Modern techno-kunst of the most boggling kind.

My customary busy schedule of business globetrotting sees me visit places equipped with some really interesting art expositions. And if said busy schedule grants me two-or-so hours of free time, you can guess where I normally head to fill those two-or-so hours. This ritual has seen me squeeze in visits, among many others, to:

Art, arte, iskustvo, kunst. I love it. Mostly. But sometimes, especially when it’s of the modern/moderna/sovremennoe genre, things become… less straightforward, more ambiguous, somewhat contradictory. No matter, for it still always generates unusual thought processes related to the perception of aesthetic experience. And that’s just great!

Well just the other day, I had another arty outing – this time without even stepping onto a plane. It was another Moscow-based visit, and what a visit it was…

Now, do you want to boggle a little? (And, I do believe, the only thing one can boggle is a mind.) Or, rather, would you like to boggle your mind a lot? Or, rather, would you like to overboggle your mind? In that case, you need to get to the new ‘May the Other Live in Me‘ modern techno-art exhibition at the New Tretyakov Gallery, a science-art project of the Laboratoria Art & Science Foundation, which we support. Why? Well, my mind was truly boggled, and my mind does take some boggling. So I highly recommend it to you too. Here’s my brief report and pics on the exhibition – you preview…

Read on…

Our rebranding story, and how Midori Kuma nearly became our logo.

Early June of 2019 was a quiet, nothing-special kind of early June. The world was rotating around the Sun as per, 19 days remained until the astronomical summer, ‘Corona’ meant a Mexican beer, and ‘covid’ meant absolutely nothing to anyone. In short, it was life as we knew it pre-pandemic: what we all could do with a lot more of today…

Meanwhile for the Kompany, we had our own schedules and timeframes, also as per. And early June, 25 months ago on our schedule was significant: it was when our big rebranding was taking place. The time had come for us to say goodbye to the old Korporate style (in terms of the logo, besides a whole lot of other stuff, including the fonts and other stylings and colorings and imagery, and what-have-you), which, given a few tweaks down the years, had been with us a full 22 years! It was out with the old and in with the new – a reboot, an upgrade, a Porsche, a rejuvenation, an image change; time for something different, more in line with the times, and also more polished; at least that’s what I was told (joke). No, really – it was to give us a new corporate style to more accurately reflect the company’s next stage of development – an ambitious yet confident stage, and certainly a futuristic one given our industry (cyber [the security thereof]).

But where others change their logo (slightly!) and have done with it, we had lots more in store. In fact, a full rebranding is a lengthy, complex process of tweaking perfecting all aspects of the identity and life of the company, including not only how we look on the outside, but also the way we interact with audiences, communication style, and scores of other things.

So yes; today’s post is all about rebranding. Now for some detail…

Work on our big rebranding began back in 2018. We’d known for a while how our good old logo/brand and messaging were more late-90s/early-2000s-oriented than 2019. For years we’d been sensing a certain dissonance between our technologies/products – which were always truly cutting-edge – and the image of the company to our users. For several years already we’d not been ‘just an antivirus company’ but a developer of broad-spectrum cybersecurity solutions. Yet still our logo was fairly antique with its pseudo-Greek letters. It was as if it was anchoring the company to the past – to the long-forgotten floppy-disk times.

For nearly a year we brainstormed, thought, compared, imagined, weighed up, discussed, argued, consulted, agreed then disagreed, considered, debated, deliberated… all so as to find the very best perfect fit for our rebranding. A conservative estimate at the number of logo variants our design team put forward gives at least… 300! Then, the final couple of candidate-versions were vetoed be moi. Not because I was being obstinate, but because I was being super obstinate simply didn’t see even in those final few prototypes one that resonated 100% with the company’s aims and values.

Oh, and here are the rejected variants! ->

Some curious near-misses (hits?!) occurred during the year of debate…

Read on…

Flickr photostream

  • Happy birthday Kaspersky!
  • Happy birthday Kaspersky!
  • Happy birthday Kaspersky!
  • Happy birthday Kaspersky!

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How to quit smoking – my proven method!

Hi folks!

May 31. Mean much to you? It didn’t to me – as I never ‘needed’ outside help with… quitting smoking! But I’ll get to that in a bit… However, I did look up a ‘no smoking day’ or some such just recently – to see if it coincided with my sudden urge to tell you about my own method for how to quit smoking (which works by the way – at least, it did for me). And it does coincide – almost: World No Tobacco Day is coming up in a couple of weeks – on May 31. So, in the timely spirit of a general anti-smoking drive this sunny month of May, herewith, I give you, ladies and gents, boys and girls,How to Quit Smoking – the Kaspersky Red-Button Method’!

I’m somewhat ashamed to admit this, but I was a heavy smoker for something like 35 years! I knew early on it wasn’t a healthy habit, and that I really should quit, but somehow I never got round to it: there was always something more urgent to be stressing about! I just wasn’t ready for the serious preparation needed – both psychological and moral.

Yep, the whole ‘getting psyched’ for the big event kept putting me off the idea of quitting. Even a book entitled something like ‘The Easy Way to Quit Smoking’ didn’t work: flicking through it one day I came to a page by chance, which gave calculations of how much money I’d save if I quit. Nope, not for me: book quickly closed, and it’s been on the bookshelf since.

I did it differently. And here’s how…

Read on…

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The year that was 2020 – and the money side of things.

Hi folks!

It’s been a little over a year since this darn biological contagion swept the world and hit businesses hard – especially small and medium-sized businesses. Almost immediately it was clear some companies weren’t going to fare well. But I also wondered how the cybercriminals would behave. And what would happen to our company during this potentially long period of quarantine?

On the whole of course it was obvious that cybercrime wouldn’t suffer that much. The bad guys carried on ‘working from home’ as usual. Nothing much changed for them, apart from potential victims spending more time online due to quarantine measures and lockdowns. And, of course, the internet didn’t lose any bandwidth because of this biological virus.

But what about our business, which takes the fight to those very same cybercriminals?

A year ago, I expressed my belief that our company would be affected by two vectors: one negative and one positive. On the one hand, some of our customers would face difficulties, and some, alas, would go bankrupt. We’ll obviously lose those revenues. But on the other hand, there would be companies that started investing more resources in cybersecurity because their employees were working remotely and the cybercriminal world would most likely become more active. How we’d manage these two vectors would directly determine our own results.

So, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I’m pleased to tell you that we’ve just announced our financial results for the past year. ‘Why in April?’ you may ask. Because we wanted to do a financial audit first.

And so…*drum roll*…

It’s time to tally the numbers and sum up the results of the past year. We even held a press conference to mark the occasion, informing journalists of our financial achievements.

Despite the now notorious bio-virus pandemic, the global economic crisis, and all kinds of geopolitical instability and uncertainties, our results weren’t only not bad, but were actually very good! After a year of covid, we not only survived but also grew! And that was despite an almost complete relocation of our K-folks from the office to remote working with all the associated costs and restructuring, mass provision of our products to the needy, and all sorts of other various unforeseen things.

All righty. I’ll start off with the biggie: the company’s global revenue for 2020 reached $704 million – an increase of 2.8% on 2019.

Read on…

One Billboard Outside Wellington, New Zealand.

Where does the clock strike midnight first on the planet?…

…Or in fact any minute, or hour, or day, or a New Year, or whatever other unit of time: where, in time, on this orb of ours, does it comes first?

Well, not a lot of people know this but it is… on Kiritimati, aka Christmas Island (the eastern-most of the atolls that make up Kiribati, the island nation) bang in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – half-way between Australia and North America. So, how come? Well, Kiribati happens to have the earliest time zone on the planet – UTC+14:00. So its inhabitants (and anyone visiting the islands) are the ones who first hear a clock strike 12, or the year change from one to the next, and so on; 14 hours earlier than in London, for example (UTC+0)

Why am I telling you this? Well, we needed to get to a spot in the world with the ‘best view of the future’. Why? I’ll get to that in a bit…

So, we needed to get ourselves, ideally, to Christmas Island, with its unquestioned best viewing location for looking to the future – where if you look to the east from its easternmost beach you literally see tomorrow out over the ocean (right?!)! However, Christmas Island isn’t the easiest of places to get to at the best of times, but during a pandemic-lockdown – ouch. So we had to look for the next-best thing…

And we didn’t need to look too far, relatively – just a little to the west and down a bit: to New Zealand, a country close to my heart. Once there, we needed to get ourselves to somewhere on the eastern coastline, and we opted for a place called Castlepoint – precisely here.

So, what is all this looking-to-the-future business? Actually – very much our business. For here at K, we’re pretty darn future-oriented. We have to be – to combat the cyberthreats of tomorrow: always needing to be one step ahead of the cyber-baddies, who are (alas) the embodiment of ‘future-oriented’. I mean look: we have our Safer Tomorrow platform; there’s our Earth 2050 project; there’s our Tomorrow Unlocked; there’s our latest company slogan – Bring on the Future. Heck, we’d trademark the word ‘future’ if we could! So, yes – you get it. ‘Future’ is our business. Accordingly, we needed the best spot in the world for literally looking into the future, which we figured would also be the best spot for future-oriented musing-reflection-meditation. Bring on New Zealand!…

But contemplating the technological progress of tomorrow, and even the future of humankind from the breathtakingly beautiful eastern seaboard of NZ might not come easy to everyone. Plus, of course, there’s getting there in person – hardly practical, right? Well, if you can’t take Castlepoint to Muhammad and everyone else in the world concerned about the future, we’ll just have to take Muhammad and everyone else to Castlepoint! Which is just what we did…

For the whole of February at Castlepoint there’ll be our unique billboard of the future, plus a livestream thereof accessible through your browser anywhere on the planet. As you can see, the right-hand side of the billboard is an empty frame – through which you can get a good look at the future, a rather picturesque one at that. And the left-hand side is a large digital screen with constantly changing predictions about the future of humankind and technology. So keep viewing, keep reading, and be ready for the future!…

Ok. You get that we’re all about the future. But why is it so important?

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…

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…

Turkish Grand Prix 2020: Very strange F1 in very strange times.

Most everything’s strange this year. A lot’s been cancelled, a lot’s been changed, a lot’s been postponed, some things have been transformed into different formats… And Formula 1 racing hasn’t been spared either; still, at least it hasn’t been canceled this year: it’s still going strong, and still… as incredibly awesome as ever!

I won’t dwell on our team’s poor results. A hundred reasons will always be found for a losing streak – but I’ll leave that to others to discuss. All I’ll say is that this really strange year has been a really strange one for Ferrari too.

The strangest thing of all this year for F1 is that the stands are completely empty, and I really do mean completely! Not a single spectator to be seen the whole season. I should know – I was at the Turkish Grand Prix recently ->

Strange year, strange F1, and here, now – strange post!…

Read on…

11 brave women at the North Pole.

This blogpost could pass as an advertisement, if it were paid for; however, it’s being published entirely voluntarily and gratis. Basically, in it, I’ll be telling you the fascinating story of 11 fearless females on an Arctic expedition up to the North Pole!…

So, what happened was that our good old friend Felicity Aston, the dauntlessly adventuresome (see why we’re good old friends?:) British explorer, whose unique Antarctic expeditions we support and sponsor from time to time (I’ve even been known to piggy-back onto one of her missions (I flew, she skied!) – to see in the New Year at the South Pole!), decided to steel herself to… try something totally different: to write a new book about one of her adventures! And the one she chose was the first international skiing expedition to the North Pole, in which only women took part, with around half of the skiers coming from Arab countries – so the only snow/ice they’d ever seen was the bit you get in the fridge-freezer (ok, maybe also at the skiing attraction in Dubai:).

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A SPECIAL POST ABOUT A SPECIAL PERSON. SEE 1ST COMMENT FOR ENGLISH ⏬ . Сегодня будет особенный пост об особенном человеке Фелисити Эстон. Мы знакомы с ней с 2009г., когда помогали женской экспедиции под её руководством дойти на лыжах до Южного полюса. В 2018г. мы снова работали вместе, но уже на противоположном конце мира – другая женская экспедиция дошла на лыжах до Северного полюса. Это неожиданный человек, отличающийся открытостью и женственностью с одной стороны и колоссальной силой и упорством с другой. Такие люди живут мировыми рекордами и неожиданными поступками, заставляющими человечество сначала охать и ахать, а потом радостно аплодировать. В 2011г. она предложила поддержать её трансантарктическую соло-экспедицию через Южный полюс. Вчитайтесь ещё раз: в полном одиночестве, на лыжах, почти 2 месяца и ~1800км. Ага? Вот и мы тогда пытались отговорить, но она поставила нас перед нелёгким выбором: я пойду по-любому, с вашей поддержкой или без. Я до сих пор храню на телефоне её СМС когда всё закончилось: «I did it! I just arrived at the coast having crossed Antarctica! Wanted to let you know myself». Догадываюсь насколько ей там было тяжело, а мне просто за неё было страшно. Первая часть экспедиции как-то вообще не пошла. Ещё в Пунта-Аренас её промариновали несколько дней в ожидании лётной погоды, потом неожиданные торосы по пути, привыкание к одиночеству и особенностям антарктического быта. На полюсе – встреча с людьми, небольшой отдых, подзаправка и дальше в дорогу. Зато второй отрезок прошёл как-то очень быстро и даже незаметно. Ну, Фелисити, что дальше? :)

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Officially it was the Euro-Arabian North Pole expedition, which took place back in 2018. But in the book it’s less the official side – more the human side… For it’s not only about conquering the North Pole; it’s also about how the team of women built up comradery and dialogue amid vast expanses of ice and snow, the negotiating of dangerous ice cracks, and also endless daytime where it never gets dark and spending those light nights in cramped tents, and more uniquely ‘polar’ circumstances.

This printed work will be called ‘Polar Exposure’, and just recently Felicity announced the start of its pre-sales. Click here, and you can pre-order a copy!

Now for a bit more detail on the North Pole expedition…

Eleven women took part in the polar expedition, most of whom had no experience whatsoever of anything like it, but under the expert guidance of Felicity they successfully fulfilled their mission: getting to the North Pole on foot and skis only. Some were their countries’ first ever women to set foot on Arctic ice! And despite the extreme temperatures, icy winds and lots of other hardships, the expeditioners completed their tough route in eight days. The expedition, organized by Felicity, and with our full sponsorship-support, showed how much women, no matter where they’re from in the world and regardless of experience, can achieve (given the right guidance) – even to ski across the ice of the Arctic Ocean and to the very top of the planet!

So sure – buy the book, by all means. But also, perhaps – then buy… some skis! Find the right travel agency with experience of Arctic skiing treks, organize yourselves, train, and then follow in the 11 heroes’ footsteps ski tracks – all the way up to the North Pole! Well why not? Life’s too short not to!…

Btw, pre-ordering the book will be possible through November 14. And if there are at least 500 pre-orders, the launch and the distribution of the book will be taken care of by the publisher. And the more pre-orders – the better the distribution terms, the bigger the print-run, and simply the more positivity and drive there’ll be in this world!

Happy reading folks. And then happy polar expeditioning!…

Moscow-to-Mars simulation – to see if you’d last the duration!

The other day I visited a most unusual, unique place – and just down the road too. It’s a space-travel training complex where they do simulations of long missions into space. You may have heard of a small group of volunteers who cut themselves off from the world for a long as it takes to fly to Mars and back? Well, this is the place where that happens…

…In this unassuming building:

…Namely – inside cylindrical chambers like the one in the following pic, whose size is no larger than that of a modern-day space ship. Inside everything’s set up to imitate as closely as possible a space flight: limited space, regeneration of water and oxygen, time delays in communications ‘with Earth’, etc. The only thing that’s not reproduced is weightlessness; oh – and windows through which you can see stars ).

Read on…