From Maldives to… Magadan!

One of the most pressing problems facing the world today is global warming. Its effects can be witnessed all over the globe – from the Americas to… Zambia. Whether man-made pollution has much of an overall effect on specifically global warming is open to question, and question that postulate I did some months back (but before you scream ‘climate change denier!’, no one’s denying climate change. Click the link first:). But global warming is for real, whatever its causes, and it’s serious and should concern us all. Ok, but what’s any of this to do with Maldives or Magadan in the title? Well…

It turns out both locations may become more perceptibly vulnerable to global warming – and quicker – than most. Maldives: the sea level goes up due to melting ice caps… and it could be curtains. Magadan: if the permafrost there thaws – it might not be full curtains, but the changes to the flora and fauna could be significant. Ok, but what’s the connection between the two – Maldives and Magadan? Well…

There is nothing really that connects Maldives and Magadan. Two places on the planet couldn’t be more different. It was us who made the connection: flying from Maldives to Magadan! Not directly (no flights: shame; would have shaved off hours up in the air).

Now – why Maldives? Why not?!

And why Magadan? Well, we reckoned it might just be the last opportunity to ever really experience the true OMG-crazy-cold of northeastern Siberia!

All righty: back to the Maldives where we began…

Read on…

Island-hopping with ease – in paradisical Maldives!

And the first place in yesterday’s post – the tropical one with the novel Christmas trees – is (as title of this blogpost has somewhat given away)…

Maldives!

Did you guess right? Or did you spot the clue in the very last of the tropical snaps – Devarana – a nice spa on one of the islands, which is as Google-able as just about anything.

This paradisical place is made up of 26 atolls, which in turn are made up of more than a thousand islands! Some are inhabited – many are resort islands – but most of them have never been settled upon. There are a zillion pics of the picture-perfect archipelago on the internet, be they having been taken on land, underwater or from the air, but here are some of my own aerial pics too:

Read on…

Flickr photostream

  • K Christmas Party 2020
  • K Christmas Party 2020
  • K Christmas Party 2020
  • K Christmas Party 2020

Instagram photostream

What, no Christmas tree?!

Welcome back folks!

Ok, 2020-review: done.

Next up, my first 2021 blogpost proper – on how we met the New Year.

And we happened to have met it in an exotic location somewhere far away – hurray! (Who’d have thought it? Actually – me! It’s 2021 already!) The suitcases (more than usual) were all packed, and it was time to get going…

Not that seeing in the New Year in some distant place is new to me: I’ve done it… on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, near the peak of a volcano in Indonesia, next to high-altitude hot springs in Ecuador, and even at the South Pole. But on those and other New Year’s Eves > New Year’s Days, there was always a Christmas tree. If not a real one, at least a plastic – green! – one. This year, the Christmas tree situation was… strange. There were… surrogates: tropical installations doing their best fir-tree impression, but which were decidedly not even green. Strange – yes; but also clearly creatively constructed with care, and suitably festively decorated. Like! ->

Read on…

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MLAD – Keeping factories running using machine learning for anomaly detection.

Phew. Thank goodness it’s over. The ghastliest year known to most of us ever – finally done, dusted, finito, fertig. Let’s just hope, as many folks are repeating: ‘2021 will be better; it can’t be worse, surely?!’

For a good 10 months of last year practically the whole world was in a permanent state of shock. And I don’t just mean the world’s population; private business and national economies were also hit incredibly hard. Alas, one field that hasn’t been affected badly at all – in fact it has only benefitted from the pandemic, greatly – is cybercrime. Folks locked down and working from home and spending much more time online meant there were many more potential cybercrime victims ripe for the hacking. And not just individual users, but also companies: with employees working from home, many corporate networks came under attack as they weren’t sufficiently protected since, in the rush to get everyone working remotely quickly in the spring, security wasn’t given priority. In short, the whole world’s digital status quo was also badly shaken up by this vicious virus from hell.

As a result of the rise in cybercrime – in particular that targeting vulnerable corporate networks – the cybersecurity sector has been busier than ever. Yes – that includes us! 2020 for us as a Kompany turned out to be most productive. For example, the number of new versions of our solutions launched throughout the year was most impressive – especially in the enterprise sector.

We’ve also had new versions in our industrial cybersecurity solutions line up, one of which is what I want to talk about today – some teKh known as MLAD. Not to be confused with online funny-video sites, or MLAD that’s short for Minimum Local Analgesic Dose, or MLAD that’s short for Mid Left Anterior Descending artery, our MLAD is short for Machine Learning for Anomaly Detection.

If you’re a regular reader of our blogs, you may recall something about this tech of ours. Maybe not. Anyway – here’s a refresher/into, just in case…

Our MLAD is a system that uses machine learning to analyze telemetry data from industrial installations to pinpoint anomalies, attacks or breakdowns.

Let’s say you have a factory with thousands of sensors installed throughout – some measuring pressure, some temperature, others – whatever else. Each sensor generates a constant flow of information. An employee keeping track of all those flows is fairly impossible, but for machine learning – it’s a walk in the park. Having preliminarily trained up a neuro network, MLAD can, based on direct or indirect correlations, detect that something’s wrong in a certain section of the factory. In doing so, million or multimillion-dollar damages caused by potential incidents not nipped in the bud can be avoided.

Ok – that’s the overall idea of what MLAD does. Let me now try and relate the granular scale of the analysis MLAD accomplishes using a medical metaphor…
Read on: MLAD

My 2020 review: despite the pandemic, we still came through!

First, a toast!

Here’s to… successful adaptation throughout last year, and to everyone having… a good sense of smell this year! Hurray!

Sure, the New Year celebrations were weeks ago. But there’s still my traditional yearly review to complete! Well here it is finally – better late than never. And the first thing I can say about it is that the volume of my activities was way down below what it normally is; example: I took a mere 36 flights throughout the year! I haven’t had such a modest total since 2006!

Despite the meager results in terms of numbers of trips, there’s still quite a bit for me to tell you and show you. I added a few long-anticipated +1s to my Top-100 Must-See List, and returned to some of the more marvelous places on earth where I’ve been before; for example: the Altai Mountains – for a totally fantastic summer expedition-vacation. It was so fantastic I want to go back yet again! ->

Read on…

Happy 14th Birthday, FanKlub!

Once upon a time, long ago – but just within the furthest reaches of our digital archive – a few interesting events occurred…

Now, many companies have a global internet forum. A place where keen followers of the company and its product line gather, and where users go to sort out issues they may be having. We have one too.

Global. All very well, but not very intimate. All a bit too mechanical. All a bit too utilitarian and broad-stroke. Not personal: no real rapport. So we thought and debated and scratched heads regarding a different approach. And the eventual result: the birth of our localized – Russian – fan club, 14 years ago!

And just like we like to celebrate our birthday as a company in style, our fan club does too, in recent years even going on exotic expeditions for the occasion: Cambodia, Iceland and elsewhere. This year another expedition was planned, but then it was postponed, then postponed again, for the obvious reasons. Summer – the season the birthday falls in – came and went, yet still no b-day bash. Fall came and went. The last season of the year came… and so there was only one thing for it: this year’s celebrations would take place in winter! Which they just did…

Read on…

2020: the year everything went online – including our Korporativ.

Gathering together, having fun, making a lot of noise, and dancing a jig – it’s what we do; occasionally ). But around the end of every year, we do so with extra aplomb. Normally that means bringing K-folks from all over the planet to Moscow and fitting them into a suitably large venue for our festive bash. (With every year we’ve had fewer and fewer options re the venue, as we’re getting so big: we’re now able to fill the largest indoor venues of the capital – for example, Luzhniki (think – where Rammstein, among others, has played), or the Olympiysky stadium (Depeche Mode…)). We’d sum up the year, present awards to our best and brightest, and then party… like it’s 1999, if that’s still a thing, bubbly in hand.

(photo from 2016)

Gathering together literally all our K-team in one place is of course impossible: there are the 24-hour threat-monitoring and user-support folks who need to be at work, for example. Still, most of the Moscow office would normally be at our yearly Christmas bash, plus plenty of K-ambassadors from our overseas offices – from the Americas to Australia. Our guests would be fed, watered (!), then treated to our traditional variety show-extravaganza put on by the more Kreative among us. Add singing and dancing for good measure – and a few measures of something else while you’re at it – and it all adds up to a gala bash-blowout that’s fun for all and the perfect way of seeing off the outgoing year properly.

Here are a few of my reports on previous year-end shindigs: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011.

And some photos:

Eventually, the inevitable happened: we became too big to fit into any venue. And we could hardly start having it outside (comfortably) given the sub-zero temperatures at this time of year. So, alas, for the last two years, we simply haven’t had our New Year Korporativ. Boo! And then… 2020 happened…

Read on…

Global warming: finally – the results of the lockdown experiment!

Hi folks!

If you’re a regular reader of this here blog, you’ll have noticed how I occasionally touch upon ecological topics in my posts here: protecting the environment, global warming, and assorted other things like CO2 emissions. Oh, and by the way, before you shout ‘climate change denier!’… for example, those CO2 emissions, they’re most certainly on the rise – fast. No one in their right mind can deny that, from the man in the street through to the states that signed Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. But when folks become perfectly hysterical paranoid about man’s role in that rise – that’s where I beg to… not quite differ, but at least state that we need to see the larger picture: it may just be possible that industrial and anthropological emissions aren’t the most important factor…

I’ve written somewhere before that:

  • CO2emissions are rising and the climate is warming up. Facts;
  • But putting that down mostly to the activity of human beings is… bothersome. And it does whiff rather of megalomania: is man really that significant and influential to be able to have much effect on what are surely extraordinarily greater, stronger forces of nature?
  • I don’t know the answer to the question just put, but, because I don’t know, I say we need to measure not only emissions of carbon dioxide, but also nature’s intake/usage/absorption thereof. Could CO2 levels be growing not just in and of themselves, but as part of a growing imbalance between emissions and consumption?

Now, those musings, hypotheses, question marks… they’d have stayed musings, hypotheses and question marks, probably, if the corona virus hadn’t become a global pandemic in 2020: quarantine, lockdowns, restricted travel > less emissions from humans and their filthy cars and planes. But, as I wrote in April 2020, how will those lower emissions affect the overall total levels of CO₂ in the atmosphere? 

Here’s my quote from the mentioned post from April:

“Curiously, we’re currently living in… interesting times, and it just so happens that we may be able to get an answer to the second of my two questions here today (‘how will nearly the whole world’s industry coming to a halt affect the growth of CO₂ in the world’s atmosphere?’). 

Indeed, soon we’ll get the results of a unique (if unexpected) global experiment: how the lockdown and the partial halt to world production affects increases in CO₂ in the Earth’s atmosphere. It will also present a good opportunity to check the soundness of several theories about the how much climate is affected by man.

I have to say, it will be somewhat odd if the lockdown makes no difference whatsoever. I mean, among many other things, it would completely cancel out the need for the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, while making a mockery of every country that ever signed either; or am I being too harsh there? ‘Mistakes happen’, they’ll say!” 

So what do you think folks? What is the result of this unique global experiment? I ask as, that answer is ready! And here it is!…

Read on…

Online conference – Chinese style (complete with pioneering-tech superstition).

Normally, my work schedule is made up of all sorts of meetings, press interviews, taking part in exhibitions, speaking at conferences all over the globe. Normally. Not this year, darn it!

Now, some of the events I get to are one-offs. Some are regular, recurring ones (mostly annual) but to which I get only once in a while. While there are some recurring events that I deem simply must-attend. And one of my main must-attends every fall or early winter is the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, organized by the Cyberspace Administration of China, which I’ve participated in every year (up to 2019, that is) since 2015 – just a year after it’s ‘inauguration’ a year earlier. This year, alas – no traditional trip to eastern China; however, much like here at K, not being able to be present in-person does not mean a big and important event can’t still go on. Which is great news, as this means I can still get what I want to say across to: the main players of the Chinese internet – state regulators, heads of provinces and regional development institutes, and also bosses of the Chinese big tech companies; and all from a huge screen – perhaps the biggest I’ve ever seen!

Sure, it would have been nice to be there in person – to stroll around the quaint cobbled narrow streets of the old ancient town (as old as the Tang dynasty, apparently) and take a boat ride along its canals, which indeed some folks did manage to do, somehow. But I was playing it safe. Still, the plentiful ‘in-person’ activity at the venue is at least cause for optimism during these remote-everything times.

But now for the main thing: about Wuzhen superstition…

Read on…

Ten years blogging in – English to the day (almost)!

I love numbers (it must be the mathematician in me). Any kind of numbers really, but those that you have to really rack your brains over – they’re the best. Numbers that are particularly round and milestoney – they’re awesome too. And talking of round numbers that are milestoney and awesome, it just so happens that 10 years ago, on November 27, 2010, my first ever blogpost on this here blog you have open in your browser now was published!

Accordingly, on this veritable jubilee, I don’t see why we can’t have a mosey back through those 10 years for some highlights, aka greatest hits, of each one of them, with brief analysis and commentary given the benefit of hindsight regarding how things have worked out for the company, the industry and the world since the posts were originally published.

So what makes a ‘greatest hit’? Simple: the most read and commented on. So we had a quick look over the stats – at both the total number of views and of comments added to the bottom of each – and chose the top-two posts of each year. All righty. Let’s do this!…

2010

As it took a while to get momentum going early on, there were just two posts on this blog in 2010, both of which I’ll mention here.

My first ever blogpost in English was this: 100 in a Year! One of my briefest ever, too. Besides the following avia-route given in it, there was just a bit more text and that was it! Still, the first step is always the hardest, as they say.

Moscow – Novosibirsk – Moscow – Rome – Paris – Santiago – Patriot Hills – the South Pole (New Year) – Patriot Hills – Santiago – Paris – Moscow – Beijing – Singapore – Paris – Rio de Janiero – Lima – Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) – Madrid – Barcelona – Geneva – Paris – Milan – Rome – Munich – Hannover – Hamburg – Berlin – London – Hong Kong – Tokyo – Moscow – Paris – São Paulo – Iguazu Falls (Argentina-Brazil border) – Buenos Aires – Lima – Bogota – Paris – London – Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City – Frankfurt – Barcelona – Athens – Corfu – Dubai – Sydney – Brisbane – Cairns – Ayers Rock – Sydney – Dubai – Larnaca (Cyprus) – Tokyo – Paris – Moscow – Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky – Moscow – Beijing – Milan – Moscow – Munich – Singapore – Hong Kong – Istanbul – Nice – Moscow – Paris – Mexico City – Guadalajara – Shanghai – Guangzhou – Tokyo – New York – Chicago – Dallas – Boston – Munich – Moscow – Abu Dhabi – Bali – Moscow

The other post from 2010 was: Mobile OS Market – My Bet.

This is where I stated my predications of the share of the global mobile OS market in the future – in around five years time (2015). And I didn’t do too badly either! My rough forecast went like this:

80% – Android
10% – iOS
10% – all the others

And here’s how things panned out:

Source

Yes, I should maybe think of becoming a fortune-teller ).

Read on…