Tag Archives: spain

F1 warm up, Barcelona-style.

Quite unexpectedly, it turns out that the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is taking place at the same time that the F1 teams are test driving at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Well, obviously we have to go there! And, well, here we are!

During these test sessions the venues are usually deserted – no noisy crowds, no stony-faced security, no rushing to and from one part of the track to another and none of the hot dog fast-food smells. Nothing!

What’s new?

Read on: A fly in the ointment…

Mobile Barcelona, or Digital Barcelona?

Location: Earth, Europe, Spain, Catalonia, Barcelona, Mobile World Congress 2017.

Another year, another season, and I’m back into my must-attend event-extraordinaire-schedule. And the Barcelonan MWC is one such must-attend event-extraordinaire. I’ve already written plenty about the basics regarding this annual technology show, and I don’t want to repeat all that this year. But last year I was here for such a short length of time that I had no time to look around properly. This year there were carefully planned pauses between my scheduled appointments, so I was able to get my camera out and go walkabout around this extraordinary exhibition.

But this post isn’t a professional analysis of the Barcelona conference; for that – check out specialized media. Here: merely a synopsis – and pics – of what the CEO of a cybersecurity company found most curiously interesting, if not breathtaking…

1. This event is just so grandiose! Check out my pics from last year, which demonstrate this well. Eight (8!) such exhibition caverns like this:

Read on: Big guns really impress with their big stands…

Days 3-5: Stars + Music = Starmus.

The Starmus-ship Enterprise journeyed further – for a third, fourth and fifth day! Yes, five full days for one single conference – and me present for (almost) every presentation (of the first three days): a first for me.

I’ve grouped the last three days into one post as five posts on one conference would be a little OTT… and anyway, the last three days were slightly less jaw-droppingly intergalactic than the first two. They were still really something however, including several Starmus ‘star’ moments, including this one:

Stephen Hawking.

This clever chap hardly needs an introduction. He started out by telling us a Brief History of Time His Life. Of course, you can read all about that on Wikipedia, but it’s a lot better from the horse’s mouth. Actually, not from the horses’ mouth, and not from his own, but from software that scans his eyes and selects the required words to make sentences. This, plus the synthesized words over the sound system really made an impression. What a guy! An amazing character. Huge respect.

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Read on: Check out these views!…

Starmus – Day 1: A Big Bang for the Brain!

Hola folks!

Still on Tenerife – today at the Starmus Festival. Hardly your usual festival, Starmus combines astrophysics, fundamental physics and music. Never heard of it? Well, I hadn’t until this year, but here I am speaking at it already!

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Briefly, this is a conference where the coolest, most distinguished scientists in the world give formal presentations and also speak plenty informally on the sidelines – about the stars, the cosmos and the microcosm, or whatever else is their particular niche they’ve devoted their lives to.

Talk about big names: Stephen Hawking, probably the world’s leading star of science, a physicist-cosmologist who has scientific theories named after him; Brian May – the guitarist from Queen – and also an astrophysicist; Brian Eno – ambient music pioneer, Roxy Music member, U2 producer and thought leader; the astronaut Alexey Leonov, Hero of the USSR and the first man to walk in space; and many more…

Read on: Big Bang and multiverse bubbles…

Volazycano!

Back on Tenerife. Terrific! And since we’d scheduled in a full day to acclimatize before the business part of the trip, it was high time to get behind the wheel and off around those hairpins and up them volcanoes. Naturally!

Now, normally to get to the top of a volcano your need to trek, climb and clamber up it, sometimes for several days (Kilimanjaro, for example). There are a few exceptions, one being Mount Etna, which can be scaled via first a ski-lift then specially equipped buses. Another is Mount Teide on Tenerife. This one’s for reeeaaal lazy tourists.

Read on: A gentle touch from altitude sickness…

Catalonian Cabriolet.

Phew. Another regional partner conference done and dusted. We have quite a few every year: North American (this year in Cancun); Latin America (recently in Bolivia, but this year I sadly couldn’t make it); and APAC (just the other week in Vietnam). There’s also an ‘Emerging Markets’ conference – the one that we’ve just done and dusted, in Barcelona – which covers Latin America (yep, they’re lucky – they get two conferences a year), Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

As always it was as always: meetings, presentations, discussion, negotiations and so on: the serious bit. Then there was the fun bit: a gala dinner, this time in Barcelona’s Maritime Museum. Super place for a super supper :).


Read on: The road to surrealism …

The Barcelona crowd-pullers.

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:

Read on: I feel nostalgic…

The eyes of the Earth.

How does Planet Earth look out at, er, the world [sic.]; I mean, where are its eyes?

That’s right – its telescopes!

Telescopes come in different types and shapes and sizes and uses: there are radio/gamma telescopes, assorted space telescopes, and also optical telescopes – which measure more than a meter in diameter. Of the latter there are just several dozen or maybe just over a hundred in the world. However, there are a lot fewer suitable locations for them; in fact – just three. There’s Hawaii (been), Atacama Desert in northern Chile (haven’t been yet), and the Canary Islands (was there just the other week). All three spots have plenty of clean, dry air and stable weather conditions and are well away from the glare of civilization, aka – ideal astro-climatic conditions.

While on Tenerife last week, after the SAS-2016 conference we decided to go have a look at these large telescopes. We reckoned we might as well since we were there, and hopefully have a chat with the astronomers/astrophysicists, have a feel of the kit, and take the usual slew of snaps (where it’s allowed; and it turned out that it was allowed practically everywhere:).

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Read on: Great telescopic plans…

It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

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.

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Read on: The world is NOT doomed…

How much per minute? The Spanish parking pricing conundrum.

Still in Spain, after Barca, we headed over to the city of Seville. We needed to park up the motor for a few hours, so drove to the parking lot in the airport. And that’s when we saw it: Absurdity with a capital A. Or so it seemed at first…

On the wall of the parking lot hangs this here price list:

909254_1000Qué?

No folks, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. And no, that hasn’t been Photoshopped. Those figures, though very unreal, are actually for real.

What? How? Why? Anyone have a clue?

Read on: The reality of the matter turned out to be much more prosaic…