Google’s many logos

Google changes their logo the way your doctor’s office changes the magazines in the waiting room.  They’re different, but not really.

Here they are…in all of their primary color glory.


















And there you have it.  The many (similar) faces of Google.  What do you think of this latest one?

Codd’s 12 Rules

Without Edgar F. Codd, who knows where modern databases would be.  You might not realize that just about everything these days is driven by a database (Facebook, for example, is just a really pretty database.)  So, Edgar F. Codd, we salute you.  And your mustache.


Here are Codd’s 12 Rules of a relational database.  All 13 are still relevant today (no, that’s not a typo).


Rule 0: The Foundation rule:

A relational database management system must manage its stored data using only its relational capabilities. The system must qualify as relational, as a database, and as a management system. For a system to qualify as a relational database management system (RDBMS), that system must use its relational facilities (exclusively) to manage the database.

Rule 1: The information rule:

All information in a relational database (including table and column names) is represented in only one way, namely as a value in a table.

Rule 2: The guaranteed access rule:

All data must be accessible. This rule is essentially a restatement of the fundamental requirement for primary keys. It says that every individual scalar value in the database must be logically addressable by specifying the name of the containing table, the name of the containing column and the primary key value of the containing row.

Rule 3: Systematic treatment of null values:

The DBMS must allow each field to remain null (or empty). Specifically, it must support a representation of “missing information and inapplicable information” that is systematic, distinct from all regular values (for example, “distinct from zero or any other number”, in the case of numeric values), and independent of data type. It is also implied that such representations must be manipulated by the DBMS in a systematic way.

Rule 4: Active online catalog based on the relational model:

The system must support an online, inline, relational catalog that is accessible to authorized users by means of their regular query language. That is, users must be able to access the database’s structure (catalog) using the same query language that they use to access the database’s data.

Rule 5: The comprehensive data sublanguage rule:

The system must support at least one relational language that

  1. Has a linear syntax
  2. Can be used both interactively and within application programs,
  3. Supports data definition operations (including view definitions), data manipulation operations (update as well as retrieval), security and integrity constraints, and transaction management operations (begin, commit, and rollback).

Rule 6: The view updating rule:

All views that are theoretically updatable must be updatable by the system.

Rule 7: High-level insert, update, and delete:

The system must support set-at-a-time insertupdate, and delete operators. This means that data can be retrieved from a relational database in sets constructed of data from multiple rows and/or multiple tables. This rule states that insert, update, and delete operations should be supported for any retrievable set rather than just for a single row in a single table.

Rule 8: Physical data independence:

Changes to the physical level (how the data is stored, whether in arrays or linked lists etc.) must not require a change to an application based on the structure.

Rule 9: Logical data independence:

Changes to the logical level (tables, columns, rows, and so on) must not require a change to an application based on the structure. Logical data independence is more difficult to achieve than physical data independence.

Rule 10: Integrity independence:

Integrity constraints must be specified separately from application programs and stored in the catalog. It must be possible to change such constraints as and when appropriate without unnecessarily affecting existing applications.

Rule 11: Distribution independence:

The distribution of portions of the database to various locations should be invisible to users of the database. Existing applications should continue to operate successfully:

  1. when a distributed version of the DBMS is first introduced; and
  2. when existing distributed data are redistributed around the system.

Rule 12: The nonsubversion rule:

If the system provides a low-level (record-at-a-time) interface, then that interface cannot be used to subvert the system, for example, bypassing a relational security or integrity constraint.

Thank you Wikipedia!!!

Nerd Destinations

We rounded up the best of the best Nerd destinations.  Pause Star Wars, put your chocolate milk down, and stop reminiscing about the last time you totally corrected someone that didn’t know what they were talking about — and plan your next vacation RIGHT NOW.


1) Middle Earth

Hop a flight to New Zealand.  Say hello to Xena the Warrior Princess while you’re there.  Then saddle up on a horse and head to Matamata in New Zealand’s Waikato district (that’s still how they get around in New Zealand, right?)  Once you’re there, be the first person to ask a local if they’ve seen Gandalf recently.  That one is sure to kill!



2) The Great Hall (Hogwarts Hall)

On your way back from Middle Earth, pop into Christ Church, Oxford and see the hall where Harry and his pals hatched plans to defeat He Who Must Not Be Named.  You know, Voldemort.  This church/college was established in 1546 and is steeped in old world tradition.  Sounds like a good thing right?  Well – the tradition was so strong that women could not attend the college until 1978!  Hermione scoffs!




3) District 12

So, the enchanting setting of Middle Earth is in New Zealand.  The architectural marvel that doubled as the Great Hall is in Oxford.  What does the good old U.S.A. get?  District 12.  Yup.  When the Hunger Games needed to bring to life a location that was basically barely passable as being suitable for human habitation, they didn’t even have to get on a plane.  Henry River Mill Village in North Carolina fit the bill pretty much as is.  Over the years this town was destroyed by floods, a depression, fires, and more.  Every time it tried to eek back into existence, it was wrestled back down.  Apparently the odds just weren’t ever in its favor.




4) Luke Skywalker’s home on Tatooine

Ok, let’s make this trip simple:

Step 1) Go to Tunisia.

Step 2) Locate the Sidi Driss Hotel in Matmata.

Step 3) Have someone take a picture of you staring thoughtfully into the sky (get both suns in the picture if you can.)

Step 4) Leave Tunisia.




5) Nintendo World Store

Ok – we deviated from the movie settings for this last one – but it HAS to be on the list.  You can think whatever you want about Nintendo now, but the reality is, they created an industry.  Some of the most recognizable characters in history are Nintendo characters.  Not video game history.  ALL history.  It’s of course located in Rockefeller Center in New York – where else!?  Ok, maybe Japan would have made sense.  But other than Japan, where else!?

10,000 Square feet of games, merchandise, and most importantly – tons of people Nerding just as hard as you about all that stuff!  Make the trek.  This one is too good to miss.

Sorry – did you say something?  Oh, how did we leave that one out?  Well you see, the list is 5 places long and the place you just mentioned was actually #6.  Tell us about it in the comments though!

A Nerd’s back to school essentials

So, after 3 straight months of Minecrafting (with periodic breaks to Google questions nobody cares about the answers to) it’s time to go back to school.

These Nerd approved school supplies will help you get through the next 9 months in nerd style!


Tetris sticky notes

Not sure how functional these are (unless you already write in an “L” shape) but we LOVE the idea of them.  We think that to add to their authenticity, it should come with a bunch of L’s, T’s, Z’s and squares, but only a couple of straight lines!

Find it here:


Techy Pouches

Show off your true colors with these supply pouches.  Sure, 3.5″ disks haven’t been used since you installed the original Wolfenstein, and there’s probably an app where you can snap a picture of an angled line instead of using a protractor, but that’s what makes them great!  Relive your glory days through your children’s school supplies!

Find it here:


Mustache paper clips

Mustaches are classy, we all know that.  But it’s important to make sure everyone knows how classy you are even when you’re not around!  These mustache paper clips are perfect for holding together your lists of favorite Cabernet Sauvignons or your autographed Marx Brothers photographs.  Attaching them to any written document automatically adds an implied British accent to whoever is reading it.

Find it here:


Game Controller Calculator

You have to keep your gaming chops up while you’re at school.  You think your opponents on the other side of the globe are allowing their thumbs to get lazy?  No.  They’re not.  They’re keeping them in tip top condition with thumb cozies, regular stretches and a gamers diet (Cheetos and Mountain Dew.)  This calculator will give you the edge you’ve been looking for.  It also maths for you too.

Find it here:


Lego notebook

If you’re breaking out a notebook, chances are something boring is about to happen.  These Lego notebooks will help you spice it up a little.  It comes with some pieces you can actually rearrange to make your own creation.  Best part is, they’re squishy – so stepping on one won’t mean your life has literally ended.

Find it here:


Zelda Backpack


Zelda.  Back.  Pack.  Need we say more?  Our independent study has found that this backpack can hold:

  • 2 Swords
  • 20 Bombs
  • 100 Arrows (and Bow)
  • Endless money
  • Rings
  • A Boomerang
  • A Raft
  • Food
  • Potions (and Poisons)
  • A Stepladder
  • Candles
  • and A Book of Magic

Find it here:


Dr. Who TARDIS Lunchbox


This lunchbox has the unique ability to produce a different lunch every time you open and close the lid.  You just keep opening it until you find something you like.  This is powered by its proprietary Chameleon Circuit.  We have heard, however, that many units are shipping with a faulty Chameleon Circuit and just produce peanut butter and jelly every time.

Find it here:


Cleaning Putty

The ultimate nerd school supply.  If being nerd is defined in any way – it’s caring about certain things more than anyone really should.  And this proves it.  Shaking out your keyboard isn’t enough.  Using a can of air isn’t enough.  You need a putty that slowly molds itself to your electronic device and picks up every last spec of dust.  From your keyboard, your phone, game controller, whatever.  There is one thing we found it’s not great for picking up though……….girls.

Find it here:

Tell us what other unconventional school supplies we missed???


DON’T be Kirk Hammett! Backup your data!

Kirk hammett – lead guitarist for metallica – lost years worth of song ideas because he didn’t back up!

don’t be kirk hammett!


Yep, this really happened.  Kirk Hammett actually said that one of the reason for the LONG delay between albums is because he lost his phone where he recorded song ideas and never backed anything up.

Do we really even need to write a paragraph on the importance of backing up?  I don’t think so.  So let’s just jump right into some easy solutions & explanations to keep you up and running.


iCloud is Apple’s solution to keep all of your Apple devices in sync.  It automatically backs up things like App Store purchases, photos, documents, contacts and more and makes them available to all of your other Apple devices.  If you want to work on a document from your computer then pick up where you left off later on your iPad, then iCloud is your solution.


Who should use it: People that exclusively use Apple products and want all of them to be in sync with each other.

Who should not use it: People that use no or few Apple products and are looking for traditional backup of files without any sort of syncing.

Get started here:



Picturelife is for backing up photos and video only.  But while it is limited to only photos and videos, it handles those extremely well.  A subscription with Picturelife will cost just a few dollars a month, and for that you get a service that will automatically backup every picture and video you capture on every device you have.  You can access them anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.  Their website and app interfaces are great for viewing, editing & sharing all of your photos & videos.  You can even search your library using English search terms – i.e. “videos in Los Angeles”.  The backup is automatic & fast.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2_28_57 PM

I had a personal experience with Picturelife that sold me.  I was on vacation and at the beach.  I NEVER have my phone on me while I’m at the beach so it doesn’t accidentally go in the water.  But I was done for the day and relaxing, just taking in the sun (truth be told – I have 4 children so that “relaxing” part is a complete lie.)  Anyway, like I said, I’m relaxing in the sun without a care in the world, flipping through my phone and taking pictures.  I know that we’re about to leave so I put it in my pocket.  A few minutes later I hear my son calling me.  He’s pointing to his inflatable Killer Whale that has floated out into the ocean.  Letting it float out to sea would have been easy.  Watching my son as it floated out to sea would not!  So I jump in and swim after the whale.  It was a successful rescue.  But there was one casualty – my phone.  It.  Was.  Dead.  Completely dead.  After a mile long swim out into the deep sea (again, another huge exaggeration) my phone just gave up.  But here’s where the story gets good…  After we got back to the hotel and I logged into, I saw the pictures I took just minutes before jumping into the water.  In the few minutes between taking the pictures and my phone being submerged in the ocean, Picturelife had already grabbed them!  So while I lost the phone, my pictures were safe & sound.  That’s the day Picturelife hooked me (get it — “hooked”, like fishing — fish — ocean — get it?)

Who should use it: People that are only concerned with ensuring that their pictures and videos are never lost.

Who should not use it: People looking for a full backup solution beyond pictures and videos.

Get started here:

External Hard Drive

The options for hard drives are endless here.  You can get huge capacity and fast speeds now for relatively reasonable costs.  And this is probably one of the most straight forward ways to completely backup the entire hard drive of your computer exactly as is.  In fact, most operating systems (Windows & OSX) have software that will automatically handle the backup process for you if you keep the hard drive connected.  And while this is a very traditional form of backup and it will backup everything you have, it does have some significant limitations.

  1. Unless you have a home network setup, the hard drive will only backup computer it is connected to.
  2. Setting one up to backup from a mobile device can get tricky and doesn’t always work as expected.
  3. It’s still a physical device in your home.  So if the disaster that requires you to revert to a backup also took out your hard drive, you’re out of luck.


In general, external hard drives are a great supplement or Plan B to another backup solution.

Who should use it: More technically savvy people that know exactly what they want backed up – and how.  Also people that want extremely fast and easy access to their backed up files without actually having to completely revert to a backup of everything.

Who should not use it: People that want an automated one-stop-shop for having everything secure and backed up off line where nothing (almost nothing) can hurt it.

Get started here:

There are endless solutions for backing up your important files.  These are just a few of the different types of backup solutions available.  Your best bet is finding one you find easy to jump into and maintain – because even the best backup solution doesn’t mean anything if you don’t use it consistently.

Friends don’t let friends lose their files.  So, save a file, share this article.  And tell us how you protect your files!



How to approach your logo design?

“Symbolize and summarize”

-Saul Bass, Renowned Logo Designer


Logo design is truly an art.  Taking a company, an idea, a concept, a passion and representing it with a single image is no small task.  It requires a true understanding of what is at the heart of the organization and the skill to translate that into a universally recognizable image that will evoke emotion in everyone that sees it…..but not just any emotion……the right emotion!

Logo design does come down to just this: emotion.  Your logo should grab people, excite them, welcome them, or ignite whichever feeling you desire.  Some logos are meant to create excitement, others happiness, and some even want to evoke sadness.  Whatever the goal, it is your designers responsibility to understand it well and keep it at the core of the design process.  Here are some ways to make sure your logo has the desired impact…


What is your desired reaction?

The first step of evoking the right emotion in people is deciding what the right emotion is.  When people see your logo do you want them to feel Excited?  Happy?  Cared For?   It’s not enough to just say that your company represents all of these things – I’m sure it does!  But what makes you stand out?  What is different about you?  Why should your potential customers choose you over your competitor?  When you have that answer, THAT is the emotion you want to evoke.


How do you create this emotion?

Once you have determined what is the right emotion / feeling / reaction you want to convey through your logo, you can move on to actually creating it.  This is where it gets fun.  First, look for inspiration.  This doesn’t mean copy someone else’s logo; it means look at other logos that make you feel the way you want your customers to feel and get some ideas of what they have in common.  In general, laid back casual feelings will have more earthy tones & colors and softer, rounded edges (or no edges at all.)  Exciting logos will create movement.

While logos that want to make people feel cared for and convey trustworthiness will often have strong larger than life representations


There is a phycology behind this that your designer should be aware of and capable of brining to your logo. What’s important here is that you have a frame of reference for what is relevant.  The Starbucks logo wouldn’t work for a tech company (it’s too warm & welcoming) and the Apple logo won’t work for a coffee shop (not very warm & welcoming!)

How colorful should it be?

Not at all.  Of course logo design is artistic and there is no right or wrong, but this a very useful rule of thumb.  Design your logo in black & white!  If your logo can’t translate well to black and white, it will be very limited in its uses.  This rule came about during the days of printed media, faxes, etc. when black print was the only option very often.  While that’s not the case anymore, the rule still stands strong.  A logo that can be represented by a single color (such as black) with negative space making up the rest (white) your logo will be endlessly versatile.  Your designer should not need to rely on a huge color palette to create the desired effect.


This does not mean your logo cannot have color.  Color is not a bad thing.  But it should be able to easily translate into black and white.  Be sure, however, that your colors are there for a purpose.  Just because your logo includes a banana in it doesn’t mean the banana needs to be yellow.  Just because there is a rose doesn’t mean it needs to be red.  Logos are not literal representations, they are art.  Use color for a purpose.  Different colors convey different emotions.  Red conveys the strongest emotions: Love, Passion & Anger.  Green is calm and soothing.  Blue is trusting and secure (it has a wide range depending on the shade.)  The science of colors is a completely separate article in itself.  The key here is don’t use color just to use color.  Make it count.


Detailed?  Or not so much?

Not so much.  Again, this is of course a matter of opinion, but there’s good reason for our opinion – we promise!  While the ability to create large, detailed images has become much easier in recent years through design software, the way in which we see these logos has actually gotten smaller.  Logos are viewed on computers screens now – often as profile pictures on a social media page.  Or a favicon (the small logo inside the address bar on your browser).  These are TINY!  And that’s on a computer screen.  Now imagine all of this on a phone or tablet.  Even tinier!  The shape and outline of your logo should be recognizable even at these sizes.  Keep the detail to a minimum.  A single shape or silhouette can speak volumes!


Ok, just tell me what my logo should be!

A tree.  No a tree with wires for roots.  No, a tree with wires for roots and a single leaf falling off.  No, a tree with wires for roots, a single leaf falling off, and a hand catching the leaf!  Did any of those work?  If not, read on…

We can’t just guess what should be included in your logo.  It all comes down to everything you read above to decide what image(s) convey the right message.  But what we can tell you is don’t be shy to think abstractly.  Think of a creative way to represent the first letter of your company name.  Think about what you really DO at your core.

So you’re a personal trainer.  Yes, you train, you help clients build muscle, lose weight, etc.  But what you DO is change lives.  What you DO is teach people how to take care of themselves.  What images convey those core aspects of what you bring to people?

You make gourmet food items.  Yes, you cook.   You bake.  You mix.  You package.  We got it.  But what you DO is give people food that they experience – not just eat.  What you DO is take the ordinary (eggs, sugar, biscuits…) and make it extraordinary (Tiramisu)

So think hard about what you really do.  How you impact people, animals, the environment, whatever and send that message.  And very importantly, make sure you’re working with a designer that’s willing to take the time to figure out what you truly DO before creating a single sketch.

What great tips did we leave out?  What did you learn during the process of designing your logo?

Should you get an Amazon Echo?

The Amazon Echo is a neat device to have around.  It’s an evolution of technology in the same spirit we’ve seen before: the tech & the guts are pretty much the same as other devices available, but the way it’s presented and delivered is more modern and adds to the convenience.  Pretty much the same thing the original iPhone did.

Let’s get into it…


First of all, the packaging was great.  It came in a sleek, nicely crafted black box that had everything packaged perfectly.  One of those boxes that you try to find a reason to save and use for something else.  Then after it sits on your counter for 4 days doing nothing, you finally toss it.



Setup was super simple.  Plug in the Echo.  Turn it on.  Download the app.  And through the app you connect it to your WiFi.  After that, with the app, you connect the Echo to your Amazon account, Pandora, iHeart Radio, and other services you might want to connect.  If you wanted, this could literally be the last time you used the Echo app.

The Remote

The remote for the Echo might be one of the most innovative ideas to come out of this!  It’s a small, simple remote with basic controls (mostly for controlling music playback).  But it comes with a little magnetic cradle.  Stick this thing anywhere (on a wall,
table, wherever) and then you always have a place to drop the remote without losing it.  In a house with 4 Apple TV’s, we usually can only find 1 Apple TV remote at any given time.  Amazon’s solution was brilliant!



Using the Echo

Using the Echo is pretty straight forward.  You say it’s name (choose from either “Alexa” or “Amazon”) and the blue ring around the top lights up letting you know it (she?) is listening.  Then you start talking.  I can’t even begin to provide a complete list of things you can say that are understood — it would be long.  The basics are there of course:

  • “what’s the weather today?”
  • “what’s the weather in Phoenix?”
  • “what time is it?”
  • “shuffle Billy Joel music”
  • “set an alarm for 1 hour”
  • “who won the Laker game”
  • “add ‘Blog about Amazon Echo’ to my to-do list”

The best thing to do is just try different commands / questions.  You’ll be surprised at what gets a response.  We ask questions about people, places & events and get good answers most of the time.  We have re-ordered previously purchased items from Amazon by saying “re-order coffee”.  And, it’s just a lot of fun.  Our kids love asking her questions, making her repeat things (“Alexa, simon says ‘I love to eat ice cream with broccoli on it”), asking her to tell us jokes, and more.


What it really came down to for me is that I needed a good wireless speaker.  I was willing to spend pretty much the same amount that the Echo cost on one, and for the same price, I got a great speaker (it’s pretty incredible) plus all of this extra stuff.  For now, it’s similar to using Siri, but much much more convenient.  My wife – who is not tech savvy at all – has NEVER used Siri but has started to use the Echo.  She checks the time when her hands are full (we have 4 children), sets alarms for bed time (we have 4 children) constantly adds food to our ‘shopping list’ (we have 4 children), and puts on some loud music to drown out any background noises (We. Have. Four. Children!)



So…Should you get one?

For the cost, It’s a fun gadget to have around.  There will be newer versions later that will improve, but for the most part, the version we have right now will constantly get better as Amazon continues to allow for more commands, connects with more 3rd party apps & devices (I can’t wait to say “Alexa, put on Top Gun in the living room!”), and upgrades the software behind it.  SHE is a welcome addition to our home and we’re pretty sure you’ll feel the same way.

So if you haven’t gotten an Echo yet, what’s holding you back?  Tell us what you would like to see Amazon improve on for you to add it to your cart!