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…
Last year my total number of flights exceeded 100 once again, while the total number of hours spent in the skies was more than 400:
Flights: 104 (up 13% on 2016).
Of those flights:
- In a jet: 20 (more than twice as many as in 2016 – a dynamic that suits me just fine:);
- In economy class: 11 (the same as last year).
Hours spent up in the air: 403 (up 23% on 2016).
Kilometers flown: 300,000+km (200,000+ miles).
// As you’ll have noticed, I don’t just give absolute totals here, but also the dynamic since last year, where appropriate.
Most frequently used airlines:
- Aeroflot: 32 (+3%);
- Emirates: 7 (in 2016 I only few on Emirates twice);
- British Airways: 7 (+75%).
Air Seychelles, Ukraine International, Aerolineas Argentinas, Utair (Russia), Severstal (Russia), LATAM (South America; since the merger between LAN and TAM), Beijing Capital Airlines, Indonesia AirAsia, and Wings Air (Indonesia).
Alternative modes of transportation
- Crossing the Alps (Davos to Vienna) in car that drives itself!
- A mega-cool chopper ride over Dubai and Abu Dhabi to the Empty Quarter;
- Whoakaari choppering in New Zealand;
- Moscow to Saint Petersburg by train for a railroad-tech excursion;
- Rafting and helicoptering in Lijiang, China;
- Unexpected cycling around the old city walls of Xi’an, China.
Countries and cities and other geographicals.
I visited 28 countries in 2017, which is 33% more than in 2016, but there are a few nuances…
For example, I spent a few days on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin. One half is a ‘constituent country’ of the Holland; the other is a French ‘overseas territory’. I visited both sides. How many countries does that count for? Then there’s the lovely island of Jersey in the English Channel. This is a bailiwick – aka (British) crown dependency – but it has its own financial, legal and judicial systems (and money), all of which make it closely resemble a separate state. Anyway, on both counts (Saint Martin and Jersey) I didn’t count them as separate countries, much like I didn’t count Greenland as such in 2016.
Ok, what’s next? Ah yes…
Technically speaking, I entered Brazil three times too, but all three entries were made on the same business trip. For example, the third time, I entered and left Brazil on the same day, on a walk around the Iguazu Falls, which sit right on the border between the two countries. So, though technically I entered Brazil three times, I’ve kept it to just the once for my tallying.
This +2 brings my total number of visited countries to 84.
I visited 57 cities last year – 14% up on 2016. London was visited most (four times); then St. Pete (three). I twice visited each of the following: Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dubai, Geneva, Jerusalem, Munich, and Singapore. All the rest were single visits.
Last year I had the pleasure of staying in 80 hotels. 20 nights were spent in a tent (in forests or on glaciers), 14 – on a boat, and around 160 nights – at home :).
I found myself on every one of the planet’s continents last year apart from Africa. Wait a minute… NO! Seychelles is African! In that case 2017 was a rather unique one for me: I visited ALL the continents – yes, including Antarctica!
Assorted on-the-road stuff.
- Conferences and exhibitions: around 40;
- Speeches, presentations, lectures given: around 70;
- Interviews and press conferences: around 54;
- Official meetings (with presidents, ministers, ambassadors): 40+.
Traditionally we’ve always beaten the competition on the number of independent tests won. And not only on quality of protection but also on efficiency, lack of false positives, and the ability to cure active infections. Well last year we maintained our leading positions across the board.
For example, based on the totals for the year, we’re expecting the gold medal for ‘Outstanding Product’ from the Austrian independent testing lab AV-Comparatives (for the seventh year in a row counting similar awards like ‘Product of the Year’/’Top-Rated’!). We’re expecting a repeat multi-win from AV-Test.org – just like the previous year. And in testing of the U.S.-based ICSA Advanced Threat Defense, our anti-targeted attack solution has for the third time in a row showed unrivaled results of 100% protection with zero false positives!
And out of the multitude of other awards, I want to specifically mention the medal we got from Gartner and its Peer Insights: surveyed corporate customers named us as the providers of the best cybersecurity solution.
It’s not that we’re not used to periodic incoming flak from some of the U.S. press, but in 2017 that flak’s intensity was relentless, its duration – seemingly never-ending. Still, when it came down to it, last year it was simply more of the same: articles based on distorted facts or simply made up and always relying on anonymous sources coming out with all sorts of absurd accusations.
Though they’re real keen convincing you otherwise, all their accusations are false. So what’s the cause of the upset that’s led to these falsehoods? Simple: our unwavering commitment to protect against any cyberthreat – no matter where from or with what purpose, and also our ‘walking our talk’: being the only ones to actually actively fight against the most advanced state-sponsored cyber-espionage Trojans and utilities. For let’s remember that the people attacking us have no qualms whatsoever with all the rest of the world’s cybersecurity companies. So in a way we take it as a complement that we’ve been singled out: it shows we’re truly the best at protecting folks against cyber-evil. Cheers to that!
My personal list of the Top-100 Must-See Places in the World saw some unexpected additions thereto:
- NEW! I’d long dreamed of the Antarctic coast, icebergs, whales and penguins. Last year the dream became a reality.
- Updated and broadened my first-hand knowledge of New Zealand volcanism;
- NEW! A 10-day trek across Englichek Glacier in the Tian Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan. It was so grandiosely impressive it was added to my Top-100;
- For the third time in my life I had a hypnosis session at the Iguazu Falls, this time from both sides – the Brazilian (had already been), and the Argentinian (first time);
- NEW! The red hills of Danxia. Oh my goodly gorgeous;
- NEW! The Li River;
- Huashan Mysterious Grottos + Mountain. Alas, I only got to see a bit of the mountain and its surroundings as a typhoon brought visibility down to a dozen or so meters;
- NEW! The Terracotta Army. Had long dreamed of seeing this. Finally did!
- NEW! The sacred Mount Hua!;
- Ha Long, Vietnam. Captivating.
An essential pearl of Mount Hua #China: the Eastern Peak. Thanks to ever boiling clouds you get an impression these rocks are islands floating in the sea of steam. I’ve never been as close to the heaven | Жемчужина горы Хуашань #Китай – восточная вершина. Из-за постоянной облачности создаётся впечатление, что ты на сказочных скалистых островах посреди будующего моря облаков. Ну, прям рай! #ekinchina
And another three places that must now deserve must-see status:
- I found myself in Drake Passage, between two Cape Horns. Herewith, the photographic evidence: in my hand – Cape Horn; behind me – Cape Horn;
Incredible and unexpected.
- Seeing in the New Year on Red Square!
- Viennese ball;
- Oysters – fresh from the sea!
- Almost touched the landing gear of jetliner coming in to land;
- Took part in Japan’s Kanda Matsuri festival;
- The best pics are the unplanned ones );
- Saw in the New Year far from the center (see tomorrow’s blogpost)!
Other, no less important, stuff.
- Our free antivirus was released globally and has already shown itself to be incredibly popular. As per end-of-year data, it’s been installed seven million times already, with four million of those being by active users;
- The official release of 11-11;
- Now we support chess at the highest level! FIDE and World Chess;
- My favorite SAS conference last year took place on the awesome Caribbean island of Saint Martin;
- Our 20th b-day was celebrated in suitably grandiose style – twice!
- A lot of other interesting and crazy stuff happened in 2017. In all, in figures, it went something like this:
All righty. That’s enough about last year. Let’s get stuck into this one…
// What a year! I look over it and am still amazed!
(All photos from last year, and also many years previous – here)