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Thursday, 20 January 2011


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Dude, you've earned some time off. This month has been great as far as posts go. Jezz, cut yourself some slack. Have a beer (or six).

Hope you feel better soon!

Well, now that my Ravens lost 'our Super Bowl' to the Steelers, I'm all for the Pack. Spent 5 years in Madison, and bought my first serious camera after attending grad school and getting my first job there. Great memories, too, in earlier days attending Packer / Colt games in Baltimore, except when Paul Hornung scored 5 times in one game.

I can't imagine how good the Packers would have been this year if they hadn't lost so many key players.

Oh, I'm fine, John, thanks. No big deal. It's just a little worrisome is all. And makes it hard to sleep.


That is truly beautiful- but I thought it was a cigarette lighter.

I hope I haven't seemed off kilter lately...........nope,anyway I find your day to day groundedness refreshing.Btw noticed a few plane fans here a few weeks ago,can I recommend Airliners.net? Truly fanatical photographers taking great pictures(military and commercial).Cheers.

I know that this is the second Gilded Age in America and all for the top 1% of the population, but a 4GB silver USB thumb drive for $130 is just plain wasteful. IMHO

Yes Mike, the Packers and the Bears are a classic matchup. I think the Packers are the most popular playoff team this year. I'm still smarting over the Pats losing to the hated Jets. Any other team but the Jets. Dang.

If you lose one of these you'll be more anxious because it has your personal data (or pictures) in it. I hope you get well soon.

I was interested in the Galet until I saw the price. It's at least $100 higher than I'd be willing to pay for it. Guess I'll just fondle my $17 Sandisk Cruzer for a while longer.

touchstone |ˈtə ch ˌstōn|
a piece of fine-grained dark schist or jasper formerly used for testing alloys of gold by observing the color of the mark that they made on it.
• a standard or criterion by which something is judged or recognized : they tend to regard grammar as the touchstone of all language performance


However. One's a digital thing that looks all shiny until you stick a fingerprint on it and its bells and whistles impractically hog the adjacent USB slots

while the others are nice genuine analogue rocks that'll look shiny if you leave them out in the rain and are still just as tactile.

I'm trying not to see an analogy here.

The Galet is pretty cool, but I wonder if it just gives the bad guys another reason to steal our data. My ugly little thumb drive would probably be recommended by Jimmy Soul. (Remember the song? "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life . . . " BTW, I am pretty sure there is also gender symmetry for that advice, whether we speak of spouses or thumb drives.)

Born and raised in Chicago (Oak Park). Schooled and worked in Wisconsin for 20+ years. Only break was 4 years in Minneapolis. I believe I am the quintessential NFC FAN. Now I an held captive in Nashville, home of the Houston Oiler/Titans/Soft AFC... NFL wannabes. It is my wife's hometown.
Black and Blue, Monsters of the Midway, Central Division NFC, REAL FOOTBALL, played on grass, mud, ice and snow in ANY weather..FOREVER.

P.S. DA BEARS!!! All the way this year. Think 1985..Ditka, McMahon, Sweetness Payton (RIP), "GRABOWSKIS ALL!!

P.P.S. Relax Mike, your health and well being is more importnat that generating the best photography info website on the planet!

Go Pack!!

This is a cool item, actually not that expensive compared to CF storage years ago. Made into a neckless bling item could store all your medical info and lots of other stuff. I use a cheap one with all important info when traveling.
Mike, feel better

The most (and useful)beautiful pendrive I've ever seen.
But it's out of stock. Another "go through TOP's link" consequence?

Ah, good old Lacie. Form over function as usual.

It's a beautiful object for sure, but $130 for a 4gb flash drive?

It would have involved minimal extra costs to make it 16gb instead. Even 8gb would have been less insulting.

It certainly is pretty though.

Go Bears!


I live in Boston, so I'm sure I don't need to explain to you why I'm in a terrible football mood.

Now our team is out, my wife and I will be cheering for the Packers, because we like how they've been playing this year. That said, I've also liked the Bears in the games I've seen them, and they put on a hell of a demonstration against the Seahawks last week.

I think it's going to be a great game to watch...for those of us who aren't true fans of either team. For those of you who are, I suspect you'll barely have any nails left come Sunday night.

Hang in there, Mike!

It really looked like a neat idea, high tech touchstone and all, UNTIL I LOOKED AT THE PRICE!!!!

Talk about anxiety, what happens when I lose my $130 touchstone and any data that I might be transporting.

I think I will just continue to use my current 4GB thumb drive but will now also consider it a touchstone too.


I had a small stone that I carried around with me. It made me invisible to problems - mostly by encouraging my awareness of where I was.

So one time, as I walked out of the downtown of old Panama city towards the hotel where I was staying, I was thinking about something in the past and not thinking about where I actually was at that moment .

I was jumped by three men who stole my wallet (not my stash).

One of them broke his watch strap as he reached into my pocket.

His friends ran off and he looked very uncertain as he asked me whether he might bend to pick up his watch.

Down the street and around the corner I came across a police car with two policemen carrying M16s. I thought I should report the crime in case I could get something back on my insurance, and they drove me to the station.

I remember the policeman I chatted to - he was very laid back - such a nice man.

I kept my stone is a small pouch around my neck and laughed a little that night as I thought about what had happened.

Hey, Mike...
Indeed, as far as I'm concerned this is Super Bowl Weekend! It couldn't be better.

I didn't think to pull out my "worry stone" (as I used to call it). I haven't needed it for many years but it just might come in handy Sunday.

Although I live in eye-shot of Soldier Field (I'll wave every time the cameras take a wide north shot) I'll be watching from the warm friendly confines of my living room.

My prediction for the final score: 21- 17

But don't ask who will have what. I'll tell you that on Monday.

I usually would offer "good luck" to you. But...

Take care of that tooth!

LaCie likes to work with designers to make gadgets that are functional and very aesthetically pleasing. They've long worked with Porche Design for their portable hard drives.

FYI, "galet" is French for a round flat stone, such as a beach stone, or the touch stones in your illustration.

Agreed. Conference Championship Week does hold the most excitement and usually the best football.With all the hooplah attending the Super Bowl the actual game is often anti-climatic.Go Packers Go!

Born and raised in Wisconsin, then worked in suburban Chicago for 14 years. So I'll pull for the Pack this weekend, but will be glad to cheer for whichever ends up at the Super Bowl. (And I'm proud owner of a now-unviewable Betamax tape of "The Super Bowl Shuffle" by the 85/86 Chicago Bears.)


Take care of those teeth Mike.


"I've also liked the Bears in the games I've seen them, and they put on a hell of a demonstration against the Seahawks last week"

Yeah, but we didn't do so badly against the Falcons, either. #1 postseason performance by a Green Bay quarterback, EVER. That includes Bart Starr and Brett Favre.


Sounds like you should be fondling a bottle of pain relievers.

I read that new Taubes book you posted about, as did my wife, and we are now into the second week of a Taubes approved regimen. Not as easy as it seems at first, but appears to be working. Thanks for the tip.


Maybe you could finish your review of the K-5 during halftime!

A well earned rest, I reckon. Now I've entered my second half century I've realised the need to look after the mind and body, and a few days off will do you the world of good. Hope you can get the tooth sorted out soon.

Living in NY, I've always been a Giant fan, but since they're out of it, I'm hoping the Packers will take it all.
They play a great style of football. Enjoy watching them. Good luck Wisconsin.

My word, that's a pricey USB drive. Pretty, though.

I don't have a touchstone, but I do always carry around a single ounce of silver: after many years, I just feel uncomfortable without one. Mostly, it's a Canadian Maple (I have a fondness for them), but I also have American silver Eagles, Australian Kookaburras, and British Britannias. I find it's a good talking point - many people have little idea they exist, or what they are for. Occasionally, I have given one as a tip - that always goes down well. At about £20 / $28US, it's not a financial wreck if I lose it (although I never have done).

Hi Mike, as a dentist I would love to help but I live "down under"! There is some commonality between the 2 disciplines. Both dentistry and photography use applied technology to achieve aesthetic objectives. A restored tooth can be a "work of art" but whether it can ever be "art" as a photograph can, I can't say!
I have enjoyed reading The Empirical Photographer, and am pleased to discover I am an amateur not a hobbyist! Probably not an artist, but with years of pics of children growing up, and now grandchildren, I take photos with an eye to the light and expression which are satisfying to both me and the family. Striving to be a good artisan is at least a realistic goal, and perhaps enough.

I just bought my son a 4GB thumb drive. It was a good brand name drive, a Sandisk, and it cost the princely sum of $15 at Walmart. Why is the LaCie worth eight and half times what a good brand name thumbdrive of the same capacity costs?

When I feeling anxious or out of sorts I fondle a camera. I always have one with me, even if it's only a little Minolta 16II.

"Why is the LaCie worth eight and half times what a good brand name thumbdrive of the same capacity costs?"

Because it's a trinket made of sterling silver, I assume. Just like all the other trinkets people buy that don't have thumb drives in them.

By the way, this wasn't a buying recommendation. I'd never buy a Galet myself. I just thought it was kind of appealing is all.


"FYI, 'galet' is French for a round flat stone, such as a beach stone."

Thanks Ed. I added this info to the post.


The Galet weighs just over an ounce. An ounce of silver costs about $25, and I don't think there'd be more than 1/4 of an ounce of silver in the USB key: the thing is said to be "silvered" ie electro-plated. Possibly less than a 1/10th of an ounce of fine silver at .9999 purity. I cannot of course comment on the quality of workmanship, but if the silver-plating behaves like every other piece of silver-plating ever developed, it's going to scratch horribly, wear through if placed in contact with harder metals, and tarnish as well.

Still, the mark up over spot price for any form of jewellery made from precious metal is enormous (my father-in-law is a jeweller who educated his daughter very well in both formal and money-savvy ways), so a purchase price of less than $150 is not out of the ball-park. And for that you do get 4GB of storage.

Venturing OT, I read today of a diamond smuggler who was discovered to have had 3 high-value diamonds placed sub-cutaneously in his armpit (in the Daily Telegraph print edition - can't find it online). It's only a small step to some spy or paranoid type person electing to have their most valuable data inserted on a micro-SD card. Now that would be a backup....

another vote for 'worrystone'. Thats what we call 'em in my family...

Go Pack!

I was pretty dang close, wasn't I?

To be fair to LaCie, you don't buy a Galet because you need a USB drive. You buy it because you've got lots of dough and you like beautiful things.

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