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Win a free NoCOUG membership for yourself and three friends!


Dear NoCOUG members and friends,

Happy, Happy, Happy New Year to you and you and you. It’s time to renew your NoCOUG membership. Log into your account at and click on the Renew button.

Win a free NoCOUG membership for yourself and three friends (a $380 value) by correctly identifying the colorful objects on the front cover of the NoCOUG Journal and where the picture was taken (or making a good guess). Also write a sentence (or two or three) that captures the meaning of the picture and your experiences with NoCOUG; for example, “NoCOUG conferences offer a lot of interesting content. I have attended 112 conferences so far and this will be the 113th.” Post your entry in the comments section for all the world to see. The NoCOUG board will select the best entry. The prize is transferable so feel free to enter if you live in beautiful Denmark. Kim Berg Hansen, that’s you!

Our winter conference will be held on Tuesday, January 27 in conjunction with BIWA/Spatial Summit 2015. Conference attendees will have a choice of more sessions than ever before, with five parallel tracks on Data Warehouse, Business Intelligence, Spatial, and Graph topics as well as sessions created especially for NoCOUG attendees including:

There will also be a networking reception at the end of the day. Review the agenda and register at

NoCOUG members are also being offered the unprecedented opportunity to attend Day 2 (January 28) and Day 3 (January 29) of BIWA/Spatial 2015 for the low, low price of $75 (regular price $175). Another example of your membership dollars working as hard as they possibly can for you.

Yours ever,

The volunteers and board members of the oldest Oracle users group in the world

NoCOUG Journal February 2015 Front Cover

NoCOUG Journal February 2015 Front Cover



  1. onyx leung says:

    NoCOUG conferences are only the major channel to open the communication to all members and non-members


  2. The picture is just wrong.
    NoCOUG does not provide one gem among hundreds stones;
    You have to search the worthless stone under all the gems!


  3. Robert Brown says:

    Polished stones on a California waterline, a great place to polish your NoCOUG network! Our company benefits and supports the organization.


    • nocoug says:

      That’s a great guess. The objects are obviously polished stones of some kind. And, since NoCOUG is the Northern California Oracle Users Group, it’s not improbable that the picture was taken somewhere in California. Polished stones can be found in bodies of water; for example, here is a picture of colorful polished stones on the shore of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park.

      And “Great Place to Polish your Network” is an apt description of NoCOUG.


  4. […] issues of the NoCOUG Journal so far and am looking forward to reading the 113th issue.” Go to to submit your entry. The prize is transferable so you can take part even if you don’t live […]


  5. Brian N says:

    It looks like the colored stones from Moonstone Beach and somebody dropped some orange candy. Just like going to NoCoug conferences, you never know when you will find a special treat.


  6. Polished glass on a beach amongst rocks. The wave action and friction with the surrounding stones polishes the glass. NoCOUG offers us a place to hone and polish our skills while discovering new gems!


  7. Thanks for reminding me that I am me 🙂 And even that I am living in Denmark, I almost forgot 🙂

    I am taking a wild guess at that cover picture: A Carnelian gemstone on a Lake Tahoe pebbled beach near Carnelian Bay.

    The Carnelian is the flesh gemstone (latin carn- meaning flesh). NoCOUG is the embodiment of gems of wisdom “in the flesh”, so to speak 😉


  8. nocoug says:

    Though a SQL aficionado, you seem to be equally enthusiastic and knowledgeable about gemstones.

    The Tahoe Daily Tribune says “Next time you’re zipping along Lake Tahoe’s North Shore take the time to stop at Carnelian Bay, midway between Tahoe City and Kings Beach. Ever since the first pioneers explored the Lake Tahoe Basin, Carnelian Bay has been considered a choice location on Lake Tahoe. A regular stop for early visitors to the Lake, it is still one of the best points to enjoy panoramic views down the nearly 22-mile length of this famous alpine lake. Initially called Cornelian Bay for the pretty, semi-precious red and yellow carnelian stones found on its beach, this small bay was renamed Carnelian Bay in the 1880s. In the early days, when the only way around the lake was by steamer, it was the last stopping point starting south from Tahoe City or the first when starting north and east. A popular pastime for visitors was to fill their pockets with the translucent, jewel-like stones that littered the beach. Even today, a sharp-eyed person can still find colorful carnelians along the shoreline here.”

    Perhaps the journal editor owns a cabin on Carnelian bay. That lucky dog.


    • I know next to nothing of gemstones, but Google is my friend 😉

      String of associations leading to my guess:

      – Hmm… Is there something particular about that orange stone?
      – Google Image Search for “orange gemstone” – aha, that could be a Carnelian.
      – Google Search for Carnelian reveals definition as well as existence of Carnelian Bay.
      – Google Map Search for Carnelian Bay reveals it is in NoCo.
      – The Journal Editor hinted with “bodies of water” that it might not be the ocean.
      – Well, a Carnelian stone in Carnelian Bay in NoCo – that could fit the known facts.
      – I’ll stick to that theory 😉

      A bit of thought and judicious use of Google can lead to anything 😉


  9. nocoug says:

    Truly Sherlockian! The game’s afoot! Not to put you off the scent, but couldn’t that orange object be a salmon egg like in the picture at


  10. Salmon egg?… “NoCOUG – where knowledge is spawned”.
    Orange gumdrop?… “NoCOUG – chewy knowledge”.
    Amber button?… “NoCOUG – button up your knowledge”.

    Any more?


    • nocoug says:

      For those who don’t know, Kim was the winner of the latest NoCOUG SQL challenge. His winning entry was published in the November 2014 issue available at


      • But that one was easy – just make some SQL 😉

        This one is deductive guesswork for the answer, and then creativity to make a good sentence. The last part I like several of the previous entries – my favorite so far is the one about having to look for one worthless stone among all the gems. So spot on (in reverse) of the picture 🙂


      • nocoug says:

        When asked to comment, the journal editor said something like “Bah! Beginner’s luck” (paraphrasing slightly). When pushed to confirm or deny whether the bright orange object is a carnelian and whether he has a log cabin on the shores of Carnelian Bay, he said “Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.”


  11. Philip Rice says:

    Based on not seeing any polished agates, I’ll say this is not the North Shore of Lake Superior. How’s that for a precise location guess?!? I mention Minnesota because of my roots there, having been a TCOUG member for almost all of the 90s. Knowing the value of User Groups (including IOUG since ’95), I signed up for NoCOUG after moving to this region in ’99. With the quality and quantity of sessions in my recent 15 years, our Board members are the gems in our NoCOUG scene.


    • nocoug says:

      Yes, probably “common chert” not agate. Agate has very distinctive banding. It’s not entirely impossible that the journal editor has traveled outside California in the past. Or perhaps he used a stock picture from to throw everybody off the scent. He’s a sly one, he is.


    • nocoug says:

      A special mention of Randy Samberg and Naren Nagtode who have retired from the board after putting in more than ten years of service each. In recognition of their service, the NoCOUG board granted them honorary lifetime membership of NoCOUG and we hope that they can join us at future conferences. Our other honorary lifetime member is Joel Rosingana who served in many positions including president and membership director.


    • nocoug says:

      This just in. The journal editor has grudgingly admitted that the location you provided—not the north shore of Lake Superior—is the first 100% accurate entry in this little competition.


  12. […] Win a free membership for yourself and three friends by correctly identifying the colorful objects on the front cover of the NoCOUG Journal and where the picture was taken. […]


  13. Winnie Cheang says:

    The colorful objects on the front cover of the NoCOUG Journal are pebbly sands or pebbles. The orange pebble is a Carnelian pebble.

    I believe the picture was taken at Rodeo Beach. The Rodeo Beach is located in the Fort Cronkhite area of the Marin Headlands, very beautiful place in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

    I thank you NoCOUG for bringing the best of the users of Oracle Corporation’s database and tools software, DBAs, and Developers together. Like the different colors and size of the pebbles, we are from different areas/companies with different cultural and educational backgrounds!

    Finding carnelians is a challenge because they are not abundant. Finding a good user group in my area is also a challenge. I am fortunate to find and join NoCOUG. This is a best way to meet local DBAs and developers in my area, share tips and techniques!

    Liked by 1 person

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