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Hawaii Hi-Five-0.

Aloha folks!

I’m currently cooling off after a visit to the Big Island of the Hawaiian archipelago. What an amazing place – tipping the emotions over the edge with its mixture of perfect weather, pristine oceans, vibrant volcanism, opulent jungles and overall breathtaking beauty. Aloha Hawaii, and mahalo Hawaii :).

That things aren’t as 100% American as apple pie you kinda get the idea of when on the flight approaching the USA’s 50th state (it was the last state to join the Union, in 1959). Instead of the usual ‘thank you’ at the end of tannoyed messages, the stewardesses say ‘aloha and mahalo!’ as if heralding the fact that it isn’t quite, fully, the United States you’re approaching… It’s just different – so get ready!

Hawaii

Read on: Hawaii is really quite distinct from the other states…

Vodka – Connecting Peoples?

Aloha, droogs!

Today I’m reporting to you from Hawaii, USA. Yes, it is nice for some :).

Vodka - connecting people!

Read on:

The elephant has landed.

Hi all!

Our funky green elephant is home!

Elephant de Triomphe

Spanish eyes, Moscow skies

Alas, I’m not in Moscow. So I couldn’t see for myself the last few strenuous and precarious meters of the journey of our emerald elephant of hope from Chelsea to our office. However, quite a few KLers were there to witness the eagle elephant landing, so I asked two to tell me their impressions. They took quite a few pix too – coming right up. Arrgh, can’t wait to get back to MOW – so I can give the newest addition to the KL team a big hug!

Read on: Here’s how the elephant got inside the building…

Electric power to the people!

Electric cars are the future. They’ll conquer the world. And that’s good for the planet (so long as the electricity is produced greenly too, but that’s a topic for another day…).

Here and there parking spots with electricity recharging terminals are a common sight – at least in the larger cities. So we decided to play catch-up. We’ve installed a few electro-parking spaces in our underground parking lot at the office and painted them the obligatory green (which works out nice as of course our KL team color is green).

Eco parking

Read on: post and a toast!…

3, 2, 1… liftoff!

At last! Another dream of mine has come true – to see a spaceship take off! Hurray!

Last week it left Baikonur in Kazakhstan, and by the weekend it had already reached the International Space Station and docked. The crew’s made up of two Russians and one American – which perhaps explains why around town and in our hotel much American-accented English was to be heard.

We watched the liftoff from about two kilometers away, which might seem a long way off. But it isn’t. This isn’t U2 playing a stadium where being at the back is almost a waste of time and money… This is the Baikonur experience. The power generated by the massive rocket engines shook everything around so much it felt like an earthquake was occurring at the same time as the liftoff. Rather unnerving.

Baikonur Space Launch Center

The spike on the top means the ship’s manned; if it was without one, it would mean no crew – an unmanned remote-controlled cargo mission

Read on: Baikonur from inside…

Korean new office; Hainan déjà vu & fish.

Hi folks!

Another intense stint of globetrotting is over – finally. We’d been on the road for almost two months, visiting eight countries in total. It went like this: Dominican RepublicBrazilChile (Patagonia) – Saudi Arabia – Italy – Germany – Korea – China.

The second half of the journey turned out to be really tough – non-stop sprinting as opposed to the steady-jog pace which we normally aim for. Meetings, speeches, and moving around from A to B to C… with hardly any let-up whatsoever, not so much as a stroll after a long day – for two whole weeks! I was starting to burn out – when the habitual zip and zest and general lust for life just vanishes and everything seems either uninteresting or irritating or both. A bit like jetlag – which incidentally had also been building from acute to chronic… Cue some much-needed MANDATORY down time. Happily for me – in Hainan – the Chinese island some 30 kilometers to the south of the mainland. I had about a week there. Oh boy, did I need it. And, oh boy, how I enjoyed it.

Hainan, Sanya

Summarizing this latest world tour won’t take all that long as, since Patagonia, there was hardly any time for tourism. So, briefly…

Read on: It started with an intercontinental leap…

Kentucky Fraud Kickin’.

The Internet and mobile devices and related gadgetry have brought so much incredibly useful stuff into our lives that sometimes it’s hard to imagine how on earth anyone managed without it before. You know, purchasing airline tickets and checking in, online shopping and banking, multi-device data sharing, keeping the kids occupied on the backseat of the car with a film on their tablets (in my youth you just sat there or played I Spy). But I digress, and so early on in this post…

Alas, along with all the good and helpful stuff to make life easier, the Internet’s brought us other stuff – bad stuff that’s harmful and dangerous. Malware, spam, hard-to-trace cybercrims, cyberweapons, etc., etc. There’s also Internet fraud, which is what I’ll be writing about in this post, or – more to the point – how to combat it.

But let’s start with the basics: who suffers from Internet fraud?

Consumers? Well, yes, but not much compared with businesses: the brunt of the cost of online fraud is taken by banks, retailers, and in fact any online operators.

The brunt of the cost of online fraud is taken by online operators

A few figures to illustrate the scope of Internet fraud:

  • In 2012 in the United States alone, direct losses from online fraud came to $ 3.5 billion;
  • Those losses were made up of about 24 million fraudulent online orders;
  • Almost 70 million orders were cancelled due to suspicion of foul play.

All rather alarming.

Online financial fraud

In the meantime, are online operators generally taking any measures against fraud?

Of course they are. Plenty!

Read on: budgets, people but not the right tools…

The day I met the chancellor.

Hi folks!

Luckily, I dropped by our CeBIT stand this year in Hannover, where I happened to meet a very important VIP. I guess the pic will do the talking here…

CeBIT 2014

My tie-wearing rule: minister level and up. That’ll be a check, then

CeBIT 2014

Truly an honor, madam chancellor

CeBIT 2014

CeBIT 2014

Cybersecurity + uniformed security

Ah, that was easy. Nothing more I feel I need tell you about this exhibition…

Well… actually, just one thing. I have to admit again that CeBIT continues to become more and more boring. It’s still a huge exhibition and still a must-be-there for all IT companies worth their salt operating in Europe (especially Germany). But, alas, it’s not quite the same in terms of size and energy as it was in the past. Only two companies from the AV industry were there besides KL. Between the years 2000 and 2005 there was always at least a dozen AVers. Sometimes all in our pavilion at once!

CeBIT 2014

CeBIT 2014

CeBIT 2014

CeBIT 2014

CeBIT 2014

CeBIT 2014

CeBIT 2014

That’s all folks! Have a nice day!

Patagonia: Pata-utopia.

Jules Verne, fat adventure novels, In Search of the Castaways, Paganel and Patagonia

Such childhood reminiscences are indelibly etched somewhere in the deeper recesses of my memory. I always conjured up images of mysterious countries in far-flung corners of the world, all exotic and unusual… but always beautiful.

Turns out those images were pretty accurate. For four decades later I found myself in Patagonia on a hiking trip, and if I was only allowed one word to describe the place, it would not be difficult choosing it: beautiful.

We wound up there after having a few free days left over after our visit to Brasília. And since that visit was a culmination of non-stop mental effort and oratory exertion, the timing was just right for some serious back-to-nature getting-away-from-it-all with lashings of fresh mountain air.

Of course, the whole of Patagonia can’t be checked out in just a few days as it covers such a massive territory. Still, we did manage to experience one of the most precious jewels in the Patagonian crown – the Torres del Paine National Park.

Torres del Paine National Park

Read on: 120 km in 5 days…

Not p-p-p-picking up penguins in Porvenir.

Tierra del Fuego, Chile. I’d always known it to be a mystically mysterious place if ever there was one, after having images of it seared into my brain as a child from being absorbed in the travel thrillers of Jules Verne and the like. Fast-forward three or four decades, and here I am – almost – in the Land of Fire itself. (Where the ‘Fire’ quite comes from I’ve yet to fathom, as there’s nothing hot about this place.) Actually, we’re just across the Strait of Magellan from it – in Punta Arenas, from where the fiery archipelago can be viewed with the naked eye! Once observed from over the water, that was it – we just had to get over there and check it out, if only to cure our curiosity…

Tierra del Fuego, Chile

Read on: Hallucinogenic landscapes. Unusual. Unreal…