Archive for the ‘Educational’ Category

Ansible Quick Start Cheatsheet for Linux admins and DevOps engineers

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

ansible-quick-start-cheetsheet-ansible-logo

Ansible is widely used (Configuration management, deployment, and task execution system) nowadays for mass service depoyments on multiple servers and Clustered environments like, Kubernetes clusters (with multiple pods replicas) virtual swarms running XEN / IPKVM virtualization hosting multiple nodes etc. .

Ansible can be used to configure or deploy GNU / Linux tools and services such as Apache / Squid / Nginx / MySQL / PostgreSQL. etc. It is pretty much like Puppet (server / services lifecycle management) tool , except its less-complecated to start with makes it often a choose as a tool for mass deployment (devops) automation.

Ansible is used for multi-node deployments and remote-task execution on group of servers, the big pro of it it does all its stuff over simple SSH on the remote nodes (servers) and does not require extra services or listening daemons like with Puppet. It combined with Docker containerization is used very much for later deploying later on inside Cloud environments such as Amazon AWS / Google Cloud Platform / SAP HANA / OpenStack etc.

Ansible-Architechture-What-Is-Ansible-Edureka

0. Instaling ansible on Debian / Ubuntu Linux


Ansible is a python script and because of that depends heavily on python so to make it running, you will need to have a working python installed on local and remote servers.

Ansible is as easy to install as running the apt cmd:

 

# apt-get install –yes ansible
 

The following additional packages will be installed:
  ieee-data python-jinja2 python-kerberos python-markupsafe python-netaddr python-paramiko python-selinux python-xmltodict python-yaml
Suggested packages:
  sshpass python-jinja2-doc ipython python-netaddr-docs python-gssapi
Recommended packages:
  python-winrm
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  ansible ieee-data python-jinja2 python-kerberos python-markupsafe python-netaddr python-paramiko python-selinux python-xmltodict python-yaml
0 upgraded, 10 newly installed, 0 to remove and 1 not upgraded.
Need to get 3,413 kB of archives.
After this operation, 22.8 MB of additional disk space will be used.

apt-get install –yes sshpass

 

Installing Ansible on Fedora Linux is done with:

 

# dnf install ansible –yes sshpass

 

On CentOS to install:
 

# yum install ansible –yes sshpass

sshpass needs to be installed only if you plan to use ssh password prompt authentication with ansible.

Ansible is also installable via python-pip tool, if you need to install a specific version of ansible you have to use it instead, the package is available as an installable package on most linux distros.

Ansible has a lot of pros and cons and there are multiple articles already written on people for and against it in favour of Chef or Puppet As I recently started learning Ansible. The most important thing to know about Ansible is though many of the things can be done directly using a simple command line, the tool is planned for remote installing of server services using a specially prepared .yaml format configuration files. The power of Ansible comes of the use of Ansible Playbooks which are yaml scripts that tells ansible how to do its activities step by step on remote server. In this article, I'm giving a quick cheat sheet to start quickly with it.
 

1. Remote commands execution with Ansible
 

First thing to do to start with it is to add the desired hostnames ansible will operate with it can be done either globally (if you have a number of remote nodes) to deploy stuff periodically by using /etc/ansible/hosts or use a custom host script for each and every ansible custom scripts developed.

a. Ansible main config files

A common ansible /etc/ansible/hosts definition looks something like that:

 

# cat /etc/ansible/hosts
[mysqldb]
10.69.2.185
10.69.2.186
[master]
10.69.2.181
[slave]
10.69.2.187
[db-servers]
10.69.2.181
10.69.2.187
[squid]
10.69.2.184

Host to execute on can be also provided via a shell variable $ANSIBLE_HOSTS
b) is remote hosts reachable / execute commands on all remote host

To test whether hour hosts are properly configure from /etc/ansible/hosts you can ping all defined hosts with:

 

ansible all -m ping


ansible-check-hosts-ping-command-screenshot

This makes ansible try to remote to remote hosts (if you have properly configured SSH public key authorization) the command should return success statuses on every host.

 

ansible all -a "ifconfig -a"


If you don't have SSH keys configured you can also authenticate with an argument (assuming) all hosts are configured with same password with:

 

ansible all –ask-pass -a "ip all show" -u hipo –ask-pass


ansible-show-ips-ip-a-command-screenshot-linux

If you have configured group of hosts via hosts file you can also run certain commands on just a certain host group, like so:

 

ansible <host-group> -a <command>

It is a good idea to always check /etc/ansible/ansible.cfg which is the system global (main red ansible config file).

c) List defined host groups
 

ansible localhost -m debug -a 'var=groups.keys()'
ansible localhost -m debug -a 'var=groups'

d) Searching remote server variables

 

# Search remote server variables
ansible localhost -m setup -a 'filter=*ipv4*'

 

 

ansible localhost -m setup -a 'filter=ansible_domain'

 

 

ansible all -m setup -a 'filter=ansible_domain'

 

 

# uninstall package on RPM based distros
ansible centos -s -m yum -a "name=telnet state=absent"
# uninstall package on APT distro
ansible localhost -s -m apt -a "name=telnet state=absent"

 

 

2. Debugging – Listing information about remote hosts (facts) and state of a host

 

# All facts for one host
ansible -m setup
  # Only ansible fact for one host
ansible
-m setup -a 'filter=ansible_eth*'
# Only facter facts but for all hosts
ansible all -m setup -a 'filter=facter_*'


To Save outputted information per-host in separate files in lets say ~/ansible/host_facts

 

ansible all -m setup –tree ~/ansible/host_facts

 

3. Playing with Playbooks deployment scripts

 

a) Syntax Check of a playbook yaml

 

ansible-playbook –syntax-check


b) Run General Infos about a playbook such as get what a playbook would do on remote hosts (tasks to run) and list-hosts defined for a playbook (like above pinging).

 

ansible-playbook –list-hosts
ansible-playbook
–list-tasks


To get the idea about what an yaml playbook looks like, here is example from official ansible docs, that deploys on remote defined hosts a simple Apache webserver.
 


– hosts: webservers
  vars:
    http_port: 80
    max_clients: 200
  remote_user: root
  tasks:
  – name: ensure apache is at the latest version
    yum:
      name: httpd
      state: latest
  – name: write the apache config file
    template:
      src: /srv/httpd.j2
      dest: /etc/httpd.conf
    notify:
    – restart apache
  – name: ensure apache is running
    service:
      name: httpd
      state: started
  handlers:
    – name: restart apache
      service:
        name: httpd
        state: restarted

To give it a quick try save the file as webserver.yml and give it a run via ansible-playbook command
 

ansible-playbook -s playbooks/webserver.yml

 

The -s option instructs ansible to run play on remote server with super user (root) privileges.

The power of ansible is its modules, which are constantly growing over time a complete set of Ansible supported modules is in its official documenation.

Ansible-running-playbook-Commands-Task-script-Successful-output-1024x536

There is a lot of things to say about playbooks, just to give the brief they have there own language like a  templates, tasks, handlers, a playbook could have one or multiple plays inside (for instance instructions for deployment of one or more services).

The downsides of playbooks are they're so hard to write from scratch and edit, because yaml syntaxing is much more stricter than a normal oldschool sysadmin configuration file.
I've stucked with problems with modifying and writting .yaml files and I should say the community in #ansible in irc.freenode.net was very helpful to help me debug the obscure errors.

yamllint (The YAML Linter tool) comes handy at times, when facing yaml syntax errors, to use it install via apt:
 

# apt-get install –yes yamllint


a) Running ansible in "dry mode" just show what ansible might do but not change anything
 

ansible-playbook playbooks/PLAYBOOK_NAME.yml –check


b) Running playbook with different users and separate SSH keys

 

ansible-playbook playbooks/your_playbook.yml –user ansible-user
 
ansible -m ping hosts –private-key=~/.ssh/keys/custom_id_rsa -u centos

 

c) Running ansible playbook only for certain hostnames part of a bigger host group

 

ansible-playbook playbooks/PLAYBOOK_NAME.yml –limit "host1,host2,host3"


d) Run Ansible on remote hosts in parallel

To run in raw of 10 hosts in parallel
 

# Run 10 hosts parallel
ansible-playbook <File.yaml> -f 10            


e) Passing variables to .yaml scripts using commandline

Ansible has ability to pre-define variables from .yml playbooks. This variables later can be passed from shell cli, here is an example:

# Example of variable substitution pass from command line the var in varsubsts.yaml if present is defined / replaced ansible-playbook playbooks/varsubst.yaml –extra-vars "myhosts=localhost gather=yes pkg=telnet"

 

4. Ansible Galaxy (A Docker Hub) like large repository with playbook (script) files

 

Ansible Galaxy has about 10000 active users which are contributing ansible automation playbooks in fields such as Development / Networking / Cloud / Monitoring / Database / Web / Security etc.

To install from ansible galaxy use ansible-galaxy

# install from galaxy the geerlingguy mysql playbook
ansible-galaxy install geerlingguy.mysql


The available packages you can use as a template for your purpose are not so much as with Puppet as Ansible is younger and not corporate supported like Puppet, anyhow they are a lot and does cover most basic sysadmin needs for mass deployments, besides there are plenty of other unofficial yaml ansible scripts in various github repos.

Install Slack and Mattermost clients for Start Up Business communication on Linux

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

install-slack-and-mattermost-clients-for-start-up-business-communication-on-Linux
Many businesses nowadays are lookig for alternatives to the Microsoft dominated market of communication – Skype / Skype for Business Chat Audio and Video desktop client.
The two are the defacto standard for most of Corporate Businesses and is heavily used across most largest Corporations (companies) such as IBM / Xeror / DXC / CSC / Oracle / SAP / Microsoft / Amazon / Adobe … the list goes on and on.

However even though Skype is so easy to use across Microsoft Domain connected Computers the many start-up companies of today often try to avoid its use. The reason, well Skype is totally Proprietary non-transparent and by using it you probably get spied by Microsoft the CIA and God knows how many other Country Agencies. Besides that Skype has a bad history often had problems with Audio (Linux microphone and Video settings) in Free Software (Linux, FreeBSD etc.) realm and even though nowdays situation is improving and Skype Video / Audio runs fine on GNU / Linuxes its Skype for Business has no working release by Microsoft and has left-up Free Software users and Staring Business companies platform of the size of 20 to 1000 people  that choose Linux as a main Desktop / Work had to look for other ways to communicate internally within company and with clients.

Jabber XMPP communication protocol has been one alternative for a long time and historically many compainies that were running out of Skype use for their work often were using Small internally company hosted jabber servers, however as Jabber's  communication clients such as Gajim development is lagging behind seriously over the last 7 years and it prooved so buggy many businesses were looking for ways to avoid it.

Slack_Technologies_-corporate-communication-alternative-to-skype-Logo.png


Slack is multi platform just like Skype and has versions for Linux / Windows for macOS but its power comes mostly because most of its users use it via Skype Web Client (while Skype is a Desktop app and heavily used in Web Browser.

slack-web-communication-client-in-webbrowser-screenshot

Slack reminds in a what of things to the good old IRC chats and has channels in a similar fashion, it support Audio conversations but unfortunately at the moment didn't support Video.

The emergency of New Age of Computing and the quick adoption of Clouds as an aim to cut business costs put Jabber totally out of the game and in the niche and in August 2013 on the scene raised Slack (Team Messaging) which is an acronymi of (Searchable Log of All Conversations and Knowledge) – a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and services, founded by Stewart Butterfield for the purpose of online Game (now defunct) called Glitch.

asana-for-slack-integration-2018-2-linux
The problem with Slack is that it is a freemium product, whose main paid features are the ability to search more than 10,000 archived messages (the ordinary free version allows the user to make up to 10000 searches in chat history), the paid Slack versions adds also unlimited apps and integrations and theoretically unlimited number of users (though this is seriously doubtful).

slack-10000-messages-per-user-limitation-shot

One very handy feature of Slack is its integration with "The World's Leading Software Development Platform" – GitHub .

To solve the problem with the little amount of Slack Chat history in Users conversations many Start-Up Business Companies do use Slack as a communication media with Clients and does often use as a communication Media another very popular Cloud messaging Open Source Software called Mattermost deploys to Cloud infrastruture but is at IT control of your company or your hired support and not third party vendor supports, making it a great communication tool for small and mid-sized companies who want to save money of purchasing a special server and hiring an admin or paying for one to support it all the time but instead directly use their Cloud account and deploy it there.

Mattermost is capable to Reach anyone, anywhere on any device. From the airport to data center, safely connect teams with EMM apps, hybrid cloud deployment and enterprise-grade flexibility to meet the unique needs of enterprise.

It is capable to Integrate with existing applications and build new workflows and empower your teams especially operations and DevOps – to perform faster and effectively. Mattermost


To install Slack on Linux:

Go and Download slack from Slack Linux download (the DEB / RPM 64 bit package)

As of time of writting this article latest Slack Desktop packages are: slack-desktop-3.3.1-amd64.deb and slack-3.3.1-0.1.fc21.x86_64.rpm

Depending on the type of Linux distribution install it with dpkg or rpm

1. Installing Slack Desktop client on Debian / Ubuntu Linux

On Debian / Ubuntu / Mint install Slack with:

 

root@ubuntu:~# dpkg -i slack-desktop-*.deb


For Ubuntu users there is also unofficial third-party Slack app ScoudCloud

it integrates well with Ubuntu Unity desktop (which I personally dislike 🙂 ) and gives you some extra goodies such as showing in an Unity manner unread message count, notification, bubbles, unity quicklists for fast-switching between Slack channels etc.

2. Installing Slack Desktop client on Redhat / Fedora / CentOS Linux

On Redhat / Fedora / CentOS install it with:

 

[root@fedora ~]:# rpm -ivh slack-*.rpm

 


3. Installing Mattermost Desktop client on Linux

mattermost-open-source-communication-in-the-cloud

Download Mattermost Linux package from download URL here

As of time of writting the DEB versions are mattermost-desktop-4.1.2-linux-amd64.deb mattermost-desktop-4.1.2-linux-i386.deb and there is no official RPM package for Fedora / CentOS users however I guess the .deb package can easily be converted to .rpm with alien tool.

To install Mattermost on Debian (in moment of writting September 2018):

 

root@debian:~# wget https://releases.mattermost.com/desktop/4.1.2/mattermost-desktop-4.1.2-linux-amd64.deb

 

root@debian:~# dpkg -i mattermost-desktop-4.1.2-linux-amd64.deb


mattermost-linux-client-2-screenshot

Mattermost supports file attachment (send) / Video previews (you can play sent Web videos directly within the Mattermost client) and on experimental level even supports Video and Audio Calls.

mattermost-linux-client-screenshot-1

mattermost-markdown-help-linux-screenshot

One nice feature of Mattermost for those who love coding is using tags to format messages

There is plenty of features of Mattermost among the best ones are integrations Private Cloud open source integrations (Jira, Jenkins, Bots, clients), supports Webhooks, Restful APIS, CLI and Public Cloud connections via Zapier – a connect and uatomate workflows e.g. gives you ability to move info between web apps automatically.

Recovering from Herniated Cervical disc (neck) and spine disease – keeping in good shape your Back and Neck in easy 4 steps Exercises

Friday, August 31st, 2018

recovering-from-herniated-cervical-disc-and-spine-disease-keep-your-back-in-good-shape

If you are a long term computer geek, IT specliast, system administrator a hacker or any type of office worker that spends as a maximum 8 hours / 5 days a week and you do not do some kind of Sports (Running Heavy Lifting, Back or neck Exercises, do Fitness) etc. sooner or later you will start noticing a change in your normal back posture and heavy pain either in back or neck of your body.

The posture you have is in risc and your muscles will slowly start atrophying. It is very likely with years that you will start developing a body muscle strain in the area of neck or back and you will feel tensed / anxious most of the time without a clear reason on what is causing the constant stress you experience.

A heavy and constant anxiety you might develop with the months and years of chair sitting, sedentary lifestyle and staring into the computer screen or spending many hours driving might lead you into sleeping problems a bad blood flow to the brain (if you have neck problems) and other not nice health issues such as ringing in your year / head (tinnitus) and as an impact of all the degeneration of body a change in bone tissues and even brain might happen.
If you're suffering a back spine or neck disease the pain it is about to create daily for you will also impact the level of depression you experience and often it alone could be a cause for depression, because of the violated bodily organs blood flow (especially the brain) …

That's heavy health issues and if you are young you might thing that all this is just an imaginations and it will never happen to you but unfortunately in today's digital age where people tend to spend 10 to 14 hours daily in front of PC notebook / monitor and smartphone or in few hours conversations on the phone, all this with years contributes and sooner or later you will face the terrible reality of suffering from some of the many existing types of Herniated Cervical Disc disease.

So what is Herniated Cervical Disc Disease (shortly explained) ?

Spinal disc herniation, also known as a slipped disc, is a medical condition affecting the spine in which a tear in the outer, fibrous ring of an intervertebral disc allows the soft, central portion to bulge out beyond the damaged outer rings.

The reason to get a herniated cervical disc is usually due to aging a genetical predsposition, constant straining of back due to many hours without physical activity sitting or in bed, traumas, injuries attained during heavy lifing or sports etc.

* What are the symptomps of Herniated Cervical disc ?

The symptoms vary depending of the location of a herniated disc and depends on the soft tissue between the bones that gets involved. Common symptoms however is severe and unrelented neck pain, low back pain, pain in knees or feet, undefined pains in thight etc. … it really depends by the affected region served by affected nerve roots that are irritated or impinged by the herniated material.

Some people suffering from spinal disc herniation is symptoms of numbness, tingling of limbs, overall muscular weakness, paralysis and effection of reflexes, double vision, noise in the head / ears, insomnia and more …

If the herniated disc is in the lumbar region, you will experience scietica (a pain going down the leg from the lower back).

The things becomes even worser and the risk even higher if you're not using a comfortable computer chair at work or home, but you are into the habit to use a laptop or as the girls / women like to do lay on the bed and do stuff on the computer or tablet such as chatting all day long in a social networks such as Facebook or watching movies after a heavy office day.

Just take a look at young people's necks around leaning up and their crooked back posture on the street in bus or metro if you don't believe me and thing and you will be amazed how terrible deformations so many youngsters (teenagers) and even mid age person suffer some early or advanced stage of kyphosis disease (a deformation of the spine / neck) without even realizing it.

Herniated-Lumbar-Disc-pinched-nerve

Suffering Kyphosis (and the usual surrounding Herniated Disc illness) is a terrible thing to experience and this is a silent killer that is plaguing people worse than any other disease, because the disease is developing relatively slow in time it is few that really catch it in early stage and it usually is tracked once you already suffer with some kind of constant pain in neck / back and a Spinal disc herniation or  you had a pinched nerve somewhere in the body because of some kind of constant compression in between spine bones etc.


cervical-herniated-disc-cervical-disease

The majority of spinal disc herniation cases occur in the lumbar region (95% in L4-L5 or L5-S1 – this is a doctors naming for regions where it occurs). The second most common site is the cervical region (C5-C6, C6-C7). The thoracic region accounts for only 0.15% to 4.0% of cases.

For IT specialists Gamers and mostly and people whose profession includes spending their days sitting in front of the computer screen C5-C6 / C6-C7 regions are very common (something that could contribute additionally for the disease is if you suffer some kind of astigmatism eye disease and because of that you keep your neck constantly even more forward to see better what's on the PC screen)

aging-and-body-back-deformation-in-grown-and-aging-people

With age spine and bones are decaying (wearing out) and as a result the spinal cord gets deformated and this is a normal process, we can't change but we can delay it with some daily exerices and work on our bodies so at old age we experience a little better health ..

Well dying is ineveitable anyways 🙂 .. but why not make your quality of life and overall experience in the body a little bit better and do some exercises that will boost your mood to happiness, improve overall blood flow and either help you recover or protect you against a possible herniated disc problems?

I was to a doctor today for a Manual Therapy session, because I happen to suffer from Herniated Cervical Disc ( neck on C6 and C7) which bringing me a lot of unfortable nervous pressure and messing up with my quality of life.
To deal with my problem I went to see one of the best doctors in the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Bulgaria and perhaps in the World Assen Aleksiev M. D. Phd in Aleksandrovska University Hospital.

Mr Assen Aleksiev is living legend and one of the bright persons as of time of writting this article he is:

1. Physician – specialist and expert in:

• Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (with emphasize on orthopaedic and neurological disorders),

• Manual Medicine (Osteopathy, Chiropractics)

• Clinical Electro-diagnostics, Electromyography and Electro-stimulation.

2. Lecturer., 3. Scientist/researcher., 4. Reviewer of medical literature., 5. Author and co-author of medical literature., 6. Manager., 7. National consultant for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2014.
 

After seeing my case and having a number of cases, just like mine and did some Manual therapy fixing my neck back,  limbs etc.

I will share with you the 4 steps, he said I and anyone has to follow in order to prevent himself from Herniated cervical disc degenerative disease to progress  and in worst case to turn me into a mildly disabled.

Even though this exercises were prescribed as a cure and support mechanism for a herniated disc patient that I turned to be, the good doc. shared with me that this set of 4 steps if followed could prevent not only your spine and waist from experiencing the painful discomfort of herniated disc diasese but could generally strengthen the body functioning and protect you from dying from a future strokes (heart attacks) and a number of other cardiological diseases.

So here are the 4 Golden Exercises (STEPS) that, if practiced regularly  will keep you from spinal curvature, will keep your neck and back in a good motion and help you recover from herniated disc diseases.


1. ALWAYS TIGHTEN YOUR STOMACH WHEN YOU SIT DOWN OR STAND UP !!!

– Make the habit to always tighten your stomach when you sit and stand up, this moves the weight of the body on the muscles instead on the bones. If you sit down or stand up without tightened stomach (because of the gravitation the body weight you have increases doubles if you're 70 kilos the body / bones have to bear a weight of 140 kg or so …). Once, again  tightening the stomach makes the weight be received by your muscles and this saves your bones

2. CHANGE THE POSITION OF THE BODY EVERY 15 MINUTES (FOR EXAMPLE YOU'RE SITTING FOR 15 MINUTES ON A CHAIR STAND UP MOVE YOUR SHOULDER FOR 2 / 3 AND SIT BACK) !!!

– Stand up from your chair or whenever you sit and move around your shoulders

3. ON EVERY HOUR PRACTICE SCHOOL (GYMNASTICS) EXERCISES !!!

– 5 Table push ups (if you're in an office for example in a Focus Corner Room) or outside the office building on a bench or something) – compulsory is to make it with a tightened stomach

table-push-ups-Counter-Push-ups-1

Table Push ups (the table angle inclination degree should be at best case about 45 to 60 degree but if it is different angle it is okay as well)
wall-push-up-exercise
if you are in a place where you can't do a table push-up you can do a wall push up

Waist Rotation (Exercise) Put your arms on the waist (in a trinagle form), your legs should be a little bit far from each other in a small triangle like form too and turn your whole body left and then right do it 3 to 5 times each side.

waist-rotation-exercise

Spinal Stretch Exercise (Place fingers at the base of the spine bend forward and backward then left side and right side slowly! do it each direction at least 3 to 5 times (e.g. 5 backwards / forward, 5 left and 5 times right)

spinal-stretch-exercise-forward-and-back

The 8 tact exercise is a complex of 4 exercises each on repeated 2 by the (count number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

1, 2, 3, 4 – Put your heads on the level of the chest (bent them so the elbows point right and left then move  them both right and left to the maximum back and stretch cross shaped your both hands

5, 6 – Standing still move Right hand up and move it backwards as much as you can left hand down and move it backwards as much as possible

7,8 – Reverse the hands, Left hand up and move it backwards to maximum and right hand down and move it backwards to maximum

6,8

4. 3 TIMES A DAY (MORNING, MID DAY AND 1 HOUR BEFORE GO TO BED DO A SET OF 15 MINUTES ACTIVE CARDIO TRAINING EXERCISES) !!!

– This could be 15 minutes of running , jumping, push ups, heavy lifting, biking whatever you like to do but let the heart (pulse) rate be heavy loaded …

cardio-Exercises_Guide-you-can-do-at-home


5. Hanging on a lever (recommended not by the good doctor but by Dr. Georgiev e.g. hip0 myself) 🙂

Just find a lever and hang for about 60 seconds every day

Hanging-a-lever-helps-Spine-decompression-relieves-symptoms-of-herniated-disc
Image Source BackIntelligence.com (Image Copyrighted by Leon Turetsky)

Following this routine of exercises: will not cost you too much of a time daily

a. It is (3×15 minutes cardio) is 45 minutes of exercise (and maybe another 5 to 15 minutes to go to where you practice it) = 60 minutes (1 hour)

b. Each hour 1 minute of exercises (approximately 14 hours is 14 minutes or at worst case if it takes you two minutes to do the complex of exercises 2×14 = 28 minutes.

c. tightening the stomach once learned is 0 seconds and 0 minutes.

d. hanging (if you choose to do this as well) is 60 seconds (1 minute) – going to the lever is another 3 to 5 minutes at worst case (lets say an overall of 6 minutes)

f. change position of the body every 15 minutes (costs you just up to 5 secs) or (14 hours x (4 x 15) = 60 secs) – that means another 14 minutes.

So the overall time for keeping your spine and neck in a good shape is (28 + 14 + 6 + 0 + 60 minutes) = 108 minutes, that is less than 1 hours and 48 minutes at worst scenario a day.

One helpful program in oder to remind you to not forget your exercises schedule if you choose to give it a try is Workrave see here my previous article on how it can help you Preserve health  from computer Caused Strain Injury (RSI).

But the advantages of following this exercise routine would be your:

1. bettered overall health,
2. less noise in head,

3. better digestion,

4. less strain and pain in neck and back,

5. feeling less anxiety and stress,

6. feeling happier (more Serotonin and Dopamine and other liquids that are boosting mood and helping brian work are pumped up more regularly into the brian),

7. a better concentration / focus on things (something most computer specialists and computer related jobs people miss seriously,

8. a better memory and a better sleep + following the standard school gymnastics exercises is much more safe when compared to Fitness,

9. Less Body Mental Fatigue (as most people with Herniated cervical disc suffer from a body fatigue that often affects the mind and creates a mental fatigue)

10. You don't risk to receive a body or muscle trauma that will last for a life time 🙂

Well, I hope that article helps someone with a herniated disc out or at least serve as a BIG WARNING and push people involved in IT, Digital Marketing, Programming, Logistics and mostly all professionals who require a long hours of hovering in front of the PC to realize the great dangers all this keeps for their health and get more physical activity daily to protect timely from ending up with a spinal digenerative disease and suffer 'till the end of life.

I will be mostly glad to hear if anyone had a personal experience with herniated disc and any spinal / neck degenerative disease and give me more hints on useful things that help in living a life with a herniated disc disease?

Thanks for reading  !

Baby boomers and Generation X, Y, Z – Generational Marketing and 4 Common personality stereotype traits of people born over the last 60 years

Saturday, August 18th, 2018

baby-bommers-and-x-y-z-generations

Those who are employed in the realm of Social or Internet Marketing definitely have to know the existence of at least 4 different conditional stereotypes, these are Baby Boomers and Generation X, Generation Y and Generation Z (Millenials).

According to Socielogist Karl Mannheim (who is among the founding fathers of classical socielogy) – "All members of a generation share a similar collective experience" or in other words people are categorized in generations depending on when they were born.

As stereotypes they're generalization of people born in different periods of time and sharing same or similar traits.
Because of the age and the conditions they grew up and as they share those general spirit of time and age, they tend to be more or less behaving in a similar ways in how they think save / spend money or share some common approach to life choices and attitude towards life and worldview.

But before proceeding to the 4 main cohert provisional stereotypes, its worthy to mention how these four common trait generations came to existence with a little bit of pre-history.

The pre WW I and WW II world situation and the First and Second World War played a pivotal role in forming the social conditions necessery for the development of the baby boomers.

* The depression Era people

Born in period: 1912 – 1921 who came at full maturity around 1930-1939 right in the beginning of WW I (all of whom are already deceased) as of 2018 as a cause of the war uncertainty and the havoc and the war conditions were very conservative, compulsive savers, tried their best to maintain a low debt. They had the mindset (responsibility) to leave some kind of legacy to their children. They were very patriotic, oriented towards work before pleasure, had a great respect for authority and had a strong sense of moral obligation. For all this character traits of this people undoubtfully a key role played the strong belief in God mostly all people had at the time.

The next in line conditional stereotype of people that came to earth are the:

* The World War II Generation
 

Born in year period: 1922 to 1927 who came to a mature age exactly at the terrible years of Second World War.

People of that time were either fighters for or against the Axis Powers or the Central Powers with the common shared goal to fight against the enemy (of course there are multiple of people who were just trying to survive and not taking a side in this meaningless war).

The current amount of people living are estimated to few million of deathbed elders  worldwide.

As above conditional generations types mentioned are of importance for historical reasons and most of the people belonging to those depression pre WWI and WW II era are dead or just a few millions an overall in un less-consuming age (excluding the medicine consumption which is higher compared to youngsters).

I'll further proceed further with the Baby Boomers, GEN X, Y, Zs who are de-facto the still active members participating to society and economy more or less.

baby-boomers-generation-x-y-z-chart-table-by-year-of-birth

So what are these 4 Stereotypes of Generations that and why are so important for the modern marketers or business manager?

 

1. BABY BOOMERS also called for a short (Boomers)
 

we-are-who-are-baby-boomers

These are people who have been defined by a birth year range (period) from early to mid 1940s  until 1960 and 1964.

 In Europe and North America, boomers are widely identified with privilege, as many grew up in a time of widespread government subsidies in post-war housing and education, and increasing affluence.

As a group, baby boomers were considered the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation up to the era in which they arrived, and were amongst the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time. They were also the generation that received peak levels of income; they could therefore reap the benefits of abundant levels of food, apparel, retirement programs, and sometimes even "midlife crisis" products. The increased consumerism for this generation has been regularly criticized as excessive (and that's for a good reason).

One feature of the boomers was that they have tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before or that has come afterward. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the changes they were bringing about. This rhetoric had an important impact in the self perceptions of the boomers, as well as their tendency to define the world in terms of generations, which was a relatively new phenomenon. The baby boom has been described variously as a "shockwave" and with a methapors such as as "the pig in the python".

 

2. Generation X / GEN X

generation-x-who-are-they-gen-x-explained-picture

Generation X is considered the people born in the following birth year period 1960 forward in time until 1980s. A specific feature in the 60s-80s period was the shifting societal values, perhaps the spring of this generation was also connected to the increasing role and spread of communism in the world.
Sometimes this generation was referred as the "latchkey generation".
The term generation X itself was popularized largely by Douglas Coupland in his novel 1991 novel Generation X Tales for an Accelerated Culture

A very common trait for Generation X was the reduced adult supervision over kids when compared to previous generations a result of increasing divorce rates and the increased role of one parent children upbringing (in most cases that was the mother) which had to be actively involved as a workforce and lacked physically the time to spend enough time with its children and the increased use of childcare options in one parent families.

They were dubbed the "MTV" (Music Television) generation – that was a hit and most popular music TV in the early 1990s.
The kids representing generation X were described as slackers, cynical and disaffected.

The cultural influences dominating the tastes and feelings of the teen masses of that generation was musical genres such as punk music, heavy metal music, grunge and hip-hop and indie films (independent films)  produced outside of the major film studio system.

According to many researches in midtime those generation are described as active, happy and achieving a work-life balance kind of lifestyle.

People belonging to Generation X are described as people with Enterpreneural tendencies.

Just to name a few of the celebrities and successful people who belong to this generation, that's Google's founder Sergey Brinn & Larry Page (born in 1973), Richard Stallman (founder of Free Software movement) as well movie and film producer celebrities such as Georgi Clooney, Lenny Kravitz, Quantin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, David Fincher etc.

According to United Kingdom survey study of 2500+ workers conducted by Workfront, GEN X are found to be among the hardest working employees in today's workforce. They are also ranked high by fellow workers for having a strong work ethics (about 59.5%), being helpful (55.4%) and very skilled (54.5%) of respondents as well marked as the best troubleshooters / problem solvers (41.6%) claimed so.
According to research conducted by Viacom, gen x they have a high desire for flexibility and fulfillment at work.

3. Generation Y (Millenials) – GEN Y
 

who-are-generation-y-millenials-explained

Following Generation X came on earth Genreation Y the birth period dated for this kids were years are stretchy year period that this generation is described are years 1980s – 1990s to yearly 2000s where birth period range of those ppl ends.
This kids are descendants of the GEN X and second wave Baby Boomers.
In the public this generation is referred as "echo boomers".

The Millenials characteristics are different based on the region of birth, they're famous for the increased familiarity with communication, media and digital technologies.

millenials-focus-on-technology-innovation-and-their-technological-preferences

There upbringing was marked by increase in liberal approach to politics.
The Great recession crisis of the 2000s played a major impact on this generation because it has caused historical high levels of un-employment among youngsters and led to a possible long term economic and social damage to this generation.

millennials-are-heavily-influenced-by-their-peers
Gen Y according are less brand loyal and the speed of the Internet has led the cohort to be similarly flexible and changing in its fashion, style consciousness and where
and how it is communicated with.

As I am born in 1983 me and my generation belongs to Generation Y and even though Bulgaria before 1991 was a Communist regime country, I should agree that I and many of my friends share a very similar behavior and way of thinking to the GEN Y stereotype described, but as I was born in a times of transition and Bulgaria as a Soviet Union Satellite at the time has been lacking behind in fashion and international culture due to the communist regime, me and my generation seem to be sharing a lot of common stereotype characteristics with Generation X such as the punk-rock, metal, hip-hop culture MTV culture and partly because of the GEN X like overall view on life.

Among most famous representative successful people of the Millenials generation are Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder), Prince William (the second in line to the British throne), Kim Jong Un (the leader dictator of North Korea) etc.
 

 

4. Generation Z ( GEN Z) / iGeneration / Generation Sensible (Post Millenials)
 

who-are-generation-y-millenials-explained

Following Millenials generation is GEN Z, demographers and researchers typically set as a starting birth date period of those generation 1990s and mid 2000s. As of time of writting there is still no clear consensus regarding ending birth years.

This is the so called Internet Generation because this generation used the internet and Smart Mobile Phone technology since a very young age, they are very confortable with technology (kinda of wired) and addicted to social media such as Facebook / Twitter / Instagram etc. Because of the level of digital communication, many people of this generation are more introvert oriented and often have problems expressing themselves freely in groups. Also they tend to lack the physical communication and more digitally community oriented, even though this depends much also on the specific personality and in some cases it is exactly the opposite.

 

 * Summary
 

As a Marketer, Human Resources hiring personal specialist, a CEO or some kind of project / business manager it is a good idea to be aware of these 4 common stereotypes. However as this are stereotypes (and a theory) as everything theoritized the data is slighly biased and untrue. The marketer practice shows that whoever conducts a marketing and bases his sales on this theoritizing should consider this to be just one aspect of the marketing campaign those who are trying to sell, stuff ideas or ideology to any of those generation should be careful not to count 100% on the common traits found among the above 4 major groups and consider the individuality of person everyone has and just experiment a little bit to see what works and what doesn't.

Also it should be mentioned these diversification of stereotypes are mostly valid for the US citizens and Westerners but doesn't fully fit to ex-communist countries or countries of the Soviet union, those countries have a slightly different personality traits of person born in any of the year periods defined, same is more or less true for the poor parts of Africa and India, Vietnam, China and mostly all of the coomunist countries ex and current. It should be said that countries who belonged to the Soviet Union many of which are current Russian Federation Republics have a personality traits that are often mixture of the 4 stereotypes and even have a lot of the traits that were typical for the WW I and WW II generations, which makes dealing with this people a very weird experience.

Nomatter the standard error that should always considered when basing a marketing research hypothesis on Generational Marketing (using generational segmentation in marketing best potential customer targets), having a general insight and taking in consideration those stereotypes could seriously help in both marketing as well as HR specific fields like Change Management.

generation-x-y-z-characteristics

If you're a marketer, I recommend you take a quick look also on following very educative article Generational Makarketing and how to target each of the GEN X, Y, Z and Baby Boomers and what works best for each of them.

Nomatter what just like all Theories, the theory of Boomers and the Generation segmantation is not completely true, but it gives a good soil for reasoning as well definitely helps for people involved in sociology and business.

Comments and feedback on the article are mostly welcome as the topic is very broad and there is much more to be said …

Hope the article was interesting to you ….

What was your Generation like?

What Every Body is Saying – one of Best books on Body Language ever written

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

how-to-learn-to-read-people-and-become-a-better-communicator-What-every-body-is-saying-book-cover

Those interested in People Reading or holding a Management position position job inside some Small or Mid sized corporation could benefit greatly of a Book called
What Every Body is Saying

What Every Body is Saing is written by an ex-FBI Agent (JOE NAVANNO), probablythere are no actually ex-FBI agents, but that's a topic for another post.

The book is quick to read, especially if you follow the pictures of Body postures shown with their little description below.
Many of the Body Languages so commonly adopted by multitudes of people, thanks to the American of the Culture world-wide are being practiced
in some degree in mostly all people you might know (mostly unconsciously) …


What Every Body is Saying could be of a great help to people who want to make through in life and for Start-up company CEOs, Human Resource Managers, or anyone who want to better learn to communicate and Influence People.

Even in a normal family relations, being able to properly identify the Body Language of your Wife or kids would seriously benefit you and if you keep attention (focus) would reveal there short term-plans.

what-sitting-posture-is-sayingbook-what-every-body-is-saying

Adopting some of the suggested body languages in the book would definitely help you improve how people perceive you and practising some so called "Confident postures" could even boost your Confidence levels dramatically both when you're alone or when you are in a group of people or A Company Team Meeting.

Reading the Person Body language is of a great help also to understand the approximate Emotional / Spiritual state the person in front of you is and even if applied proparly could help you make the person or group of people be positively influenced to change from a negative to positive mindset
or when working on a project, could help you dramatically to make the people work more efficiently and boost their motivation / mood about the things, they have to someday do anyways.

The reader has to know of course that most of the mentioned body language cues are generalizations and in order to find out the exact messages being sent on non-verbal communication level depends on a multiple factors and many of the Body languages talked might be in a modified form and even some could be totally different from any of the described of the book.

However the observation practice (at least mine) shows that at least 60-70% of the described Body Language postures are adopted and used by mostly anyone out there.
To check the validity of the things described in the books just sit somewhere in a park or in a bar / caffeteria and watch carefully how people interact, you will be surprised how many things are being communicated non-verbally and how often the lack of one of the two, or two have severe communication issues, just because they couldn't synchronize their body language or lack the ability to read the other interlocutor's processed and communicated intentions.

The book when red at least for me was a wide eyes opener and even though as a Christian, I've always been doubting that any-generalization model trying to frame up people is very untrue and trying to influence people with your Body Language is bad sinful (kinda of satanic) practice, realizing that even Christians does communicate and do use body language (because they're conditioned by the society they lived in), that means that improving your Body Language to be more convincing in mostly anti-christian society we live can do you good favour to be adequate in society, or at least you can be aware of the existence of the Body Language and its meaning.

By the way, many of the models and gestures as translated described as a behaviour body interpretations are perhaps highly used nowadays by Agents across all the major Secret Services agencies such as CIA, MI6, KGB, Mussad etc.

book-what-every-body-is-saying_or-how-to-improve-your-daily-relations-by-reading-people

This kind of things are learned in most business universities nowadays, but the way the Body Reading / Influencing knowledge is communicated in Business universities is a disaster, because it is usually compiled by Professors who alone are not expert or haven't been advanced enough in body language.
Thus even like that if you read the book, I'm sure you will benefit and perhaps reread it at least a couple of times in the coming years …

A summary of the book goes like this:

1. It starts with a short story on how the author get acquainted to the knowledge of body language and his personal life events

The author Joe Navarro was an emigrant from Cuba to US as the age of 8, because the author inability to speak English at all, his best way to understand what the other was saying or communicating in the first few years in US was to observe closely what the person in front was communicating non-verbally and makes guesses, what that could be.
His family and grandmother also played a key role to help him learn the craft of Body Language reaading.

Growing up and graduating college in the age of Baby Boomers, Joe Navarro was hired in FBI where he spend the following years as an agent specializing in Counter Intelligence
and behavior assessment.

2. It continues as the knowledge on Body interprations is being served in a very stuffed manner

 

what-everybody-is-saying-back-book-cover

The 3 key things to remember out of the book goes like that:

    A. At least 60% of what you say is not coming out of your mouth.
    B. There’s one more option next to fight or flight responce our brain does automatically
    C. To become a master at reading body language, you have to develop situational awareness.

The book claims that people tend to be stuck into 3 main states (as a result of the evolutionary development of species (Creationists and Christian fundamentalists could argue seriously here 🙂 ) , whenever facing a difficult situation these are:

  • Freeze
  • Fight
  • Flight

To sum up if you're looking for new ways to improve your current relationships with people and build a new ones, the book would definitely help you tremendously.
I've found the book in a PDF format with few simple searches online so those who can't afford it could also download it from the internet (at least as of time of writting this article).
A lot of the exampled Body confidence / influence postures described in the book you will find on mostly any Kids Cartoon and Internet top shows and in mostly everybody from TED Talks show and mostly all Youtube educational videos and podcasterers.

That's all Folks, Enjoy reading!

 

 

A lightweight Email Client Graphical client for old computers with Linux (Claws)

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

claws-email-logo-best-email-leightweight-client-for-older-computer-configurations-with-linux.

If you happen to be system administrating an old computers with some 512 Megabytes of RAM or 1 Gigabyte of Memory with preinstalled some archaic version of GNU / Linux distro such as Slackware, Calderra Linux,  Debian / Ubuntu / Fedora etc. and there is suddenly need to use this PCs with a decent graphical email client for its existing GUI environment LXDE / XFCE / WindowMaker / Mate etc. then Mozilla Thunderbird

Definitely won't be the client of choice especially if you have to add 5 or 10 email accounts (with a few hundred of emails laying on the remote mail server) to be periodically fetched via POP3 or IMAP protocol.

Of course there is always the option to just use a simple Text Email clients such as Fetchmail, PINE or MUTT and unload the PCs memory and CPU with the simplistic text interface however as most people are totally unacquainted with Linux console or terminal, for most that won't be the option of choice.
 

  • So what is the best solution for a lightweight Graphical Email Client for Linux for Old Computers ?


!!! Say Hello to Sylpheed CLAWS EMail Desktop client !!!

Best-Email-client-for-old-computers-with-Linux-Sylpheed-Claws_1-screenshot-on-Window-Maker

 

 

linux:~# apt-cache show claws-mail|grep -i descrip -A 3 -B 1
Breaks: claws-mail-extra-plugins (<< 3.9.1-1)
Description-en: Fast, lightweight and user-friendly GTK+2 based email client
 Claws Mail is a powerful and full-featured mail client formerly called
 Sylpheed-Claws. It is also extensible using loadable plugins, which can
 provide support for additional features, like other storage formats,
 feed reader, calendar management, mail filtering, etc.

Description-md5: f9d9f85803d938ab3d5fbc85f90e263a
Multi-Arch: foreign
Homepage: http://www.claws-mail.org
Section: mail

 

A. Installing Claws Email on Debian Linux distribution
 

Assuming you need to install claws on Debian based Linux distributions;

 

debian:~# apt-get install –yes claws-mail

 


B. Installing Claws on Fedora Linux distribution

For older Fedora Linux:
 

[root@fedora ~:]# yum install claws-mail

 

On a newer Fedora Linux installations (for those who are already used to Claws and migrate to a newer computer with a fresh Fedora install)
 

[root@fedora ~:]# dhf install claws-mail

 

Note that newer versions of Fedora Linux the default yum package manager has been substituted for the newer and (said to be more) advanced dhf
 

C. Installing Claws email on Slackware Linux

Claws Mail is also available as a (Tar XZ – That's a slackware highly compressed .tar.gz equivallent which saves a lot of space for its packages), to install on slack get the package from the CD / DVD or download from internet and:

 

darkstar:~# installpkg claws-mail*.txz

 


By the way Claws mail might be also the email client of choice (for those who don't have to be bound by the slavery of Office 365 / Microsoft Office and transporters and Active Domain Controller Directory with Outlook Express.

windows_claws-email-lightweight-email-client-screenshot

Even on old Computers with Microsoft Windows Claws email (which has also a Windows 32 Bit Port) might be among the best options for those who value their computer resources and interface simplicity and hence want to save memory and CPU load.

That is it,  try and enjoy Sylpheed Claws !

 

Ancient Orthodox Christian Monastery Patleina and Great Preslav the First Bulgarian Kingdom Capital city near Shumen

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Great-Preslav-the-capital-of-the-golden-age

Recently I had the great oportunity to Visit another two great History Landmarks of my homeland Bulgaria the monastery Patleina (Saint Pantaleon (known in Slavonic tradition as Panteleimon) – in memoriam of the great healer Christian Saint) where according to Orthodox Church tradition and archeologists is the historical monastery where Saint (Tzar) King Boris the Baptizer of Bulgaria has concluded his early life as humble monk praying for the heavenly blessing and prosperity of his young Christinized Country Bulgaria.

Saint Panteleimon is famous in west Roman-Catholic Christian tradition to be one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers a patron of doctors and herbalists especially famous during the middle ages 14-19 century summoned by people as a shield against various diseases and asked for help for untreatable sicknesses.

Besides the famous monastery Patleina region is a natural reserve 40,62 hectars in North-East Bulgaria, after 893 just few years after the Christianization of Bulgaria in 865 by King Boris the region is famous for being a host of a world famous ancient Presval Literary School near the region are found the oldest known cyriic datable inscriptionsJust to name a few of the famous Preslav Literary School authors that is Saint Naum of Preslav, Bishop Constantine of Preslav (Author of Alphabet Prayer), Historics and various other ancient Bulgarian spiritual literature, John the Exarch, Tchernorizets Hrabar etc.

Notable to see near Patleina monastery are Orthodox Christian icon craftman workshops.

Ceramic_icon-workshops-Patleina-region

Ceramic Icon Workshops near Patleina region (picture source Wikipedia)

Patleina-monastery-signature
 

Just 6 km away from Patleina is situated another Great Historical Landmark, the first Bulgarian capital Great Preslav (Veliki Preslav).
 

9th-century-monastery-Patleina-remains-Bulgaria

9th century Monastery Patleina Church wall remains – picture source Pravoslavieto.com

Patlejna-9th-century-King-Boris-Monastery

Patlejna (Also known as Saint King Boris Monastery) IX century entrance Church wall remains
 

Patleina-monastery-alter-view-near-Shumen-Bulgaria

Patleina IX century monastery Church alter view
 

St._Theodor-ceraminc-icon-Veliki-Preslav

Veliki Preslav the famous Ceramic Icon found during archeological excavations in Patleina Monastery (2 km away from Veliki Preslav)
The icon style reminds of Byzantine art of 10 century, the icon image looks very much alike saint Theodor Stratilates though it not 100% proven whose image does the icon depicts – It is interesting fact that Patleinas craftman workshops are believed to be the biggest ceramic workshops on Balkans in 10th century consisting of a separate ceramic plates – picture source Wikipedia

Besides its  ancient monastery and archeological excavations Patleina region is famous for being a reserve keeping one rare type of tree Carob Tree (or Ceratonia siliqua).

Just about 300 meters away from the ancient monastery Patleina there is functioning monastery that was recently restored bought back by Bulgarian Orthodox Church from the Government, the monastery building started in the 1930s (in which Bulgaria was in a serious spiritual and economical boom, however the building completed right before the completion of the Second World War before 9.09.1944 the date at which the Third Bulgarian Kingdom finished its existence and the communist came to power.

Monastery-Saint-Panteleimon-near-Patleina-region-Shumen

Saint Panteleimon Monastery Patleina region – (notice the unusual architecture, the whole monastery is one big rounded monastic wall

Saint_Panteleimon-Monastery-Patleina-region-monastic-walls

Saint Panteleimon Monastery near Veliki Preslav (picture source pravoslavieto.org)

The monastery saint Panteleimon was planned as in impressive building as in the 30's there was a hope for a restoration of Patleina as a spiritual center that will elevate itself to the importance it once had in the 9th century for the raise of Bulgarian Empire, the building is 4 floor and has the shocking number of 120 rooms. 
The fresh air and nature all surrounding it makes it a great place for rest for people who are overwhelmed by their daily stressful life and as far as I understood there is possibility for renting some of the rooms for a couple of days for pilgrims or even tourists.

Currently the whole enormous monastery is inhabited by only one monk Hieromonk Father Constantne who is also appointed as an Abbot of the Monastery and is in process of doing his best for restoration of the monastery and building a monastic brotherhood.

Hieromonk_Konstantin-Patleina-monastery-near-Shumen

Hieromonk Konstantin (the only abbot and monk of saint Panteleimon monastery near Shumen)

As it is visible from the picture (the boxes under the icon of the Virgin Mary) the monastery has holy relics of Saint Panteleimon and relics of few other saints. What is interesting about father Konstantin is he used to be working in the Bulgarian Atomic Central (AEC Kozlodoi) scientific work before he converted to become a fervent Christian. 

After father Konstantin understood God is a reality he decided to dedicate his life to Christ and he used to be a (novice – neophyte) in the Holy Mouth Athos monk republic in the Bulgarian Monastery saint George for 8 years!!!

It seems in this years father Konstantin realized he would be more helpful to become a monk in Bulgaria instead of Holy Mount Athos as here in Bulgaria, there is a lack of monks at the moment Bulgaria has according to what I heard a maximum of about 200 (monks and nuns) which is critically low.

Holy Liturgy Church service is being served regularly in the small monastic Church which is more looking like a Chapel and is on the first floor situated in the monastery building.

Father Constantine is famous for his hospitally just like most of the Holy Athos monks and right after the Sunday Service it is a tradition to feed all his guests, as a guests we were richly fed and we shared his lunch table just like Agape (the dinners of love of ancient Christian times).

To find out more about Saint Panteleimon Monastery check out the monastery official site here.

Very near to Patleina Monastery there are other great landmarks for those interested in archeology as Veliki Preslav (Great Preslav) the first Bulgarian Capital and Ancient Center of Orthodoxy who had a major influence on Russian Cyrillic and Orthodoxy and from where most likely many Christian icons and books were transferred later to Russia to help them raise their spirituality after Baptizmal of Russia is situated just few km away.

Fortress-Great-Preslav_entrance-walls

Entrance Walls fortress Great Preslav (picture source Izvora)

Fortress-Walls-Veliki_Preslav_walls_Enev

Fortress Walls Great Preslav – The First Bulgarian Capital (ruins from the IX-Xth century) – picture source Wikipedia

In the historical Veliki Preslav the most notable archeological remain is the so called Golden Church

Great-Preslav_Golden_Church_Klearchos_2

Great Preslav the famous Golden Church – the Church was partially restored to show the visitor how approximately it might have looked like in the X-XII century (The church was found during archeological excavations in 1927-1928 by Krystio Miatev and Jordan Gospodinov – according to  written sources from 907 by Tudor Doksov, the Church coincides with the Church built by Simeon I the Great who proclaimed himself an Emperor of Bulgaria 

Veliki-Preslav-The-Golden-Church-the-Round-Church

Preslav the Golden Church (also famous as the Round Church) – picture source fonstola.ru

The-Round-Church-Cross-on-a-stone

Cross on a Stone The Round Church – photograped by Angel Pavlov


Great-Preslav-Patleina-region-visit-view

Patleina and Great Preslav region view

Another Memorial Church worthy to visit in the region is situated on another fortress nearby to Great Preslav. The Memorial Church has the size of a Cathedral and is one of the biggest Cathedral Churches in Bulgaria.
 

Saint-Cyril-and-Methodius-Cathedral-Memorial-Church-Veliki-Preslav

Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius Memorial Church (In veneration of the creators of Glagolic Alphabet, later Bulgarian Cyrillic Alphabet)

St. St. Cyril and Methodius Church was planned as a memoriam of Saint Methodius (1000 years since his passing to Christ) planned to be build earlier in 1890s but delayed and later built in memorium of the Christianization of Bulgaria and 1000 years passed since the glorious Rule of King Simeon I, the Church building works completed thanks to Metropolitan Simeon in 1926 (the building works were delayed from 1897 'till 1918) A.D..

Very near the Church, one can see the ruins of another old Monastery dating again from the IX – X century, the construction is of a massive craved stone and was a masterpiece in the X century.

As an ex monastery the place can be considered holy as well and some people says it along with Veliki Preslov are a Gracious Energy filled places that can positively impact the human spirit.

Very near is situated also an Archeological Museum containing some of the artefacts found in Patleina, Veliki Preslav and the surrounding monasteries  – the museum is in the list of 100 Bulgarian National Museums and Landmarks.

Archeological-Museum-Great-Preslav-near-Patleina-and-Veliki-preslav-remains

Archeological Museum Great Preslav – picture source 100 Bulgarian National Landmarks

The museum has a very unique collection of artefacts and the entrance costs of 5 EUR is bearable, note that it's closed on Sundays.
The museum has an overall of 35 000 objects but unfortunately only 1700 artefacts are shown for the visitor, it is notable for holding one of the largest collection middle age Byzantine insignias, The Preslav Golden Treasure, bronze silver and ceramic artefacts.

The archeologists so far has determined that Veliki Preslav with all its Past Greatness and enormous territory, Churches and surrounding monasteries nearby has been planned as a rivalry Empire city to Constantinople and Preslav will definitely impress you if you're keen into archeology and history, hope you visit it soon, Enjoy! 🙂

 

A great way to relax visit to Sliven Cathedral, Planetarium ( Observatory ) and an Ancient History museum in Yambol, Bulgaria

Monday, January 29th, 2018

planetarium

It is very odd that nowadays most of people, don't know even their own countries but visit many other countries and significant places, without even knowing the hidden gems (the great places you can relax in) in their own country. I'm not exception to this rule and I've never made a trip visit through whole Bulgaria even though I live here most of the time for the last 34 years of my life. Just before Christmas, I was in Pomorie Monastery for a 4 days spiritual and physical rest and it happened that one of the Monks Father Sergij with his novice monk Damian had to travel to a village near Yambol for an unexpected funeral of the Godfather of Damian.

Since they were about to travel to Jambol (Yambol) and there was 2 places in the car, they agreed to take me and my wife for a short few hours trip to Yambol. And that's how I got the great chance to visit Yambol, Bulgaria for a first time in life. I didn't know what to expect as I've never been in Yambol but only have been near by in Bakadjika's Monastery and the nearly organized Motorcycle Show Rocker feast just one time.

1. A first stop Sliven Cathedral Saint Demetrius Sliven

We jumped into the Car and father Sergij drove us to Yambol with a few minutes stop in Sliven, because father Sergij had something to do in the Metropolitan Building (Bishop Residence) in Sliven (just for info Yambol is a spiritual district of Sliven and the city is governed by Sliven's Metropolitan Joanikije), meanwhile we used the time while hiero-deacan Sergij was on his visit with the metropolitan to eat some food and have a 10 minutes walk around and a few minutes to pray in the Cathedral Sliven's Church Saint Demetrius of Sliven

Cathedral-Church-saint-Demetrius-of-Sliven

Cathedral Church saint Demetrius of Thesaloniki holds icon of saint Demetrius of Sliven

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Holy Icons of Saint Demetrius of Sliven the New Martyr (A Bulgarian Christian Martyr of the Turkish / Ottoman Slavery)

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The Church Interior a Holy Liturgy Snapshot with his eminence metropolitan Joanikij

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The Holy Relics of Saint Demetrius of Sliven new martyr

Here in Sliven, it is interesting facts that earlier there was quite an attempt from Roman-Catholicism missionaries to take over the Christian Orthodox people but by God's grace and efforts of the Holy Synod and the bishops who were governing the city, catholicism never spread widely even though catholics did they best to attract people by means of money, free education and other various mathods which franciscans and other catholic missionaries use.

Sliven historically has always been a city of revolutionaries and played a key role during the Bulgarian-Turkish Liberation war, the city has given a multitude of national heroes, it also an important war preparation center both during The Ottoman Bulgarian slavery as well as onwards during the years of communism 1944-1989, even nowdays there is a military forces in the city, near the city are a lot atomic shelters left from communism carved as caves in the mountains. Other interesting thing about Yambol is that near it are located the so called Blue Stones, which are rich of uraninite and therefore near it the region is higher in radiation.

2. Visit to the Planetarium (Observatory) in a Mathematics High School and a History museum in Yambol

Onwards we jumped in the car and travelled to (Yambol) Jambol – an old thracian city which lies on both banks of Tundzha river which lies in the historical region of Thrace. Near Jambol there is a historical ancient thracian city Kabyle.

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Ancient Thracian City near Yambol – Kabile

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Yambol Park Ormana (picture source Wikipedia)

It is interesting Yambol Peak on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Yambol.

To be honest my first impressions from Yambol were much far from excitement, you see some old buildings left from communism situated on a stiff places in a short it looked like a city of ruins of an old communist experiment, but if you put away the not ideal architecture and communistic landmarks and the kind of little depressing mood (maybe partially because of the winter) and partially because of the many buildings that are to gone through repairment works or be totally destroyed, once seeing the river and the sideview of short mountains, the mood cheers up a bit and one things maybe I was over pessimistic about this place, after all there also live people like us and perhaps they had a lof things we miss in our places.

 

Yambol center area makes big difference from rest of the city, as it seems shortly being reconstructed and it looks pretty much new and shiny while compared to rest of the city.

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Yambol city center, the 4 domes buillding leftside is an ex-turkish Bathroom, the other right side dome bld. is a Mosque
(Notice how odd and unusual seems to see some Ottoman Medieval buildings mixture with the Concrete high-heel buildings) – picture source Delnik

On our way to the city center, we passed through a Armenian Apostolic  Church building Serp Agop, all surrounded by a buildings which looked in a post-war state

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Armenian Apostolic Church – saint Agop Yambol
 

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Yambol city in pictures (src. Wikipedia)
 

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Yambol Panoramic view from Borovets (src. Wikipedia)

After having a walk on the city center, went to a caffeteria had a coffee with Svetlana and walked near river, we went to see the Ancient history museum, which keeps a lot of artefacts found in the Kabyle ancient Thracian village, the museum is also rich of national folklore costumes traditional for the regions, artefacts left from the Turkish-Russian liberation war an exposition of local poems, writtings, information about local customs connected with ancient Thracians and mostly a lot of artefacts before Christ.

To find the location of Yambol history museum, we had to ask some local people, as the museum is situated in a building that is not on the main centrain square but a bit aside in a cross street nearby.

After having really enjoyable time in the Museum, we went to look for the Planetarium (Observatory) which in my opinion is the greatest attraction in Yambol.
I've been to a Planetarium somewhere in Bulgaria one time as a kid and this experience has inspired me so much that later on in school the cosmos and the knowledge about the stars has always being in my heart and I learned Astronomy subject in 11 grade in school with such joy, that it was among the most interesting things I ever learned in life.

Yambol Planetarium is situated in a Yambol Mathematics High School and the Observatory is functional already for 47 years, the projection of the Stars is made via a complex device with a lot of lens manufactured by the famous Karl Zeiss East German optics and lens producer

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Picture Source ranica.eu

 

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Karl Zeiss lens Stars projection device in Yambol Observatory (Pretty Futuristic), ain't it?

The price of the Planetarium for a group is only 20 leva per group (10 EUR per group) and usually a group of 10 people each paying 2 eur is visiting through
prior reservation. But for people like me and my wife who don't have a previous reservation, you have to ask for a school pass by the school guard person an old good hearted man.
The price for 2 people was 5 EUR per person and we had the luck to visit the planetarium without any prior reservation, but I guess other visitors or foreigners can also agree
easily to have a visit to the Planetarium for the symbolic price of 10 eur per Planetary show.

The Planetarium's system of projection is pretty old but still the overall experience is really outstanding and it is impressive even for an grown kids like us. The lady that give us presentation
about the stars has a very indepth knowledge on astronomy and is a teacher of astronomy herself in the school (as far as I understood). The overall presentation of the stars in the Planetarium was about 2 hours and we learned tons of information about the constellations, the star order how to recognize them under a clear night sky etc. etc.

Planetarium rox and it is definitely a place to visit for people with kids, beside the planetarium room, there is an observatory with a relatively modern telescope, where on clear sky, one can enjoy watching the night sky.

Finally our trip to Yambol was over with our visit to Yambol Cathedral, saint Nicolas the Wonderworker.
The Church saint Nicolas the wonderworker was built after the Russian-Turkish liberation war, the church History starts in 1878, where a Small Russian Chapel was built by the Russian army on the place of the 2 Turkish houses. In 1894, the new Cathedral initiated by the Mayor of the city started and a Majestic Church was built whith today is an emblematic one for the city, the size of the Church is really impressive especially for a city where only 60 000 people live.

No doubt the Church is beautiful both outside and inside but unfortunately as many things in Bulgaria is to begone a reperation works so donations are welcome for sure.Yambol-Cathedral-church-st-Nikolai-chudotvorec-worndermaker

Saint Nicolas the Wonderworker Cathedral Yambol

Our trip to Yambol ended here, where we waited for father Sergij who took us with his car Daewoo and brought us back to Pomorie, where we had 2 more blessed days in Pomorie Monastery.
The trip to Yambol and the time spend with the fathers in Pomorie, as always was a real gift from God to me and my family, so if you have some free weekend and you wonder where to go in Bulgaria or you simply live or come to Burgas region and you want to change the routine boring daily pictures visit Pomorie, Sliven and Yambol, I'm sure you'll enjoy.