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Category Archives: Buzz

Sochi’s winning Formula.

The first Formula One Russian Grand Prix was really great!

The track is very fast, whatever the nay-sayers claim about it being boring and needing more challenging turns. The grandstand is huge, the paddock is well designed and the logistics really work. The teams said the organization was superb and everything went off without a hitch. The people behind this deserve a lot of respect – if properly motivated, people can achieve great things :)

Formula One Russian GP Sochi 2014

Read on: A monochrome podium…

Whisky in the jar.

Not all trademarks make much sense. Especially where whisky is concerned

For example, the other day, I was wandering through the night in Jerusalem like a proper tourist. I sat down on a bench some bar, I can’t even remember its name. But I can remember their menu promising me ‘Monkey Shoulder’ whisky. I was astonished, but not for long. The name didn’t quite do it for me. But there you go. No Talisker, no Jura, no Macallan. Not even Glenfiddich or the notorious Chivas. Ladies and Gentlemen! We give you …. ‘Monkey Shoulder’.

DSC03262

Read on: a few more “whiskys” I recall …

Unexpectedly I am 49!

It might have come exactly on schedule, but my 49th birthday was still something of a surprise.

After all, it’s quite a date … and it inspired some feelings of awe and bewilderment. Does it really mean I’m going to be 50 next? Wow! I guess I should start preparing for that. It’s a good round number, but given my profession it’s more appropriate to count in hexadecimal numbers. Suddenly I’m about 31 again – which looks much nicer. Maybe from now on I should count my age in hexadecimal numbers; I’ll worry less, and people won’t feel they have to organize a big 50th birthday for me any time soon :)

Happy birthday to me!

Happy birthday to me!

This year’s birthday turned out quite unusual – for all my travels, it was the first time I celebrated my birthday while on the road. There was only time for a small dinner before boarding, then I was back on the road again.

I think that’s all for now. Thank you everyone for all your birthday wishes!

Suitcase astray – not ok.

There’s an unusual feeling you get… when you sit by the window on a plane waiting for the end of boarding and your flight to begin, observing the workers shoving the luggage into the hold of the plane… when suddenly you see that they’re all done and walk off… but a single suitcase remains of the ground – all on its lonesome. Big and black. And it’s YOUR suitcase!

Washington-Zurich-Budapest

Hold on… that looks familiar…

This is, indeed, not ok…

Cuisine on the road, pt. 1: Kamchatka

Some time ago I was asked about what I pack in my suitcase on my frequent long trips round the globe – to kinda come up with a list of essential travel items I really can’t do without. Yeah, I thought – I’d seen some of those lists before – real hi-tech affairs. Mine sure is a lot simpler…

So, a few initial thoughts on this:

First: The more you travel, the lighter the suitcase. That’s perfectly logical: only the experienced traveler knows how to pack minimally – to do away with stuff you deffo won’t need at this or that destination. The experienced traveler also knows how a few extra kilos are a few extra kilos too many when walking ever greater distances to get to your gate in today’s hyper-airports.

Second: My list of ‘hi-tech’ kit is limited to a Sony RX-100 camera, a Lenovo X1 laptop, and some Bose QuietComfort 3 headphones – nothing top-of-the-range, but very reliable. Also, no super-duper camera lenses, no fancy smartphone, no video camera, no quad-copter, no tripod…

(Er, see – there’s my list. Didn’t take long, did it?)

Third: I’m quite sure you don’t want the low-down on my jeans, shirt and sock situation on the road.

No, something different, better than that was needed! And then it dawned on me…

…So here we are – the first installment of my new ‘column’ – ‘Cuisine on the road’: Gastronomical mini-guides to dinner-table food furnishings from different corners of the globe!

First up – a recent table in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, where we spent a day before our recent Kuril expedition

So, here we go…:

Cuisine on the road

Read on: the land of fish and seafood…

Brainteasers – August 26, 2014.

In July, KL turned 17! The occasion was marked in typical fanfare style, and gave us the chance to see in the last full year of our adolescence – by playing to our hearts’ content.

There were many high points throughout the all-dayer, but one that stood out for me was a KL-customized version of famed Russian TV intellectual quiz show ‘What? Where? When’, with the show’s very own presenter, renowned quiz-whizz Maxim Potashyov. Some of the questions were so darn hard even Wikipedia would have trouble coming up with the answers.

Yep, it was a real good bit of exercise for the brain.

BTW, we’ve just launched our Global Think Test. Its Brain Training Zone contains dozens of verbal, numerical and logic challenges, which were created together with Mensa, the world’s oldest high IQ society.

So get on over there and put your calculation and reasoning skills to the test!

So let’s see how you fare with some of Mr. Potashyov’s questions…. Here are 10 toughies. Answers will come later…

Maxim Potashyov's brainteaser

1. In a New York restaurant a diner is offered a ‘Russian cocktail’. The barman mixes it from three ingredients. First he takes 75 grams of vodka, then he adds 25 grams of the second ingredient and 50 grams of the third, and then he gives the concoction a thorough shake. What are the second and third ingredients of the cocktail?

Read on: 9 more brainteasers…

Wowed by cloud.

Privyet everyone!

There are fascinating, beautiful sights to behold in the furthest corners of the globe, quite a few of which I tend to mention on this here blog from time to time. But sometimes spellbinding beauty can be found right on your doorstep…

Just the other day for example, towards evening the most amazing assortment of clouds appeared over the reservoir next to our Moscow HQ office. First there were pure white fluffy clouds basking in the bright sun, and then a thick thatch of dark and angry low cloud came along as if pushing the fluffy cumulus out of the way. Alas, by the time I’d fetched my camera most of the particularly unusual dark cloud had passed, but I did still manage to snap some of the proceedings…

Little Fluffy Clouds

Read on: Little Fluffy Clouds…

Cybernews from the dark side – June 24, 2014

Patent trolls – continued.

Here, alas, passions are still running high, with the occasional fit of… passion. Indeed, the issues related to patent parasites haven’t gone away; it’s just that only the most interesting – ‘loudest’ – cases ever get heard about. But if you dig deeper, you eventually hit upon stuff that is interesting, just not paid attention to. Which is what we did – and found quite a bit on patent trolls worthy of the title of this blogpost. So, he we go…

The irony’s all too much.

For this item I didn’t have to dig all that deep actually – I just checked Ars Technica. There I found some rather familiar glorification of the patent aggregator RPX – made out to be a sweet and innocent protector of orphans, the poor, and princesses (from dragons). I just couldn’t believe what I was reading: “RPX works by selling memberships to companies that feel harangued by patent trolls, including Apple and many other tech companies. RPX basically buys up patents it believes will be used by trolls. By uniting the buying power of many companies, it can get the patents for a bargain price.”  Well, maybe I could believe it… I was just so rattled at being reminded of the hypocrisy.

WHAT? RPX is some kinda anti-troll? And trolls may fly…

We first came across this so-called anti-troll in the year of its creation, and were one of the first to bite it back – successfully.

Read on: a simple arrangement…

Kid KLub

Back towards the end of the 1990s was when a KLer first had a child. My toast at the baby’s head-wetting went something like this: “At last we’ve assimilated viruses ourselves – and started to multiply!”

Around 200 children of KL HQ employees came to work with their mamas and papas last week to finally find out about the place one of their parents disappears to every week day

Since then we’ve been motivating employees in various ways to have more children! The more the merrier, I say. Yes, we’re quite family-friendly here at KL – kid-friendly even more so. It’s quite funny how the KL-kiddie situation has evolved: At first, every time a KL-cub entered this world we would all get together and not just wet, but fairly drench the poor little thing’s head :). A few years later, as the frequency went up dramatically we’d just chip in for a nice prezzie for the happy new mom and dad. Then, when the new-baby frequency moved from Hz to kHz, we’d simply get to hear the news at the water cooler. Seems a shame, but what can you do? We’ve a world to save too!

I don’t know how many KL-juniors we’ve got here now, but it’ll be a lot. With this in mind, as well as international child protection day in Russia (and many other countries) coming in early June, we organized a big children’s party at the office! Around 200 kids of our employees came to work with their mamas and papas to finally find out about the place one of their parents disappears to every week day, and to play, paint, eat, trampoline, and lots more besides.

KL Kid KLub

Read on: chess, ice cream and viruses…

For your reading, viewing and listening pleasure…

Summer. A bit of free time – more than usual. So here you are, something for the weekend, sirs and madams…

1. My book recommendation

I’m always hearing funny – not ha-ha – comments about modern-day China, including those related to the incredibly strong rise of its economy, or about how many bowls of rice the worker of modern China is prepared to work for. But Wikipedia is good on China, as are plenty of textbooks, plus this, this and this are interesting too (on per capita GDP China comes 121st in the world – between Tunisia and the Dominican Republic).

But for those REALLY interested in China, I REALLY recommend reading this fat book on China by none other than Henry Kissinger.

In it you’ll learn all sorts of new-to-you knowledge and curiosities about the country’s ancient history, its economy and more. There’s the estimation that the GDP of medieaval China was something like a third of world GDP, there’s all the treachery of the opium wars, there’s the communist past, and the country’s renaissance. As I say, I strongly recommend it. But here’s a warning: there’s a TON of detail in there. Some pages I just scanned. All the same, on the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square, it feels like the right time to give it a read.

2. My film recommendation

Check it out if you haven’t already, or watch it again: You Only Live Twice – Sean strutting his stuff as Bond, James Bond; shaken, not stirred.

Turns out GoPro appeared 47 years ago (see the pic below)!! You see, I’m going through the whole series of Bond films – from Dr. No to Skyfall. I’ve got them all in my laptop which I watch while on the treadmill in the gym. Amazing how enjoyable running on the spot can be :).

James "GoPro" Bond

3. My music recommendation

No words needed. It’s music. To be heard and felt, not talked about. Enjoy!

That’s all folks. Hope you’re enjoying your summer. Godspeed!…