Monthly Archives: November 2012

Morocco: +1.

Salam folks!

My list of the countries in the world I’ve been to has just had a +1 – Morocco. My total now comes to 72, including Antarctica. Kind of sluggish plusses of late being added to this list, but I guess that’s mathematically unavoidable the longer the list gets, and of course the list takes no account of the multiple repeat trips I make to a handful of countries…

So here I am in Morocco – in the city of Marrakesh (sometimes referred to as Marrakech, but never Marakesh/Marakech!). We had our annual European Partners’ Conference here. We normally have this somewhere on the European shores of the Mediterranean, but this year we fancied having it over the other side of that pond – on African shores. The conference was great – dynamic, fun, useful, interesting and entertaining. And an F1 replica racing car was present for the occasion.

But that’s all you’re getting re the business bit of the trip. Now for the cultural bit…

More: Morocco – a very interesting place …

Super Fly Finale.

Phew. A three-week US tour behind us. It’s been tough. It’s been stamina hammering. But it’s been fun. Shame to be leaving really, but commitments elsewhere beckon. We do leave with a ton of strong impressions and good memories though – and loads of pics. In all we managed to cram a heck of a lot into the allotted time, but made sure we enjoyed ourselves too – stopping to smell the roses and see the sights when we could. Now for the same old “suitcase – taxi – airport…”. Where we’re off to next I’ll tell you later on. But it sure looks like we’re in for a total change of landscape.

Our last day, in New York, turned out to be a pleasantly sassy, super-fly summation: a peachy press conference attended by folks from all over the world – including star participant Fernando Alonso! He’s playing the lead role in the new clip for our Safeguarding Me campaign (if you only knew how we had to guard his special “tomita” (the little Japanese talisman in the vid) during shooting!). Have a look for yourself:

More: Super Fly finale on the 40th floor…

Formula USA.

Hi all!

Still on the road Stateside… with an extra-enjoyable installment coming up. This time we’re flying south from New York and heading for the capital of Texas. Houston? No. Dallas? No. Austin? Yes! Why? To see Formula 1 crack America, of course!

Our US tour so far has gone something like this: LA – ArizonaChicago – Louisville – Miami – Boston – NYC. And now we’re back in the sunny south and revving up for F1. Formula 1 has tried repeatedly in the past to make its “formula” work in the USA as well as it does in much of the rest of the world, but never quite made it – like “soccer” has never really taken off here fully. But F1 of course reeaally wants to crack Terra Incognita – as successfully as… well, let’s see… Scotch whisky, French wine, and Stolichnaya! I think choosing Texas as the venue was a tad  ambitious – since of course you Don’t Mess with Texas – but hey, if they pull it off here, America will be in the bag!

More: Few nuances of the Austin track …

Hat Off to Harvard.

Three weeks on the road and counting… no, that can’t be right – since I’ve lost count! Of everything. The number of flights, hotels, cities, taxis, friendly maids, and of course the zillions – or thereabouts – of interviews, roundtables, presentations, lectures, partner meetings and negotiations. I’m a bit fuzzy on the what and where of the last 21 days. If I try hard and really get the old memory working – a few bits of spatiotemporal data do start to appear, but it’s still all a bit blurry. The best way of giving the cognizance a jolt is by looking over my photo archives – my own special personal pics on my laptop (sorry, I’ll be keeping those to myself!) and public ones – on Flickr and Instagram.

Yesterday we found ourselves at the place where a Tea Party led to no less than the American Revolution – Boston. I’ll skip the business part of the day and get straight into the more interesting bit – checking out some of the local must-sees, actually, one in particular.

The suburbs of Boston, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (curious official state title considering this place’s association with fighting the country with the original, biggest and baddest commonwealth! Maybe not, we are in New England, after all :), are home to the oldest, most respected, most prestigious, (and I’m sure there are many more mosts this place can claim) university in the USA (the world?). Of course I’m talking about Harvard, in the town of Cambridge (not to be confused with town of the same name in the UK – also home to a multi-most uni).

To say this place impresses will hardly come as a surprise. Of course it impresses. It has an aura about it – the unmistakable aura of academe, something I both respect and have fond memories of (back in my home country). A magical bookish atmosphere against a backdrop of imposing classical 18th-19th century architecture. Lush!

Incidentally, it was here where the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind was filmed.

Well that’s enough words. Let the pictures say a thousand things more than words ever could…

Not red rock; red brick

More: Hat Off to Harvard…

Finding the Needle in the Haystack. Introducing: Astraea.

Somewhere in the office there’s a carefully guarded little big black book that contains a collection of up-to-date KL facts & figures, which we use in public performances. You know, things like how many employees we have, how many offices and where, turnover, etc., etc. One of the most oft-used figures from this book is the daily number of new malicious programs – a.k.a. malware. And maybe this daily figure is so popular because of how incredibly fast it grows. Indeed, its growth amazed even me: a year ago it was 70,000 samples of malware – remember, per day; in May 2012 it was 125,000 per day; and now – by the hammer of Thor – it’s already… 200,000 a day!

I kid you not my friends: every single day we detect, analyze and develop protection against just that many malicious programs!

How do we it?

Simply put, it all comes down to our expert know-how and the technologies that come about from it – about which another big black book could be compiled from the entries on this here blog (e.g., see the features tag). In publicizing our tech, some might ask if we aren’t afraid our posts are read by the cyber-swine. It’s a bit of a concern. But more important for us is users getting a better understanding of how their (our) protection works, and also what motivates the cyber-scoundrels and what tricks they use in their cyber-bogusness.

Anyway, today we’ll be adding another, very important addition to this tech-tome – one on Astraea technology. This is one of the key elements of our KSN cloud system (video, details), which automatically analyzes notifications from protected computers and helps uncover hitherto unknown threats. In actual fact Astraea has a lot of other plusses going for it – plusses which for a while already our security analysts simply couldn’t imagine their working day without. So, as per my techie-blog post tradition, let me go through it all for you – step by step…

More: Big data, crowdsourcing, data mining and Rocket science…

Boutique Art – Modern Hotel.

Hi all! We’re still darting about the U S of A… California, Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, and on and on and on. As before, there continues to be few opps for tourism (well, apart from Arizona, already mentioned), while opps for work in various shapes and sizes are plentiful. Along the way we’ve been coming across assorted anomalisms and atypicalness, invariably snapped by D.Z. before you’ve time to say photogenic (I think he’s moonlighting as a travel photographer, you know. In fact I’m sure of it!) Here’s one such oddity. This one in the Windy City: More: The kunst continues …

The Grand Canyon State – Continued.

Northern Arizona is famous for its astounding landscapes. In a relatively small area that can be covered in a car in just two or three hours there are three unique red rock formations.

First, there’s the world famous Monument Valley, offering breathtakingly beautiful panoramic views. Alas, we didn’t manage to get up close to it ourselves – only flying over it on a plane; but that was still enough to overload the senses with the place’s grandiosity.

Second, there’s Antelope Canyon. This is a mind-blowing slot-canyon – a big crevice in red sandstone. This is how it looked:

More: And regarding the third …

Red Rocks Rock!

Howdy all!

Been quite hectic of late on the road, and quite a while since I’ve downed tools (laptop, microphone) and chilled a bit in a nice location – even though there’ve been plenty of interesting and unusual places along the way. Let me make amends…

So here we are, at the aptly titled Enchantment Resort, Sedona, Arizona, USA.

This is a real nice hotel and with really picturesque surroundings. It has cabins scattered about the valley and amazing views of red cliffs all around. Breathtakingly beautiful! And the weather ain’t bad of course either. The resort also has a golf course, allegedly a super-duper spa (didn’t get round to trying it out), and wild deer perma-guests that occasionally appear in the clearings around and about the grounds. I really recommend this place if ever you’re in sunny Arizona.

As is often the case on the more exotic of my travels – since pictures speak louder than words, let me give you some photos; no – lots!

More: Red Rocks hotel…

A Hard Day’s Shooting in the Desert.

Howdy!

I love my job. Sometimes it gets really fun. But sometimes it gets mega-fun, like today…


It’s been high time to replenish the arsenal of corporate photos for a while now, so we thought we’d do it properly – and where else but in a remote corner of Arizona, of course! It was out here on the landing strip of Sedona Airport – up on a hill surrounded by desert – that we had a real-pro photo session… which lasted a whopping six hours! We decided to let photographer-to-the-stars Jonas Fredwall Karlson do the shooting, after he did such a great job with the pic for an article in Vanity Fair some time back. He really knows his stuff!

Sedona’s a popular place with the New Age lot, apparently. Nice place. Super views. Unusual place! More familiar to us in these unfamiliar surroundings was the jet we flew in on: we’ve flown on it quite a few times already, but to an airport atop a hill in desolate wilds like this – that’s a first.

Let me go over the last few days in order.

It all started off with a bit of time travel – Dr. Who or Back to the Future style (take your pick). On November 1 at around 5pm Tokyo time we flew out of the Japanese capital and traversed Pacific Ocean to land in Los Angeles, California – at 11am on the same day, November 1. Doctorin’ the Tardis or what?

But after that nice bit of time gain it pains me to say that it all went downhill from there. From touching down to leaving the airport we had two (TWO!) hours waiting around in various lines – passport control, customs… and to make matters way worse, all the waiting around was topped off with killer dose of I-truly-couldn’t-care-less American “service” at every turn. I guess our negative first impressions this time were made worse for just having just been – later that day! – in Japan. What a contrast!

Anyway, getting on with business… in LA we had a (surprise!) busy schedule. First I spoke at the UCLA; then we got together with our regional partners and partied; and next morning we were on the plane and heading for Sedona.


UCLA campus

Here’s a view of the airport’s runway on approach. We landed not long after.

And some more shots of the surrounding landscape…


Not our plane!


That one’s ours! It’s not all work, work, work, you know :)