Posts Tagged ‘topic’

Finding top access IPs in Webserver or how to delay connects from Bots (Web Spiders) to your site to prevent connect Denial of Service

Friday, September 15th, 2017

analyze-log-files-most-visited-ips-and-find-and-stopwebsite-hammering-bot-spiders-neo-tux

If you're a sysadmin who has to deal with cracker attemps for DoS (Denial of Service) on single or multiple servers (clustered CDN or standalone) Apache Webservers, nomatter whether working for some web hosting company or just running your private run home brew web server its very useful thing to inspect Web Server log file (in Apache HTTPD case that's access.log).

Sometimes Web Server overloads and the follow up Danial of Service (DoS) affect is not caused by evil crackers (mistkenly often called hackers but by some data indexing Crawler Search Engine bots who are badly configured to aggressively crawl websites and hence causing high webserver loads flooding your servers with bad 404 or 400, 500 or other requests, just to give you an example of such obstructive bots.

1. Dealing with bad Search Indexer Bots (Spiders) with robots.txt

Just as I mentioned hackers word above I feel obliged to expose the badful lies the press and media spreading for years misconcepting in people's mind the word cracker (computer intruder) with a hacker, if you're one of those who mistakenly call security intruders hackers I recommend you read Dr. Richard Stallman's article On Hacking to get the proper understanding that hacker is an cheerful attitude of mind and spirit and a hacker could be anyone who has this kind of curious and playful mind out there. Very often hackers are computer professional, though many times they're skillful programmers, a hacker is tending to do things in a very undstandard and weird ways to make fun out of life but definitelely follow the rule of do no harm to the neighbor.

Well after the short lirical distraction above, let me continue;

Here is a short list of Search Index Crawler bots with very aggressive behaviour towards websites:

 

# mass download bots / mirroring utilities
1. webzip
2. webmirror
3. webcopy
4. netants
5. getright
6. wget
7. webcapture
8. libwww-perl
9. megaindex.ru
10. megaindex.com
11. Teleport / TeleportPro
12. Zeus
….

Note that some of the listed crawler bots are actually a mirroring clients tools (wget) etc., they're also included in the list of server hammering bots because often  websites are attempted to be mirrored by people who want to mirror content for the sake of good but perhaps these days more often mirror (duplicate) your content for the sake of stealing, this is called in Web language Content Stealing in SEO language.


I've found a very comprehensive list of Bad Bots to block on Mike's tech blog his website provided example of bad robots.txt file is mirrored as plain text file here

Below is the list of Bad Crawler Spiders taken from his site:

 

# robots.txt to prohibit bad internet search engine spiders to crawl your website
# Begin block Bad-Robots from robots.txt
User-agent: asterias
Disallow:/
User-agent: BackDoorBot/1.0
Disallow:/
User-agent: Black Hole
Disallow:/
User-agent: BlowFish/1.0
Disallow:/
User-agent: BotALot
Disallow:/
User-agent: BuiltBotTough
Disallow:/
User-agent: Bullseye/1.0
Disallow:/
User-agent: BunnySlippers
Disallow:/
User-agent: Cegbfeieh
Disallow:/
User-agent: CheeseBot
Disallow:/
User-agent: CherryPicker
Disallow:/
User-agent: CherryPickerElite/1.0
Disallow:/
User-agent: CherryPickerSE/1.0
Disallow:/
User-agent: CopyRightCheck
Disallow:/
User-agent: cosmos
Disallow:/
User-agent: Crescent
Disallow:/
User-agent: Crescent Internet ToolPak HTTP OLE Control v.1.0
Disallow:/
User-agent: DittoSpyder
Disallow:/
User-agent: EmailCollector
Disallow:/
User-agent: EmailSiphon
Disallow:/
User-agent: EmailWolf
Disallow:/
User-agent: EroCrawler
Disallow:/
User-agent: ExtractorPro
Disallow:/
User-agent: Foobot
Disallow:/
User-agent: Harvest/1.5
Disallow:/
User-agent: hloader
Disallow:/
User-agent: httplib
Disallow:/
User-agent: humanlinks
Disallow:/
User-agent: InfoNaviRobot
Disallow:/
User-agent: JennyBot
Disallow:/
User-agent: Kenjin Spider
Disallow:/
User-agent: Keyword Density/0.9
Disallow:/
User-agent: LexiBot
Disallow:/
User-agent: libWeb/clsHTTP
Disallow:/
User-agent: LinkextractorPro
Disallow:/
User-agent: LinkScan/8.1a Unix
Disallow:/
User-agent: LinkWalker
Disallow:/
User-agent: LNSpiderguy
Disallow:/
User-agent: lwp-trivial
Disallow:/
User-agent: lwp-trivial/1.34
Disallow:/
User-agent: Mata Hari
Disallow:/
User-agent: Microsoft URL Control – 5.01.4511
Disallow:/
User-agent: Microsoft URL Control – 6.00.8169
Disallow:/
User-agent: MIIxpc
Disallow:/
User-agent: MIIxpc/4.2
Disallow:/
User-agent: Mister PiX
Disallow:/
User-agent: moget
Disallow:/
User-agent: moget/2.1
Disallow:/
User-agent: mozilla/4
Disallow:/
User-agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; BullsEye; Windows 95)
Disallow:/
User-agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.0; Windows 95)
Disallow:/
User-agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.0; Windows 98)
Disallow:/
User-agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.0; Windows NT)
Disallow:/
User-agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.0; Windows XP)
Disallow:/
User-agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.0; Windows 2000)
Disallow:/
User-agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.0; Windows ME)
Disallow:/
User-agent: mozilla/5
Disallow:/
User-agent: NetAnts
Disallow:/
User-agent: NICErsPRO
Disallow:/
User-agent: Offline Explorer
Disallow:/
User-agent: Openfind
Disallow:/
User-agent: Openfind data gathere
Disallow:/
User-agent: ProPowerBot/2.14
Disallow:/
User-agent: ProWebWalker
Disallow:/
User-agent: QueryN Metasearch
Disallow:/
User-agent: RepoMonkey
Disallow:/
User-agent: RepoMonkey Bait & Tackle/v1.01
Disallow:/
User-agent: RMA
Disallow:/
User-agent: SiteSnagger
Disallow:/
User-agent: SpankBot
Disallow:/
User-agent: spanner
Disallow:/
User-agent: suzuran
Disallow:/
User-agent: Szukacz/1.4
Disallow:/
User-agent: Teleport
Disallow:/
User-agent: TeleportPro
Disallow:/
User-agent: Telesoft
Disallow:/
User-agent: The Intraformant
Disallow:/
User-agent: TheNomad
Disallow:/
User-agent: TightTwatBot
Disallow:/
User-agent: Titan
Disallow:/
User-agent: toCrawl/UrlDispatcher
Disallow:/
User-agent: True_Robot
Disallow:/
User-agent: True_Robot/1.0
Disallow:/
User-agent: turingos
Disallow:/
User-agent: URLy Warning
Disallow:/
User-agent: VCI
Disallow:/
User-agent: VCI WebViewer VCI WebViewer Win32
Disallow:/
User-agent: Web Image Collector
Disallow:/
User-agent: WebAuto
Disallow:/
User-agent: WebBandit
Disallow:/
User-agent: WebBandit/3.50
Disallow:/
User-agent: WebCopier
Disallow:/
User-agent: WebEnhancer
Disallow:/
User-agent: WebmasterWorldForumBot
Disallow:/
User-agent: WebSauger
Disallow:/
User-agent: Website Quester
Disallow:/
User-agent: Webster Pro
Disallow:/
User-agent: WebStripper
Disallow:/
User-agent: WebZip
Disallow:/
User-agent: WebZip/4.0
Disallow:/
User-agent: Wget
Disallow:/
User-agent: Wget/1.5.3
Disallow:/
User-agent: Wget/1.6
Disallow:/
User-agent: WWW-Collector-E
Disallow:/
User-agent: Xenu’s
Disallow:/
User-agent: Xenu’s Link Sleuth 1.1c
Disallow:/
User-agent: Zeus
Disallow:/
User-agent: Zeus 32297 Webster Pro V2.9 Win32
Disallow:/
Crawl-delay: 20
# Begin Exclusion From Directories from robots.txt
Disallow: /cgi-bin/

Veryimportant variable among the ones passed by above robots.txt is
 

Crawl-Delay: 20

 


You might want to tune that variable a Crawl-Delay of 20 instructs all IP connects from any Web Spiders that are respecting robots.txt variables to delay crawling with 20 seconds between each and every connect client request, that is really useful for the Webserver as less connects means less CPU and Memory usage and less degraded performance put by aggressive bots crawling your site like crazy, requesting resources 10 times per second or so …

As you can conclude by the naming of some of the bots having them disabled would prevent your domain/s clients from Email harvesting Spiders and other not desired activities.


 

2. Listing IP addresses Hits / How many connects per IPs used to determine problematic server overloading a huge number of IPs connects

After saying few words about SE bots and I think it it is fair to also  mention here a number of commands, that helps the sysadmin to inspect Apache's access.log files.
Inspecting the log files regularly is really useful as the number of malicious Spider Bots and the Cracker users tends to be
raising with time, so having a good way to track the IPs that are stoning at your webserver and later prohibiting them softly to crawl either via robots.txt (not all of the Bots would respect that) or .htaccess file or as a last resort directly form firewall is really useful to know.
 

– Below command Generate a list of IPs showing how many times of the IPs connected the webserver (bear in mind that commands are designed log fields order as given by most GNU / Linux distribution + Apache default logging configuration;

 

webhosting-server:~# cd /var/log/apache2 webhosting-server:/var/log/apache2# cat access.log| awk '{print $1}' | sort | uniq -c |sort -n


Below command provides statistics info based on whole access.log file records, sometimes you will need to have analyzed just a chunk of the webserver log, lets say last 12000 IP connects, here is how:
 

webhosting-server:~# cd /var/log/apache2 webhosting-server:/var/log/apache2# tail -n 12000 access.log| awk '{print $1}' | sort | uniq -c |sort -n


You can combine above basic bash shell parser commands with the watch command to have a top like refresh statistics every few updated refreshing IP statistics of most active customers on your websites.

Here is an example:

 

webhosting-server:~# watch "cat access.log| awk '{print $1}' | sort | uniq -c |sort -n";

 


Once you have the top connect IPs if you have a some IP connecting with lets say 8000-10000 thousand times in a really short interval of time 20-30 minues or so. Hence it is a good idea to investigate further where is this IP originating from and if it is some malicious Denial of Service, filter it out either in Firewall (with iptables rules) or ask your ISP or webhosting to do you a favour and drop all the incoming traffic from that IP.

Here is how to investigate a bit more about a server stoner IP;
Lets assume that you found IP: 176.9.50.244 to be having too many connects to your webserver:
 

webhosting-server:~# grep -i 176.9.50.244 /var/log/apache2/access.log|tail -n 1
176.9.50.244 – – [12/Sep/2017:07:42:13 +0300] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 403 371 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MegaIndex.ru/2.0; +http://megaindex.com/crawler)"

 

webhosting-server:~# host 176.9.50.244
244.50.9.176.in-addr.arpa domain name pointer static.244.50.9.176.clients.your-server.de.

 

webhosting-server:~# whois 176.9.50.244|less

 

The outout you will get would be something like:

% This is the RIPE Database query service.
% The objects are in RPSL format.
%
% The RIPE Database is subject to Terms and Conditions.
% See http://www.ripe.net/db/support/db-terms-conditions.pdf

% Note: this output has been filtered.
%       To receive output for a database update, use the "-B" flag.

% Information related to '176.9.50.224 – 176.9.50.255'

% Abuse contact for '176.9.50.224 – 176.9.50.255' is 'abuse@hetzner.de'

inetnum:        176.9.50.224 – 176.9.50.255
netname:        HETZNER-RZ15
descr:          Hetzner Online GmbH
descr:          Datacenter 15
country:        DE
admin-c:        HOAC1-RIPE
tech-c:         HOAC1-RIPE
status:         ASSIGNED PA
mnt-by:         HOS-GUN
mnt-lower:      HOS-GUN
mnt-routes:     HOS-GUN
created:        2012-03-12T09:45:54Z
last-modified:  2015-08-10T09:29:53Z
source:         RIPE

role:           Hetzner Online GmbH – Contact Role
address:        Hetzner Online GmbH
address:        Industriestrasse 25
address:        D-91710 Gunzenhausen
address:        Germany
phone:          +49 9831 505-0
fax-no:         +49 9831 505-3
abuse-mailbox:  abuse@hetzner.de
remarks:        *************************************************
remarks:        * For spam/abuse/security issues please contact *
remarks:        * abuse@hetzner.de, not this address. *
remarks:        * The contents of your abuse email will be *
remarks:        * forwarded directly on to our client for *
….


3. Generate list of directories and files that are most called by clients
 

webhosting-server:~# cd /var/log/apache2; webhosting-server:/var/log/apache2# awk '{print $7}' access.log|cut -d? -f1|sort|uniq -c|sort -nk1|tail -n10

( take in consideration that this info is provided only on current records from /var/log/apache2/ and is short term for long term statistics you have to merge all existing gzipped /var/log/apache2/access.log.*.gz )

To merge all the old gzipped files into one single file and later use above shown command to analyize run:

 

cd /var/log/apache2/
cp -rpf *access.log*.gz apache-gzipped/
cd apache-gzipped
for i in $(ls -1 *access*.log.*.gz); do gzip -d $i; done
rm -f *.log.gz;
for i in $(ls -1 *|grep -v access_log_complete); do cat $i >> access_log_complete; done


Though the accent of above article is Apache Webserver log analyzing, the given command examples can easily be recrafted to work properly on other Web Servers LigHTTPD, Nginx etc.

Above commands are about to put a higher load to your server during execution, so on busy servers it is a better idea, to first go and synchronize the access.log files to another less loaded servers in most small and midsized companies this is being done by a periodic synchronization of the logs to the log server used usually only to store log various files and later used to do various analysis our run analyse software such as Awstats, Webalizer, Piwik, Go Access etc.

Worthy to mention one great text console must have Apache tool that should be mentioned to analyze in real time for the lazy ones to type so much is Apache-top but those script will be not installed on most webhosting servers and VPS-es, so if you don't happen to own a self-hosted dedicated server / have webhosting company etc. – (have root admin access on server), but have an ordinary server account you can use above commands to get an overall picture of abusive webserver IPs.

logstalgia-visual-loganalyzer-in-reali-time-windows-linux-mac
 

If you have a Linux with a desktop GUI environment and have somehow mounted remotely the weblog server partition another really awesome way to visualize in real time the connect requests to  web server Apache / Nginx etc. is with Logstalgia

Well that's all folks, I hope that article learned you something new. Enjoy

Thanks for article neo-tux picture to segarkshtri.com.np)

Religulous – An Atheist movie preaching false ideas about Christianity – Religulous Orthodox Christian perspective

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Religulous-anti-Christian-movie-Psalm-14-vers-1-the-fool-said-in-his-heart-there-is-no-God
Most of my colleagues at work know I am Christian and as we have our lunch  together almost daily, have a friend talks in our rest time etc. … it is quite normally we have talks on topic of philosophy and religion.

Most of them (like a lot of IT people have atheistic views as most people nowdays, even though I'm sure they believe deep in their hearts in good and wait / search for God's salvation and mercy.)
In that short talks often, I've been pranked, questioned and probably even thought crazy for believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Gospel. That's okay as this is normal as in almost all ages Christians, were mocked for their faith by skeptics and disbelievers.

In our talks often, my colleagues try to convince me their believe "There is no God" and they think in a way that religion is only for old fashioned and stupid people, because they think the modern dilusion that science and religion are controversial.
Since some time one of my colleague tells me about an atheistic movie of an atheist who made a movie called Religulous. After, I've been told about the movie about 5 times, I decided to spend some and research on it, because I firmly believe it is the next "holywood" style easily digestable movie made "the holywood way". Below is my rationalization and findings about the movie.

The movie title Religulous is selected as a prank from the word "Ridiculous". Before you further read I warn you if you're an Orthodox Christian to not watch it for it is not worthy to spend 1:40 minutes of your wife watching such a nonsense.

Religulous is American documentary film from 2008, directed by Larry Charles and starring comedian Bill Maher. In the Movie Bill Maher travels to different religion holy places (Jerusalem, Vatican, Salt Lake city) and pranks interviewing believers from variety of religions believes. Uneasy questions misleading questions are asked to different people and he makes prank of answers. Of course it is very easy to make someone a fool who doesn't have idea about basics of world religions and present your arguments in a convincing way among people who doesn't have deep understanding on Christianity branches and history.

If one takes a quick time to research on who is Bill Maher, he finds he is a ardently liberal who has deep disrespect and hate for Christianity based on a personal bitter experience in Catholicism (curiously his mother is Jewish) and one finds Maher disregards Christianity not based on facts but on personal bitter experiences from Roman Catholicism.
In religulous it is preached, that religion must die to liberate the family from unneeded slavery which is pretty much what the communists in the bolshevik revolution believed – meaning his idea is nothing new but rebranded atheism. Just for information, there were people with such hatred and ideas during the last 2000 years, so somehow this guy, reinvents the steel.

In the movie Maher travels the world with director of  Borat Cultural Learnings of America for  Make benefit Glorious notion of Khazakstan – Larry Charles (which is another mockery "commedy" movie).
Even by reading IMDB movie description gives you idea the movie is not serious and it is highly ridiculous to use such non-sense to attack Christianity, along which civilization gravitated and thanks to which we have a well developed modern civilization.  What Maher claims is about  1/3 of population on earth – 2.5 billion are stupid and inferior to atheists).

Here is IDMB's storyline quote:

Bill Maher interviews some of religion's oddest adherents. Muslims, Jews and Christians of many kinds pass before his jaundiced eye. Maher goes to a Creationist Museum in Kentucky, which shows that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time 5000 years ago. He talks to truckers at a Truckers' Chapel. (Sign outside: "Jesus love you.") He goes to a theme park called Holy Land in Florida. He speaks to a rabbi in league with Holocaust deniers. He talks to a Muslim musician who preaches hatred of Jews. Maher finds the unlikeliest of believers and, in a certain Vatican priest, he even finds an unlikely skeptic.

It is obvious from this description that the movie is not to consider serious and what the people on this movie would say is not to be considered authoritative as they're not even theologians, but random people. Also what Maher did in this movie is to select weak and mixed people to mock intentionally Christianity.

Even though in the movie various religions are mocked the accent of his mockery is christianity and this is not a coincidense but because, Christianity has most adherents.
The movie is highly manipulative, just like another openly anti-Christian movie Zeitgeist.
The guy opens the movie with a scene on Megiddo, Israel with a false claim that the end of the world is going to happen on this place.

I have heard some protestant Christians took Revalation chapter of Holy Bible and interpret the written there about an End of the World all world armies battle. Actually I'm not aware that this idea is ever preached by any orthodox Christian priest, monk or elder but it is more a "free interpretation" of the holy scriptures by some protestant denomination.
Actually an interesting thing about Megiddo is on Megiddo is located the earliest Christian Church, so I guess it is a not a coincidense movie criticism starts from there. The first half of the film is mostly focused on evangelical Christians, how they believe in things like a 5,000-year-old earth, etc. Maher takes a trip to the Creation Museum in Hebron, Kentucky, where he interviews creationism guru Ken Ham against the backdrop of animatronic dinosaurs with saddles (for humans to ride on).
And he also interviews young-earth evangelical Mark Pryor, a democratic senator from Arkansas who creates some of the funniest moments of the film. To be fair, Maher also interviews Christian evolutionist Francis Collins, but he too comes out looking a bit buffoonish.

All along the journey, Maher and Charles jazz up the images with achingly sardonic voiceovers and music, and some very clever quick-cut editing (inserting 2 seconds of Charlton Heston-as-Moses at opportune moments, for example).

To show off his openness Maher, smokes pot on camera obviously preaching "freedom" the american way and live quickly and die rock'n'roll culture message. The movie is quite agressive and made in a way to make converts. The movie presents the so called self-fulfilling prophecies, believed and preached by people involved into experimental psychology (which nowdays uses early occult and shamanistic magical methods and whose practices are not based on science but on believe).

Of course to make such a movie look authentic, any connection with real historic facts in the movie are omitted.

Maher's thesis that all things evil and destructive are a result of religious delusion simply does not hold water historically!
There are already thousands of recent proofs, that lack-of religion is not panacea for all problems, take for example communism in Russia and the disbandlement of the USSR, Communistic China and the countraless atheistic regimes throughout history leading to violence and calamity in the world, totally outside of any religious motivation.

To make the non-sense movie more fun and convincing, the psychologic method of mockery is heavily used,  everything in the movie is presented in a commedy form.

Religulous a movie meant to make religious people look stupid, to "prove" that religious belief and intelligence are mutually exclusive.

Maher spends the second half of the film undermining religions and cults of every shape and size. He goes to Utah and skewers Mormonism, interviews Puerto Rican cult leader Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda (who claims to be the Antichrist), and even gets high with a leader of a religion based around marijuana. He goes to the Vatican and interviews some crazy Catholic priest, and Jerusalem to deconstruct Judaism and Islam. Maher is particularly hard on Islam, offering somewhat surprising pronouncements about the inherent violence and barbarism of that most touchy of all world religions. At moments like these, Maher might actually find allies in conservative Christian circles??

In the movie, during a debate with a Christian, Maher repeats a version of Christ myth theory derived from Gerald Massey's 1907 thesis that the myth of the Egyptian deity Horus was the source of the story of Jesus. He makes riduculous connection between the Book of the Dead and Jesus Christ.

It is pretty interesting that we Christians are often being blamed for evangelism and because of that most of Christians, fear to talk about their faith, just because true Christian faith and modern society living in confort does not align well together.

The inner essence of man is very similar in both atheists, christian, muslims, jewish, buddhists hindu etc. we are all looking for a higher meaning in life sooner or later in life. We all live by certain believes daily (I know atheists would ignore it but, a lot of the actions even the hardest atheist takes are pushed by certain belief system and faith in something (disbelieve in God is also a faith just like believe in God). Actually being an atheist is a tough thing, because atheists just like us christians spend time to reinforce their disbelieve with, stories, question and answer sessions, scientific facts.

Most of atheists fall in the trap of disbelieve either because they're dishonest in their research on is there God? or because events in their life turned in a way they didn't wanted too (because of lack of what saints call humility) or because they want to justify their bad deeds. Anyways for good or bad most of people who define themselves as atheists and follow the "spiritual wind of the times" are nowadays living in the well developed high economies world and it is interesting that in this parts of the world, people have as heritage to live with general Christian mentality and Christian mindset. Christian understanding of life in most countries full of atheists is so strongly rooted in society and culture, so even the biggest anti-christ or atheist has a tendency to do goo. That a lot of those atheists who disbelieve God actually do Christiain deeds not realizing a lot of their deeds paradoxally are deeds of people who actually believe there is God.

I've noticed there are at least 3 types of atheists:

  • Passive
  • Indifferent
  • Militant (Active)

My personal observations on Atheism (as an ex-atheist), is that atheists have minimal or wrong understanding on different religions and know nothing about Orthodox Christianity and most even didin't hear about its existence, from the movie I got the impression Maher also doesn't have

I think it is not righteous to criticize Christianity without even taking full time to study it. As Orthodox Christianity is hard to grasp and unpopular faith, often the image of modern Christian is made up by protestant Church denominations and even in best cases by Roman Catholic church, so most people in even officially christian protestant / catholic countries does not have the opportunity to see true Christian ascetic faith which is still present in the Orthodox Church.

The most common attack of an atheist against Christianity is using arguments about the Roman Catholic's Crusades and Inquisition, which were conducted by the Roman Catholic Church. Most Atheists however does not knowthat in Orthodox Church, there was no inquisition and no Crusades.
Even worse Roman Catholic crusaders came and invaded and killed orthodox christians in the same way they killed anyone who rejected to accept their faith, this act never happened in Orthodox Church.

Passive and indifferent atheists often, keep calm and either haven't thought whether there is God or don't take position when one talks about faith.
Often passive and indifferent atheists are amazed to learn things pointing them that there is God and that the holy writtings are true.

The Militant (active) atheist is a rare thing to see nowadays as people are tought to be tolerant and respectful to others, however if you start talking on topic that has to deal with faith, somehow a lot of atheists start being agressive and blame you and your faith for responsible for all the evils that happened in the world.

Often active atheists are such because of some personal problem or disappointed connected to Christianity just like Maher. 
Maher and other atheists like him start developing blaming attitude to the Lord and the Church. The fact that Christianity doesn't fit someone's desires doesn't mean it is true.

In the movie one sees quite of crazy people and religious leaders, which are either uninformed about their faith or suffer from some mental problems, as with most movies to discredit Christianity, Orthodox Christianity stand point on faith is not shown. Maher suggests, as a alternative method to faith, the method of doubt actually by creating such a movie with the aim to discredit religion, he demonstrates totally the opposite, as all his findings are based on his personal faith that "There is no God" and Christianity is based on fairy-tales.

Faith has difficulties, there are a lot of sick people in the Church, things are not ideal in christian-dome, and we have to be careful not to believe or follow blindly everything we hear, but I think Maher's attitude is seriously disrespectful to things and people's believe.

In the movie, a lot of the people to be interviewed were radical and the movie makes an image of Christianity as very radical, but Maher and his movie is just like as radical as them. It is fact that there is radical things in many of protestant christian denominations and many start-up (newly believed) Christians, have the tendency to be radical, however to make his point solid  I think, Maher should have interviewed stable and educated theologian and not look for the weirdiest individuals and places in the world.

And often try to look for arguments to approve their disbelieve (finding such arguments is a tought think and this is why a lot of people who try to look for arguments against Christ and Christianity – like me some 10 years ago often end up Christian). There is not one or two movies made on topic of "Scientific Atheism" in same spirit as Religulous, if one research on the facts presented in this movie he quickly understands a lot of the presented movie facts are either untrue or are true but have nothing to do with authentic Christianity which one can find in the most ancient of Churches Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches (like for example Syriac Orthodox and Copts).

Religulous and atheistic movies from its genre are not based on true facts either historical or scientific and even often doesn't follow strong rationalism  but more or less on particular person believe. They're looking to disprove God looking from answers in a very biased way.

I would close the post with a quote from the Holy Bible Psalms chapter, clearly addressing atheist people like Maher.
 

The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.
Psalm 14:1

Russians Celebrate Christmas / Why some Orthodox Christians celebrate Nativity ( Christmas ) on 7th of January

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

rojdestvo_Iisusa_Hrista_17th-vek-srpska-ikona

Merry Christmas to all Eastern Orthodox Christians!

I wish to all my Russian blog readers Christ's blessings, Wisdom of the 3 Wise man following the star. Humility of Christ for being born in a Cave and love of Mother of God Virgin Mary and Joseph to the incarnated Lord in flesh, Joy of the universe for the Universe rejoiced seing the birth of the savior of us sinful humans!

On 7th of January, the day on which biggest part of Eastern Orthodox Church,- Russian Orthodox Church along with Ukrainian, Macedonian, Croation, Serbian Arabic and part of Greek orthodox Church and Holy Mount Athos celebrate the day of Christ's birth. The original place where the Lord Jesus Christ was born as we read in the Gospels is BethlehemAccording to Church tradition on top of the Cave (known as Grotto) where the savior was born a Church basilica was built around year 333 A.D..

church of nativity bethlehem nowadays palestine - Jesus Christ birth place

The first Church building on top of Nativity Cave begun by Saint Helena, the mother of saint Emperor Constantine.

the_cave_of_nativity-where-Christ-was-born

The Basilica was destroyed a couple of times throughout the 3th, 4th, 5th, 10-th , 14-th and 18-th centuries in attempt to wipe out memory for Christ's birth and futile attempt of early times Roman emperors to destroy christianity.
Today Bethlehem Church is situated on Palestinian territories and place for pilgrimage of both Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians. Its
interior is a very interesting mixture of a classic Orthodox Christian and a Roman Catholic basillica.

Church of the Holy Nativity Christs birth place Bethlehem

There is plenty of confusion and misunderstanding on the topic why bigger part of Christians worldwide celebrate Christmas on 24th against 25th of December and why more than half of Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate on 6th against of 7th of January?

In fact it is interesting fact that in the early Christian one holy apostolic Church, Christmas and Eastern was celebrated many times as this two feasts since beginning of the Church are center of Christian faith. In later times, when Church was already formed as an Eastern and Western Church, there are Church canons on exact date to celebrate Christmas and Eastern following the Julian Calendar (introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC). In later times with development of Science it was found that this calendar was not so precise and another Church calendar was introduced in y. 1582 by Roman Catholic pope Gregory XVIII (Gregorian Calendar named after pope). I will not get into details but from modern science Astronomical point of view Gregorian calendar is more scientifically correct. The Gregorian calendar quickly become in secular life because of its mathematical precision. And by Western Roman Catholic church Influence and desire to be more scientifically correct parts of the Eastern Orthodox Church partly accepted use of the Gregorian Calendar for counting the Church feasts. Because of that many of the feasts in those Eastern Orthodox Churches moved in forward with 13 days like the Romanian and Bulgarian Orthodox Church. However due to Church canon part of the feasts in Eastern Church can't be celebrated according to the Gregorian Calendar dates. Most important feast dates is the Resurrection day (Eastern), which according to Orthodox Church rule has always to be one week after the Jewish Pascha. There are plenty of problems that emerged due to change of acceptance of reformed Church calendar in part of the Eastern Orthodox Church, however what is most important is that the difference doesn't separate Orthodox Christian it just gives us reason to celebrate feast twice 🙂

The Lord’s prayer in Anglo Saxon (Vikings) like English and Welsh – Pater Nostra English language development 7th to 16 century

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

The story of Christianization of the nations is one of the most fascinating stories of all times. Yet people and especially historians forgot that. Modern Anthropology is based on some mambo-jambo and some speculations on the basis of rejection of God. It is my believe that people who wish to know what has really happened in the past and have a better understanding on human history should study closely Christianity.

The Lord's prayer and studying the origin and spread among languages of the Lord's prayer is one great Anthropological standpoint. While researching on The Lord's Prayer in as many languages as I can I've stumbled on rather unique fascinating information, which gives one a glimpse on how Ancient Anglo-Saxon (Viking) English looked like?

This inspired me to come with this little article in which I want to share with other brother and sisters in Christ the blessing of hearing and listening to the Lord's prayer in Ancient languages.

In Arabic world, there are plenty of theories that the Qur'an and the ancient prayers from there contain more spiritual power than the modern translated ones. Of Course we Christians knows well the Qur'an does not possess a spiritual power in truth, so I just it just as example as many Islamic people believe that too.
The topic of which languages are more blessed than others has been in wide discussion in Christian realm, way before Islamic people had their Qu'ran written.

In IX – 7th century there was a wide spread belief that there are in practice two God inspired languages, which should be used for Christian faith (Jewish, Greek and Latin).

There were people in the ancient Church for and against the understanding of the only 3 God blessed languages in which the Holy writtings – the Holy Bible and Church Liturgical texts should be written.

God's will for humanity to use mother languages to read holy scriptures and pray as well as the existence of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches all around the world has shown that this understanding is incorrect.

Even though this, the fact that there was a dispute on the topic had a good reason as the more ancient languages (in my view) had more spiritual deepness compared to newer developed mixed languages; besides that older languages are less mixed up, almost as a rule of thumb the more advanced a language is the more words from other languages it includes.

This is just my personal understanding and not a viewpoint of the one Holy Apostolic Church – The Orthodox Church. The reason why I think so is in the past people were more simple in their thinking and their understanding about the world. In my view simplicity and simple way of thinking allowed our ancestors to be more real and more closer to God, in a way offering them less options for evil, therefore I believe the ancient languages in which the Holy Bible and Church services are done like Church Slavonic, Jewish, Greek, Syriac, Coptic etc.

One of this ancient languages is Anglo-Saxon whose variation nowadays most of the world speaks in the face of modern English. As I felt so joyful to find and listen the Lord's prayer being recited in Anglo-Saxon and other ancient English-Germanic Languages, therein I decided to share the Lord's Prayer in Ancient English from XI-th century (from youtube) .


 

The Lords Prayer in Old English from the 11th century


 

The Lord's Prayer (Fæder ure) in Anglo Saxon (Old English)


 

The Lord's Prayer in Gaelic

 

The Lord's Prayer in Welsh


 

The Lord's Prayer in Old English

 


 

The Lord's Prayer in Old Norse


 

Heliand, Lord's Prayer – Old Saxon

 

The Lord's Prayer / Preier of Oure Lord in Recited Middle English John Wycliffe Bible


 

 

Lords Prayer in Proto-Celtic, Ancient British and Brythonic


 

 

Pater Noster in Old English-Middle English-Early Modern English


 

 

The Lord's Prayer in Old English (with scary voice and face :))

People who might enjoy this post might want to check out my previous attempt to collect Otche Nash – The Lord’s Prayer in 10 languages as sung by Church choires and prayed in the Orhodox Church

Color Psychology – Color Mind Programming or how big companies boost their sales and make up your mind

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Colors Programming Color mind Programming, how big companies boost their sales and make up your mind

As I've pointed earlier there is plenty of "secretly" kept and less known by public research on how colors influence us daily. The biggest companies are heavily taking advantage of what is found and known for colors impact on our minds (psyche). Actually there is a whole branch in psychology which deals with impact of colors perception on us.Besides companies, many modern governments are well aware of the many facts on how citizens percept colors and use this in color 'installment' in government offices and government institutions.

There is no universal knowledge on how colors completely affect us as every human on earth is very unique and saying this or that color has this or that impact on indivirual or group is not 100% accurate. However there are general traits nowdays formed especially with globalization and unification of TV ads and big companies corporate image, a unification started on how different nationality people perceive colors.

Nowdays in developed countries there are more and more people who perceive certain colors in similar fashion. Therefore every serious top marketer should carefully study colors and their relation with ancient time people believes and understanding on what each of the 'rainbow' colors symbolize. Most likely because there is no completely unified understanding of colors between various individuals may companies like Google and Microsoft started using all the rainbow colors in their basic company logos and branding for more on this topic please check my previous blog post Color trick Microsoft and Google use to keep their users loyal

Another large industry area, where color programming is very heavy is Computer and Video Games. You certainly still remember large portions of the games like Sega’s Sonic the HendgeHog or Mario Super Bros. or even the old arcade machines with games like Punisher or Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Street Fighter etc.
All this old arcade games have a big portion of Color programming embedded in and this is one of the main reasons we remember them for a long time and playing them evoked such a strong feelings in youth.

This trend of using colors to make up our minds is being observed for many other physical goods as well as is starting to get more and more heavy adoption by websites branding on the internet.
Actually those with most succesful businesses on the internet have already integrated some kind of color programming scheme. An example for this would be the Internet top domain names seller GoDaddy. The have adopted a green scheme as a primary color combined with some other ones to create in the customer a feeling of ecology, naturality, peace and solitude.

The study of color programming is one major field to be known by anyone truly willing to understand why certain big store chainslike Carrefour, Lidl, Billa, MediaMarkt – in western europe or TechnoMarket, TechnoPolis (MediaMarkt copied tech equipment by shops here in Bulgaria) are decorated inside the way they are. I personally didn't like the concept of color programming since from Spiritual point of view it is a big evil. Trying to manipulate people perception to do something you would like to in general is very evil from spiritual point of view. A mixture of rainbow colors in a natural environment for example flowers in the wood or wild mountain place is one thing, but making it artificial and placing it in certain pre-desired order is totally another. Besides that the colors in the natural environment are natural and therefore the impact on us even if colorful is very much better than if it is done with a certain intention like in the big supermarkets stores, fast just food companies – McDonalds, Burger King etc.

The research on color mind influcence – Color mind programming is a controversial science. Nowdays many big businesses however use this as a granted science, even whole business sects with some mambo-jambo believes universities, children garden and schools in modern countries have employed the use of some type of color programming aiming to influence their pupils, students (organizational members – you call it).
Color mind programming and heavy use on advertisements on the TV, the Internet, Stores and mostly everywhere are however starting to took their tolls. The high increase in mental problems and dumbness in developed and some undeveloped countries as well as the increased number of people who go insane because of too much color programming is reality. The believe that mental programming is one of the ultimate tools to influence somebody and push him to do things you want like consome more of a product or generally consume (buy) more goods creates another severe issue it makes people to constantly over-consume (eat more than the body needs) and this increases the number of over-consumption evoked diseases …

But color programming doesn't stop with just the material (physical) surrounding world it is a concept highly employed in online based marketing. Online business is seen on so many top used websites, social networks like take for instance (facebook). It is so spread that even the software primary vendors like Microsoft, search engines Google Inc. have already heavily employed the color programming as a basis of their products.

There is another reason why most vendors nowdays issue their physical or 'virtual' products so colorful using all the colors of the rainbow. The reason is the fact that as a kids through animation, cartoons, toys and surrounding environment we have been exposed already even from our very youth age to a kind of color programming through kids toys we've been given by our parents). Hence the young years color programming became a basis for a future time color programming. The colorfulness of our kids years are already sub-consciously stored in our minds, so almost naturally there is a feeling of joy to pop-up once we see something childishly colorful.
 

Facebook use in organizations harmful for company businesses – How to block facebook access to company or organization network on Linux routers

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Facebook harms company and organization employee efficiency picture, Falling company efficiency diagram due to facebook employee use

I don't know if someone has thought about this topic but in my view Facebook use in organizations has a negative influence on companies overall efficiency!
Think for a while, facebook's website is one of the largest Internet based "people stealing time machine" so to say. I mean most people use facebook for pretty much useless stuff on daily basis (doesn't they ??). The whole original idea of facebook was to be a lay off site for college people with a lot of time to spend on nothing.
Yes it is true some companies use facebook succesfully for their advertising purposes and sperading the awareness of a company brand or product name but it is also true that many companies administration jobs like secretaries, accountants even probably CEOs loose a great time in facebook useless games and picture viewing etcetera.

Even government administration job positioned people who have access to the internet access facebook often from their work place. Not to mention, the mobility of people nowdays doesn't even require facebook to be accessed from a desktop PC. Many people employeed within companies, who does not have to work in front of a computer screen has already modern mobile "smart phones" as the business people incorrectly call this mini computer devices which allows them to browse the NET including facebook.

Sadly Microsoft (.NET) programmers and many of the programmers on various system platforms developers, software beta testers and sys admins are starting to adopt this "facebook loose your time for nothing culture". Many of my friends actively use the Facebook, (probably) because they're feeling lonely in front of the computer screen and they want to have interaction with someone.

Anyways, the effect of this constant fb use and aline social networks is clear. If in the company the employeed personal has to do work on the computer or behind any Internet plugged device, a big time of the use of the device is being 'invested' in facebook to kill some time instead of investing the same time for innovation within the company or doing the assigned tasks in the best possible way

Even those who use facebook occasionally from their work place (by occasionally I mean when they don't have any work to do on the work place), they are constantly distracted (focus on work stealed) by the hanging opened browser window and respectively, when it comes to do some kind of work their work efficiency drops severely.
You might wonder how do I know that facebook opened browser tab would have bad interaction with the rest of the employee work. Well let me explain. Its a well known scientifically proven fact that the human mind is not designed to do simultaneously multiple tasks (we're not computers, though even computers doesn't work perfect when simultaneous tasks are at hand.).
Therefore using facebook in parallel with their daily job most people nowdays try to "multi task" their job and hence this reflects in poor work productivity per employee. The chain result cause of the worsened productivity per employee is therefore seen in the end of the fiscal quarter or fiscal year in bad productivity levels, bad or worsened quality of product and hence to poor financial fiscal results.

I've worked before some time for company whose CEO has realized that the use of certain Internet resources like facebook, gmail and yahoo mail – hurts the employee work productivity and therefore the executive directors asked me to filter out facebook, GMAIL and mail.yahoo as well as few other website which consumed a big portion of the employees time …
Well apparantly this CEO was smart and realized the harm this internet based resources done to his business. Nowdays however many company head executives did not realize the bad effect of the heavy use of public internet services on their work force and never ask the system administrator to filter out this "employees efficiency thefts".

I hope this article, will be eventually red by some middle or small sized company with deteriorating efficiency and this will motivate some companies to introduce an anti-facebook and gmail use policy to boost up the company performance.

As one can imagine, if you sum up all the harm all around the world to companies facebook imposed by simply exposing the employees to do facebooking and not their work, this definitely worsenes the even severe economic crisis raging around …
The topic of how facebook use destroyes many businesses is quite huge and actually probably I'm missing a lot of hardmful aspects to business that can be imposed by just a simple "innocent facebook use", so I will be glad to hear from people in comments, if someone at all benefits of facebook use in an company office (I seriously doubt there is even one).

Suppose you are a company that does big portion of their job behind a computer screen over the internet via a Software as a Service internet based service, suppose you have a project deadline you have to match. The project deadline is way more likely to be matched if you filter out facebook.
Disabling access to facebook of employees and adding company policy to prohibit social network use and rules & regulations prohibiting time consuming internet spaces should produce good productivity results for company lightly.
Though still the employees can find a way to access their out of the job favourite internet services it will be way harder.
If the employee work progress is monitored by installed cameras, there won't be much people to want to cheat and use Facebook, Gmail or any other service prohibited by the company internal codex

Though this are a draconian measures, my personal view is that its better for a company to have such a policy, instead of pay to their emloyees to browser facebook….

I'm not aware what is the situation within many of the companies nowdays and how many of them prohibit the fb, hyves, google plus and the other kind of "anti-social" networks.
But I truly hope more and more organizations chairman / company management will comprehend the damages facebook makes to their business and will issue a new policy to prohibit the use of facebook and the other alike shitty services.

In the mean time for those running an organization routing its traffic through a GNU / Linux powered router and who'd like to prohibit the facebook use to increase the company employees efficiency use this few lines of bash code + iptables:

#!/bin/sh
# Simple iptables firewall rules to filter out www.facebook.com
# Leaving www.facebook.com open from your office will have impact on employees output ;)
# Written by hip0
# 05.03.2012
get_fb_network=$(whois 69.63.190.18|grep CIDR|awk '{ print $2 }');
/sbin/iptables -A OUTPUT -p tcp -d ${get_fb_network} -j DROP

Here is also the same filter out facebook, tiny shell script / blocks access to facebook script

If the script logic is followed I guess facebook can be disabled on other company networks easily if the router is using CISCO, BSD etc.
I will be happy to hear if someone did a research on how much a company efficiency is increased whether in the company office facebook gets filtered out. My guess is that efficiency will increase at least with 30% as a result of prohibition of just facebook.

Please drop me a comment if you have an argument against or for my thesis.

How to run your Own / Personal Domain Web WHOIS service in a minute with SpeedyWHOIS

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Running your own personal WHOIS service speedy whois in browser screenshot

I've been planning to run my own domain WHOIS service, for quite sime time and I always postpone or forgot to do it.
If you wonder, why would I need a (personal) web whois service, well it is way easier to use and remember for future use reference if you run it on your own URL, than wasting time in search for a whois service in google and then using some other's service to get just a simple DOMAIN WHOIS info.

So back to my post topic, I postpopned and postponed to run my own web whois, just until  yesterday, whether I have remembered about my idea to have my own whois up and running and proceeded wtih it.

To achieve my goal I checked if there is free software or (open source) software that easily does this.
I know I can write one for me from scratch, but since it would have cost me some at least a week of programming and testing and I didn't wanted to go this way.

To check if someone had already made an easy to install web whois service, I looked through in the "ultimate source for free software" sourceforge.net

Looking for the "whois web service" keywords, displayed few projects on top. But unfortunately many of the projects sources was not available anymore from http://sf.net and the project developers pages..
Thanksfully in a while, I found a project called SpeedyWhois, which PHP source was available for download.

With all prior said about project missing sources, Just in case if SpeedyWhois source  disappears in the future (like it probably) happened with, some of the other WHOIS web service projects, I've made SpeedyWhois  mirror for download here

 
Contrary to my idea that installing the web whois service might be a "pain in the ass", (like is the case  with so many free software php scripts and apps) – the installation went quite smoothly.
 
To install it I took the following 4 steps:
 
1. Download the source (zip archive) with wget 
 
# cd /var/www/whois-service;
/var/www/whois-service# wget -q http://www.pc-freak.net/files/speedywhois-0.1.4.zip
 
2. Unarchive it with unzip command 
 
 
/var/www/whois-service# unzip speedywhois-0.1.4.zip
3. Set the proper DNS records

My NS are using Godaddy, so I set my desired subdomain record from their domain name manager.
 

4. Edit Apache httpd.conf to create VirtualHost
 
This step is not mandatory, but I thought it is nice if I put the whois service under a subdomain, so add a VirtualHost to my httpd.conf
 
The Virtualhost Apache directives, I used are:
 
<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerAdmin hipo_aT_pc-freak.net
        DocumentRoot /var/www/whois-service
        ServerName whois.pc-freak.net
        &lt;Directory /var/www/whois-service
        AllowOverride All
        Order Allow,Deny
        Allow from All
        </Directory>
</VirtualHost>
 
Onwards to take effect of new Webserver configs, I did Apache restart
 
# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/apache2 restart
 
Further on You can test whois a domain using my new installed SpeedyWHOISWeb WHOIS service  on http://whois.pc-freak.net
Whenever I have some free time, maybe I will work on the code, to try to add support for logging of previous whois requests and posting links pointing to the previous whois done via the web WHOIS service on the main whois page.
 
One thing that I disliked about how SpeedyWHOIS is written is, if there is no WHOIS information returned for a domain request (e.g.) a:
 
# whois domainname.com
 
returns an empty information, the script doesn't warn with a message there is no WHOIS data available for this domain or something.
 
 
This is not so important as this kind of behaviour of 'error' handling can easily be changed with minimum changes in the php code.
If you wonder, why do I need the web whois service, the answer is it is way easier to use.
I don't have more time to research a bit further on the alternative open source web whois services, so I would be glad to hear from anyone who tested other web whois service that is free comes under a FOSS license.
In the mean time, I'm sure people with a small internet websites like mine who are looking to run their OWN (personal) whois service SpeedyWHOIS does a great job.

What is the facebook recommended profile picture (logo) size for better SEO Marketing / Few basic Facebook marketing tips

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Facebook marketing Likes good recommended logo sizes, Facebook profile logo

I hate facebook, from the deepness of my guts! However, unfortunately in one of the companies I'm employed, occasionally I have to use it as an advertisement media to improve the Search Engine visibility for their websites (gather them some more likes). As a not big lover of facebook, I'm also not a facebook-pro, anyways with this circumstances, I'm starting to learn basic tips on, making a facebook page / profile more user friendly and hence more attracting to facebook users.

From what, i"ve read there are plenty of factors that can affect on how attractive a facebook page / company profile , anyways some of the factors are more important to tamper than others. Such two factors of top importance are:
 

Let me evaluate a bit on each of the three aforementioned fb marketing weight factors.

1. Using Page likes for popularization.

– Lets say that you would like to make marketing to a company websites which is involved in Financial or Investment market.
Enter with the company created page or profile and facebook and think for and search for as many keywords related to the company business as possible.
Check each of the results if the Page / Group is liked by hundred thousands of other people, then just give it a like too.
By doing so for a couple of seconds all this (hundred thousands or millions) of people who has also liked it will see for a second (or less), what hangs on your Facebook profile 😉
The chance someone gets interested into what is your profile saying here is high especially if this pops up to a some 100 000+ of logged people who previously liked a fb page 🙂

2. Joining groups as a way to drive more visitors to a facebook profile

Joining big groups consisting ot thousands or millions's logic is the same like with the page likes. The only difference is some groups are kept private the so called (Closed Group).
Finding a number of similar (Open Groups) to your company activities and joining them will possibly display your company facebook profile to as many profiles as the group has.
Most of the groups are not too active therefore joing groups as a way to drive attention of facebook users to a desired profile is not so efficient as with Page Likes Adjusting a profile picture logo dimensions to a wide skyscraper.

It might seem strange but actually the size of profile picture set to pages or profiles in facebook matters, different profiles dimensions could have impact on Page Likes 🙂
The reason for the fb picture profile having influence on the marketing is very simple. If you have a wider picture you can graphically include more data visible for the user that is always stuck to the page and hence seen by the user.

I've realized this after, I've red few articles online on the same topic along with that I've noticed many big brand pages on Facebook like for instance BMW (Cars) with over 8 000 000 of likes, Adidas and Nike – with over 6 000 000 likes, have set up this wide skyscraper dimensions logos.

Here is a crop taken displaying the wide skyscraper profile picture set by BMW cars.The profile picture used by BWM (cars) has an image dimensions of: 180×500 heigh x widthAdidas's profile logo has a size of 180×489.

Nike uses a bit of unstandard 390×720 (but while uploaded facebook website automatically crops the image to a size which is fittable for a wide skyscraper) with dimensions like (200×400)Another franchising company with big likes base, I've seen is McDonald's with 19 900 000+ likes! again with a banner logo consisting of wide scraper with picture dimenions (180×439 – height / width )There are some comparatively big user base facebook pages, like Ubuntu's non-profit organization with 555 000+ thousands of likes, and their logo has dimensions of 180×181 pixels.

Not all of the highly liked (visited) facebook pages however use a wide skyscraper as a profile logo and still has enormous number of likes.
One contra-example showing that there is no clear relation between facebook profile picture dimensions and page popularity (number of likes) is Metallica (Musician/Band) fan page – (http://www.facebook.com/Metallica), which as of the time of writting this article has the UNIQUE HIGH NUMBER of 23,725,897 LIKES! 🙂

As far as, I've further red on many blogs, there are two general facebook standard banner profile picture recommendations:

 

1. One is facebook square like profile picture

– (this is the classics), if you just place a picture that is not too wide automatically facebook upload scripts will tailer the picture to have dimensions like: 180×180 pixels

The other recommended facebook pictures size is the wide wide-scraper and it should possess an image dimensions size similar to:
width x height -180×500 pixels

This is pretty much the few basics I  so far, know of can help to easily gather a custom fb company Page Likes.
As facebook is really HUGE nowdays  fb marketing has advanced tremendously.

I'll be glad to hear some cool tips & tricks you know? which can help a facebook page / profile popularity rise up.
Looking forward to hear for your good or bad facebook experiences 🙂

  • Likes of pages, which are liked by thousands of hundreds or millions of people
  • Belongings to groups / Membering to big groups (consisting of thousands)
    which hold similar interest or business activity
  • Profile picture logo dimensions

The Legend of the Christmas Tree and Why do we put Christmas trees at home in Christmas time? :)

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Why we put Pine tree / Fir in Christmas origins of Christmas tree / Legends for the Christmas Tree
 

Christmas has just passed away. As a Christian I was curious what is the reason in so many Christian countries, we decorate Pine trees and I did a quick research on the topic. In this small article, I'll present my findings.

Observing the Christmas Pine Tree tradition has been quite ancient and probably according to many sources dates back to the XIIth century.
The first written records of a Christmas tree are of an anonymous Frenchman who visited Strasbourg, Germany in 1601. His description of the decoratd pine tree says like "wafers and golden sugar-twists (Barley sugar), roses cut out of many-colored paper, apples, gold foil and sweets."

Later in the 1800s, the local German Christmas pine tree tradition was spread across America by German emmigrants.
In UK the Pine tree decorating tradition appeard in 1841, where a royalty (Prince Albert) decorated his castle (Winston Castle).

A little later after the Queen Victoria adopted the pine tree, United Kingdom citizens started to decorate pine trees for themselves, folliwng the highly regarded Queen.
Usually the pine tree has historically been decorated with gifts as well as an Bright star is put atop.

One of the Christian interpretations for the Christmas tree is that it represents the same Cross (tree) on which Christ was crucifixed. Then after Christ's resurrection because of (or through that) tree, the humanity received the Lord big spiritual blessings. These blessings are represented by the gifts decorated on the Fir tree. The pine tree itself is in Christianity a reference for the symbol of Salvation that we received came from the Holy Cross, where our saviour was crucified.

The Fir is decorated with lights to represent the joy and the lights of Christmas (that burns in our hearts), the star atop the tree is a reminder of the Star that rised in the East during the night of Christ's birth as we read in the gospels.

Roman Catholic Church Christmas Pine Trees
Decorating Pine trees is commonly observed mostly in Roman Catholic Church and often followed by some protestant denominations and less used in Orthodox Church (though this is changing nowdays).

In Eastern Europe, the Christmas tree appeared quite Legends about the Christmas Fir Treelate and the whole concept was unknown in the Orthodox Christian countries, just until the end of the 19th century.

With the recent severe globalization the pine tree was silenty adopted in almost all parts of the world, including even communist countries and even sometimes in muslim ones.
Enormous Fir Tree in Tarnovo city hill Bulgaria

Unfortunately, the relation between the Fir tree and our Christian faith is little known today and with the years to come it will be less and less associated with Christianity.

Here are few interesting legends which I found explaining, some of the possible roots of the Christmas tree decoration:

Legends about the Christmas Fir Tree

1. Legend of the Pine Tree Saving the Holy Family

When the Holy family was pursued by Herod's soldiers, many plants offered to provide them with shelter.
One such plant was the Pine tree. With Mary too weary to travel any longer, the family stopped at the edge of a forest to rest.
A gnarled old Pine which had grown hollow with the years invited them to rest within its trunk.
Then, it closed its branches down upon them, keeping the family safe until the soldiers had passed.
Upon leaving, the Christ Child blessed the Pine and the imprint of his tiny hand was left forever in the tree's fruit… the Pine cone.
If a cone is cut lengthwise, the hand may still be seen.

2. Pine tree and Easter Legend
 

Pine tree on cones on Easter forms Cross shape

There is a legend that pine trees "know" when it's Easter.
The pine trees start their new growth in the weeks before Easter.
If you look at the tops of the pine trees two weeks before Easter you'll see the yellow shoots.
As the days get closer to Easter Sunday, the tallest shoot will branch off and form a cross.
By the time Easter Sunday comes around, you will see that most of the pine trees will have small yellow crosses on all of the tallest shoots.
This really happens we live where there are lots of pines,
and each year this actually happens, it is amazing to watch,
and the process of the new growth appears as crosses on the ends
of each branch.

I've not personally observed that, but according to people who live in pine tree forest areas this is a fact.

3. Legend about M. Luther and the Pine tree

Martin Luther, founder of the Protestant religion, was taking a stroll through the woods late one night.
The sky was clear and many stars were shining through the branches of the trees,
giving the impression of twinkling lights.
Luther was so captivated and inspired by the beautiful brilliance of the sight
that he cut down a small evergreen and brought it home.
He recreated the stars by placing candles upon the tree's branches to imitate
their radiance and presented it to his children.

This story explains why, the pine tree become so wide spread initially in the "western world", as it gives some connection between the Pine tree and Protestant Christianity.

4. The Children Legend of the Fir Tree (Kids Story)

On the night of the Christ Child's birth, all living creatures, both flora and fauna, traveled to Bethlehem bearing gifts.
The Olive tree, for example, brought its fruit and the Palm tree its dates.
But the little Fir tree had no gift and was so tired that it was unable to resist when the larger trees pushed it into the background and hid it from view.
But then, a nearby Angel took pity and commanded a cluster of stars to descend and rest upon its delicate boughs.
When the Baby Jesus beheld this lovely lighted tree, he smiled and blessed it,
declaring henceforth that Fir trees should always be filled with lights at
Christmastime to please little children.
When Christianity first came to Northern Europe, three personages representing
virtues were dispatched from Heaven to place lights on the original Christmas tree.
These personages were Faith, Hope and Charity.
Their search was long, since they were required to find a tree as high as hope, as great as love and as sweet as charity.
In addition, the tree had to bear the sign of the cross on every bough.
Their search finally ended in the forests of the North where they found the Fir.
Lit by the radiance of the stars, it became the first Christmas tree.
The triangular design of the Fir has also been usedto describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.
Eventually, converts began to revere the Fir as God's Tree…as they had once revered the Oak.
By the Twelfth Century it was being hung, upside-down, from ceilings at Christmastime
in Central Europe, as a symbol of Christianity.

5. The Paradise Tree Legend

A very old and delightful European custom centers around decorating a Fir tree with apples and small white wafers which represents the Holy Eucharist.
These wafers were later replaced by small pieces of pastry cut into the shapes of stars, angels, hearts, flowers and bells.
Eventually additional pastries were introduced bearing the shapes of men, birds, roosters and other animals.

During the middle Ages, around the Eleventh century, religious theater was born.
One of the most popular plays …
The German mystery play concerned Adam and Eve and their fall and expulsion from the Garden of Eden, represented by a Fir tree hung with apples.
This tree was symbolic of both the Tree of Life and the Tree of Discernment of Good and Evil, which stood in the center of Paradise.
The play ended with the prophecy of a coming Saviour. For this reason, it was often enacted during Advent.

The one piece of scenery, the "Paradeisbaum" or "Paradise Tree" become a popular object and was often set up in churches.
Eventually it also found its way in private homes and became symbol of the Saviour.
Since the tree was representative not only to Paradise and the fall of man, but also the premise of salvation.
It was hung not merely with apples, but with bread of wafers (Holy Eucharist) and often sweet to represent the sweetness of redemption.
In some areas of Bavaria, fir branches and little trees decorated with lights, apples and tinsel are still called "Paradeis".

According to some other Christian legends, it was a Fir tree that grew as the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.
When Eve plucked its fruit, the foliage and flowers shrank to nothing but needles.
Only on the night of Nativity would the Fir tree bloom again a moment marked perhaps by the Christmas tree we Christians use.

Of course these are just legends and as with every legend there is plenty of romantism included.
Nevertheless I consider most legends similar to proverbs contain deep truth and contain truthful facts. Moreover knowing the legends of our forefathers connect us to who and what we are and from antropological point of view is precious knowledge, we should try to sustain and spread to our children.