Monthly Archives: December 2015

Around the world in 2015.

Everything about New Year is good! And one of the best things is that it’s the perfect time to take a break, take stock, take note, share impressions, and recharge the batteries for next year. I go through this procedure every year (2014, 2013) – I find it useful in all sorts of ways. I recommend you all do the same and give all those around you a burst of pure positivity. So, how did 2015 shape up? Well, let’s see what my notebook says:

  • I shattered my personal record for number of flights – 116 for the year, ~500 hours and ~400,000 km in the air. The most intense month was March – 15 flights.
  • Visited 23 countries, some more than once. I was in China, Germany and the UK most of all.
  • Gave 50+ presentations, did 100+ interviews, got through 20 business conferences, met 6 presidents, prime ministers and ministers.
  • Stayed, lived or simply slept in 41 hotels
  • Discoveries of the year: the Maldives, Guatemala, Gabon, Iceland. I now have 80 countries under my belt.
  • Completed the 9th round-the-world trip. Not much for a year, but it was all fast and action-packed.
  • Caught a connecting flight at SVO for the first time.
  • Turned 50 while “on the road again”.

Kaspersky ЕК 2015_eng

Read on: Geographical discoveries…

New Year Party People!

Ho ho ho!

Once a year, usually around the end of December we suddenly start feeling all festive. And it doesn’t matter if there’s a winter wonderland outside or a miserable ‘Euro-winter’ with heavy rain falling from dark gray skies, and a biting wind whistling around our office and apartment blocks. At least you can hide from the weather in the underground car park! It’s about the only place actually.

The gray northern gloom is the harsh reality of the last few days before New Year. Melancholy and “the aesthetics of decay” (с).

But we’re not the type of people to let the weather get in the way of a good time! Every year we shake off the winter blues, and by sheer force of will, and with a little help from volunteers, professional performers, makeup artists, event organizers, plus lots of rehearsals, we all gather together at a prearranged venue. Yes, this is KL’s annual New Year Party! And the results speak for themselves!

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Read on: And we wouldn’t have it any other way!…

A Great Big Conference in China.

I have just attended a Very Interesting Conference, namely the World Internet Conference 2015 in China. You can find out more about the conference in the news (if you’re interested), but I have my own story to tell.

The event took place in the historic town of Wuzhen, which was closed and cordoned off in its entirety so it could receive high-ranking guests, including presidents, prime ministers and China’s Chairman Xi in person. I fell asleep on my way from Shanghai to Wuzhen, so I don’t know exactly how many security cordons we crossed. The roads in Wuzhen were empty, the clouds had been dispersed (or they may have dispersed of their own accord, I’m not sure). The weather was bright, bordering on frosty, and the heat-loving locals were wrapped up in coats and scarfs.

The first day of the conference was a killer.

The action started at 8.00 in the morning and finished at 11:30 at night. “I almost died” (c). However, I did meet some very interesting people :) and made an important business announcement.

On the second day, I managed to find some time to wander around this remarkable place as a tourist. It was very interesting. On the Web Wuzhen is dubbed ‘The Chinese Venice’. Yes, the principle is the same as Venice, with canals, bridges and boats, but all with a Chinese flavor and much smaller in scale. You can stroll around the whole of the old town in just 2 or 3 hours, and that’s taking plenty of time for pictures.

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Read on: A movie on the way back…

Dubai-city.

I first visited Dubai a long time ago – back in 2005, in February as I recall. It was then that we signed our very first distributor contract in UAE.

Business didn’t take off immediately (if I remember correctly), but by little by little we started conquering the home-user segment (green boxes appeared on the shelves of local shops) followed by small companies, and now we are working with large corporate customers too.

In November 2008, we officially opened our local office in a skyscraper right in front of Palm Jumeirah island – in this one right here:

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Read on: A quick excursion…

The ‘Masterpiece’ button.

Congratulations to all those who guessed! I now have a Sony-A7 camera [as well as a business, kids and family] hanging round my neck, plus a couple of lenses – a “standard” and a wide angle. Here they are together:

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So, what can I say about it? As expected, there were no real surprises! The picture quality is superb compared to the same manufacturer’s point-and-shoot (DSC RX100-II). You can see it with the naked eye. But there are still some people with their Lightrooms and other shamanic processing rituals who are wiping their sweaty palms, desperate to show me all kinds of manuals on professional image processing. Yeah, right! I’ve got better things to do than spend hours tinkering with nano-masterpieces, whose total time of public viewing will be less than the time it took to process. No thank you! I need something more straightforward. A couple of runners to move back and forth or up and down a little, a few buttons to press, then cut off what is not necessary – 30 seconds and it’s ready!

But the shots taken with this new camera truly are something else, especially after some minor processing:

Somewhere over the Middle East // Где-то над Ближним Востоком

A photo posted by Eugene Kaspersky (@e_kaspersky) on

In other words, this camera has the “masterpiece” button that I have long been looking for – unsuccessfully – on other [point-and-shoot] cameras!

I have to say that overall I like it, but there are some questions that still need to be answered. And a few comments.

  1. The camera has a Wi-Fi option meaning you can post your photos to the Internet or upload them to a smartphone or a computer. My first thought was – what about security? Perhaps I should take this smart device to our security experts to be checked? I’d be really interested to know how safe this IoT-device is in terms of the external cyber influences.

// If things carry on like this, we’ll soon have toothpicks with Wi-Fi that immediately send a picture of tooth decay to your dentist.

  1. And what do we need all these extra black wheels for at the front and rear? I moved them around and saw no difference. Or maybe I didn’t turn them hard enough. Perhaps I’ll find the answer later on when I finish reading the manual that takes time. Lot of time. And memory.

Drawbacks:

  1. It’s not pocket-sized! And I doubt I will ever wear jeans with pockets big enough :) // Ideal size for a kangaroo though.
  1. The battery only lasted for 300 photos. What am I supposed to do in Kamchatka?? I’d need to take 10 batteries with me for a week’s travel! Or a power pack for a week? Actually, last time we took solar batteries – they weren’t all that heavy and helped us a lot with the point-and-shoot cameras. Maybe they’ll help with more energy-hungry equipment? I’ll let you know soon.
  1. And by the way, where’s the flash? What do you mean there’s “no flash”? No flash at all?? You’re kidding!? … And so what now? … I guess I’ll have to keep that point-and-shoot camera – with its built-in flash – in my back pocket.

 

Top-100 Series: China.

So, why does China (in addition to Russia) get a Top-100 post all of its own? Easy: the quantity of unique natural beauties here is simply off the scale. Curiously though, hardly any of them are known outside the country.

Quite why that’s the case, I’m not fully sure of. What I am sure about is that China appears to do absolutely nothing to attract foreigners to the country. But then they don’t have to. They’ve enough on their plate catering to the hundreds of millions of their own citizens. Accordingly, some places – no matter how ‘wow’ – don’t even have a Wikipedia entry. They only become known about through tales of the odd (odd!) foreign tourist or two who accidentally happen on them during their pioneering travels around the country’s hinterland. And one such odd odd foreign tourist is (to a certain extent, for I still haven’t seen a great deal of the country) me!

But before getting to those ultra-exclusive unknown Chinese locations, let me get a few of the very obvious, very famous Chinese tourist attractions out of the way…

52. Great Wall of China.

I’ve been told that several generations ago folks could trek along the wall for several days on end! Alas, these days there’s no chance of that: self-preservation’s the name of the game today; only a short section is open to visitors. Nevertheless, it’s still totally worth checking out, and not only for the proverbial tick on your ‘been and seens’: there’s no other wall quite like it in the world. Uniformly unique.

SourceSource

info_ru_20 wiki_en map_ru_20 gmaps Photos google flickr

Read on: China…

A third (photographic) way.

A few months ago I had a week or so in China visiting areas less-traveled by non-Chinese tourists. It was fantastic – all the more so as it felt ‘exclusive’ and properly ‘going native’. I tried my best to get as much of the experience into memory – my own, that is; but human memories and digital memories these days – you can’t really compare them, especially with one of them fading fast ). So if you can’t beat it – use it. Which is what I did: I used plenty of gigabytes of digital-photographic memory – but not in a super-duper and super-heavy digital SLR, but in my run-of-the-mill pocket Sony – my ‘travel soap dish’, as I call it. I then uploaded it all to my archive for future reference, to help jog my memory in years to come…

Like I say, the China trip was fantastic. But there was so much of the breathtakingly beautiful that it wouldn’t all fit into the viewfinder of my soap dish. I’d long suffered this lack of horsepower what with insisting on traveling light and forgoing the semi-pro mobile photographic studios, but never really minded. But that ‘suffering’ came to a swift end while in China. Specifically, in Jiuzhaigou

…While there, I finally took pity on my fellow traveler, A.Sh., who’d be hauling around with him for the whole trip a very fancy and big and heavy Nikon camera bag. I took a turn to haul it about, giving his shoulder some much-needed respite. But then I got all curious. I started prodding it and twisting dials and lenses and even pressing the ‘shoot’ button. There was so much awesome scenery everywhere, it was hard not to. Then, back at the hotel that evening I looked at the results on the laptop. And that was when I had my eureka moment. I took one look at those semi-pro-looking pics, couldn’t believe I’d taken them, and decided there and then: that’s it; soap dish days are over. It’s time to upgrade/overhaul/paradigm-shift/tectonic-shift! No matter how much heavier and more cumbersome: it’s worth it!

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Read on: No more soap dishes!…

To lose a suitcase once may be regarded as a misfortune…

…To lose it twice on two flights in as many days looks like carelessness!

My black suitcase gets around a bit. In fact – right around the globe several times a year. So you can imagine my… incredulousness, when it goes astray – TWICE – on a quick dash over to Western Europe!…

Ok, maybe I’m at least partly to blame. I should have listened. More experienced Europe-hoppers told me how, if you need to get from Moscow to Luxembourg and back quick, it’s best to fly to Dusseldorf in neighboring Germany and then drive a rental car 2+ hours (200 kilometers; untypically autobahny roads) to Lux; and coming back – the same route in reverse.

I just didn’t fancy two hours behind the wheel. So in the end we flew out Moscow-Milan-Luxembourg (Aeroflot + Luxair), and back – Luxembourg-Frankfurt-Moscow (Lufthansa + Aeroflot). In the end this route worked out longer, since we were waiting in Milan more than the 2+ hours it would have taken to drive Duss-Lux. But that was nothing…

See, when you fly with different airlines of different alliances – with transfers involving more than one terminal – there’s always a risk that your luggage won’t keep up with you. Which is what happened with me last week. But, like I say, my case managed to go astray both on the way there and on the way back! I might as well have not taken my case, since I never got round to using the bits and pieces inside it that would have made my trip to Luxembourg… comfortable!

On the way there things weren’t so bad: I was swiftly informed my “suitcase is still in Milan”, and that evening it was delivered to my hotel room. Phew.

It was on the way back when things got unacceptably… boycottable. Customs forms to fill out, having to list what was in the case (why?), a line for lost-and-found… All that meant I left the airport about an hour after landing.

My case did eventually arrive – but only two days later! What would have happened if I’d flown onward, say, to South-East Asia? A friend had that problem once – he was on a multi-city business trip to the US, and his case never caught him up after being mislaid still in Europe (though it did try – following him from hotel to hotel all around the States!!).

Here she is, sat outside my office @ HQ. ‘Rush’? RUSH???!!! :)

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Oh well, at least something positive has come out of this incident: I will now try my best to forgo a large suitcase to be checked in for short trips. Hand luggage only – it’s the only way forward upward.

Back soon folks; don’t go away!…

Mobile OS market: 2015

A long, long time ago – in December 2010 – I had a bet with a friend about the future of the smartphone market.

Read that again: in December 2010. That is, exactly five years ago!

Back then, the ‘real’ smartphone segment was dominated by Apple, while green gremlin Android was only getting a peak in. My mate assured me that things would mostly stay that way, with Google-Android never being able to get anywhere near iOS. But I reckoned that things would be just the opposite in five years’ time, with the market being divvied up so:

80% – Android;
10% – iOS;
10% – all other mobile OS.

My reasoning was displayed here half a decade ago. Have a look! There’s only about one and a half pages of my text there.

Soooo, five years later……. And it looks like……. I got it right!

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PS. No one tried to answer the question of my previous post? I repeat: how can you distinguish day from night at the North or South Pole when the season of Northern Lights (or ‘Southern Lights’) is in full swing, i.e., when night is as light as day?

For those who come up with the quickest, wittiest and most accurate answers – prizes await! Geeee. All these prizes and presents. It’s almost as if it’s nearly Christmastime :).

Christmas dinner… in a museum.

Eeeh, modern art museums. Gotta love it.

Not that I’m a mega-fan of modern kunst; it’s not as if I plan visits to progressive museums specially. But when I do happen by one in this or that metropolis of the continent I’m currently visiting, and it looks sufficiently mad-hatter – I’m in there like a shot.

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I’ve been to quite a few avant-garde exhibitions in my time, to some repeatedly, and I’m always equal parts impressed… and flummoxed! For I’m no discerning connoisseur. In fact, I sometimes wonder – is anyone? Maybe it’s all pretend – like I sometimes think it might be with, say, expensive wines and whiskies. I mean how on earth can anyone genuinely, truly appreciate a black smudge applied to a canvas with a human thigh covered in charcoal? Come on, you modern-kunsters – let me in on the secret!

Read on: Earth – round or flat? Or hollow?…