This one is about automating all things that rotate, revolve, pull stuff up and down, heat and refrigerate, pump, chemically bond, move on wheels, float and fly, as well as ‘everything digital for men in orange helmets, and loads of other stuff like that. Big time cyber-industrialism!
Barcelona. It’s been a while since my last visit here, and even longer since I was at the Mobile World Congress – that was back in 2012, or four years ago. Those who view that as a sin, forgive me. And yes, I do consider it a sin. Having said that, it’s rather amusing to read through some of my old travel tales!
But enough nostalgia – let me get back to the present day and continue my story —>
The exhibition has changed a lot over the last four years. It used to be a very important event, albeit mobile/smartphone-centric with a local feel to it. Now it has grown into a global mega-exhibition comparable in scale to CES Las Vegas or the massive CeBIT exhibition in Hannover … or how it used to be. Unfortunately, CeBIT has – for some reason, its international participants have gone elsewhere. The good old mega-CeBIT has stopped speaking in all the languages of the world, and is now a distinctly German-language IT exhibition, which is a pity.
OK, enough pessimism. It’s time for me to turn on my caps lock voice.
The Barcelona show is now something else! There are eight huge pavilions, nearly all jam-packed with booths and crowds of visitors milling around the exhibitions. It feels really hot, in the good sense of the word.
We are also on show here:
Every February several hundred of the world’s top IT security experts gather in a sunny beach resort, be it in the Americas, Europe, Asia, or just off the coast of Western Africa. But they don’t go for the sun, per se. Or the beach. Or the beach-bar cocktails. They go… to fight cyber-swine! At least, that’s what they attempt to tell their loved ones when they disappear for a week in Feb to this year’s chosen idyllic paradise.
And this year’s idyllic paradise was the Canary Islands – chosen for, you guessed it, the Security Analyst Summit (SAS), our annual special pow-wow for IT security gurus. SAS brings together InfoSec big guns from different companies, with different specializations, from all over the globe, to basically just chew the fat, sometimes formally – mostly informally – in air-conditioned basement conference halls – and on sun loungers on the beach (oops, the secret’s out for those loved ones:) – in order to help more folks understand the where and how and why of IT threats by exchanging expert know-how and experience.
Ho ho ho!
Once a year, usually around the end of December we suddenly start feeling all festive. And it doesn’t matter if there’s a winter wonderland outside or a miserable ‘Euro-winter’ with heavy rain falling from dark gray skies, and a biting wind whistling around our office and apartment blocks. At least you can hide from the weather in the underground car park! It’s about the only place actually.
The gray northern gloom is the harsh reality of the last few days before New Year. Melancholy and “the aesthetics of decay” (с).
But we’re not the type of people to let the weather get in the way of a good time! Every year we shake off the winter blues, and by sheer force of will, and with a little help from volunteers, professional performers, makeup artists, event organizers, plus lots of rehearsals, we all gather together at a prearranged venue. Yes, this is KL’s annual New Year Party! And the results speak for themselves!
What are the differences between a chilly Australian winter and a hot Scottish whisky summer?
There are plenty, but the main ones are: First, here in bonnie Scotland – at least on the eastern side where we were last week – there are no palm trees to be seen out the window. Second, the sun moves in the opposite direction, and does so very slowly: it gets dark around 10pm and gets light around 4-5am. Sure, it’s at a latitude of 56 degrees north after all!
Anyway, here we were in sunny St Andrews in Scotland, United Kingdom!
In the southern hemisphere – of course including Australia, where I was last week – June 1 is the first day of winter. Down under it’s hardly gonna be all snow drifts, frozen-over lakes and -40 degrees temperatures or anything, but it can still get relatively cold at night. The nightly average minimum temperature at this time of year in northwestern Australia is 15 degrees centigrade, but that’s only the average; in some places there can be night frosts. In Oz!! All the same, by day, hardly wintry in the town of Broome in Kimberley:
I love to play pranks, act daft, or just play like a kid – especially when the following are present: a large friendly group of like-minded revelers and a real special location.
Just recently both those ingredients were indeed present – and in full effect. It was the evening after one of our partner conferences – for the first time in Venice.
Beach-resort holidays (‘vegging out’) are not my thing. At all.
Sand, sun-loungers, parasols, ‘refreshing’ drinks and sunblock – I can survive that torture for two or three hours tops. Then I have to start strolling along the beach, sometimes a few kilometers at a time, oftentimes with camera. It beats lounging about any day. You walk along, get a tan, take a dip once in a while, take pictures along the way… Once, in the Dominicanan Republic, D.Z. and I strolled like that for some four hours. Afterwards we looked like models for a scary sunblock ad.
So yeah: beaches, sand, beach beds and basking in the sun are not for me. But!…
But #1. Some of our trips can be really hectic, involving flying across several time zones. As a result we get to the hotel not just tired, but totally wasted. If there’s nothing I have to do the next day and there’s a nice little beach close by, I can easily spend the day sleeping there. I’m pretty good at it. I lie down in the shade around midday and wake up at sunset, all rested, fresh, and ready to go.
But #2. We often organize our business events in beach hotels (which means that for me a beach has come to represent work rather than play:). Anyway, in our 18 years of active corporate life we’ve been pretty much everywhere. From Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. It works out real nice: we work in the daytime and can have a good time in the evening – resort-style. And often we stay for a couple more days after the business is done :).
I seem to be taking a long time getting to the subject of the waterpark at Atlantis, The Palm hotel resort in Dubai…
I first used the term ‘Internet-INTERPOL’ somewhere around the start of the 2000s. The first time I got round to writing it down was in 2003. This year – 2015 – some 12 years later, finally, what I’ve been talking about, pushing for, advocating, promoting all these years is here:
An INTERPOL division dedicated exclusively to combatting the dark side of the Internet!
Yep, just the other week in sunny Singapore INTERPOL officially opened its new cyber-division – IGCI – whose mission is to clear cyberspace of all things criminal and similarly bogus. It will act as the coordinating center for all international cyber-related activities of police forces of all its member states (nearly 200 countries!). In short: international hackerism and other net-diseases – watch out, CYBERPOL is here for good to make your lives miserable and increasingly risky. Besides investigations it will also be training specialists, promoting the cybercrime fight, and doing a whole lot of other helpful stuff in the name of ww-security for the www.
This opening really is no less than monumentally significant. Up until now cyber-villains have been running amok in part due to a lack of unity among national law enforcement bodies – aka different jurisdictions not talking too much with one another. Like the classic FBI vs. CIA vs. regular cops thing that’s been shown in Hollywood movies since the year dot. But this is real folks! Example:
Late last year one cop was asking us for the contact details of certain other cops from a different country! Asking us! Of course – it should be the other way round: all cops knowing each other and their passing on our contact details when they need some cyber-expertise! Indeed, the two systems’ coexistence (the cybercrims’ one without borders, and state cyber-police’s within the jurisdictions of national borders, or, at best, within the European border) has always been a problem. And it’s only gotten worse over the past 15 years or so – with increasingly brazen cyber-swine doing their stuff practically with impunity. Some of them have been caught and punished, but in the main, those were just the tip of the iceberg.
What makes last week’s event in Singapore even more special for us is that the IGCI was opened with our active participation plus support of various kinds – organizational, consultative, financial, and even personnel. For example, one of our top experts, V.K., is now our assigned ‘man in Singapore’, having been living in the city state and working with INTERPOL for several months already, and set to continue for much longer. He’s helping his INTERPOL colleagues develop and deepen their cyber-knowledge and practical cyber-skills, and even takes part in ongoing investigations. And he’s as happy as a sand boy.