On The Road Again
The section on travel Eugene Kaspersky!
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The Mysterious Majesty of the Japanese Language.

The Mysterious Majesty of the Japanese Language.

Another few days in Tokyo, another whirlwind schedule of meetings, interviews, and dinners with old pals. Speeches at conferences too: I’m just back from one where I was talking about cybercrime – and the interpreting was not synchronous (!). Yes: lots of pauses :). I was so exhausted I thought I might faint on the stage at one point. But I stayed conscious, just.

Sadly, there’s been no time for tourism, only shigoto – work. At times I feel like a zoo animal: fed at regular intervals, then having to play to the crowd at allotted times.

Mid-shigota, I came across this here sign on the wall of the business center I was in:

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Now, as a...

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Chanting ‘Issa-ee’ on the Kanda Matsuri.

Chanting ‘Issa-ee’ on the Kanda Matsuri.

In Tokyo on the weekend nearest the middle of May (this year – the 14th –15th) the Kanda Matsuri – aka the Kanda Festival – takes place every year. This is when all the residents of a district of Tokyo (I think just Kanda) gather in the morning all dressed up in traditional coats in the color of their streets, and take these here… let’s call them mobile holy temples (correct me please if my description is way off the mark), and carry them in a procession to Kanda Shrine:

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A quick break, then up and off again…

The streets the procession takes go gradually from narrow suburban to wide urban ones, with more folks seeming to join the...

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Russian Grand Prix in Sunny Sochix.

Russian Grand Prix in Sunny Sochix.

Sorry folks for the tardiness of this post; been up to my neck with work of late. Better late than never though…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it’s great watching F1 in the flesh at the racetrack. But it’s best of all watching it from the garage, if you’re lucky enough to have access thereto. It’s in the garage where the team sits, where the pressure is through the roof, where the adrenaline is pumping the most, and where the emotions run amok. And the garage experience is even more thrilling if your team is in pole position – like we were the other weekend (the first time since 2008!). But enough talk – no time for...

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Another Long Week: Snows & Scorchers, Politics & Hacks, Moscow – Abu Dhabi – Tokyo.

Another Long Week: Snows & Scorchers, Politics & Hacks, Moscow – Abu Dhabi – Tokyo.

Good day boys and girls!

I’ve been a bit quiet of late – but I’ve a good excuse – I had a real tough week: the schedule was tight and intercontinental, plus alarmingly… combative…

It all started in Moscow. Now, normally come the month of May, the last vestiges of the long cold winter – snow and ice – have long disappeared, at least by a month. Not this year. It snowed the other week! The weather was so bad – cold, windy, wet – that even the May 9 Victory Day parade was partially called off (the airborne part). Ye gods! And I was soooo looking forward to it.

Bad weather causing...

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Thames Path – No Faff.

Thames Path – No Faff.

The other week, in London on various work matters, A.S. and I managed to find the time to continue our stroll along the Thames Path. I say continue as I’d covered a good stretch of it before – last year I think, only with A.B., not A.S. Anyway, the Thames Path starts (or ends) at the Thames Barrier (near London City Airport) and finishes (or starts) somewhere up by the river head. Yes – it’s long. A whole ~300km long! And since, though not fully gym-shy we’re not quite Ultraman triathalonists, we take sections of this premium path separately when in town, this time from the very end/start – the barrier – to the Golden Jubilee Bridge, and from there...

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They Asked Me… Everything!

They Asked Me… Everything!

Hi folks!

Yesterday, I hosted an ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) on Reddit. I wanted to take a moment to thank the attendees for all of their questions – especially the challenging ones. So here goes: thank you everyone for the great Q&A session! It sure was wide-ranging – with questions on the security of smartphones to Formula 1 and… my favorite food and drink, plus of course the obligatory queries about how to pronounce my surname and… Star Wars. In fact, you guys asked so many questions that I couldn’t answer them all in the time. But I encourage you to read the full thread here – maybe some of my replies there answer your questions too; if not –...

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I am doing a Reddit AMA.

I am doing a Reddit AMA.

During the course of a business trip, I tend to meet a lot of people. These can be anyone to people in the street to conference attendees to reporters or partners of the company. In meeting this many people, I also get asked a lot of interesting questions.

Most times I am able to give quick answers or offer some insight into the state of cybersecurity, what airports to avoid or best places in the world to spend a holiday. But there are also times where I have to be quick and head to the next meeting or connecting flight.

When you add up the years that I have spent travelling and growing the business over the last 20 years, these missed connections start to add up....

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Frankfurt Leaves an Impression.

Frankfurt Leaves an Impression.

Since I’m writing this post in the wee small hours of a London night, I can wish the bulk of my usual readers:

A good morning and good day!

As well as good evening, good night, sweet dreams! And then once again it’s onwards and upwards to new achievements in your personal and community activities. In other words, as yours truly is wont to say: “get back to work guys!”

Frankfurt is next up on my agenda. It’s a familiar situation – I’ve actually been here many times, but not in the city itself, just at the airport for connecting flights. I’ve never seen this large and very important city as a tourist! This time, too, Frankfurt has managed to...

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An Elevator in the Internet vs. the Internet in an Elevator.

An Elevator in the Internet vs. the Internet in an Elevator.

I have a very high opinion of Schindler, the world’s leading manufacturer of elevators and escalators. (Next time you use these modes of transport, take note of the manufacturer’s logo.) In my view, this company deserves lots of respect and its business practices are worthy of study and emulation. However, when I see the company’s booth at an exhibition, replete with slogans like this, it sends a shiver down my spine, I start feeling uncomfortable about the world around me, and my left eye starts to twitch. Why?

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There were three slogans that I had a particular problem with:

– How can I turn my elevator into a digital...

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At Last – Not All So Quiet on the Antitrust Front.

At Last – Not All So Quiet on the Antitrust Front.

Last fall, in our domestic market we turned to the Federal Antimonopoly Service with a complaint against Microsoft regarding its anti-trust legislation violations.

Despite the long silence on the airwaves, the matter was in fact slowly but surely being addressed. And don’t pay any attention to inaccurate reports about not filing similar claims with the EU Commission: that was off the back of an interview I gave in Germany in which it looks like a fact or two went astray – perhaps lost in translation. We are definitely not planning on ‘temporarily backing off’ filing our competition complaint with the EU Commission.

And anyway,...

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Cyber-Forecast: 2017.

Cyber-Forecast: 2017.

Such is the way Homo Sapiens are: we’re constantly – even recklessly – looking to the future to try and work out what it might hold for us. Many say we should all live in the present – after all, the future never comes – but, well, that doesn’t work for everyone, and most of us do need to make at least some plans for our futures.

But there are different approaches to looking ahead.

There’s belief in fate, pure guessing, flipping a coin, and so on. There’s also not thinking about the future at all. But there’s a far superior, science-based approach too. This is doing the eastern spirituality thing a bit – not quite being in the present but...

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Christmas Sales – a Climatic-Origin Version.

Christmas Sales – a Climatic-Origin Version.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, somewhere in London – quite possibly in the British Museum – I recall beholding a painting called something like ‘The Market on the Thames’. ‘Whoah!’ I thought to myself, naturally. The River Thames completely freezing over to the extent that not only could you walk around on its surface, but also have a large winter marketplace on it too?! Crikey, as they say in London.

BKYlMSkO89K0siOF7--H3xAPPVl4Z9ml.jpg?s=70ff2d6a217c15ccf34eb1b69d40e382I’m not sure this was the painting I saw; it could have been this, or even this one.

Straight away this got me thinking – about man-made global warming in particular…

So, the Thames hasn’t frozen over for more than...

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The 39 Days.

The 39 Days.

I think it’s time to review my recent five-week spot of globetrotting. Not the longest of world tours for me, but still sufficiently intense – and, as ever, thoroughly enjoyable.

It went like this:

Moscow – Gatwick – JerseyNormandy – Paris – Buenos Aires (connection) – UshuaiaAntarctica – Buenos Aires – Porto SeguroSint MaartenAmsterdam – Dubai – Moscow.

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And between the Porto Seguro (Brazil) and Sint Maarten (Holland), we had a brief refueling in Guyana

We weren’t there long, didn’t leave the airport – didn’t even have time for a beer – so I can’t count this flying visit as a +1, unfortunately.

So, the facts and...

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What Does Amsterdam Smell of?

What Does Amsterdam Smell of?

A month ago the first leg of my month+ journey went in a smooth arc southwest from Europe, then down – right down to the bottom of the earth; then it was back up north (er, where else?:) to Saint Martin (the island) – specifically the Dutch 40% thereof (not the French 60%) (confused?!?!) – where the worlds’ craziest beach is and where we had our SAS-2017. Next, it was back home to Moscow. But not directly…

No. First of all, that would have been impossible (no direct flights). Secondly, it would have been boring, as we’d have missed out…: Amsterdam!

So off we flew – from the same runway where we were getting our kicks on Route 66Beacon Hill...

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The World’s Craziest Beach.

The World’s Craziest Beach.

Our experts + other experts + our media crew + international press + Sint Maarten = work hard, play hard. Sun, sand, surf, palm trees… and the cybersecurity avant garde. Yep – it was SAS 2017.

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Hmmm. What’s this fence doing here – practically on the beach? And all those ‘Danger’ signs?

Aha – yes; you’ve guessed it: it’s that landing strip – the one that ends just short of the beach!

But what’s that sound? Drrrrr. Whatever it was, it reminded me of the last bit of Pink Floyd’s On the Run :). Yep, it was the inevitable airplane – albeit a small one – coming in to land:

And here come more loud jets

As you can probably imagine,...

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Who Discovered America?

Who Discovered America?

Hi folks!

After my Antarctic series on this here blog of mine, it looks like another series may be on the horizon – a historical one. Yesterday we had an alternative history of so-called crown dependencies; today – more history; not of a (British) crown dependency but a former (British) crown colony, no less…

So, who… you know, got there first from overseas? I was just curious after reading various scholarly versions and falsifications. So I read up more on the subject, and I discovered the following:

Episode 1: Homo Sapiens.

So who first discovered America? You know, like a zillion years ago? Well there’s no precise answer to that question one as it...

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An Alternative History of Crown Dependencies.

An Alternative History of Crown Dependencies.

My recent short trips to the Channel Islands (in particular, Jersey) had left me with many unanswered questions and much bewilderment. And of course what amazed me most was the official status of these mini-territories, and the fact that some have their own currency and even Internet domains.

Mercifully, my friend and colleague, V.G, (inter alia, our resident history buff) filled in the blanks in my knowledge regarding these so-called crown dependences in a blogpost he recently put on our intranet on the Second World War – in particular, on the Nazi occupation of crown dependencies. I was going to give you my version of what he wrote there,...

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The Terrific Travels and Astonishing Adventures of Midori Kuma.

The Terrific Travels and Astonishing Adventures of Midori Kuma.

Midori Kuma came into this world in Tokyo, Japan. We know little about his childhood, in fact – almost nothing at all…

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In his youth he led a somewhat free-and-easy, unrestrained way of life – indeed the antithesis of the archetypal Hikikomori. According to folks who knew him back then, Midori Kuma was often to be found at various Japanese parties, presentations, exhibitions and conferences. In other words, he led the same kind of life he leads today – that of an active participant doing the rounds on the society circuit.

Thanks to his unusual (and unusually cuddly) appearance, Midori Kuma always gets plenty of...

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A Floating Hotel – Almost.

A Floating Hotel – Almost.

I can’t tell you all about my Antarctic adventure without telling you all about the ship we sailed across the Drake Passage on. So here we go folks, a post on the one and only Akademik Sergey Vavilov. He she is, in all her glory:

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First up, the engine room. Here’s it’s all about electronic automation, but more of an analogue kind (see the analogue dials) than the full-on digitization of today – a sign that this ship was born in 1988. Yep, that’s when the ship first hit the water – in Rauma in Finland (be ready for quite a bit of Finnish language coming up…). Back then this was state of the art; still today it does a grand job…

The navigation...

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The Passage of Drake – Sure Makes Ships Shake.

The Passage of Drake – Sure Makes Ships Shake.

[Titles ON]

On the recent Antarctic adventure I was accompanied by:

  • Our green bear (in Japanese – Midori Kuma, or 緑熊);
  • My travel companions A.S. and D.Z.;
  • A large troop of modern artists taking part in the Antarctic Biennale;
  • Journalists, photographers, bloggers (inc. moi!), etc.;
  • The crew of the Akademik Sergey Vavilov;
  • The OneOcean team (who were absolutely great, btw) (// I’ll be doing a special advert for them later on; for now – modest props:);
  • If there’s anyone I haven’t mentioned – apologies; will make up for any oversight.

[Titles OFF]

So, how does one get to the Antarctic Peninsula?

Well, you could go on a special...

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The Intriguingly Unique World of (Antarctic) Polar Stations.

The Intriguingly Unique World of (Antarctic) Polar Stations.

After artists, penguins and whales, the time has come to talk about… Antarctic polar stations!

This may at first seem rather a dull topic, but I can assure you it isn’t. I mean, just how do folks live their daily lives so far from civilization? Remember – civilization here = ~0! No roads, no comms, no utilities, no shops, no schools, no… people – hardly ).

Just how folks live here depends on the location of a particular polar station.

Both the American Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station (right next to the South Pole) and the Russian Vostok Station at the southern Pole of Cold have a winter running ~ from May to...

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Humpback Whales Having a Whale of a Time.

Humpback Whales Having a Whale of a Time.

Hi folks! Herewith, more tales from the Antarctic side…

In this installment I’ll be telling you about the third most-important inhabitant of Antarctica – whales.

Whales are third-in-line in the Antarctic pecking order after penguins (second-in-line) and Antarctic Krill (top dogs crustaceans). What the Krill? King Krill? Never heard of them, right? Well this lesser known species is Antarctic city hall since it’s first in line in the food chain down here. It’s because of the abundance of this crustacean (I’m talking probably megatons thereof in polar seas) that both whales and penguins are able to get more than their fill of animal...

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A Friend of a Penguin Is a Penguin.

A Friend of a Penguin Is a Penguin.

Since there are no white, brown, or other bears in Antarctica – and for a short time just one green bear – I can’t tell you about such fearsome beasts. But it’s not all bad; for I can tell you about penguins, of which there are zillions here along the Antarctic shores. Check them out:

1.

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2.

3.

We saw only Gentoo penguins. Other types can be found on Antarctica, but we didn’t visit the spots where they hang out. Of course, taking a selfie with the quintesspenguinally emperor penguins would have been cool but, alas, it wasn’t to be…

4.

5.

So what can I tell you about penguins after having met quite a few of them in the flesh? Ok,...

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A Day in the Life of an Antarctic Artist.

A Day in the Life of an Antarctic Artist.

Modern art. It’s a tricky one. It’s divisive. It’s polarizing. It can be ‘just too much’ for many – too avant garde, too unsettling; while for others it’s a natural, permanently fluctuating expression of the creative human spirit – in all its wildest, freshest imaginings. Nikita Khrushchev was firmly in the former ‘eh?’ camp, famously ranting, swearing like a trooper, pointing, shaking fists and assuring that his ‘grandchild could do better than this’ his when he visited a modern art exhibition in Moscow in 1962. But that was Khrushchev.

What I think the USSR General Secretary didn’t quite get was that modern art...

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From Southernmost City to Southernmost Continent.

From Southernmost City to Southernmost Continent.

Hi folks!

It’s been a while, I know. However, I’ve a fairly good excuse: Antarctic comms leave a lot to be desired, and it’s there where I’ve been the last ~two weeks!…

Quick rewind…: If you can remember that far back, my latest spot of continent-hopping had gone like this so far: JerseySaint-Michel – Paris. Well, next up wasn’t in Europe, but in South America: the city of Ushuaia in southern Argentina.

This city fascinated us. Actually, not the city itself – though it is perfectly ok; it was the skies there that blew us away. Some kinda crazy hurricanic-typhonic steel-colored uniqueness. Seriously southern,...

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