Monthly Archives: July 2019

Birthday number 22.

This year we celebrated the company’s 22nd birthday a little earlier than usual (but closer to the official birthday – see here for a brief history lesson). It was earlier because the road beckoned me once again to a very interesting place. But more on that later.

Here and just about everywhere further down, the photos are courtesy of Roman Rudakov.

We worked well over the year (for example, we earned $726 million (+4% on 2017), were number 1 in tests for protection and speed, were twice named as the best cybersecurity solution by Gartner Peer Insights) -> so we pushed the boat out for our birthday, because, well, those who are good at their work are good at everything else they do too :)

Read on…

The Jewel in the crown: Singapore never ceases to amaze.

How I long to be in the paradise that is Singapore as a simple tourist, just for a week! To walk around the city, take in the sights, visit the zoo. Actually, the tourist and entertainment industry in this small city state is developing so much that a week might not be enough. Ah, this is the place!

I left a sweltering Switzerland in a hurry, heading in a south-easterly direction, while not forgetting to take pictures of the surrounding landscapes ->

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Flickr photostream

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Me, myself and Interpol.

How I would love to just visit Singapore as a tourist! To stay here for a week, wander around the city … But not running, running, gunzo-shigoto-arbeiten, meetings-presentations-more meetings and other work-trabajo-labor and so on in various other languages. Alas, not this time. It was more like this…

You wake up in the morning after the Starmus conference and realize that you can only dream of a bit of peace and quiet. From a sweltering Switzerland we immediately head (you could say without regaining consciousness) east for an equally hot Singapore. That’s where the Interpol World 2019 exhibition/conference is being held. It’s an event that brings together representatives of state, non-government and private sectors from Interpol member countries.

I talk a lot about the importance of international cooperation between law enforcement agencies and private cybersecurity organizations. Cybercrime knows no geographical boundaries, which is why it’s necessary to act together to fight it. It’s just that there’s a bit of a worldwide problem nowadays with this “together” thing. So, any real, ongoing initiatives aimed at international cooperation are worth their weight in gold! And we’re proud of our many years of work with Interpol. Since 2014, we’ve been a strategic partner, signed our first cooperation agreement and supported the opening in Singapore of the Digital Crime Center as part of the special IGCI (Interpol Global Complex for Innovation) unit dealing with cybercrime investigations. This center is where the technical side of Interpol’s investigations are conducted.

And, so, on July 3 in Singapore, we extended the cooperation agreement with Interpol for five years. Good work chaps!

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Mon dieu – Fontainebleau!

Bonjour boys and girls!

You may recall how I flew from the Azores to Paris en route to Zurich the other day. The reason was a spot of business – speaking at the INSEAD business school. There’s not really much to tell about that, apart from the fact that it – plus the Q&A afterward – went well. What I do want to tell you about is the half-day of tourism we got in at the place where INSEAD is situated – the commune of Fontainebleau:

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Falling in love with Azorean waterfalls.

It’s usually the case that if an area is volcanic, wet and not too cold, then there are going to be lots of waterfalls. Take, for instance, Iceland, Hawaii, Kamchatka, the Faroe Islands – and other places that have temporarily slipped my mind.

And the Azores are no exception. On the island we’re exploring – San Miguel – there are several waterfalls worth seeing; we had time to see two of them.

I. Salto do Cabrito – a picturesque double waterfall. On the internet, the water looks crystal clear, but we got there just after it rained, and the water was anything but clear. We decided to skip having a swim and just enjoyed the view :)

You can drive almost right up to this waterfall, and can go down a cool little path, alongside the pipe to the local mini-hydroelectric station. I recommend approaching it from above.

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Aquatic tour of the Azores.

And now for another installment about the Azores.

But this time with a difference: what NOT to do in the Azores.

It’s probably not worth going to watch the whales in June, despite the fact that it’s advertised as a ‘must’ for tourists. We fell for it a little … And we only saw one part of one whale – namely, the dorsal fin of a sei whale. After two hours of chasing, that was it as far as Azorean whales were concerned. If it’s whales you’re after, check out my Antarctic stories.

But there were some revelations! I saw my first Portuguese man o’ war! This is a very poisonous jelly-like thing with a bubble on the surface of the water, which is not that deadly for humans, but leaves nasty burns on the skin (look for pictures of victims yourself – it makes me feel a bit squeamish even describing it).

Note, this is not a jellyfish! It’s a colony of different organisms in a symbiotic relationship that’s designed to cause pain and death to anything in its vicinity. Read the wiki page at the link above, it’s amazing. It’s worth it just for bizarre phrases like gonophores, vestigial siphosomal nectophores and gastrozooids with tentacles!

Anyway, here’s a Portuguese man o’ war for you, swimming next to our boat:

But no whales, killer whales, dolphins, or penguins. Even the flying fish seemed to have flown south. I had to take photos of homo sapiens instead. There were plenty of them ->

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Azorean volcanism.

The Azores Islands – and that includes its biggest and best, São Miguel Island – are, as mentioned, very volcanic. Rumblings, steamings, smokings, stones flyings, even sometimes lavas flowings. Re the latter though – it’s been a while since there’s been any of that – the last eruption was around 300 years ago (in the westernmost part of the island). Between the rare appearances of lava, the fumarole activity on the islands is constant and busy – just how we like it: bubbling mud and hot springs.

The largest fumarole site is at Furnas, which I mentioned earlier. Of course, these aren’t as grand as the fumaroles in Kamchatka (Mutnovka) or New Zealand or in fact many other places, but they are still gurglingly impressive.

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Azorean calderean – but no swimmean.

The parks and botanical gardens of the Azores I’ve already told you about. Now for something else no less important – the islands’ volcanisms; in this post, about two of them – the Sete Cidades Massif and Lagoa do Fogo (Lagoon of Fire).

Volcanism No. 1 – the Sete Cidades Massif – a stratovolcanic complex made up of a volcano, a caldera, and a lake in the caldera:

The caldera has a complex structure. It is some 5km in diameter (imagine the eruption involved to create that!), and inside it there are seven partly destroyed and very overgrown younger volcanic cones. Sounds amazing? Looks amazing! ->

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Sweltering Switzerland.

Mid-summer in Zurich – it’s bound to be rather warm. But flying in from the subtropical Azores I wasn’t quite expecting a considerable hike in the temperature – up to 35 degrees. Also unlike in the Azores – there was no breeze (at all) cooling things down, and no moisture in the air. The sidewalks were too hot to walk upon barefoot (when taking off shoes for a dip in the river:), and the sun kept blinding you as it reflected off the numerous shiny surfaces in this generally shiny city. And it looked like half the city had taken the afternoon off work to sit and sip beer by the river. Well, if you can’t beat them – join them (more on that in a bit).

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Azoresome!

There are just nine Azorean islands, and we visited just one of them – São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous. We were told by locals that this is the most interesting of all nine – so we settled for just it – to keep things simple; however, this one island we investigated and examined and inspected rather exhaustively and from top to bottom so I think it’s fair to say we’ve ‘done’ the Azores experience by and large ).

As mentioned yesterday, the Azores sit where three tectonic plates meet in the Atlantic Ocean; accordingly, the Azores are as volcanic as any islands can possibly get. The climate here is comfortable: an oceanic-subtropical thing going on; the sun does actually burn hotter than… jalapeño, but it doesn’t get too crazy hot because of the cooling effect of the surrounding ocean. The temperature of the ocean is practically always around 20°C, while that of the air wavers between 15°C in winter to 25°C in summer. And it rains a lot too. So, in all, what do we have? Volcanic, super-fertile soil + a pleasant, moist subtropical climate = yep, more green than you can shake a… Saudi flagpole at – everywhere.

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