Monthly Archives: February 2020

Swimming pool in the desert.

It’s time I wrote a few things about Namibian ‘lodges’. I’m afraid I’ve practically no photos thereof as we’d check in late in the evening and leave at dawn. However, at the Fish River Canyon, we planned for an early night and late rise, since our next day’s trip was going to be quite short – only 270km. The place was pretty good: Canyon Lodge Gondwana. Reception and the restaurant and bar are in one building, while the guesthouses are set in a most picturesque landscaped setting:

Read on…

Amazing ancient artifacts of Santorini.

It’s been a while since we’ve had any excavation news from the Minoan Bronze Age settlement of Akrotiri. But that doesn’t mean the archaeologists there aren’t still working away diligently. In fact, today I’ll show you how they’ve been continuing to expand our understanding of the ancient world.

You might be asking yourself: why Akrotiri, and not some other ancient city? Here’s a synopsis if you’ve missed my past posts.

In the Aegean Sea, the island of Santorini is probably best known for its Insta-friendly white houses, blue roofs, and breathtaking sunsets. But what a lot of people don’t know is that the island was once the site of one of mankind’s most significant natural disasters. Around 3,600 years ago, the Theran eruption destroyed a flourishing ancient culture. When excavations began here in the mid-20th century, archaeologists discovered an amazingly well-preserved city buried in volcanic ash, including two and three-story buildings. The settlement was incredibly advanced for the time, boasting structures with built-in sewage and water supply lines (I repeat: three thousand six hundred years ago!). Researchers have unearthed frescoes, pottery, furniture and numerous other artifacts attesting to the unbelievable cultural advancement of this ancient seaside society.

But when archaeology budgets were cut in Greece, excavations stopped due to lack of funding. Here and there some minor digging continued, but overall the project went into conversation mode. That’s where my obsession with the excavation begins, in 2006, when I first got acquainted with the settlement’s history. And when I put my mind to making the world a better place in some specific way, I get it done (or in this case, started!). So in 2016, lo and behold, excavations were resumed, after more than a decade, with our financial support! That’s how I ended up getting a chance to do a little digging myself, and dig I did! I even discovered a Cycladic statuette dated ~5,000 years old. Now every year we learn more and more about how the island’s ancient inhabitants lived.

So what were the highlights of 2019? There’s lots of fascinating progress to share in different areas:

Read on…

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Last week’s good vs. bad news

The good news last week? Well, I went to Chelyabinsk – that’s the first piece of good news. Okay. I need to keep score here. The referee blows the whistle. Game on. 1:0…

Our lineup of patent lawyers now takes to the field. They bring good news, too. We’ve won yet another patent infringement lawsuit in the States! I won’t waste time explaining; I’ll just quote our report from the frontline: “One more major lawsuit is added to our list of victories! Case closed – not a cent to pay out!”

What was the claim all about?

In a nutshell, Greater Boston Authentication Solutions (GBAS) didn’t like the operating principle of our Activation 2.0 technology, which allows a trial version to be upgraded to a full version by validating a ticket that contains various information. GBAS deemed that Activation 2.0 infringed on their patents: US5982892US6567793 and US7346583.

// I’ve intentionally added the links to their patents in case anyone is curious.

These patents, born back in 1997, describe a software activation technology that uses a digital signature. It’s all relatively straightforward: the developer creates a digital signature from received data and transfers it to the product. The product, using a built-in public key, validates the signature to see if it matches the user’s details and decides whether access should be given.

This is what it looks like at Kaspersky:

Read on…

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 :)

Read on…

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.

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

Read on…

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 is that the jokes all mean well. The pictures and quotes are respectful in the vein of “don’t mess with Chelyabinsk”.

A question for %Russian hackers%: Got the guts to infect this Chelyabinsk flash drive? :)

In short, people in Chelyabinsk aren’t just tough, they’re very enterprising and keen on innovation. Years ago they were one of the first to recognize our newest solutions even when they were just prototypes. That’s a good a reason as any to take a trip to Chelyabinsk and show love to all these progressive guys and gals and guarantee the closest partnerships moving forward. “Peace and love,” as they say :) So ticket, plane, runway, sky! See ya Moscow! Next stop, Chelyabinsk!

Read on…

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.

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?

Read on…

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:

Sedimentary rock layers, next to basalt outcrops, in a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes…

Read on…

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.

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…

Read on…