Archive for the ‘Business Management’ Category

How to Remove Firefox TABS all time Moving Backward / Forward (Waiting) Wheel cursor – Browser and OS Wheel Ring cursor might affect hypnotically

Monday, September 7th, 2015

remove-firefox-tabs-all-time-annoying-moving-back-forward-waiting-wheel-cursor-browser-and-ring-cursor-might-affect-you-hypnotically

I've been annoying for quite a long time by the the Clockwise moving backward and Forward Wheel (Ring) on Top of browser Tabs everytime I navigate to a new Internet domain or request a resource on the Net.

I'm aware that seeing the wheel all the time move back and forward is a very bad manipulation technique that is often used in advertisements in old movies and some advertisements in the start of the video . I'm talking about the infamous backward counting technique in a Circle (it was moer commonly used in the dawn of Television) aiming to induce watchers mind into hypnotic state …

back-counting-10-9-8-7-manipulation-technique-to-make-your-mind-susceptible

Those who have a degree in psychology or have been into marketing or human resources fields or any field involved where you have to influence the masses are already aware of the backward counting methology which has been practiced heavily by hypnosis practisioners such as Sigmund Freud, to induce any kind of hypnotic state the hypnotist always asks the object of hypnotism to watch closely into a moving back and forwards clock, often accompanied by counting backwards …

Well my Theory here is that the same techniques is well aware of those who planned Windows OS in which if you remember the Sand Clock has been substituted in Windows 7 / 8 and Windows 10 with the rotating back and foward Wheel for the reason that this aims to influence people mind to go into Alpha state from Beta state and thus make them feel more relaxed while doing stuff on the PC.

One thing to mention here is Back and Forward wheel is not only into OS level it has been heavily adopted by leading Software as a Service (SAS) UIs such as Google's and probably more importantly Youtube (have you noticed the Cycling Wheel when waiting for a Youtube movie to Load), the Wheel is also heavily incoruprated in most if not all biggest Websites on the Net. Even If you have noticed these days Google's Cycling (Waiting) Wheel is not only Cycling but has the colorful programming incorporated.

google-wheel-color-programming-example

Well probably many people who use computers daily did not really realize that the Computer OS and Programs GUI Interface they're using is influencing their mind and some famous psychological methods such as color programming and hypnotic tricks could be used more or less.

In that regard as a Firefox user I decided to change tne Back and Forward Wheel with another one which will not trigger my subconsciousness / mind all the time while browing on the Net into Alpha State. As I'm not a Firefox expert and my quick research on search Engines on how to achieve changing or removing the Browser Tabs all time turning wheel did not led me to nothing positive, I've consulted the experts in irc.freenode.net #firefox.

As always the guys were helpful and pointed me out to UserStyles.org website's Static-Throbbler CSS. I've mirrored the CSS script under a name remove-firefox-tab-wheel-script.css in case if UserSpace.org disappears in future, below is also a paste of the script:

@namespace url(http://www.mozilla.org/keymaster/gatekeeper/there.is.only.xul); @-moz-document url(chrome://browser/content/browser.xul) { .tab-throbber { list-style-image: url('data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAABAAAAAQCAMAAAAoLQ9TAAAABGdBTUEAALGPC/xhBQAAACBjSFJNAAB6JgAAgIQAAPoAAACA6AAAdTAAAOpgAAA6mAAAF3CculE8AAAB5lBMVEUAAADMzMzr6+v////t7e1paWmYmJiampqPj4+IiIiQkJCgoKCPj49qamqQkJB2dnacnJyAgIBfX19aWlpZWVlgYGB/f399fX2Hh4eFhYWZmZlycnJaWlpjY2Nubm56enp6enptbW1XV1dxcXGbm5uAgIBiYmKenp5ra2taWlpxcXGLi4uXl5eKioqPj4+NjY1wcHBZWVlra2uYmJhiYmKBgYFbW1t1dXWSkpKEhIR6enpsbGyBgYFubm6CgoKZmZlzc3NYWFiPj4+YmJhmZmaLi4uGhoagoKC4uLi0tLSnp6eIiIhmZmafn5+RkZFcXFx1dXWZmZl8fHzt7e3////r6+uUlJRycnJbW1uQkJCHh4d4eHiKioqxsbFubm6NjY15eXlYWFiHh4dXV1d4eHiGhoZycnKvr6+JiYl4eHiGhoaOjo6MjIxxcXHq6uqjo6N5eXmVlZVzc3OcnJxfX1+JiYl7e3tra2upqamIiIiNjY1kZGReXl6YmJiOjo59fX1YWFiSkpKAgIB2dnaYmJh0dHRoaGhqamqSkpKSkpKLi4uWlpaPj49wcHBpaWlhYWGCgoKamppwcHBjY2Nubm57e3tiYmKYmJiZmZl9fX1ZWVl+fn6bm5t1dXWOjo6GhoaNjY3///+wXn5TAAAAoXRSTlMAAAAAAAYLIzM6MiENBgEII0ZzeXtzRgcBByZhe29iWFlhe2ElBwYiY3pgRzMwNkZfemIkBUZ7XzktHyAdICs3X3sMI29KLgkJCApFbSAxe2E2IAQBAzVgeTE7WjUIHTFZejp8WzIiBy5YOzM1IwMKIDVgInRKMSALKUducyINSHw6LRo2XwZjMi0vNUhgYwYHJWFuYVhuJiNGeUUjCDI6MyoACaoAAAABYktHRAMRDEzyAAABFklEQVQY02NgYGBkZWPn4OTk4ubhZWIAAj5+AUEhYRERYVExdnEJZgZGSSlpGVk5eQVFWSVlFVUmBjV1DU0tbR1dXT19A0MjYxMGNlMzcwtLK2sbWzt7B0cxJwZnURdXNxt3D08vaztvH1FfBj//gMAg92DmkFAv27DwiEiGKLPoGJtYZgaGkNi4+ITEJIao5JTUNA+gAHO6dUamYRZDtpl0Tq5XXghzaH5BYZGmH0NxiUtpWXlFuqdXXGVVdU0tQ119g3Rjk5V1c0FlS6uIIBtDm3G7iFZVR2dXd0+vYZ96PwPLhImTlCZPUZg6ZZrIpOmSjAzMEuIzZorOcnScVTN7zlw+kHeZeJ18582fv6CWjZWRgQEA0vJCZaR0FWsAAAAldEVYdGRhdGU6Y3JlYXRlADIwMTMtMDYtMjhUMDc6NDE6NDItMDY6MDC7fUviAAAAJXRFWHRkYXRlOm1vZGlmeQAyMDEzLTA2LTI4VDA3OjQxOjUxLTA2OjAwN2LpXQAAABN0RVh0U29mdHdhcmUASmFwbmcgcjExOSfos2EAAAAASUVORK5CYII=') !important; animation-name: none !important; } .tab-throbber[progress] { list-style-image: url('data:image/png;base64,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') !important; } }

To use the script you will first need to install the Stylish FF plugin, then:

Stylish-FireFox-plugin-screenshot-Windows-7-OS
 

1. Enable Stylish plugin and Restart firefox when prompted
2. Click on Write New Style
3. Paste above CSS script and click on Save button

 

stylish-static-throbbler-css-script-change-back-forward-rotating-tab-wheel-on-Firefox-howto

Now instead of the moving wheel you will get just a circle appearing as a static image while the page is loading.

If you want to absolutely remove any circles or images and show nothing when loading, e.g. not have any mean to monitor whether page is loaded or not, but also make it easier for the eye I even finally decided to completely remove the all time moving Wheel from Firefox Tabs even the static picture out using below CSS script with Stylish:
 

@namespace url(http://www.mozilla.org/keymaster/gatekeeper/there.is.only.xul); @-moz-document url(chrome://browser/content/browser.xul) { .tab-throbber { list-style-image: none !important; animation-name: none !important; } .tab-throbber[progress] { list-style-image: none !important; } }

After all even after removing the FF Tabs wheel, there is the Status being printed down the webpage, showing text based the connection status. I find this kind of page loading status much less agressive and preferrable, than the current verions Firefox 4 onwards ..

One other thing I do to prevent the annoying Windows OS default Theme wheel is to change it to the old fashioned sand clock as well as bring back the theme of Windows 7 / 8 to Classic Theme of Win 2000, as I believe this reduced the level of zoombification the PC imposes on self 🙂

Enjoy!

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How to be More Productive Infogram – 35 Essential Habits Most Productive People on Earth put in Practice

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

As a person involved in IT, i've been always irritated by how much inproductive is our society. Almost nothing in a modern world (no matter the Government Regime be it democratic or communistic is pushing you to become productive) on the contrary the modern culture preached habits are putting you into habits which are both unhealthy and make you live a very boring and unsuccessfuly life. There are plenty of books already written on the subject on how to be productice, however people are so busy to produce more and more and be materially successful, that most of the people we do is unwise and lacks any efficiency.
Below Infogram definitely gives a clue what is wrong with most people's regime which tend to produce less and less day by day, even though they put more and more effort in what they do. 

how-to-be-productive-get-done-35-habits-most-productive-people-infographic

Though I always thought I'm among the productice population, after revealing the inforgram I understand a lot of my mistakes which causing me to have often unhealthy and unefficient life …

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Useful abbreviations for people working in Corporations like HP, IBM and Dell – Things New Comer should know on company onboarding time

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

useful-abbreviations-for-new-comers-things-to-know-on-onboarding-period-in-huge-corporations-as-HP-IBM-Apple
If you have worked in a small or middle sized company and you're offered work into some of the top 100 world corporations, prepare yourself for some shocking 3 to 6 months depending on the company. This period in which you will be introduced to the company's field of business and way of work is called in corporate terms OnBoarding period.  Even if everything looks to complicated and obscure, don't be quick to loose yourself or desperate as this is just a new beginning and as any new beginning it is hard. However once you're acquainted with basics it will be much easier for you.

After all most of the new things you will learn in Corporate Environment are just the good old ones you know already packaged under a different wrapper. You will be introduced to many portals, client names, have to watch a lot of  "brain-dead" trainings, which told you basics on Corporation and its client essentials, be offered ways to advance, have to request Accounts and Credentials to servers via some obscure procedures, which change all the time, so it is likely the procedures you have to follow to get the necessery network / server accesses will be a procedure different from the one your colleagues followed few years ago, thus probably you will have to do account requests for a first time.  In this on-boarding time you will deal with a lot of trainings teaching you to be ethical, respect your co-workers, learn basics of inter-cultural awareness and learn to get responsibility for your actions and some specific training regarding the job position (job description) you have.

onboarding-color-diagram-yellow-red-green-blue-onboarding-corporation-best-pracices-and-advises

You have to be patient and non-judgemental and ready to accept situation as it is and not be angry that so many people doesn't have idea on what is happening. Also it is a good start-up corporate advice to respect people's knowledge, don't thing that you're too knowledgable, as you will be amazed that there are a lot of people in huge companies which have better understanding and knowledge on tech than you. Also realize, the confusion that is taking place in Huge companies "The Right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing", as our CCL Kalin used to say. The corporate world is a world where way of work is very different from tiny companies, you will have a chain of managers on top of you. The huge companies world is a world of big fish players ..

onboarding_to-big-company-howto-cycle_diagram

It is normal that in the first weeks / months you feel overwhelmed because of too much information and all looks too difficult, however just don't worry and go on. Now all is hard but in a few months everything comes to place and you realize in reality all is easy and it just seems hard in the beginning.

It is a good thing that you use the "Induction" / Onboarding period of first few months to find to make as many contacts as possible as this will be of a great help in your later job time. Get in contact with people from Database / Database and Storage / Load Balancers / Networking / Firewall Teams / Managers / Delivery Leads – the rule here is the more, the better.  If you want to grow in the company's scale making social contacts is even more important than being a hard-worker. If you have friends in management of company and you do your work well and try to be proactive, sooner or later your managers will notice this and will recommend you for some kind of manager position.

employee_onboarding_process-in-large-companies-visualized-pic

Here's few abbreviation meanings, you will have to learn if you will have to work some kind of system administration or support work for a Hewlett Packard.

Microsoft Products – For people coming from Linux / UNIX background, the induction (onboarding) period into a large corporation is even more complicated because if you have been accustomed to using Open Source OS and tools in large corporations you will probably have to do a lot of things with proprietary tools which are hard to run on Linux / *nix, therefore it is good practice if you intend to work for Biggest Organizations in the world to get used to either running a MS Windows 7 / 8 into a Virtualbox or VMWare or get used to using Windows as a Desktop environment. Once you enter the huge organization it is likely you're handed in with your working notebook, shipped with a Customized Windows install to work well with the corporation where you're onboarding. However companies like HP did a great job, because they offer Ubuntu / Debian / Scientific Linux distributions tailored with most tools you will need for normal daily work, so it is not necessery to use Windows (though I find it personally much easier) to use Windows as  desktop nowadays.
I really don't like running 20% of applications in Virtual Machines and doing occasional work-arounds to make things work. After all life is complex enough …

 

Microsoft Lync Communicator – This is the defacto standard program still used in corporation for internal VoIP / Video communication , One of coolest Lync feature is Sharing Screen. At any time you can share your screen (thing like you have installed teamviewer), give-control to remote party, you can share screen between multiple people and it is pretty much like a shared desktop conference, really useful! However sometimes when Internet is slow or network is failing occasionally MS Lync gives worse results than TeamViewer, so having TeamViewer just in case is useful too. Lync works making the VoIP connection by using some Exchange Mail server integration.

MS (Outlook) Calendar – Calendar is one of the top things you have to know to organize meetings with clients and colleagues to discuss various project aspects, server problems or just ask a question your Solution Designer regarding some server Environment designed by him .

MS Outlook – All mail communication is primary using Outlook Express, you can add Tasks, Contacts and set Calendar meetings with it. If you're like me and coming from UNIX world and get used too much to Mozilla Thunderbird, you will be in big shock until you get used to work with Outlook, not that it is difficult but it is quite different from Thunderbird. For efficient work with Outlook Mail you will have to learn creating Outlook Filters and Outlook Mail backups as often mailbox is just 1 or2G  and mailbox fills in for a year time.

Monitoring Software IBM Netcool or something a like – Servers and services will be monitored with some kind of tool whose basics you will have to learn, if you have worked with Monit / Nagios or Munin you will quickly grasp the basic concept

MS Office / MS Project – You need Word and Excel quite often and for sysadmins this is very irritating. All office and client documents will be exchanged in Word and Excel format, if you're a Project Manager you will need heavily use of Microsoft Project too which needs to be installed additionally as it does not ship by default with most MS Office / Windows installs.

MS OneNote – is a software like notepad supporting tabs and allowing to make notes which are stored to a SharePoint

SharePoint (SP) – in large companies they like placing things into Sharepoints so a lot of the documentation is found on some random sharepoints (this is like a Directory Listing Apache server) – very annoying as it is really chaotic – I don't like it.

CMO – Chief Marketing Officer

CMO – Current Mode of Operations

FMO – Future Mode of Operations

SMO – Separation Management Office / Separation Management Officer

WFH – Work From Home, mail header message aiming to report someone is going to work from his home during the day

CFO – Chief Financial Officer

CEO – Chief Execute Officer

PM – Project Manager

FCR – Firewall Change Request (Any new or old firewall rule nr. which has to be created / modified / deleted)

RTPA – Ready to Production

ORT – Operational Readiness Test (some basic tests to be made and documented), before a server is handed in to RTPA

HPSM – HP Service Manager (a ticket / change web desktop frontend)

Change – a ticket like ID and system which has to be used necessery to describe any server config / file / service modification

Ticket – A support ticket oped in case of some emergency with some server service happens

CI = Configuration Item
Instance – Any service that is running more than once on a server lets (say 2 MySQL and 2 Apache servers) running on same server on different port numbers will be 4 instances

LB = Load Balancer (Load Balancers include capabilities of Intelligent Switches are in essence routers which can balance load ovr number of hosts running different services in order to ensure traffic received to a service is balanced between members of a cluster most often they're Active and Standby. Different methods to load balance traffic exist round-robin etc., traffic to Apache / MySQL / PostgreSQL and virtually any service could be load balanced.

SD – Solution Design / Solution Designer (The person preparing the graphics and documentation for how a combination of servers environment will be operating)

MTR – Maximum Time to Repair (Maximum time to repair client service or env, lets say 2 hours / 5 / 10 hrs)

SLA = Service Level Agreement (Agreement document between Company Corporation and End customer about services / servers or any work to  be provided under what conditions and cost and time interval. In short SLA is a contract document between Corporation and customer.

Service Window – Mon – Fri 08:00 – 17:00 (The time in which server is on active support and will has to be repaired by a support team promptly if emergency occurs)

TOP Process – Turn to Production (The processes which PM follows, before project turns to production TTP).

Top Approver – The list of people involved in project which has to approve the Top process until set as completed.

DL / CCL – Delivery Lead / Collaboration Capability Lead / Client

Capability Lead – This is a job position one step behind a Team Manager. DL's goals are to help teams manage internal issues and deal with clients requests, next to doing some minor technical job. In short this position is like a Junior Manager (or a position which is held before), people emerge to Team Managers.

TDL – Technical Delivery Lead

Prod or just P env – Production environment (if many servers) or P server if it is single one

QA env – Quality Assurance (something like a testing environment or server)

UAT (User Acceptance Testing) / Test server, env – UAT is the last phase of software testing process.
During UAT, actual software users test the software to make sure it can handle required tasks in real-world scenarios, according to specifications.  UAT is also known as beta testing
Test server usually same configuration as Prod whose purpose is to test new releases before deployed to Prod environment

DNS Internal / External record – (Whether DNS is seen only in a client local network (from Internal DNS only) – its called Internal record, External record is when a hostname is resolved from all the Internet)

EMEA – Common Abbreviation for: Europe, Middle East Asia sometimes to mean Europe Middle East, Africa

DC – Data Center (location) in some address room / rack numbers etc.

SN – Serial Number (Serial number of server or hardware  component

DB – Server Database (DataGuard is Oracle Db special solution for synchronization of databases for higher Db protection)

Security Class – The levels of security of access to a server (Different countries and Unions legislation world-wide require different rules and regulations on server security).
Examples of Server security classes are: White, Grey, Black (servers). For example according to EU legislation Black servers
can only be administrated / managed by people originating from
same country as where server is physically located.

Digital Key / (Digital Certificate) / Active Identity – This is a Flash drive USB (storage) with installed digital certificate which is used to authenticate you to internel corporate network
 

PC COE – PC COE –  is a set of services and tools that has helped HP reduce its desktop computing costs by $200 million per year. HP also establishes a new organization within the HP OpenView division to market TCO solutions. From PC-COE you can install almost all proprietary software for free and use them for your daily work. The software comes with free Licensing for internal HP Use.

Junos Pulse / Remote Access to HP Network – Dynamic SSL VPN Connectivity at most companies  to access a corporate network you connect via some encrypted VPN client, some companies probably use OpenVPN.

Citrix Receiver – Citrix Receiver is the easy-to-install client software that provides access to your XenDesktop and XenApp installations. With this free download you can access applications, desktops and data easily and securely from any device, including smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs


Above terminology is specific to HP however, most of the terminology and procedures during onboarding time (period) should be very similar or even the same for other of the Top 100 Largest Companies by Revenue such as:

IBM, Dell, E.ON, Apple, Samsung, Toyota, Daimler, Gazprom, RosNeft, Volkswagen Group, Honda, AT&T, General Motors, Allianz, LukOil, Carrefour, Siemens, BASF, Philips, Ford Motor Company, Koch Industries, Tesco, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Chevron, Vitol,  SK Group, Verizon, General Electric, Wal-Mart Stores, Nestle etc.

Probably there are things I'm missing so, if there is something else you have learned understand during onboarding, please share it in comments!

That's it, Happy Onboarding !!! 🙂

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How to split / rar in parts large data archive files on Linux and Windows – Transfer big files across servers located in DMZ rescticted areas

Friday, November 28th, 2014

how-to-split-rar-in-parts-large-data-archive-files-on-Linux-and-Windows-Transfer-big-files-across-servers-in-firewalled-restricted-areas

I was working on a Application Migration Project whose goal was to Install a business application called Asset Guardian and then move current company Data from the old server to the new AppServer.
F
or that purpose the company vendor Asset Guardian shipped to a Public access FTP, a huge (12GB) ZIP archive file which had to be transferred into a well secured DMZ-ed corporation network with various implemented Traffic Shaping Network policies, a resctrictive firewall allowing access to Internal Network only and to Few (Restrictive configured) Proxy Server IPs on port 80 and 8080.

One of the proxy servers allowed access to the Internet and I set this one and tried downloading the Huge Archive file  with the Windows 2012 server default browser Internet Explorer 10, though the download started it kept slow between ~ 300 – 500KB sec and when reached 3.4GB download failed. I tried resuming the download but as the remote Public FTP server where files resides doesn't support FTP RESUME function.
I thought it might be that Internet Explorer is badly managing the download so, I go forward and installed Portable Firefox (mirrored version 33.1.1 is here). Re-running download with firefox also failed, so the next logical step was for me to try downloading with Windows version of Wget (Wget) and with Portable Free Download Manager 3.9.14.1481 (mirrored here) using both of them was unable to complete download (probably due to firewall or Proxy screwing the proxy inspected traffic) thus I had to look for another way to copy the enormous archive into the company network.

To get around the issue I tried to download the file from FTP to another Server running Apache and tried re-downloading the big file archive (Asset-Guardian-data.zip) from Apache Webserver via HTTP protocol, this download method didn't work neither using plain HTTP protocol for download when downloaded file reached (3.4GB), thus I realized this is due to restrictive Proxy servers (dropping file downloads) bigger than  3.4GBs).

Then to be able to transfer the huge 12GB file, it seems the only left option was to to chop the big file on smaller file chunks and transfer them one by one.
In my case I had the Asset-Guardian-Files.zip transferred already to the Apache (Webserver) host which is running Linux so basicly the task was to Transfer Big archive file between the SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 11 and Windows 2012 Server.

Quickesy way to do that is by using UNIX split command, i.e.:

split -b 1024m Asset-Guardian-Files.zip


The outputted files each 1GB are with naming (xaa, xab, xac, xad, xae, xaf, gaf etc.) in same folder where split command is run:

To later merge the files on the Windows 2012 server (copy) command is used:

copy /b file1 + file2 + file3 + file4 filetogether


In my case the command to issue on Win 2012 server was:

copy /b xaa + xab + xac + xae + xae + xaf + xaf + xag xah xai xaj xak Asset-Guardian-files.zip


This method to chop and transfer the file is most simple one and it doesn't require the two servers to have WinRAR or Console RAR / unrar installed.

If instead of Copy Huge File from Linux -> Windows host you need to copy too big file (lets say 100GB) between 2 Windows servers (Windows server host A and Windows server Host B – both situated in different firewall corporate networks) you will need to download to Win Host A and use Windows UNIX split equivalent tool called sfk (The Swiss File Knife) , sfk has port also for Mac OS so in case of need for need for migrating huge archive file from Mac OS X host it will serve as Linux's split – I've made SFK (current version) mirror here.

Another way to cut the 12GB file in parts and transfer to destination host via HTTP was to use rar (on the Linux host), then download the file on Win 2012 server and use Winrar Portable Free to extract the multiple files:

To make archive separate in parts set out to certain size out of a huge file with rar on Linux use:

cd /var/www
rar -a -v1000000k Asset_Guardian_Files.splitted.rar /var/www/Asset_Guardian_Files.zip

10000000Kbs = 10000000/1024 = 976MBs, hence rar produced parts will be sized to 976MB rar parts.

To find out archives check for *splitted*.rar in your /var/www

ls -al /var/www/*splitted*.rar
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 1048576 ное 28 18:34 Asset-Guardian-Files.splitted.part1.rar
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 1048576 ное 28 18:34 Asset-Guardian-Files.splitted.part2.rar
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 1048576 ное 28 18:34 Asset-Guardian-Files.splitted.part3.rar
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 1048576 ное 28 18:34 Asset-Guaridna-Filse.splitted.part4.rar

 

Then to download the files M$ Win 2012 server IE (http://my-linux-host.com/Asset-Guardian-Files.splitted.part1.rar, http://my-linux-host.com/Asset-Guardian-Files.splitted.part2.rar. etc.)

Thanks God, Problem Solved 🙂

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Bulgaria Top outsource destination – 5th in the World and 2nd in Europe in list of best countries to outsource business to

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

 

why outsource in bulgaria bulgaria 5th in world and second in europe in outsourcing1

I was stunned today to find out my countryland Bulgaria is 2nd in Europe and 5th in the world in terms of most attractive outsourcing destination according to BTA (Bulgarian News Agency).
Bulgaria is ordering 5th after, India, Indonesia, Estonia and Singapore. The ranking of most attractive destination is based on factors;

  • General Competitiveness of Labor cost Worldwide
  • Eligibility of Workhand
  • Multilingual English speaking population (mainly young people)
  • Expertised highly educated people
  • Very Low Taxes (if compared to "developed" European countries)
  • Decreased transportation costs (produc transportation to Europe is generally cheap)
  • Internet bandwidth speed and high bandwidth connectiveness to worldwide Trade Markets

All this opens a big opportunity for economy development and inflush of fresh-money from outsourced jobs. Due to higher and European standard level of education in Bulgaria, the workhand pool in Bulgaria is usually more knowledgeable and better in quality if compared to rest of 3rd world countries India, Indonesia, Sinagopore etc. Bulgaria has generally good infrastructure and offers easy transportation of people and resources, something not so well developed yet in lets say India or Indonesia. Therefore opportunities for further development in Bulgaria as a leading outsource center in Europe are immerse in the coming 10 years. So far big companies who already realized the great Bulgaria potential like Comverse, HP, IBM etc. started actively hire people in Bulgaria and outsource their businesses but this mainly happens in Sofia.

bulgaria top business destionation for outsourcing 5th in world and 2nd in europe for outsourcing

The trend in long run however is that European leading companies start outsource in smaller cities and towns as well. Right now most prepared personal ready for outsourcing in Bulgaria is in field of Information Technologies, Electronics, Marketing, Transportation Equipment, Business Management, Chemical Industry, Food & Bevarage and Logistics. General outsourcing trend is more and more people working in not high qualitified labor to enter the market of out-sourcing. There are plenty of companies already in Bulgaria involved in textile (clothes) industry offering their cheap and high quality workhand to large external multinational companies like Zara, H & M , Versace etc.

Currently Bulgaria is considered the poorest countries in the European Union with the shocking minimal wage of 310 leva about (155 EUR) and avarage monthly sallary of 812 leva (406 EUR) monthly. The cheapness of Bulgaria is still unidentified gold field ignored by many Western Multinational companies. Outsourcing in Bulgaria has great advantages for European Countries based companies in terms of product logistics as product transportation cost and taxation within the European Union are very cheap if compared to rest of top non-EU outsourcing countries. Due to оbviously advantegous conditions in Bulgaria there are plenty of companies in Bulgaria already specialised in auditing outsourcing business risks and planning steps a company could partake to outsource its business in BG. Current Bulgarian government is making further attempts to relieve country's conditions to attract new business investors by 'Simplifying country's business registration and operations administration requirements and fostering better business environment' as said recently by second minister of economics Krasin Dimitrov in recent business forum "Opportunities and Challanges in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Shared Service Centers (SSC) in Bulgaria"

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Cross Cultural Communication: What is Low Contextual Culture and High Contextual Culture ?

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

As part of my assigned training in Hewlett Packard today in the field of Cross Cultural Communication, I've learned that according to modern research on different cultures. Nations and people belonging to them can be grouped generally in 2 major groups people / nations with Low Contextual Culture and people with High Contextual Culture. Its quite interesting to know this concept as it can explain plenty of clashes between civilizations and why some people from certain nation gets obsessed with Chineese, Japanese and generally Asian Cultures, where some gets obsessed with Western / American Culture – Civilization. This concepts catched my attention and I decided to blog on that because I myself hold deep interest in Anthropology and this concepts can give some scientific explanation on why certain people belonging to a nation behave the way they do? Dual Conceptual Culture concept idea was introduced by antrophologist Edward T. Hall in a book Beyond Culture dating from year 1976. What this theory stands for is that nation cultures can be divided by two general groups. One that are more definitive and express themselves right to the point being descriptive and direct where verbal communication mostly matters – (Low Conceptual Cultures) and 2. Cultures which are more easy going not so strict with a lot of non-verbal communication (so called kind cultuers) – where things like pride, dignity and respect are much higher than in Low Conceptual Cultuers.
Where this two cultures has to communicate / negotiate often as a consequence for a difference big culture problems occurs thus it is useful that one is aware of existence of both types of culture and having to communicate with International people (especially in Field of International Business deals), one keeps always in mind to try to communicate in Low or High contextual cultures waves based on people with whom communicating.

Its interesting word emphasis and "deepness" meaning differs between two, in High Contextual Cultures more can be said by less words, where in Low Contextual Cultures words said meaning is not so strong and communication is much more casual just like for instance in (American Movies). Of course cultures exist which are mixture of Lower and High Contextuality and with modern life globalization the merit between two starts to disappear and well known High Contextual Cultures like Asians start to become more Low Contextual, where Low Conceptual ones like Americans start to become more High Conceptual as result of encountering High Conceptual ones. However in general because the fact that Western World Cultures still are richer and more business developed, the influence fo Low Contextual ones to Higher Contextual ones is higher than the other way around. Of course both concepts strongly can vary on various individuals part of certain nations, where some Asians might be more Higher Contextual influenced as a result with encountering and interested more in Western Civilization and on other hand Western People can be more influenced by Asian Cultures for their internal set to be more Asian by nature (I myself am a good example for that).

It is typical that Higher Conceptual Cultures by nature are more relational, collectivist, intuitive, and contemplative, where Low Conceptual ones are more individualistic and logic driven.

nations-of-low-and-high-contextual-cultures basic anthropology

An examples of Nations which are more Lower Conceptual are;
British, Canadian, Australian, Finnish, Dutch, German, Hebrews, New Zealand, Scandinavians, Swiss, Americans (not including Southern United States) etc.

Main Nations who might be categorized as High Conceptual Categories are;

Japanese, Southern Americans, Spanish, African, Arab, Brazilian, Chineese, French, Greek, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Indian, Indonesian, Irish, South Slavic nations, Thai, Turkish, Viatnamese, Persian, Nepali, Koreans

low high contextual cultures curve by country flags

Its interesting fact that High Contextual Culture is more to be seen in cultures with less ratial diversity. Cultures more rich in tradition and history are also usually more Higher Contextual Cultures.

low high contextual culture nations and profession fields of expertise

Lower and Higher Culture is highly used in modern marketing and thus are must have skills for anyone who wants to enter International Business field. According to modern business theories there is connection between Low / High Contextual Cultures and fields of expertise. In my view according to Contextual 2 types Spirituality in general is filling up more into cultures with High Contextual Cultures than in Low. Knowing and identifying type of Contextual Culture of person is very helpful for example when you have to give presentation in audiences in countries around the world. Identifying the audience can help you to present in a way so audience is not offended by presentation. There is plenty of real life examples where knowing of Low and High Contextual Culture existence gives you big advantage if you work for some big company like IBM, Hewlett Packard or Comverse in multi-national environment knowing your colleagues culture is vital to build good colleague relations and work succesfully in teams.

 

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Quitting my job as IT Manager and moving to Further Horizons in Hewlett Packard

Friday, September 13th, 2013

International University College Logo IUC

I haven't blogged for a while for a plenty of reasons, I'm going through a change period in my life and as any change it is not easy.
This post will be not informative and will not teach any of my dear readers, anything on Computers its pretty personal but still for my friends it might cause interest.
Here is my personal life story over the last few months …

For a while I worked in a International University College situated in my hometown Dobrich. I was hired on position of IT Manager, and actually was doing a bit of E-Marketing to try to boost traffic to College's website – www.vumk.eu and mostly helping the old school hacker ad college system administrator over the last 10 yrs – Ertan to fix a bunch of Linux Mail / SQL and Webservers and some Windows machines. In college I learned from Ertan how to install and backups of restaurants software called BARBEQUE as well as how to fix problems with billing terminals situated in College Restaurant (3rd floor of building). Other of my work time I had to  fix infested Windows computers with viruses re-install Windowses and fix various printing and network problems of College's teachers, accountants, cash desk, marketing and rest of college  employees.

Talking about Ertan I should express my sincere tremendous Thanks (Thanks Ertan) to it for recommending me for this job position. Right before I started work in the college I was jobless for a while starting to get desperate that its impossible find work. Current IUC sysadmin – Mr. Ertan Geldiev is a remarkable man and one of the people that made great impression in my mind. Something I found interesting I can learn from Ertan was to get from his cheerful "admin" attitude. As a true hacker Ertan had this hacker attitude of playfulness I myself has for a while lost over the years. So seeing someone like this near my life make me a good favor and had a positive influence on myself.

I have learned a lot from Ertan during the 3 months and 3 days in International University College. Just for a bit of historic information earlier IUC was known as International College – Albena, also among Dobrich citizens known as The Dutch College – as earlier IUC had good relations with Dutch Universities and was issuing double degrees both Bulgarian and Dutch. Nowadays I'm not sure if still Double-degrees partnership between IUC and Dutch Universities exist, what I know for sure is college is issuing European Double Degrees in partnership with Cardiff Metropolitan University. I myself have earlier studied in the college and already know the place well thus will use this post to say a few words on my impressions on it …

International University College - one of top prestigious colleges in Eastern Europe

The college is a great place to be as you have chance to meet plenty of people both lecturers (professors), participate in the various events organized by College's as well as get involved in the many European Projects which are being handled by a European Projects department special department situated on the back of the College Building. Other positive about College is it is small and located on a peaceful town of Dobrich. This gives the bright people a lot of space for personal development, anyways on the other hand it can make you also a bad as Dobrich as a small city is a bit boring. The studies in College are good for students who want personal freedom as there is not too strict requirements for professors on how to teach.

Though college had help me grow, especially in my knowledge in Windows 7 and 8 (Ertan had a really good Windows background), I couldn't have the chance to develop myself too further in the long term. So my job offer to work in HP as Web and Middleware Implementation Engineer opened much broader opportunities for my long term IT career. Other reason I quit the College IT job was simply because I needed more money I had the vision to make a family with a girl from Belarus – Svetlana and in order to take care for her I need to earn good money. My official salary in the college was the funny for the position – 640 lv (though after a few months I was promised to have a raise and earn 400 EUR :)) . Such low sallary was for the reason I had the idea to continue studying in College and complete my Bachelor Business degree and we had agreed with the College CEO Mr. Todor Radev to extract part of my salary monthly and with that to pay my 1 semester tuition fee (2200 EUR) – necessary for my graduation assignment. Though completing the Bachelor is important phase to close in my life for a long time, I found for the moment more valuable to work for HP and earn normal living salary with which to possibly finance myself and create family with woman of my life (hopefully) in the short term.

In this post I want express my sincere thanks to all people in International College (Elena Urchenko, Krasimir – for helping me in my job duties), Pavel and Silvia for being a colleague for a while I worked partly in the Marketing Department.

Talking about Marketing Department what I did there is some Twitter Marketing (building some twitter followers) and wrote a tiny document with recommendation on how to optimize College website – vumk.eu (future version) – for better SEO ranking. This included complete analysis from user outlook to Indexing bots and site current code. 

Mr Docent Phd Todor Radev

I have to do a big underline on how great person the College President and UNI Rector – Docent Todor Radev is. I have already bitter experience studying for a while in a government universities when younger and I know from experience usually Rectors and Universities management of state universities is pure "Hell". Thanks to Mr. Todor Radev for he did me a big favor letting me quit  job just a week later (instead of 1 month as it is officially set by Bulgarian Dismissal Law and explicitly stated in my Work Contract. Also as a person my experience from Docent Radev is wonderful too. He is extremely intelligent, brilliant gentleman and  most importantly open minded and always open for innovation.
 

As a close up I would like to say Big Thanks to everyone which I worked with or met in International University College! Thanks guys for all your support and help, thanks for being work mates and friends for the time.

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Linux Currency convert GUI tool KeuroCalc / Convert world currencies Desktop Linux application, Convert USD to EUR

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

keurocalc Linux convert us dollars to euro and to rest of major world currencies

If you happen to run a small business or you're just an adventurer who use Linux for his notebook Desktop. Sooner or later you will end up needing Linux software to convert between world currencies. Some might argue that such a software is obsolete since already there are the Google Currency Converter and plenty of other (online) web currency converter sites. However for people like to use desktop applications like me it is much better to use a separate desktop tool which do currency convertion. If this is the case with and you happen to use Debian GNU / Linux, Ubuntu Fedora or any other main stream Linux distribution on your Linux powered Laptop or Tablet you will be surely happy to know about KEuroCalc – Universal Currency Converter. As all "K"-named starting Linux apps unfortunately keurocalc is using QT KDE graphic library and thus whenever used on GNOME it starts a bunch of KDE services (kedinit,klauncher, kded), however the load of this few on any modern notebook or PC is neglectably low so for most users the only disadvantage of kerocalc might be interface is looking a bit different compared to rest of Gnome GTK+ programs.

To install keurocalc on deb based Linuces e.g. – Debian / Ubuntu, ArchLinux ..:

noah:~# apt-cache show keurocalc|grep -i description -A 3

Description: universal currency converter and calculator – binary package
 KEurocalc is a universal currency converter and calculator.
 It downloads latest exchange rates directly from the
 European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
 

noah:~# apt-get install --yes keurocalc

Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree      
Reading state information… Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  keurocalc
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 23 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B/87.8 kB of archives.
After this operation, 319 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Selecting previously deselected package keurocalc.
(Reading database … 393466 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking keurocalc (from …/keurocalc_1.0.3-2_amd64.deb) …
Processing triggers for hicolor-icon-theme …
Processing triggers for man-db …
Processing triggers for menu …
Processing triggers for gnome-menus …
Processing triggers for desktop-file-utils …
Setting up keurocalc (1.0.3-2) …
Processing triggers for menu …

On Fedora, CentOS and rest of RPM based Linux distros keurocalc is installable too out of default package repositories:

[root@fedora ~]# yum -y -q install keurocalc
....

 

Here is a snapshot of keurocalc GUI interface;

Linux Universal Currency Converter Keurocalc

Keurocalc Linux universal currency converter settings screenshot

As you see from settings screenshot, information about rates can be obtained from 2 sources; – European Central Bank and New York Federal Reserve Bank. I give a try also to Euro, no network access (fixed rates only) method but unfortunately by choosing it you can only convert between Fixed Currencies (currencies which are already not in use – in EU member states who dropped their local currencies in favor of EURO).

I've tested the program and it works good, the disadvantage is convertion between some of the World currencies of countries with non-transparent planned (Soviet like) economies for example Belarus is not among app list of convertable currencies.

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Trip from Sofia Bulgaria to Minsk Belarus through Warsaw and how to issue VISA for Belarus

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

 

I had to travel from Sofia to Minsk to be a guest to my beloved girlfriend Svetlana, thus I needed as cheap ticket as possible to reach there. Sofia Minsk is not very common destination especially in Winter, Spring and Summer, because Summer Tourist season is not still opened. I checked for all possibilities to reach the capital of Belarus. Since Bulgaria is in European Union and Belarus is in alliance with Russia and Ukraine. Bulgarian and rest of EU citizens need to issue VISA for Belarus, just like Belarusian citizens needs to have VISA for their summer holidays in Bulgaria.

In order to reach Belarus, I first needed Приглашение / Priglashenie (Invitation) from Belarusian citizen. My beloved girlfriend Svetlana issued one for me and sent it via Belarusian Post Services. In order for VISA to come over post it took about 12 working days. Once I had the Invitation in my hands I had to go to Belarusian Embassy, bring invitation, fill up some documents and pay VISA taxes which as of time of writing this post costs 60 EUR for issuing one person private VISA.

Application of Priglashenie I received over post looks like in picture below:

To have the VISA issued I had to bring my "Red" International (Foreign) Passport to Belarusian Embassy together with Recent Photos of mine. In Russian Embassy in Bulgaria photo is made and paid directly in Embassy with Belarusian Embassy this is not so, so I had to manually take new photo and bring those photo to embassy, I learned that first time I was in Embassy.

Photos had to be in special format (size) a bit different from the standard for accepted for most International VISA photos – at least this is what I was told in Studio where I went to make Photos. A note to make here is Belarus has only one embassy in Bulgaria located in Sofia and as far as I researched though Russia and Belarus are in union it is not possible to issue Belarusian VISA in Russian Embassy in city of Varna or Plovdiv.

Once photos were ready I bring them together with my Passport and had to leave them in Embassy. My visa was issued to be maximum of 90 days but unfortunately I could make it only for 45 days, because my International Passport is expiring in August and there is a rule that you cannot have the VISA issued for date longer than 3 months until Foreign Passport Expires. You can find website of Belarusian Embassy in Bulgaria here. Application form to print and fill in and hand in Belarusian Embassy for request of VISA is here.

Contact information of Belarusian Embassy in Bulgaria is:
 

 

Postal Address of the Embassy:

1505, Sofia, area «Reduta», «Nikola Karadjov» str. Building 3

Phone: (+359 2) 971 95 28, 971 71 31

Phone/Fax: (+359 2) 973 31 00

e-mail: bulgaria@mfa.gov.by

To issue me VISA I had to leave my Foreign Passport in Embassy and took it back after about 1 week and half (10 days or so). Issued VISA is not on a separate Application like VISAs for Dubai for Example but is directly sticked inside Passport;

Issued Belarusian Visa for Bulgarian citizen specimen I had my VISA issued for 45 days starting from 1 of April (as filled in app. form), ending in 15 of May.

Once having the VISA, the next question come what will be best way to travel from Bulgaria to Belarus. I did quite a research on this topic until decide with what to travel. There are 3 variants (bus, train or airplane). Distance between Belarus capital Minsk and my hometown Dobrich is only 1508 KM. Sofia is a bit far so distance Between two capitals is 1870 KM.
I call to check for bus price as I saw on the Internet some offers to travel with bus and though it seemed to be most cheap about 250 euro (two way ticket) after calling the agency contact found on the net, they told me this bus line is closed (probably working only in Summer because of the bigger number of Belarusian tourists travelling to BG). Option with train was also impossible for the reason Train line
Black Sea Coast -> Minsk operates only in Summer for months . (June – August).
Hence the only way to ravel left was by plain. I checked on Plain tickets and some recommendations on cheap ways to travel to from European Union to Belarus.
My first idea was to fly from Sofia to Lithuania Capital Vilnius and from there to take bus to Minsk as bus goes to Minsk for 3 hours or so. I checked low cost flights from Wizzair as I always try to fly with them for their cheap prices but unfortunately they don't have destination Sofia -> Vilnius. I checked other companies for same destination and found only tickets from LuftHansa, the ticket however was too expensive and I had to change two airplanes something I very much wanted to avoid, cause I hate so much the airport Laggage checks / Scanning moment. Two way ticket to Vilnius costed about 400 EUR with taxes and included a flight trhrough Vienna airport or through Germany and included few hours waiting on airports which doesn't sound well at all. I checked then the variant to fly to Kiev but again it was very expensive plus Ukraine is not in EU and thus I didn't wanted to risk. Though officially as I've red Bulgarians are permitted to travel and stay in Ukraine without VISA for 90 days period I didn't wanted to try my luck. Other option was to fly from Sofia to Minsk using 1 airplane change in Vienna or Moscow. I contacted airport in Moscow to ask whether I can fly Sofia -> Moscow -> Minsk with my Belarusian Visa but unfortunately to fly through Moscow Scheremetyevo I need a transit VISA which costs some money and moreover Scheremetyevo is enormous airport and I guessed it will be hard for me to orientate there and will bring me too much stress. Third variant which I liked best was to Fly from Sofia -> Warsaw and from there travel by bus to Bus Station Dworec Zahodnyi (West Warsaw Bus Station) and travel with Bus international line Warsaw -> Minsk. I decided to stop on this option and reserved fly ticket Sofia -> Warsaw. Flight date was 20th of Apr 14:40, ticket reserved with Polish Airlines (LOT).

Departure was from Sofia Terminal 2 – in Sofia we have two terminals (The Old one Terminal 1 and new one Terminal 2). All times I flight so far from Sofia airport was from Terminal 1 so this time it was my first time from the bigger and much newer and modern Terminal 2.

Sofia International airport Bulgaria newer Terminal2

My dear friend Mitko (Nomen), leave me by his car to airport and then I checked-in.

Sofia airport SA logo and building Terminal 2

I could bring up to 20 KG with me, ticket costed 326 EUR because I reserved it a bit late (8 days before flight), moreover Sofia -> Warsaw is not very common flight destination from Bulgaria, as not much of Bulgarian citizens live in Poland.

Sofia airport courtesy Terminal 1

The ticket included also a meal and cold-drinks so this also added a bit to high ticket price. Flight was on a very little airplane and though scheduled for 14:40, flight was late and we were in plain about 14:50 and airplane take off around 15:00. By the way the airplane was the smallest one I ever traveled with so far with, very very small one. I think the pilot  was quite professional or the reason was the small plane size but anyways the landing was amazingly smooth. In Warsaw the airport is maybe a bit bigger than Terminal 2 but in general it was easy to orientate take luggage and go out very quickly. The luggage come quite quickly I had to wait for it only few minutes. Then I went directly to bus station and rided on BUS number 175 (there is second possibility to take bus 188) both go to Dworec Centralni Avtogara (Central Bus Station). According to prior instructions I red on the internet it was said to go to bus station Pomnik Lotnika. I tried with this but unfortunately the information to go down on Pomnik Lotnika and took bus 523 is obsolete now. And in order to reach Dw. Zahodny you need to go directly to Dw. Centralni with bus nr. 188 or 175 and then go through a subway on left side and wait on bus station for bus nr. 123 or 125 (not sure the exact nr.). Then Dw. Zahodnyi is only 6 / 7 stops away, I asked some people in English and thanksfully some Polish speak English or at least I can partially understand what they say because their language is close to Russian and Bulgarian. BTW it is very interesting for me as I can understand plenty of what is written on small shops in bus etc. On Dworec Zahodniy Avtogara stop after going down from bus I had to take left direction and in 2 minutes walk it is the West bus Station. There I asked on information if they can give me information whether there is bus Warsaw -> Minsk. The man in kiosk was not speaking English but fortunately he speaks Russian, so I was able to understand I should go out of bus station and stay on the left Pilon waiting for Bus Warsaw -> Minsk. Bus came in 18:30 just like written on the Internet the Bus company was called "ВизитТурс / VisitTurs". I had 1 hr and half to wait for it cause was little earlier on Bus Station. The Platform Nr. Bus stopped is Platform 10.
Just for info for otheres who like to catch such bus on the Internet I read there are bus-es traveling to Minsk  every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in times varying from 18:30 / 19:00 / and 21:00. While waiting for the bus I meet two ppl from Kazakhstan waiting for another bus for Vilnius and had a good chat with them about situation in Kazakhstan  and Bulgaria. I took also a quick meal – from bus station on price even cheaper than Bulgaria (about 2.5 leva – 1.25 euro). In bus all was fine, they took my luggage I placed myself and waited to issue me ticket. I didn't have Zloty (The Polish currency) in me and only euro and at first the bus driver was not happy with that but then he agreed I pay in euro so all went fine. The bus had 2 or 3 quick 15 minutes Rests. Overall travel with Bus from Warsaw Minsk took about 10 hrs, because of some delay and while checking documents on Belarusian Border. As it is normal with crossing Borders by Bus they checked our documents twice once on Polish Border and then on Belarusian one. After crossing Belarusian Border, right after entering the Border Control Police man give me a tiny application form to fill in with information about my stay in Belarus. As well as I had to go to one small kiosk to create Insurance for me (Insurance for month costs 12 EURO). Making the policy took only few minutes, then we had to go down from Bus with our laggage and we waited on a queue with rest of Belarusians to check our documents. This took about 40-50 minutes. Thanksfully all went normal we were back in bus around 3:00 and arrived in Minsk about 07:00. I didn't have Belarusian Rubles (RBL) so I had to change to take a taxi. I asked one person with my bad Belarusian, where from there is a Change Bureau and on my way to it met another Belarusian who was calling for people looking for transportation to some street in Minsk. I spoke a bit with me and offered to change my EURO, changed me 20 euro for 200 000 B. RBL. He was kind enough to call for me a Taxi. He said I should wait for his friend who will bring me to the address I was looking for. I went to a car which was not officially a taxi but just a guy who will bring me to the destionation. In 25 minutes time was to address ul. Kalinovskogo, Dom (block) 93, apr. 43. Here in Belarus all was new for me. My first impressions were Traffic Lights which were unusually thin if compared to ones we have in Bulgaria and rest of EU.

Minsk unusually thin Traffic Lights picture / Unique Traffic Lights

On my way to address I was impressed by a big magnificient Orthodox Church in construction.

orthodox church All saints cHRISTIAN church in construction Minsk Belarus and wooden orthodox church

I was also striked that everywhere all advertisements and everything was in cyrillic. Some in Russian and some in Belarusian Language. Something noticable was also the street was very clean, the construction of most of Buildings were in style of communist countries with (Panel Blocks) just like it used to be in BG when we had communism.

Minsk Panelnij dom panel block Minsk - typical construction for Minsk remains from Communism

Тhough newer constructions looked very modern and very much imitated constructions from Western Europe.

Minsk ZamyK Trade Center Korona one of most modern Minsk Buildings

Something else noticable is here they continued building using (Block Panels) many buildings as I can see some buildings still in construction. It was clear that the city has good infrastructure (transportation system), much better than one I expected as well the country has a functional economy. Bus-es seem like very much a copy of Bus-es in Holland, actually a lot of the things I saw in Minsk seem like copying Holland and Germany.

Minsk transportation by Bus Maz bus

On my way I saw plenty of University buildings, clear sign that education in Belarus meaning education here is on good high level. The most impressing building I saw so far is the building of Minsk National Library.

New National library awesome building Belarus Minsk

Unquestionably this is amazing construction, I had the opportunity on my first day when in Belarus go there and see the old books stored. Amazingly there are books ancient books starting from 10th century onwards. Most of the books were Church books, Ancient Gospels, Faith Codexes plenty of artifacts. There were of coursesome books remains from communism. Something noticable in Minsk is the amount of policy probably in number of times more than in countries in European Union. Since I'm few days already in Belarus I had the chance to see Minsk's Metro which is probably one of city's attractions. In general the Metro was quite cool, there are plenty of communist slogans and statues remains but it looks normal and almost modern.
The feeling in Metro Station is very industrial, as even from going inside the Metro Subway there is a thin smell of machine oil 🙂

Minsk Belarus Metro transportation Uruch

The metro is accessed by using electronic access card similar to old bank (tape cards). Using Metro and bus inside Minsk is very easy. The city is a strange combination of modern culture with communist spirit remains. Though the city is enormous (2 000 000 million population), all seems very relaxed compared to Bulgaria for instance. As far as I interacted with people, I can say people are kind and helpful and very hospitable. A lot of people in Minsk as far as I can see are religious and civilized. Though I've heard people talk about information eclipse in Belarus, I've seen plenty of people who dress very modern like in western countries. I've seen plenty using E-books, Pads and various tech gadgets so it seems technological development of Belarus is on a normal European level. In general what I see here seems much better than what I expected priorly. There is plenty of more things to write which I will probably do in coming days. So far I hope this little article will help someone who needs basic information on traveling from Sofia to Minsk.

It is curious that Bulgarian and Belarusian people have common root as Pre-historic Bulgarians used to be one nation with Pre-Historic Belarusian. Similarity is visible even to now as there are plenty of common words matching or very similar between Bulgarian and Belarusian. More over later from 9th to 12th century Bulgariaused to be Empire and spread near to territory of Belarus. Similarity between Bulgarians and Belarusians is also visible even in country flag colors and country names Bul-garia (ar) / Bel-arus (ar). Even on a country flag level we share the same colors (white / green / red) in different order.

bulgaria national flag similar to Belarusian (white, green, red)

Bulgaria National Flag

Bulgarian national flag similar to Belarusian (red, green, whtie)

Belarus National flag

As a conclusion I should say Belarus and Minsk looks like a lovely normal modern country no matter the bad rumors we hear on the news that they're communist or ruled by a (Dictator) President Lukashenko. Oh one last thing, if you're in Belarus try to avoid to speak bad things or jokes for Lukashenko. As far as I heard there is plenty of tab devices virtually everywhere. Speaking against Lukashenko or the government might lead you to problems with Militia (Police) or even send you in Jail 🙂
 

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Easy way to travel from Belarus to Holland hopping through Lithuania or other Shengen country

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Shengen tourist visa travel to Holland from belarus via Lithuania

Over the last 2 months or me and my girlfriend from Belarus, had quite a lot of pondering on how and if is easy possible to travel from Belarus to Holland. As with every new undertaking, obtaining enough information on how to proceed put a lot of stress on her and me.

I will explain in short the whole situation in hope that someone else who is in a situation like this can benefit out of our experience.

I am born in Bulgaria with Bulgarian nationality, but currently living in the Netherlands, because of my studies. I study here in Arnhem, Holland in Arnhem Business School. My Belarusian girlfriend is with Belarusian ID and since Belarus is not in EU. They're not allowed to freely travel within the EU without a VISA. To receive a VISA for EU Belarusians obliged to have first invitation send by a person – (priglashenie) as called in Russian language) and then it is up to government authorities to issue the Visa.

We wanted to meet each other here in Holland for the Christmas holidays somewhere in period 20 Dec – 05 January 2013 and thus she needed a tourist VISA. My first idea was to send her invitation through a Bulgarian friends family who live and work and have a registered company here in Netherlands. I asked them to check about if it is possible they somehow invite Svetlana, through their company, but it never happened I received an answer. Then failing this I thought about asking a Slovenian friend if it is possible, that he send Svetlana invitation using his Offshore Company which is already offering clients issuing Business VISAS for few destinations.

My logic was since Slovenia is within Shengen, it should be possible to invite Svetlana to Netherlands. However as I heard from him he contacted the embassy  of Germany / Netherlands to ask them but received a reply this is not possible. Failing this as an  option then  I thought of a friend of mine who is a citizen of the Netherlands – I asked him if he can send her invitation, but he refused to do so fearing maybe, Svetlana will stay as illegal emigrant here in Holland and he might have problems with police.

My next, idea was to ask the Slovenian guy to invite Svetlana to Slovenia and hence she make VISA for Slovenia; Slovenia is in the European Union and in Shengen agreement for Free re-location and work within all Shengen countries, thus she might first fly to ljubljana and then from ljubljana take another flight to Holland. This "doorway" is far away from convenient, even if possible (I was not sure if even possible it was just an idea), the ticket prices for flight from Minsk to Lubljana and Lubljana to somewhere in Holland costed around 400 EUR!

In one of our consequent Skype conversations with Svetlana, I've learned she researched on some Belarusian internet forums many people claim it is actually possible to travel from Lithuania to any of the 27 countries of the European Union. Meaning she needed to get a tourist (Shengen) VISA for Lithuania. Issuing VISA for Lithuania is comparatively easy cause Belarus and  Lithua are neighbor border countries and many people frequently travel from Belarus to Lithuania and vice versa.

Issuing a VISA from Belarus to Lithuania is possible through using few agencies in Belarus helping people to have a vacation trip to Western Europe. Svetla applied for one of those agencies, promising to issue a VISA for a week / week en a half or so. However as Belarus is still living on  a plenty of government structures inherited by the Communism which was until 1991 and which were kept after the fall of communism there and perestroika, it is necessery that a special government institution approves the Tourist Visa after the Lithuanian government  issues it. It seems there were plenty of people from Belarus who applied for Tourist Visa to western European countries, so Svetla was put in a queue line not knowing for sure  if the Visa will be possible to be issued until 22nd of December. The big trouble here was I already booked a flight ticket ticket from Lithuania capital Vilnius to Eindhoven Holland with low cost company – Wizzair. BTW I flight with Wizzair 2 times so far and the flight experience was pretty decent for its low ticket price.

Finally after the agency failed to confirm whether it will be able to help her in issuing the tickets before 22nd of Dec, she had to go herself to the Embassy  of Lithuania to sign up on a queue with other people to receive a VISA to Lithuania. The situation was quite uncertain, as it was not clear if this Embassy of Lithuania will issue her Visa or not or even if her queue turn will come before 22-nd. In theory it should have but it also depended on Belarusian governmental athorities who had to also approve the visa. Like in all complex situations like this, all left was we pray God to help us and hope it all will just run smoothly with issuing and approvel of visa.

One important note to make here is Svetla asked a lady in the Embassy of Lithuania, if she can use her Lithuanian VISA to travel within the rest of the member states of the European Union and she was given a negative response – a fact which discouraged and saddened both of us.
The encouraging thing was Svetla asked other people waiting for entering the embassy to request a Visa and as she spoke with them they all said it is possible to use the Lithuanian Visa to travel freely with no check to any country within the EU.

It was days of waiting and a lot of stress mainly for her because, I was in Holland and I couldn't help her (physically) in arranging the visa.

Praise God all went Okay and she was issued VISA few days before the flight date!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Now to take the flight which was early in the morning of 22 of December 2012, Svetla had to travel quite a lot. First on a bus from Belarusian capital Minsk, she had to travel to Metro (if not mistaken), from Metro to Bus-Station, then take bus fr Minsk – Vilnius and after going down on Bus Station in Vilnius to take another bus to Vilnius Airport. After this long travel  finally had to check in on Airport and fly on Wizzair airplane in 06:15 morning.
She had to spend about 6 hours waiting for the check-in on Vilnius Airport, because the bus from Minsk arrived about midnight.

Thanksfully by God's Grace she met a nice Russian family travelling to Brussels, through Eindhoven and hence flying on same flight to Eindhoven like her, so she had a nice chat time on the Airport. Thanks God again, all went smoothly with the flight and about 08:30 she was on Eindhoven's airport waiting for me and I take her about 09:15.

There was no need for passport and security check on Eindhoven airport – as I heard from her, cause there is no border control of passengers travelling within the circle of Shengen EU country zone. In Vilnius she had the usual security check before entering the plane, but in Holland it was not needed. In Holland all she had to do is to collect her laggage from the luggage circling platform.

Hopefully this little post will help other Belarusians who need to travel to any country within the Shengen zone to meet friends, beloved or family.

 

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