture as well as being an aid in enforcing copyright. Most, if not all, photos on my photography site have this data tagged onto them and the basic data can be viewed by clicking the “View Photo Data and Location” button under the photo:

Basic EXIF data on 75CentralPhotography.Com

However, there are a lot of times that I want to view this data locally for unpublished photos on my PC. To make this easy, I wrote a simple Windows application that will display this data for a selected photo:

Main Interface

It displays the most-commonly used EXIF data on the main interface; and, if there’s GPS information embedded in the metadata, it shows a button to view the photo’s location on Google Maps. If you want all the EXIF data, you can click “File→Show All EXIF Data…” and a dialog will appear showing everything:

Everything, Everything

This application is written in VB.NET and the source code is available on GitHub. If you want to install it, you’re welcome to download it here

A couple of installation notes:

When downloading the installer, you may get this warning:

Because this app hasn’t been installed enough times for Windows to “trust” it, Windows Defender wants you to really think about it before installing. To continue, click the three dots and choose “Keep”.

You might then get another warning:

Go ahead and click the down arrow next to “Show more” and click “Keep Anyway”. Then, navigate to your download location and doubleclick EXIFViewer.msi to install. You might get another warning:

Click More info and you’ll get the option to run anyway. At this point, the installer will launch and you can install the application.

A lot of rigmarole to install an app, but it’s for most people’s own good, as Windows tries its best to prevent you from installing malicious software using Defender Smartscreen. In this case, you’re going to have to trust me that this isn’t malicious. You have the option, of course, to review the source code at the Github repository listed above. And you know where to find me. If enough people install, Windows will eventually allow it past Smartscreen without complaint.

If you download and use the EXIFViewer and have any feedback or find any bugs, please submit an issue here or send me an email at matt@75central.com.