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.

Read on…

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! ->

Read on…

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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).

Read on:

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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.

Read on…

Ah – the Azores.

Been a while, I know…

Too busy traversing the planet to put fingers to keyboard. But in the meantime much has happened that needs reporting on and pics shown of – so it’s time for some catch-up…

First up – a few posts about the Azores, where I ended up unexpectedly on business the other week.

The Azores: another amazing place on the planet: green volcanic isles at the place where three of the largest tectonic plates (North American, Eurasian and African) meet amid a vast ocean – they’re bound to be something special. And they are. Especially their… flowers!

Now, any regular reader of these here blog pages will know I often mention and present pics of various plants and trees, but very rarely of flowers. Well that all changes here. This post is mostly all about flowers; in particular – the hydrangea.

Why? Because flowering hydrangea plants are literally everywhere. This was first pointed out to us by the driver of the taxi from the airport – kind of as a warning, so we wouldn’t be too shocked. These white, blue and purple flowers line roads and parking lots. They even act as hedges between fields (to keep cows from straying into neighboring fields), and they blanket-cover parks and botanical gardens – everywhere:


Read on…

Cyber-news from the dark side – cyber-hypocrisy, an eye for a Mirai, GCHQ-watching-you, and keeping BlueKeep at bay.

Hi folks!

Let’s kick off with some good news….

‘Most tested, most awarded’ – still ).

Just recently, the respected independent test lab AV-Comparatives released the results of its annual survey. Taking place at the end of 2018, the survey, er, surveyed 3000 respondents worldwide. Of the 19 questions asked of each, one was ‘Which desktop anti-malware security solution do you primarily use?‘. And guess which brand came top in the answers for Europe, Asia, and South/Central America? Yes: K! In North America we came second (and I’m sure that’s only temporary). In addition, in Europe we were chosen as the most frequently used security solution for smartphones. We’re also at the top of the list of companies whose products users most often ask to test, both in the ‘home’ segment and among antivirus products for business. Great! We like tests, and you can see why! Btw – here’s more detail on the independent tests and reviews that our products undergo.

“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye;
and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the speck out of thy brother’s eye.”
Matthew 7:5

In May, yet another backdoor with features reeeaaal useful for espionage was discovered. In whose tech was the backdoor found? Russia’s? China’s? Actually – Cisco‘s (again)! Was there a hullabaloo about it in the media? Incessant front-page headlines and discussion about threats to national security? Talk of banning Cisco equipment outside the U.S., etc.? Oh, what, you missed it too?! Yet at the same time, Huawei’s international lynching is not only in full swing – it’s in full swing without such backdoors, and without any convincing evidence thereof whatsoever.

source

Read on…

The St. Petersburg International Forum – despite problems, still awesome.

Hi folks!

As mentioned in my previous post, I was up early down in Sochi after the long toasts the night before, and heading to the airport. Next stop – St. Petersburg; specifically – its International Economic Forum, which I was attending for the first time.

For nearly a quarter of a century SPIEF has been impressing with its scale and the caliber of its participants. Official figures state the number of those taking part this year at more than 19,000 – coming from 145 countries of the world. And that includes CEOs of multinationals, and ministers and presidents of countries – all toing and froing and hobnobbing and speaking up on stages, often with their deputies and press services not far away.

So. SPIEF. Herewith, the plusses:

It’s really convenient: in a short time it’s possible give a presentation in among other heavyweight speakers, give a slew of interviews, and meet and chew the fat with whomever you need to or want to – all under one roof and within two or three days. Indeed, this is the whole reason for forums such as these. Also – St. Pete isn’t far for me, plus it’s always a pleasure having a stroll up and down Nevsky. In short – the plusses are very substantial plusses.

Now – the minuses:

The traffic jams! Not that this is the forum’s fault, but still. From our hotel in Pushkin on the outskirts of the city to the ExpoForum Center it’s just a seven-kilometer drive (and you totally miss out downtown!), but every morning we were more than an hour getting there! First, because they reduced the width of the normally three-lane highway to just one lane; second, because the security checks at the entrance to the complex took so long; third, apparently, because there was a complete and utter – catastrophic – absence of any public transportation serving the event. Organizers: I hope you’re reading. In three words: ‘GET A GRIP’! Don’t let such basic logistics matters spoil an otherwise excellent event!

Wait – there are more minuses!…

The signage and guidance around the ExpoForum Center was idiotic. We twice ended up walking around in circles in trying to follow the signs to get from point A to point B – which were a mere 100 meters apart! Next, the line at lunch was so absurdly long I gave up waiting and went hungry. I don’t have time to waste like that! I’m sure the other participants don’t either. So, what, bring sandwiches next time? Looks like it, given such progressive organization of the catering arrangements.

Read on: The St. Petersburg International Forum – despite problems, still awesome.

Sochny Sochi, and lots of toastski.

Oh my grueling! The other week was reeeaaal high-pressure. Geographically, it went like this:

Moscow > Sochi > St. Petersburg > Moscow. Five days, three cities, two events, five hours in planes, and around 10 hours in cars.

So, like, why?…

First, there was our traditional global conference I had to get to. A quick bit of background to begin with:

A long time ago, when we were just a wee company, we started to gradually grow the number of partners we had all around the world. And when visiting one such technology partner, we saw how it put on yearly international partner conferences. ‘Great idea!’, we thought, and soon later – we put on one of our own: in 1999 we organized our first ever global partner conference, which took place in Moscow and which was attended by 15 guests from Europe, the U.S. and Mexico.

The following year, we spread our wings just a little further – with our partner conference taking place up in St. Petersburg. The year after that – Cyprus (attended for the first time by partners from Asia and Australia); after that – Barcelona; after that – Malta; next – Antaliya, Turkey; Portugal; Athens, Greece. It was when it came to Italy’s turn to host our partner conference that we realized that, for sure, we simply could not fit any longer into the regular conference halls in large hotels. And so it came to pass – we were all grown-up all of a sudden. Like with all children eventually – it was time for a bigger room ).

Thing is, we really didn’t want to bump the format up to expo-center level; therefore, from 2008, we decided to split the large global events into smaller, regional ones: North America, Latin America (sometimes together with North), Europe (including some sub-regional conferences), Russia (held in the Russian language), APAC (Asia & Oceania), and Japan (which had its own for a while). And everything was hunky-dory.

Later, having another think about all this, we figured we should have a special international get-together for our favorite, most successful partners. Thus – what goes around comes around – the international partner conference was back, albeit in a different format.

So, two years ago (in 2017), our first global ‘greatest hits’ partner conference took place – much like our first ‘demo tape’ did back in 1999 – closer to at home, in Moscow (I didn’t write anything then about it as June 2017 was fraught with other pressing business). The following year, again, we chose St. Petersburg as the host city, and that time I did manage to write a few words thereon.

Then, this year (the third year), we traveled a little futher from home (like to Cyprus in 2001)… to sochni (‘juicy’ in Russian) Sochi on the Black Sea in Southwestern Russia! Yes, where the Winter Olympics were held in 2014 – that Sochi ).

We’d thought long and hard about where this year’s global partner conference should be. Eventually, remembering that June is the perfect month to visit Sochi – not too hot, the Black Sea is refreshing but bathable (yep, we had a frolic therein), and up in the mountains above the city it’s pleasantly cool – Sochi got the most votes. And why not? Why not show our visitors this wonderful, unique city? So in everyone flew – all 140 of us, including 98 guests from abroad – from 35 countries, and all in order to talk business and its development.

Of course, Sochi isn’t the most convenient of locations to get to for everyone – especially those coming from America, Australia or Africa. Most folks needed more than one connecting flight, with some journeys taking 40 hours! But it was worth it: the infrastructure put in place for the Olympics is all still there, and can easily impress even the most sophisticated of international guest. And for a boost in immunity – especially cyber-immunity – at this time of year there’s no better place in Russia!

The event took place in the Hyatt Regency:

Woah. Hold on – deja-vu!…

Read on…

Why gold’s so expensive – ver. 2019.

Around a year ago, I told you on these here blog pages about an excursion I was given around a gold mine. Down we went deep into the bowels of the earth, where we were shown the whole process of beneficiation through which they extract out of every ton of earth a mere 7-8 grams of gold (which eventually find themselves in a .900 – ~20 karat gold bar).

Now, during that excursion, I recall how we were told by our guides how, though the mine we were in was really quite sufficiently modern, mechanized and automated, it still remained somewhat a ‘diet’ version of a gold mine. If we wanted to see a ‘full fat’ version, we needed to get ourselves… somewhere like this (which, a year later, is just what we did):

Read on…

Earth 2050: Visions of the future, today.

You may have already heard about the big change at the Kompany last week. However, big changes are nothing new to us! Ever since we began 22 years ago, it’s been non-stop change, change, change — and always for the better, naturally. Change has basically become our profession! Here’s why…

If we don’t understand the direction technology’s developing in, that hardly bodes well for the future. And I don’t mean because nobody will buy our products. Maybe there’ll be no one around to buy them in the first place!

Joke :)

I’m sure everything will work out just fine. Technology’s changing the world for the better. Sure, new possibilities bring new risks, but it’s always been that way.

But our job, accordingly, is to look into the future: to recognize risks, remove them, and prevent them from arising again. Otherwise, defenses will always be a step behind attacks, which is no defense at all. In the cybersecurity industry, you need to be able to anticipate what cybervermin have in mind and set traps in advance. Actually, this ability has always set us apart from our competitors. Remember NotPetya — one of the most infamous global epidemics of recent years? We caught it out proactively, without the need for any updates.

So crucial is this looking into the future, that we decided to launch a social media project based on it, called Earth 2050.

What is Earth 2050? It’s a totally open crowdsourcing (sorry for the trendy jargon) platform for looking into the future. By that I mean it’s a place where anyone at all — be they a minister or a street sweeper — can share their vision of the future, in writing or painting or graphics or whatever. Or, if you’re not into clairvoyance yourself, you can Like and comment on the predictions of folks who are. There’s something for everyone.

Looking into the future is important. Yes, we’ve got that. But why is all this openness so clearly important that it forms the basis of Earth 2050?

Well, the future’s difficult to predict. One person’s attempts have a good chance of turning out to be off the mark — and that’s understandable and natural. But predictions about the future by many people — even if they’re only partly accurate, and even if they’re a bit sketchy or contradictory — add up to a lot more accuracy. It’s a bit like the principle of machine learning. The more a machine learns, the better it’s able to do something — in this case, predict the future.

So far, nearly seven dozen visionaries have uploaded nearly 400 predictions to Earth 2050 — and some reeeaaal interestingly curious ones are in there, I have to say.

Read on…