On The Road Again
The section on travel Eugene Kaspersky!
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An ode to Namibian roads.

An ode to Namibian roads.

Once again I can’t help but sing the praises of the ‘German’ roads in Namibia! They’re superb! Although the only local premium-quality highway is still not that long – only 50+ kilometers. But the quality of the other paved two-lane roads here is mostly ideal. And the views along the road are something to behold! The biggest problem for drivers here is how to avoid being distracted by the scenery :)

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On almost all the paved roads the speed limit is a liberal 120. // it’s not like Australia, where the speed limit on a six-lane highway as straight as an arrow is 100, with their cynical signs saying there’s “no tolerance for speeding”.

There are regular...

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Ghosts of Lehrer, Buchhalter, Minenverwalter and other adventures in ghostly Kolmanskop.

Ghosts of Lehrer, Buchhalter, Minenverwalter and other adventures in ghostly Kolmanskop.

The next destination on our Namibian tour and the main reason for going to Lüderitz is the ghost town of Kolmanskop.

The settlement sprang up around the diamond fields, went through a period of rapid growth, then the diamonds dried up and the town was abandoned. Now this once-thriving town is almost buried in the desert sand and is gradually eroding, leaving behind some apocalyptic images.

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Welcome to Kolmanskop! Open from 8 A.M. to 1 P.M., entrance fee, drones forbidden.

The town is located in an area almost devoid of life. But rich diamond-bearing deposits are a good enough reason to...

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The one and only Chelyabinsk.

The one and only Chelyabinsk.

So my first business trip this year… Wait, what am I saying — this decade! :) Okay, so my first business trip this decade took me to the famed Chelyabinsk!

If you know Russia well, you know the stereotypes about how “tough/rugged” the people are here. But it’s not a bad thing! No, just the opposite, the jokes are reverent! One-liners like “People from Chelyabinsk are so tough that…” have turned the city into such a well-known brand that if I was… I don’t know, a taxi driver, I’d give everyone from here 10% off just out of respect! I can’t get enough of these memes! I searched the web for these memes and couldn’t stop laughing for 15 minutes :) The best part...

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Lüderitz and why giraffes and penguins never made it to America, even though they don’t need a visa.

Lüderitz and why giraffes and penguins never made it to America, even though they don’t need a visa.

Day 5 of our Namibia trip is here, and already off to an interesting start. After trekking, touring and giving our cameras a workout in the Namibian desert sands and dunes, it was time to move on to Lüderitz.

Off we went, driving across the endlessly wonderful and wonderfully endless Namibia.

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We had a 460+ km route planned for the day. It might not seem long, but after getting paranoid remembering how awful the road was two days ago, we decided to get an early start. Who knows what it’d be like before we reached the paved part they promised at the end?

That terrible road still haunted...

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Mom, I want to be a geologist!

Mom, I want to be a geologist!

The emotions evoked from a short walk through the rocky area surrounding the Namibian town of Luderitz can be summed up rather succinctly. In fact, one word would suffice. Or maybe one or two more. Unfortunately, they’re all expletives.

But they’re just rocks, I hear you say. OK, let me try and share my impressions in a slightly differently way – like this ->

They’re not just rocks. This is a real mix, a hodgepodge of all kinds of rock forms. It’s as though someone threw heaps of different kinds of stones into a giant “stone mixer” and heated it up on one side. And it turned out something like this. Over a huge area:

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Sedimentary rock layers, next to...

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A hot day at Deadvlei.

A hot day at Deadvlei.

A bit like with the Valley of Death, though its name is macabre and ominous, Deadvlei couldn’t be more beautiful! The locals realize this too, for this here ‘Dead Marsh’ clay pan with its dead forest upon it is the ‘business card’ of the country: any search on the internet for anything at all about the country returns photos of the place.

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The trees, though dead, really are striking, especially given such a vast barren backdrop. You can meditate upon them, in-between taking photos of them, for ages. Which we did…

We were ages taking pics too – as you can see…

Hard to imagine this was once a marsh. But it was – with trees, rushes, lotuses, and...

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Ok girls and dudes – time for some dunes.

Ok girls and dudes – time for some dunes.

The famous dunes of Namibia – in the Namib desert – were the ‘main dish’ of our Namibian trip. The dunes have been on my Top-100 Most Beautiful Must-See Places on the Planet, I think since I first drew it up. I’d long… longed to get there, and finally, early this year – I did it!

As I’ve already reported, the Namib is one of the driest places on the planet, with a mere centimeter of rain falling PER YEAR! As you’d expect, accordingly, hardly anything grows here at all. Oh, and another thing about the Namib – it’s the oldest desert in the world! If the internet is to be believed, it is 50-80 million years’ old! That is, it’s had dinosaurs roaming...

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Poles, meridians, tropics, circles – a brief digression.

Poles, meridians, tropics, circles – a brief digression.

What with our crossing – on foot – the Tropic of Capricorn in Namibia, which I told you about in yesterday’s post, I got to thinking about the two very important geographical points, seven lines, a pair of meridians, and five parallels that adorn our globe – in all, nine objects:

– The North Pole;
– the South Pole;
– the Greenwich meridian;
– the 180th meridian;
– the equator;
– the Arctic Circle;
– the Tropic of Cancer;
– the Tropic of Capricorn; and
– the Antarctic Circle.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been at both the Poles and I’ve crossed all the meridians and parallels plenty times (mostly not noticing – high up in a...

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Deeper into Namibia: the bluest sky, the Tropic of Capricorn, and odd-shaped aloe & cactii.

Deeper into Namibia: the bluest sky, the Tropic of Capricorn, and odd-shaped aloe & cactii.

Back to the day we checked out exotic birds and geological wizardry…

We left Vogelfederberg in the afternoon, but we still had a full 270km ahead of us before we were to get to our next hotel. I wouldn’t have minded, for the sun was out, the skies were bright blue and cloudless, and the desert scenery continued to astound; however, the roads was becoming markedly worse…

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Not that the road was full of potholes or anything; it wasn’t that bad. The problem lay in the way the sand on the road became rather heavily compacted somehow and it had formed itself into little ridges that ran across the road,...

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Namibian pink feathers, pink lakes, and mysteriouos geology.

Namibian pink feathers, pink lakes, and mysteriouos geology.

Skeleton Coast – done. Time to crack on further along our Namibian route. Next up – the country’s famous dunes, which are best seen at Sossusvlei. From Swakopmund (where we stayed the previous night) it’s around 400km. Sounds a lot, but when I tell you that those 400km were perhaps the most interesting and intense of any road I’ve been on – ever – well… the more distance the merrier!

For on this journey we experienced: flamingoes and pelicans, a mysterious mountain with endless views all around, a deep gorge, never-ending roads as straight as die, our crossing the Tropic of Capricorn, and our car getting stuck in the sand!...

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Cyber-news from the dark side: Er, who said you could sell my data?

Cyber-news from the dark side: Er, who said you could sell my data?

January 28 is my aunt Olga’s birthday. It also happens to be Data Privacy Day. And my aunt Olga still isn’t aware! But she should be! For digital data is the currency of the new millennium. Accumulated knowledge of trillions of clicks and transactions – it’s a gold mine for any business. And multimillion-dollar businesses – lots of them – are based on the sale of these cyber-resources.

Global IT companies have more access to personal data than do countries. As a result, this topic is extremely important; it’s also toxic.

And, wherever there’s money – there are always bad guys. Cyber-bad-guys getting up to no good with...

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African Adventure 2020 – Namibia: day two – Skeleton Coast.

African Adventure 2020 – Namibia: day two – Skeleton Coast.

Our second day in Namibia started very early – before the crack of dawn even. We were showered and packed before breakfast in the hotel was served. And this early-bird tendency stayed with us throughout the whole trip. Then, after our breakfast of a morning would follow concentrated levels of tourism, planned perfectly (or as near as darn it) so that we’d arrive at our next hotel (rarely the same hotel twice) around dusk, shower, have supper, and turn in for the night. Clockwork, basically ). Repeat 10 times! We call it ‘tourism till you drop’. And it suits us just fine!…

So. Day two: dedicated completely to Skeleton Coast

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African Adventure 2020 – Namibia: day one (and full of surprises).

African Adventure 2020 – Namibia: day one (and full of surprises).

All righty. Finally, let me get this African series fully underway. On today’s menu, my initial impressions of Namibia, particularly – its roads and the scenery viewed therefrom, plus its sandy beaches, and whatever else I’ll be reminded of as I sort through my many photos…

Now, for various historical reasons, it turns out that Africa is my least-traveled-to continent. Out of the 50+ countries I’ve visted, only 10 have been African (not including the Seychelles or Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, which technically are also African). What’s more, only four of those were business trips (with a spot of tourism on some); the...

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Africa 2020 – aperitif.

Africa 2020 – aperitif.

Once upon a time, my like-minded exotic-travel-buff friends and I spun a globe, closed our eyes, and placed our fingers on said globe. The continent with the most ‘pokes’? Africa!…

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And the rest, as they say, was history: it was with this highly-scientific method that we chose the destination for our next spot of adventurous tourism. Then, one early morning just after New Year, we were up early, grabbed our packed bags with photo-video kit with fully-charged batteries and empty memory, and headed for the airport. Hours later, we were up in the air; direction: south…

…I wish! I wish it were so simple! But no – it isn’t. It’s a lot more difficult…

First, you need...

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The extraordinary things I’ve done and seen – in the year of the Lord of twenty-nineteen!

The extraordinary things I’ve done and seen – in the year of the Lord of twenty-nineteen!

Hi folks, and – belatedly – Happy New Year!

Trust you all had happy, jolly, merry holidays. I sure did!…

All righty. Let’s get on… by looking back.

So, as per usual on these here blogpages of mine around this time of year, herewith, my round-up of last year: a summary of the facts and figures and countries and flights and tourisms and volcanoes and excursions and monasteries and walkabouts and treks and all the rest; woah – already for the sixth time (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)!

But… why?

Well, over-self-indulgence plays a part, for sure (especially when it comes to things like my total number of...

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A port with the fragrant smell of incense.

A port with the fragrant smell of incense.

As part of my plans I have a brief one-and-a-half-day stopover in Hong Kong. If memory serves me correctly, the Chinese name of the city 香港 means “fragrant port”. It’s always useful to check these things though… Well, I was almost right – it’s closer to “incense harbor”. The meaning of these hieroglyphs were once explained to me a long time ago by a Chinese man who wasn’t that fluent in English :)

“Incense harbor”. What a beautiful name! For some reason, I got to singing the golden oldie by Vertinsky: “Your fingers smell of incense, and sorrow sleeps in your eyelashes…”.

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A beautiful city! … I’m not here to discuss prices and the quality of...

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Hanoi by night.

Hanoi by night.

My lightning business trip is coming to an end. It started with the Moscow-Delhi route, but now I’m sat on my suitcase again and am about to fly more or less back the way I came. It all worked out well, almost like the last time I spent three weeks to a month travelling around the world :) But there’s no need for such heroism now. All the lands have been cultivated (except Antarctica, Atlantis, the Moon and Mars); the right people are tending them, weeding and watering them, pests are kept away and the crops are harvested. In some places several times a year :) And by doing so, they are saving everyone from global cyberthreats. But I still have to travel back and forth to...

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The daily life and sights of Delhi.

The daily life and sights of Delhi.

Delhi. This is the third time I’ve been here, and finally I decided to do some tourism. On the previous occasions, I’ve had to do press conferences, meetings and was always on the go. I did make it to the Taj Mahal once. But if we’re being honest, there are two things that get in the way of proper tourism here: the polluted air (see below for more), and the chaotic traffic. You step out of your hotel, leaving behind the cleansed, air-conditioned environment, and you are met with the smoke of the local neighborhood.

At the beginning of the week, when we had two days in Delhi according to our approved travel plan, a third obstacle made itself felt to...

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Mathematics – the queen of sciences.

Mathematics – the queen of sciences.

Hi all!

There will be two topics today: 1) where to go to study; and 2) a brain teaser – how can you obtain all the numbers from 0 to 100 using the digits 1, 4, 0, and 9. Let’s start with number one.

1) I often get asked: “What sort of education should my kid get? Which subjects are likely to be in demand in the future?”

I do not pretend to be an all-knowing visionary, but I have absolutely no doubt about the answer to this one: teach your kids mathematics! It’s the most fundamental, most indispensable and the greatest of all the sciences. Learning it opens the door to lots of different and wonderful professions. Good mathematicians can then become...

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Biometrics. Lord of the ring!

Biometrics. Lord of the ring!

It’s now perfectly normal to unlock your phone or computer with a fingerprint – nobody would bat an eyelid. In fact, more and more biometric data is being collected, whether it be facial, voice or iris recognition. This type of authentication appears to be very reliable because every human’s physical and behavioral features are unique. However, very few think of where all that data is stored and how it’s protected. What if somebody gains access to it?

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According to our experts, in Q3 2019 alone, 37% of computers used to store and process biometric data faced the risk of a malware infection at least once. Of these, more than 5% were infected with spyware. The...

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Reaping the fruits.

Reaping the fruits.

The year is coming to a close, and it’s only natural to sum up the various results of the last 12 months. So here’s a triple whammy of good news:

1) Our business security solution won the Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice in the Endpoint Security Solutions category for the third consecutive year. This year, it scored 4.6 points out of five, based on 1,747 reviews from real users. Gartner Peer Insights is an independent platform where corporate customers can leave positive or negative feedback on the products they use and give them scores. Customer’s Choice is ranked based on the scores vendors receive from users, taking into account both the quality and quantity...

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The Panthéon, the Pendulum, and Paris.

The Panthéon, the Pendulum, and Paris.

I’ve been to Paris so many times on business, and always manage to squeeze in a little bit of tourism, even if it means doing the same thing for the umpteenth time. After the 15th anniversary of our French office, I had a few hours to spare before the next leg of my business itinerary, so I went to Panthéon of Paris!

Here, amongst many other things, you can see the Foucault pendulum with your own eyes. It was first put on public display for curious tourists and other citizenry… apparently back in 1851. There it is – that dangling thing:

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It’s moving, see!

Of course, this in no way contradicts the theory of a flat Earth. Rather, it just demonstrates...

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K FR = 15!

K FR = 15!

The celebrations to mark the 15th anniversary of our French office in Paris were lots of fun! But we start this story with a picture of the birthday cake from the 10th anniversary of our French office:

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Why? To jog the memory – by going through my archives and photos I recalled all sorts of various stories. Like this hilarious one, which is probably hard to believe now. This is what happened.

It was back in the days when online banking was just getting started and serious cybercrime was only beginning to raise its ugly head; when people still had push-button Nokias and Sony Ericssons in their pockets and plane tickets were printed on paper (long sheets stitched together). It...

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Venice vs. November, floods and a biennale.

Venice vs. November, floods and a biennale.

What’s that whooshing sound? Ah, it’s me rushing from Cancún to Venice, to attend a business event the next day :)

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I got to thinking about my previous visits to Venice and how I usually arrived by car. In fact, I hadn’t flown into Venice airport for about 15 years! This time, they told me I shouldn’t be too surprised about their unusual new arrivals terminal. And it really was unusual – or, at least the parking lot:

That’s right! You can take a boat from Venice airport (which is on the mainland) straight to the islands on which Venice lies.

Here’s my suitcase next to the taxi:

This is a shot of the “car park”:

I’ve only ever experienced...

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Diez cenotes, o, cenotes sobredosis!

Diez cenotes, o, cenotes sobredosis!

Ingredients: the Yucatan peninsula; three free days between business events; a great desire to check out cenotes and bathe in them.

Something to be factored in: No Rio Secreto this time; been there a few times, done that, swum that – without the t-shirt.

Decision: Uno, dos, tres – let’s check out 10 cenotes!

There are four types of Cenotes: Cantaro (a cave with a hole in the roof thereof); cilindricos (with strictly vertical walls); aguagas (with shallow water basins); and grutas (cave cenotes, with a horizontal entrance with dry sections). Now, for some reason, along the coast of Yucatan there are mostly the latter to be found – grutas, while if you...

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