Hi folks, and – belatedly – Happy New Year!
Trust you all had happy, jolly, merry holidays. I sure did!…
All righty. Let’s get on… by looking back.
So, as per usual on these here blogpages of mine around this time of year, herewith, my round-up of last year: a summary of the facts and figures and countries and flights and tourisms and volcanoes and excursions and monasteries and walkabouts and treks and all the rest; woah – already for the sixth time (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)!
Well, over-self-indulgence plays a part, for sure (especially when it comes to things like my total number of flights and other stats:). However, I’m lucky enough to travel to and experience a lot of highly interesting places/stuff, which I’m fairly certain will be of interest to some of you, dear readers. And you might not have read every post of the year (there are a lot of them). Accordingly, surely, a pint-sized review of the ‘greatest hits’ of the year (including ringing in the New Year in the Ecuadorian mountains in a hot-spring swimming-pool some 3600 meters above sea level!) will be worth something? I hope so, anyway. OK, so – ~rationale out the way, let’s get on with this…
The just-mentioned hot springs in Ecuador:
South America is a little further than my habitual routes here and there around the globe, but soon enough I was back to my well-worn-circuit…
Well-worn – yes; but specifically last year – lesser-worn: I flew a mere 94 times (usually I’m over 100), and was up in the air just 380 hours.
- 8 helicopter flights;
- ~3000 nautical miles in a ship sailing around the Kuril Islands;
- For some reason I travelled a lot on trains in 2019 – in Italy, China (350km/h!), and Japan (Shinkansen);
- A few kilometers… on a camel!
Avia-stats – number of flights on different carriers:
Aeroflot – 37;
Singapore Airlines – 6;
Air France – 5;
Various jets – 10.
Countries visited: 29 (some more than once): France (five times), Italy (four times), Germany (four times), Switzerland (three), UAE (three), China (three).
Number of cities: 65
Number of hotels: 80+
Work, work, work.
Of course, it’s not all play and no work. I always try and combine both together: I do the conferences, exhibitions, meetings, and other business, and then I add a portion of tourism. So, work:
- 40+ interviews and press conferences;
- 40+ forums, conferences, speeches/presentations, lectures;
- 30+ meetings with senior officials;
- 3 of those – most senior officials: the presidents of France, Rwanda and Armenia;
- 2 of those same 30 – the ambassadors of France and Indonesia.
This was yet another excellent year in terms of awards and medals. In all we received 114 awards (seven more are coming up in early 2020 – based on results for 2019:), out of which 73 were for home products (for example KIS) and 41 corporate products (for example KES).
Here are some highlights:
- AV-Comparatives: KIS received an ‘Advanced+’ certificate in the first public Enhanced WPDT test with a result for Protection Level of 100%; moreover, in this test KES also managed a 100% level of protection in ‘Certified ATP Enterprise Protection‘;
- The British testing lab SELabs published its yearly awards, among which KIS got Best Consumer Anti-Malware Product 2019;
- SELabs also published, for the first time, the results of its Breach Response Test of our KATA. The report is here;
- KATA was also awarded a certificate by the American ICSA Labs giving it unsurpassed marks after a full three years (!) of testing: in the 12 quarterly tests our detection rate was 100% in nine of them, and our false positives – zero;
- We’re the only company to have received from MRG Effitas the annual Online Banking Browser Security Award five times in a row (since 2015) for excellent results in its quarterly testing;
- For the third year in a row KES received ‘Recommended’ status in testing by NSS Labs (on Advanced Endpoint Protection).
I could go on and give you the rest of the 100+ awards and gongs and medals, but I think that will do for today. But don’t forget to keep checking the Top-3 metrics, which show graphically which products really do protect against cyberattacks, and which only bombard users with marketing !#*^!+&*!$!
And let’s not forget… ->
- We opened our first Transparency Center in Zurich;
- We put on our yearly Security Analyst Summit, this time in Singapore, and it went swimmingly;
- There was also the not insignificant matter of a full rebranding for the company, just in time for the 2020s;
- We underwent – and passed – the real tough really awful (but wholly necessary) SOC 2 audit;
We launched a new portal for the study of computer maliciousness. Now, if you come across a suspicious file (or files), put it (them) through our ‘x-ray scanner’, which uses these here technologies.
Okie-dokey. That’s enough about work; time for the play, which covers some new additions to the ‘beens’ on my Top-100 List of the Most Beautiful Places on the Planet…
- The Galapagos Islands. I liked them so much – I wrote a book all about them, with all my best pics in there too (translation coming up later). Quick curiousness: while there, I discovered that there’s not just one equator, but at least three (Ecuador sits upon all of them)!
- I finally visited Lake Baikal! And we didn’t just walk upon the ice, we 4×4’ed across it too. Check out the link for photos of the incredible ice formations and patterns and more;
- The marble marvels in Taiwan’s mountain ranges in the Taroko National Park. Not only was this my first time there, but it also appeared on my Top-100 for the first time too, after I witnessed for myself how OMGorgeous it was;
- For the second time in my life, the Kuril Islands – this time from top (Kamchatka) to bottom (next to Japan) – and back!
- For the first time – the Gobi Desert. Yes, it’s vast and bleak, but also vastly beautiful – and must-see!
- Bewildering Baalbek in Lebanon. I finally got to experience the place in the flesh, and take a lot of pics thereof, and touch its immense ancient ‘bricks’ like the Trilithon;
- Cappadocia – another +1 to my Top-100. Been, seen, flown, snapped, done; no t-shirt.
Just recently – Tibet! A fortnight crossing the mountainous-desert landscapes, by train (world’s highest railroad!) then minibus (world’s worst driving!), skirting the foot of the Himalayas, taking in views of Everest itself, plus a three-day trek around Mount Kailash. Oh my God Buddha!
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TO TIBET BY THE HIGH-ELEVATION RAILWAY. DETAILS BELOW… . Как добраться до Тибета? Быстрее всего самолётом. Удобнее и зрелищнее – поездом. Тем более, что это не просто поезд. Это – Цинхай-Тибетская железная дорога, самая высокогорная в мире ЖД с регулярным пассажирским сообщением. Соединяет Синин и Лхасу, длина ~2000км, высшая точка полотна – 5072м. Во-первых, это красиво :) Виды из окна открываются сугубо живописные, вдумчивые, медитативные. А вторая причина – чисто техническая. Тибет славится весьма впечатляющими высотами. Лхаса расположена на высоте аж 3600м над уровнем моря. А если забраться подальше, то там ниже 4 тысяч высот в принципе не бывает. Посему для наших бедных нежных офисных организмов требуется акклиматизация. А в поезде вагоны кондиционированы обогащённой смесью кислорода, чтобы равнинному туристу было легче привыкнуть и не впасть в горняшку. —8<— How to get to Tibet? The fastest option is to fly with an airplane. The most convenient and spectacular option is to take a train. But this is not just a train. This is *the* train – Qinghai–Tibet railway, the world's highest elevation railway that connects Xining to Lhasa. The length is ~2,000 km, the highest point is at 5072 m. Firstly, this railway offers amazing meditative views. The second reason is purely technical. Tibet is one really high autonomous region: Lhasa is 3600 m above sea level, while much of the rest of the region’s populated centers are above 4000 meters. Accordingly, I took it very steadily so as not to suffer from altitude sickness. In the train the passenger carriages are specially built and have an oxygen supply for each passenger. This is extremely important for a smooth acclimatization. . #china #tibet #китай #тибет #railways #railroads #железнаядорога
- I finally got myself to fabulous Florence. Oh my Girolamo!
- I checked out the Masada fortress – this time from up above;
- And a visit to Tito’s secret underground Cold-War atom-bomb-proof bunker;
Finally (as in – my final cultural place-of-interest of the year; also as in – I’ve finally gotten round to getting to this must-see world-famous building:), I visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Simply pleasants, funs, and assorted bits and bobs.
- I saw a familiar – furry! – Kamchatkan face in… the backwater city of Fribourg in Switzerland!
- I got up close and personal with… Rwandan gorillas! I even got a glimpse of a couple… making love, before I respectfully looked away );
- After a long campaign by users and Fan-Klubbers, we finally brought back from the dead the piggy-squeal to our products, which can be activated with old-school cheat codes!
When at Starmus, meet the stars – including the Armenian President, Brian May and Buzz Aldrin!
Alas – Ferrari didn’t win the Grand Prix. Oh well. As per – here’s hoping that will change in the New Year…
Back to the good news…
- New glossy coffee-table book penned by moi: Come Hell or High Altai Water – coming soon;
- This year we had our 22nd birthday, meaning: mega-birthday bash!
- And talking of anniversaries – this year it was 30 years since I got into this here game of anti-virus (in 1989 when Cascade infected my computer) almost by mistake!
PS: All together, it went something like this: