Happy Birthday to Us – 20 Years Old – to the Day!

Whoosh!

What was that?

That, boys and girls, was the history of cybersecurity passing by!

28 years ago, somewhere around the fall of 1989, my Olivetti M24 was attacked by a virus. That fateful event changed my – and many others’! – lives. If only that virus had known precisely whose comp it attacked that day, and how many malicious descendants would be wiped out over the next decades both by my hand and later by the hands of KLers, I’m pretty sure it’d have about-turned in a jiffy and gotten the hell out of there!

26 years ago, in the summer of 1991, a group of like-minded computer geeks enthusiasts launched the great grandfather of what is today one of the top antiviruses in the world.

Precisely 20 years ago today – on June 26, 1997 – ‘Me Lab‘ was founded.

But it’s fairly quiet in the office today. No party, no champagne, no nothing. On our 20th birthday? Don’t worry – we’ll get to that. We’ll be celebrating, in usual crazy fashion, but just a little later. Today it’s business as usual. All the same, tonight – NOW!, if you’d raise a glass of something tasty and utter a few kind words, please do. You will be repaid in good vibes and positive karma or some such – for sure!

Whoah – we just received congrats from Scuderia. Grazie mille! (the photos arrived with a note: ‘Kimi is smiling!’ Well, so are we:).

The icing on the cake birthday cake:

Now back to those drinkies :)…

 

Rotoruan Redwoods at Hell’s Gate.

If you were hoping that was the end of my Rotorua trips, volcanoes and geothermal stories, then you’re in for disappointment. I still have lots to tell – your popcorn stocks may well run out before I’m done!

It’s time now to enjoy a ride around the lake, including a trip on a helicopter.

Let’s go clockwise. The first stop on the list is Hamurana Springs. Here there are mineral springs and a magnificent sequoia plantation.

Read on: Mind the black swan…

A very large rift on a mountain top.

Get your popcorn now and take your seats in the front row – I’m about to continue my stories of New Zealand!

Next on my agenda is the Tarawera volcano. This is perhaps one of the most unusual volcanoes I’ve ever seen: its top split by a huge volcanic rift, in which some 10 distinct craters can be identified. I guess there must have been quite spectacular fireworks when the volcano erupted 130 years ago…

Read on: why volcanoes are so much better than mountains?…

Munich-Jerusalem-Moscow. A week without tourism.

I’m taking a short break from my stories about New Zealand: firstly, I do not want to “overload” my readers, and secondly, I have something new to talk about.

A few sketches along the way last week, something like this:

1.  Wow! What a great name for a business – ‘Ikar’! Obviously a subsidiary of ‘Daedalus’ airlines. Hard to believe anyone would deliberately board a plane named Icarus.

Read on:

NZ Infernal Volcanic Features.

Continuing my tales about Waimangu and Tarawera. This is a story of volcanic miracles and the amazing events that unfolded here in days of old. Just to remind you of the chain of events, my last story ended next to a crater filled with boiling chemical-laden water.  And here it is:

Turn your back on this, and you’re right in front of the place where the largest known geyser on Earth erupted in the 1900s –  the Waimangu. Every 36 hours, this geyser shot out a water jet reaching up to 400m; each eruption lasting several hours.

Read on: What an amazing phenomenon!…

The local volcano with global implications.

Boys and girls! Can you guess what my biggest concern is now after my return from New Zealand?

It’s that I’ve already done 8 posts and I haven’t even got to the halfway point of my trip! Given the catastrophic time constraints I’ve been under of late, there’s not even the slightest glimmer of a light at the end of the tunnel. Quite unexpectedly, though, I have half an hour of free time, so I can post some nice photos and a few more tales.

It’s been quite a few days since my NZ stories started, plenty of time for everyone to do some work, right? Come, come now children, be honest! :) If you’ve been leading an idle life, then… well, you know, karma and all that. Sorry, that’s getting a bit negative. Can’t be done with negativity. Let’s switch to complete and utter stunning visual positivity:

This was the most positive picture of all. After that things got a bit more scary.

Read on: Black Australian swans – lots of them!…

Kerosene Creek – NZ-style.

The attentive reader of my ‘reports’ from New Zealand must have noticed that most of the place names here are of Maori origin. All of them mean something in the Maori language; for instance, Rotorua apparently translates as “the second large lake”.

However, there are exceptions.

For example, the names of the large cities were given by the British colonists. Or, take the Lady Knox geyser – the Maori didn’t have any other name for it, nor was it a geyser back then. There are some other English place names too, such as Kerosene Creek. There are a few recommendations on the Internet. This is where we headed.

Well, what can I say? This was another highly photogenic locale in New Zealand.

And there are hardly any people:

Read on: 16 NZD per visitor…

New Zealand’s hottest volcanic attractions.

Waiotapu is not just about the geysers; there’s a whole lot more here that hisses, lets off steam and releases multi-colored bubbles. It’s probably the brightest geothermal attraction in the whole of New Zealand… well, except for the gigantic Terawera and Tongariro craters (which I’ll tell you about a little bit later).

So here are Waiotapu’s thermal attractions:

The pools and reservoirs here come in all shapes, sizes, colors and temperatures. Some are just huge holes with something hissing and reeking of sulfur deep within them:

Others are just still lakes with graphite-colored water, which boils and bubbles in places. At some locations the PH values of the water is stated. No one felt like taking a dip.

While taking in the elegant shapes of the local sights, I was reminded of some similar places on the Kamchatka peninsula, such as the Uzon volcanic area. However, while all the lakes, mud pools and springs in Kamchatka are certainly a curious sight, their layout is quite natural chaotic and disorderly. Here, in contrast, they are all neat, round and elegant, as though there were carefully drawn by somebody, scooped out, painted and then given a final clean before being unveiled.

My favorite pastime is to manage the hot springs while they do their job :)

The green lake:

Oh! An Amanita! Among all the local novelties and all of New Zealand’s endemic plants, it’s very nice to meet a mushroom I’ve known since childhood.

Check out the mineral deposits. Looks like a miniature version of Huanglong in China :)

The Champagne Pool – that’s what this one is called:

A couple more geothermal curiosities:

It was a very pleasant walk. All along the way there are paths, signposts and benches to sit on and take a rest.

All around is a thick wall of green forest that looks fairly impenetrable. The multi-colored volcanic bubble features look all the better against this green backdrop.

The sky reflected in the green water:

To complete the walk, here’s a mud pool, with its contents bubbling and gurgling away in small patches.

That’s all I have on Waiotapu. For a comparison, here’s are our impressions of the place when we visited back in the winter of 2013.

 

The scent of a geyser.

Hi there!

The Rotorua area of New Zealand turned out to have a high concentration of volcanic tourist attractions. There are a dozen or so places in the vicinity (within a 30-minute drive) that I’d recommend visiting. So, where to start? If you don’t know where to start, start from the beginning. © I’ll take this advice, and… start with a question.

What geysers have you already seen, and which was your favorite?

That’s a very simple question to get us started.

While you think, let me give you the bigger picture.

There are four geyser regions in the world: YellowstoneIcelandthe Valley of Geysers on Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia and New Zealand. The hot springs in Atakama, Chile, are sometimes also included in this list. Also, they say there is a geyser areas in Mexico and Japan, but these are relatively unknown.

A geyser is an absolutely stunning sight: a column of hot water erupting from the ground and reaching several dozens meters into the air. Everybody really should see one at least once in their lifetime.

In Rotorua there’s a place called Te Puia – well, to be exact, the full name is Te Whakarewarewatanga O Te Ope Taua A Wahiao (source: Wikipedia). This is home to a geyser named Pohutu that erupts on a regular basis, roughly every 90 minutes.

Read on: A splendid hotel…