Monthly Archives: January 2018

New Year further from the center, pt. 2.

After our starter-course Indonesian volcanism, it was time to move on swiftly to the main course. Next up for us – a full bouquet of volcanism. The precise number of volcanoes depends on what source you rely on: Russian Wikipedia states it’s just one volcano, Arjuno; English Wiki says it’s a pair of volcanoes – Arjuno-Welirang; while locals say it’s a collection of four volcanoes, since there are four volcanic cones at the very top. Admittedly, from the side it looks like just one volcanic formation, as it does from up above too.

Here we are approaching the very top, after two days of trekking:

Read on…

Flight #104.

Our Indonesian adventure had only just begun, while the year 2017 was drawing to a close. There was time for one last flight of the year. Unlike me, my traveling companions don’t keep a tally of their flights, but they don’t fly several score times a year as I do. For me though, this final flight brought my grand total for the year to 104 flights. Not bad at all.

Brief technical data:

  • Route: Yogyakarta – Surabaya (the second-largest city of Indonesia – not Yogyakarta, as I misstated earlier);
  • Time in the air: 90 minutes;
  • Airline: Wings Air;
  • Class: Economy (no other classes available);
  • Aircraft: ATR 72;
  • Flight attendants: Pretty, smiling;
  • Incidents: none.

It would have been an unremarkable flight but for one small detail…

Read on…

At Borobudur – check out the sunset for sure.

After our strenuous scaling of Merapi, we decided to lower the intensity a bit, and move from volcanism to Indonesian culture. Accordingly, next up: Borobudur – the world’s largest Buddhist temple.

The temple consists of several stacked platforms; the lower levels are square (with 100-meter-long sides), while the upper ones are round. “At the very top of the temple is a large dome. It is decorated with 2672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. The central dome is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, each seated inside a perforated stupa.” – Wikipedia.

Here‘s the view of the whole complex from a satellite, while this is how my camera captured the temple:

Read on…

+1 Volcano climb: Merapi.

Hi folks!

Acclimatization completed, it’s time to finally get stuck into Indonesia’s volcanism, of which there’s rather a lot – as in: hundreds of volcanoes!

Indonesia could be described as simply a huge collection of volcanoes, many of which regularly erupt, many of which are extremely (symmetrically) beautiful, aka – must-see!

Some sources say there are around 300 volcanoes, some – around 400, others – around 500! That’s quite a margin of error! But it’s to be expected: they’re difficult to count. Example: a volcanic mass with three or four distinct conical peaks: does that count as one, or three/four?

‘Active’ volcanoes are counted separately, but again there are differences in the totals as there’s no fixed definition of an active volcano. Anyway, in Indonesia there are around 75 to 130, depending on the source on the internet you look up.

Whichever total you take, there’s no denying Indonesia is one seriously volcanic country. But then, of course it is: Indonesia is a segment of the islands (and peninsula) that help make up the Ring of Fire (together with its volcanic siblings like Japan, Kamchatka, the Kurils, New Zealand, etc.)

But enough of volcanic theory; time for some actual volcanic experience. All righty: in at the deep end – Mount Merapi: the most active volcano of Indonesia…

Read on…

Supervolcanical paradisiacal.

For those who missed the first Indonesian installment, a brief overview of its contents:

Sumatra, December, hot, humid, jungle, orangutans, monkeys; acclimatization: time-zone, climate, food, crazy driving.

All righty. Next up – still on Sumatra: Lake Toba.

I had real trouble finding the words to describe this place. I’ll plump for… paradisiacal!

This is a lake that’s some 900 meters above sea level and so has a real comfortable micro-climate: the air temperature is always around 20-25°C, while that of the pristine water of the lake is 25°C (we measured it ourselves). Yep: water warmer than the air! I sensed volcanism at work here, and indeed that’s just what it was: for Toba isn’t just the name of the lake, it’s also the that of the dormant supervolcano it sits in.

In short, the perfect setting for intense rest and relaxation. The views all around: oh my gorgeous; the bathing and the fishing in/on the lake: oh my great!

Read on…

An Indonesian recipe for treating acclimatization.

What happens to a regular tourist from the North who, after an extended period of Christmas/New Year mirth and merriment suddenly finds him/herself in equatorial Indonesia? Yep, he/she has a rather tough time acclimatizing: to both the difference in time, and to climate… (and to crazy Indonesian driving! More on this later on below).

So, time: it’s +7 from Greenwich. Not so extreme, I hear you saying; hardly +12 now, is it? No. But when you add the climate to the +7 hours, that’s the killer. For there’s no pleasant resort-like weather here. Instead it’s a full-on extreme equatorial tropical climate. By day – around 30°C; by night – 25°C, and always hellishly humid – what feels like a constant 100%+.

It goes without saying that scaling a stratovolcano immediately upon arrival in Indonesia is the last thing most regular tourists fancy doing. What’s the first thing on their minds is a slow acclimatization and taking it relatively easy over the first few days, which is just what we did – on the island of Sumatra. There we visited Lake Toba (more on that later), and also a jungle – where we observed daily life of wild monkeys and orangutans.

Read on: a guy in a fur coat…

KL-2017: the proof of the pudding is in the preliminary financial results.

Hi folks!

Going against tradition just this once, this year we’ve decided not to wait for our official financial audit results, and instead publish preliminary sales results for last year straight away.

The most important business figure of the year is of course revenue. So, for all 12 months of 2017, our products, technologies and services were sold for US$698 million (in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards) – a 8% rise compared to the previous year.

Not a bad result at all, if I don’t mind saying so; a result that shows how the company is doing well and growing. What’s more, we have some real promising technologies and solutions that make sure we’ll keep on growing and developing into the future.

But here’s what is, to me, the most interesting thing to come out of the preliminary results: for the first time in the history of the company sales bookings of corporate solutions overtook those of our boxed products for home users – this riding on the back of a 30% increase in the corporate segment.

Another very pleasing fact: the good rate of growth of the business has come largely not from sales of our traditional endpoint products, but from emerging, future-oriented solutions like Anti Targeted Attack solutions, Industrial Cybersecurity, Fraud Prevention, and Hybrid Cloud Security. All together these grew 61%. Besides, forecast growth in sales of our cybersecurity services comes in at 41%.

Geographically, sales bookings in most of the regions overshot their annual targets. For example, in Russia and the CIS sales were up 34% on 2016. In META (Middle East, Turkey, Africa) sales skyrocketed up 31%; in Latin America – 18%; and in APAC – 11%. Japan demonstrated moderate growth (4%), while Europe was slightly below expectations (-2%).

The only region that didn’t do well was, as expected, North America, which saw a fall in sales of 8%. Hardly surprising this one, given that it was this region that was the epicenter of last year’s geopolitical storm, which featured both a disinformation campaign against us and an unconstitutional decision of the DHS. Nevertheless, despite the political pressure, we continue to operate in the market and are planning on developing the business further there.

It only remains for me to give huge thanks to all users, partners, and cybersecurity experts, and to anyone else (including most journalists and bloggers that covered us) for their support, and also a big up to all the KLers around the globe for their continued excellent work in these difficult times. Customer loyalty, impressive growth of the business, and high team morale are all clear indicators of our global success. Well done everybody!

More detailed info on the preliminary financial results can be found here.

An equatorial New Year: further from the center*.

Hi folks!

I’ve been back home a good few days already. I caught my breath and laid low for a bit to recharge the batteries, and then the working year kicked off. But most importantly I sifted through all my recently-taken pics to organize them for my upcoming mini-series: this time on our New-Year-holidays adventure in the jungles of equatorial-tropical Indonesia…

For a full 18 days our posse navigated land, water, air and… volcanoes (naturally), practically without any rest or taking-it-easy at all: ‘tourism til you drop’ – just as I like it. Our guide, O.R., summed it up nicely: ‘And you thought you came here to relax?!’. 

Read on: Time to indulge – in the equatorial bulge…

Full steam ahead – 2017: a review.

Belatedly, Happy New Year folks!

Oh my goodness, we’re more than half-way through January already! Where did that go?

Time waits for no man, as they say. Well, with one exception: it waits for every Russian man and woman and child at the beginning of every year while they have a week-long national jolly – sometimes even a two-week one right the way up to Orthodox Old New Year on January 14. Oh those Russians.

Well now, the above-mentioned extended leave is finally well and truly over and it’s ‘back to work!’ again, as I like to say. Ahead of us lie a full 350 days of this year, and I’m sure most of them will be challenging workdays. All righty, let’s get going… sort of…

One thing I didn’t get round to doing in December of last year was my traditional review of the year. That in itself hints at the fact that it was a busy year. Indeed it was. It was also a tricky one, with all sorts of unexpected and unwarranted unpleasantness fired our way throughout most of it, as you’ll probably know already. But, just in case you missed it, or need some blanks filling out – herewith: a recap…

Read on: Quick rewind…