Orielton Software's New Logo

It is my great pleasure to share Orielton Software’s new logo:

I have been thinking about developing a new logo for a while, but it took a bit of fortuitous inspiration to prompt an idea that I was happy with.

In my never ending quest to inflict maths on my daughter I recently made her a simple Möbius Strip. Later that day I walked past where it was lying on a table and noticed that from a certain angle the curves made a pleasing triangular shape. When I flattened it out, pressing the curves into creases, it made a nicely proportioned two dimensional pattern.

By luck the width and length of the strip of paper that I had used meant that the edge length of the equilateral triangle in the centre was approximately equal to the width of the strip. This would not have been the case for a longer or thinner strip. This makes for some nice geometry in the overall pattern.

Apart from the intrinsic appeal of the pattern (at least to me), it seemed like a good basis for a logo because of the vague similarity to the shape of Tasmania. I decided to join the long tradition of Tasmanian logos based on stylised triangles.

To continue this theme I decided to try using some colours from a colour scheme that I put together a few years ago. The colours in the scheme were chosen from photos I had taken at Mt Field National Park. In particular it used colours from the bark of eucalypts, lichen on the rocks and foliage of the the beautiful Nothofagus Gunnii, Tasmania's only deciduous native plant.

I tried to choose colours for each part of the logo with some link to the corresponding areas of the state - gold for the East coast beaches, green for the bush of the South-West and West coast, red for the rich farming soil of the North coast, and blue for the lakes of the Central Highlands. Cheesy perhaps, but I like the result.

Being a coder rather than a graphic designer, I wrote a quick Mac application to draw the logo at various sizes and with various treatments. I toyed with putting some sort of marker in the South East of the logo to represent Orielton, the the spiritual home of Orielton Software and location of our World Headquarters. But this just broke the "symmetry" (aesthetic rather than mathematical) of the pattern.  

A colour logo is all well and good, but sometimes a monochrome version would be useful. So I spent a couple of hours exploring various approaches to render the colour in grey scale, and ended up settling on:

gray = red * 0.3 + green * 0.59 + blue * 0.11;

Perhaps not the most productive way to spend a few hours, but I enjoyed it and learned a few things along the way.

A lifetime of text

Recently I was reminded of an evening in my youth, sitting around with a couple of friends reading a copy of Byte. It was sometime in 1987 or there abouts. One of us spotted a brief news item about some breakthrough in storage technology that promised an amazing amount of data on a small chip.

I forget the specifics but we sat around and did some maths based on the sketchy details in the magazine and a few assumptions. We came to the conclusion that if this technology actually worked out you could store more text on a 20x20mm chip than you would read in a lifetime of novels. 


Imagine that, being able to store your lifetime library in something the size of your thumbnail. Mind boggling!

For context, this was a time when buying a 10Mb HDD was not a silly idea, and 40Mb was impressive (yes dear reader Mb, not Gb or Tb). And they were not small devices. Of course, the news article was about research that might be years away, if it even worked at all. But we could dream. What an amazing world we could end up living in.

Having been reminded of this I decided to do the maths again. I grabbed a paperback of the era and started counting. Lets say 70 characters per line and 40 lines per page, so 2,400 characters per page. Lets assume a simple 8 bit character set, so one byte per character.

If we assume 450 pages per book, and a reading life of 80 years reading 3 such books a week we end up with a grand total of ...

15,724,800,000 bytes

Wow, that’s a big number.

But actually no, it is a small amount of storage by today’s standards. Less than 16Gb, about 1/250th of the storage capacity on the desk in front of me. Just right to fit on a small USB stick (although you might have to buy a pack of 3 or 5 if you want to buy 16Gb devices). Or just right for a Micro-SD card, which coincidentally is almost exactly the size of my thumb nail.

Depending on format I can go to the local supermarket and buy a 16Gb something for less than $20. Looking at the ads in the back of a 1987 Byte, buying 16Gb worth of 40Mb HDDs would have cost US$240,000 (plus shipping), around A$330,000 in those days. This is nearly three times the median house price in Sydney at the time! How things have changed in just 30 years.

A lifetime of reading on your thumb nail for less than the cost of a decent family sized pizza … we do indeed live in a truly remarkable world.