Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

26 October the Feast of Holy Great-Martyr Demetrius the Myroblyte known also as Demetrius of Thessaloniki

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Sveti Dimitar Solunski_kopie-ikona

Bulgarian icon of Saint Demetrius

Every 26 of October in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and whole Bulgarian nation we honor deeply the memory of martyrdom of Saint Demetrius the Myroblyte (meaning 'the Myrrh-Gusher' or 'Myrrh-Streamer'; a term that stemmed from 3rd century – 306 y. the year of Maryrdom of this great saint. Saint Demetrius over the century has been one of the most venerated saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church and since the Christianization of Bulgaria his glory also spread quickly throughout the Bulgarian Empire lands.

Saint-Demetrius-and-Saint-George-icon-St-George-killing-Dragon-saint-Dimitar-killing-a-man

During the Middle Ages, he came to be revered as one of the most important Orthodox military saints, often paired with Saint George of Lydda and for that in many of the Orthodox Churches worldwide there are icons of the two saints painted together holding their warrior equipment spear, shield and sward .

saint_Demetrios_of_Thessaloniki_icon_on-graved-stone

St. Demetrius (Dimitar in Bulgarian) feast day is 26 October for Eastern Orthodox Christians, which falls on 8 November for those following the old calendar. In the Roman Catholic church he is most commonly called "Demetrius of Sermium" and his memorial falls on 8 October, which seem to coincide with my Birthday 🙂

Demetrius was born to pious Christian parents in Thessaloniki, the Eastern Roman Empire region Macedonia in 270 (Macedonia has been part of the Bulgarian kingdom and Empire for many centuries).

According to the hagiographies, Demetrius was a young man of senatorial family who became proconsul of the Thessalonica district. He was run through with spears in around 306 AD in Thessaloniki, during the Christian persecutions of Galerian, which matches his depiction in the 7th century mosaics.

Most historical scholars follow the hypothesis put forward by Bollandist Hippolyte Delehaye (1859–1941), that his veneration was transferred from Sirmium when Thessaloniki replaced it as the main military base in the area in 441/442 AD. His very large church in Thessaloniki, the Hagios Demetrios, dates from the mid-5th century. Thessaloniki remained a centre of his veneration, and he is the patron saint of the city.

After the growth of his veneration as saint, the city of Thessaloniki suffered repeated attacks and sieges from the Slavic peoples who moved into the Balkans, and Demetrius was credited with many miraculous interventions to defend the city. Hence later traditions about Demetrius regard him as a soldier in the Roman army, and he came to be regarded as an important military martyr. Unsurprisingly, he was extremely popular in the Middle Ages. Disputes between Bohemond I of Antioch and Alexios I Komnenos appear to have resulted in Demetrius being appropriated as patron saint of crusading.

saint-Dymitr_z_Salonik-sankt-Peterburg-icon

Saint Demetrius Russian Icon

Demetrius was also venerated as patron of agriculture, peasants and shepherds in the Greek countryside during the Middle Ages. 

Most scholars still believe that for four centuries after his death, Demetrius had no physical relics, and in their place an unusual empty shrine called the "ciborium" was built inside Hagios Demetrios. What were purported to be his remains subsequently appeared in Thessaloniki, but the local archbishop John, who compiled the first book of the Miracles ca. 610, was publicly dismissive of their authenticity. The relics were assumed to be genuine after they started emitting a liquid and strong-scented myrrh. This gave Demeterius the epithet Myroblyte.

Saint Demetrius used to be a mayor of Thessaloniki and had been very educated for his time, the Roman empire ordered him to find and imprison, torture and eventually kill all Christians in the city who refuse to follow the paganic Roman religion. Being a brave in heart and a being a Christian himself, he refused to follow the unrighteous emperor decree and even on the contrary started to put special efforts for the raising of the Christian faith in the city. 

Despite this position in the still-pagan empire, he remained fervent in faith and works for Christ, encouraging many Christians to endure persecution and even bringing many pagans to the faith.

When Maximian returned from one of his campaigns to Thessaloniki, which he had made his capital, he had pagan games and sacrifices celebrated for his triumph. Demetrios was denounced by pagans who were envious of his success, and he was thrown into prison. While in prison he was visited by a young Christian named Nestor, who asked him for a blessing to engage in single combat with the giant Lyaios (or Lyaeus), who was posing as the champion of paganism. Demetrios gave his blessing and Nestor, against all odds. Nestor succeded to slew his opponent in the arena contrary to any expectations as Lyaios used to kill many, many christians on the circus arena, as David had once defeated Goliath. Saint Demetrius blesses Nestor but warned him he will have to endure a martyrdom after his defeat of Nestor which occured shortly after the defeath of Lyaios, Nestor was captured and martyred for Christ. Being raged out by the killing of Lyaios, the Romans send trooops and killed with spears saint Demetrius while he was praying in the prison.

According to some (Greek) hagiographic legend, as retold by Dimitry of Rostov in particular, Demetrius appeared in 1207 in the camp of tsar Kaloyan of with a lance and so killing him. This scene, known as Чудо о погибели царя Калояна ("the miracle of the destruction of tsar Kaloyan") became a popular element in the iconography of Demetrius. He is shown on horseback piercing the king with his spear, paralleling the iconography (and often shown alongside) of Saint George and the Dragon.


The reason of High veneration of Saint Demetrius in Bulgaria today ?
 

The godly life he led, together with his military virtues and martyrdom, led the people of Thessaloniki to declare him their saint-warrior and patron. According to the beliefs of the local centuries, the saint defended Thessaloniki, performing miracle after miracle, but in August 1185 something unheard of happened. The second richest and most important city in the empire after Constantinople was captured by the Normans and subjected to unprecedented looting. The Church of St. Dimitar was burned and the relics of the saint were scattered. The medieval Greek, who was inclined to seek God's intervention everywhere, was spiritually broken. The Romans saw the fall of Dimitrov as a punishment for their sinfulness. It is clear to them that St. Dimitar left them.

Meanwhile, in the north, the memories of the old Bulgarian kingdom were more than alive, and it became increasingly difficult for the Bulgarians to tolerate the Roman rule. The moment for a mass uprising was ripe. According to Nikita Honiat, there were three key events at the beginning of the uprising. The first concerned the desire of the brothers Peter and Assen (prominent Bulgarian boyars) to be included in the proniat lists of the empire and to receive a small landed estate at the foot of the Balkan Mountains. To this end, most likely in the autumn of 1185, they appeared in person before Emperor Isaac II Angel in Kipsela, just as he was preparing to march against the Normans who had conquered Thessaloniki. The refusal to comply with their demands provoked sharp resentment in the younger brother Assen, who personally threatened the emperor with rebellion. This unheard of behavior of the young boyar was punished with a slap.

Medieval_Bulgarian_King_Asen_portrait

King Ivan Assen I (Tsar of Bulgaria 1187/1188–1196)

The second important event was the imposition of additional taxes on the livestock of the population on the occasion of the emperor's wedding to the Hungarian Princess Margaret. This led to the outbreak of strong and mass discontent among the population of Moesia. The two brothers knew very well what they were doing and used the mass discontent to make their threat a reality. However, the insults, material hardship and the presence of two brilliant leaders in the face of Assenevtsi were not enough for a revolt.

Bulgarian-icon-of-saint-Dimitar-the-Myrrh-Bringer-Ikona-na-sv.Dimitar-Mirotochivi

Bulgarian Medieval Icon of Saint Demetrius the Myrrh-Bringer

The Bulgarians also had to receive a "divine" guarantee for their work. They believed that the Lord should show them that they were chosen and worthy of their freedom, that they not only could, but should take up arms against the Byzantine Vasilevs. And the sign was not late. On October 26, 1185, Assenevtsi, together with a large crowd, gathered in Tarnovo to consecrate the newly built church "St. Dimitar. Meanwhile, a miraculous icon of the saint appeared in the city. It was alleged that she had left Thessaloniki, conquered by the Normans, and found her home in the new temple of the Bulgarians.

The religious consciousness of the medieval Bulgarian interpreted this as a refusal of St. Dimitar to defend the Romans and a sacred guarantee that the saint will protect the Bulgarians in their cause for freedom. And indeed the old church in Thessaloniki had collapsed and plundered, the Romans were punished, the Empire was humiliated.

 

Those gathered in the church began to shout and call for the rejection of the yoke and for the restoration of the glory of the old kings. In this atmosphere of patriotic enthusiasm, the older brother, Todor (named Peter), placed a golden tiara on his head, put on a red cloak, and put on the purple shoes that only the Byzantine Vasilevs could wear. Thus, after 167 years of interruption of the throne of the Bulgarian kings, a Bulgarian ascended again. The coronation of Peter as king and the beginning of the great uprising of the Bulgarians was one of those moments in history when all accounts end and only faith gives the people the courage to take the hand outstretched by the uncertainty of the future and follow the path indicated by her, not knowing where he was taking her.

Niketa Choniates writes: “With such (divine) prophecies the whole nation was won for the cause and all raised their swords. And because their rebellion was successful from the very beginning, the Bulgarians believed even more that God had approved their freedom. "

At first, Isaac II Angel was unable to respond to the uprising, as he had to deal with the Normans and the usurper of Cyprus, Isaac I Komnenos. It was not until December 1185 that Vasilevs sent his uncle Sevastocrator John against the rebels. However, no battle took place because the Sevastocrator was recalled on suspicion of rebellion. At the head of the second army was Caesar John VI Kantakouzenos, who went to Hemus, but was defeated in a night attack by Assen-evtsi. The Bulgarians took the lives of most of the Roman army, and its commander managed to escape by abandoning the entire convoy. A third army of the great Byzantine general Alexy Branas was also sent, but it turned against the emperor and marched to Constantinople instead of Tarnovo.

Byzantine_themes-in-Bulgaria-on_the_Balkans-map-11th-12th-century
The Byzantine themes (or districts) of Bulgaria and Paristrion 

Paristrion – (Greek: Παρίστριον, lit. 'beside the Ister'), or Paradounabon/Paradounabis (αραδούναβον / Παραδούναβις), which is preferred in official documents, was a Byzantine province covering the southern bank of the Lower Danube (Moesia Inferior) in the 11th and 12th centuries.

It was not until 1186 that the emperor personally led a large army and decided to deal with the Bulgarians once and for all. His campaign forced the brothers to retreat across the Danube to their Kuman allies, and Isaac II Angel plundered Moesia and returned to Constantinople. According to the story of Nikita Honiat, the emperor was so arrogant of his success that he met with ridicule the reminder of Vasily II the Bulgarian assassin that the Bulgarians would revolt and that one day they would be liberated.

At that time, Assen's personality became more and more prominent, and he became the real leader of the rebellion. In the summer of 1186, the Assenevs crossed the Danube again, conquered the plain and set their goal to bring the endeavor to a successful conclusion. Niketa Choniates says:

"And then they returned to their homeland Moesia; finding the land abandoned by the Roman armies, they took on even greater confidence, leading their Cuman auxiliary detachments as if they were legions of demons. They did not simply want to secure their possessions and establish control over Moesia; They wanted to devastate the Roman territories and unite the political power of Moesia and Bulgaria in one empire as before. "

Isaac Angel's second campaign was not long in coming. In the autumn of 1186 he set out again against the two brothers, passing through the fortress of Beroe and heading for Serdica (today's Sofia), from where he intended to cross Hemus and attack Tarnovo. The winter of 1186, however, blocked the passages and forced the emperor to abandon his endeavor for another year. With the arrival of the spring of 1187, the Romans crossed the mountain and besieged the Lovech fortress. However, the Bulgarian troops offered unprecedented resistance and after a three-month siege Isaac II Angel had to ask for peace.

Saint_Demetrius_Tarnovo_Church-Klearchos

The Church Saint Demetrius built by King Asen I in memoriam of great Miracles of Bulgarians victories over Byzantines
Church is located near the Tarnovo Fortress of Trapezica

The Church slavonic written sources tells how the brothers spread the word a patron saint of Thessaloniki – St. Demetrius, came to Tarnovo to help the Bulgarian people to be liberated…
 

Thus, most probably, the Lovech armistice was signed in front of the city walls, which de jure recognized the Bulgarian power north of the Balkans. The long road to freedom began on that distant St. Dimitrov's Day in 1185. he was finally walked away. St. Dimitar became the patron of the Asenevtsi dynasty and one of the most beloved Bulgarian saints, and the Bulgarians proved to the world that their pursuit of freedom is nothing but a great national feat, in which with a true understanding of the necessary and possible, with steady faith and unwavering energy in the design and implementation, the political and spiritual resurrection of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom was reached.


Saint_Demetrius_Bulgarian_icon-1824_Sveti_Dimitar

Saint Demetrius Bulgarian icon year 1824

St. Demetrius is depicted on horseback spearing a man, not because he ever a killed a man but because he blessed Nestor to win over the Gladiator Lyaeus. The Church decided to commemory the memory and bravery of Saint Nestor who also confessed Christ in his martyrdom every on the next day after the memory of st. Demetrius is celebrated. Saint Nestor even today is celebrated in the Church calendar on 27-th of October.

In Bulgaria the veneration of saint Demetrius was of high esteem especially in the Second Bulgarian Empire and many churches and monasteries has been built around the country (counting at few hundred temples and monasteries) with him being their patron.

Saint_Demetrius-Holy-relics-relics

Saint Demetrius Holy Relics in the St. Demetrius Church in Thessaloniki Greece (the white papers are names of people who ask for help from the saint)

Saint Demetrius is famous in Thessaloniki and highly venerated every year during his feast as he has been summoned by the Church to protect the city on multiple occasions which he did so far during pandemics such as the Black Death and during invasion of alien (non-Christian) nations.

It is mostly remarkable that every year during his feast day, a great miracle happens from the exact place where he was martyred (situated in the Church named after him), a myrrh with heavenly odor is streaming which is taken by believers for oilment and as a blessing carefully kept until the next year feast of the saint.
Because of the high amount of myrrh outflow a special pool was kept to keep the oilment sparring out of his holy relics.

As Saint Demetrius has helped multiple times to many of their saints as we know from history, especially in times of epidemies and pandemies like it is now let by his holy prayers those who venerate him and the people worldwide finds Healing and relief and an Enlightment and blessing from the light of Christ, just like Nestor found in his blessing !

Holy Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki pray the Lord for us the sinners !!!

How to convert OGG Vorbis .ogg to MP3 on GNU / Linux and FreeBSD

Friday, July 27th, 2012

I’ve used K3B just recently to RIP an Audio CD with music to MP3. K3b has done a great job ripping the tracks, the only problem was By default k3b RIPs songs in OGG Vorbis (.ogg) and not mp3. I personally prefer OGG Vorbis as it is a free freedom respecting audio format, however the problem was the .ogg-s cannot be read on many of the audio players and it could be a problem reading the RIPped oggs on Windows. I’ve done the RIP not for myself but for a Belarusian gfriend of mine and she is completely computer illiterate and if I pass her the songs in .OGG, there is no chance she succed in listening the oggs. I’ve seen later k3b has an option to choose to convert directly to MP3 Using linux mp3 lame library this however is time consuming and I have to wait another 10 minutes or so for the songs to be ripped to shorten the time I decided to directly convert the existing .ogg files to .mp3 on my (Debian Linux). There are probably many ways to convert .ogg to mp3 on linux and likely many GUI frontends (like SoundConverter) to use in graphic env.

SoundConverter Debian GNU Linux graphic GUI environment program for convertion of ogg to mp3 and mp3 to ogg, convert multiple sound formats on GNU / Linux.

I however am a console freak so I preferred doing it from terminal. I’ve done quick research on the net and figured out the good old ffmpeg is capable of converting .oggs to .mp3s. To convert all mp3s just ripped in the separate directory I had to run ffmpeg in a tiny bash loop.

A short bash shell script 1 liner combined with ffmpeg does it, e.g.;

for f in *.ogg; do ffmpeg -i "$f" "`basename "$f" .ogg`.mp3"; done.....

The loop example is in bash so in order to make the code work on FreeBSD it is necessery it is run in a bash shell and not in BSDs so common csh or tcsh.

Well, that’s all oggs are in mp3; Hip-hip Hooray 😉

Richard Stallman explaining Why IPads and Cell Phones are bad for freedom

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

It is a public secret that Mobile Phones which does us very good and generally makes our daily lifes way easier are also a big enemy to our natural ihnibited freedom. Life has become such that it is almost inevitable to do any business or do a daily simple jobs without using Mobile Phone. There is almost none practically today that has wilfully rejected to use the mobile phone on any basis, almost anyone except some strangers like Richard Stallman and probably few others security freaks.

I've been shocked to find out the Father of Free Software (Richard Mathew Stallman), well known in the hacker dome as RMS does not own and didn't use any mobiles. The concerns he pointed are very much logical and rightful. Owning a mobile is a great security hole in personal privacy (mobile phones can be easily sniffed by Mobile Operators) as well as anyone wearing a mobile can be tracked up to 5 to 2 meters to the exact location where he is based on the mobile phone cells to which the mobile is connected.

Many people are not aware actually of the severeness of the issue of constant tracking of people everywhere through this call "goodies". Many mobile operators are already running a software which is building place behaviour patterns of every user of their mobile network. In other words, as we're used to bring and use the mobile everywhere in automated program is creating a map for each number assigned in some of the mobile operators. The gathered data about our location going habits can then be easily used as a indicator for predicting our future behaviour, bying habits (how many times we go to super-market), how many times we go to cinema, what kind of interests we hold etc. etc.
This combined with Google, account monitoring could possibly create a system similar to the old movies Big Brother, where all people goods and even attitudes or desires is monitored, influenced and controlled ….

The severeness of the future implications of this constant "personal surveillance and tracking device" as Stallman use to call it is very dangerous for our freedoms.

I tried to live without a mobile phone, just like Stallman for about months, and to tell you the truth the world around seems completely different when you decide not to use 'em. The time I lived wihtout a mobile, clearly show me we have come to the point we cannot any more live without GSM. We fall the trap of dependanding the little "talk box" communication for absolutely everything, obviously sacrificing privacy and freedom for convenience.
Mobiles are just one side of the coin, as the non-free software which is ruling the software market and the use of computers puts another treat and takes away many foundamential freedoms we used to have in the less technological world.

Apple as a vendor of software and hardware also denies and breaks our freedom very badly, as the company tracks everyone who owns anything created by apple connected to the internet. Besides that non-free software producers, could change the user software with a press of a button giving them the opportunity to decide what is good and bad for us, leaving us at a state of a helpless dependable users.

The topic of technological little-by-little enslavement, we're going through nowdays and the denying freedoms, we experience while being convinced by companies that we became more free by each next mambo-jambo gadget or by owning the latest smart-phone is very huge and complex but unfortunately underseen in society. I don't understand why, is it due to the low technical skills of mass users is it due to a "not-care what will happen in future" attitude, but obviously people openly discussing or protesting the technologization taking away our freedom is almost zero ….

Here is the video I found in youtube in which Stallman is asked few, questions on Ipads (IBADS) and Mobile Phone use. I believe his short explanation synthesizes the problem quite well ;;;;

I just wonder after you check the video, Would you still accept an Ipad as a birthday gift ? 🙂
Do you still think cell-phones are "good" freedom safe and reliable ?

My First hitch-hiking experience – travel notes on a hitch hiker trip from Dobrich to Pomorie Monastery

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

My first hitch hiking experience travel notes of a hitch hiker Dobrich Varna Pomorie Monastery

I've been 28 years old and for good or bad never travelled hitch hiking. Today however with a friend of mine Kimba thx God I lived to experience what it is like to stay on the road "begging" people to take you on their way to somewhere.

I always wanted to hitch-hike as a youngster but my restrictive controlling parents was too vigilant not to let me have my personal freedom and try hitch hiking. Now as I've grown "old" I have the freedom to do it and I'm glad I could. For sure it is better to do something you always wanted later than never 🙂

We took the "STOP" from a place few meters away from the "scratching sign" indicating the end of Dobrich city area – located about 4 / 5 km from Dobrich center. To come to the well known hitch-hiker's place (which my friend Kimba) knew pretty well since he travelled probably more than 20 times hitch-hiking.

To reach the hitch-hiker place we walked about 1 hour which in the early morning (07:50 to 09:00) came to be quite refreshing.
About 09:00 we started doing the well know hitch hiker gesture to beg traveller to take us 🙂

It felt quite unconfortable and a bit like begging to be on the road waiting for somebody to pick you up on the other hand it felt very challenging as it seemed to be a good "exercice" to raise up self-confidence. We were lucky and we didn't met any drivers to mock us with gestures or car beep. Besides that we only had to wait less than 20 minutes (probably 18 mins) until a car stop and ask her for our direction.
The driver seemed had to travel close to Aksakovo (a small village like town 1 km far from beginning of Varna and just few km away from the city center).

He pick us up and as we go he happened to be a familiar person which I've seen many times in the (International College Albena) where I previously studied.
The guy happened to be a merried for the librarian of the college. We had a nice chat in his car about Bulgaria before in communism and now and who is doing what (which I guess is quite normal) for hitch-hikers. As he drived a very funny scene appeared as we saw a donkey leading a cart full of wood running on the road. Now you might wonder what would be funny of a rural donkey with a cart full of wood, well the cart didn't have any person leading it. It seemed the donkey run away scared by a truck or a noise so the person leading the cart either fall somewhere on the road or the donkey had untight itself and took the direction to its home place 🙂

… Our hitch-hiking plan was to travel from Dobrich to Varna (if possible or the closest village or suburb), then we aimed to take a bus from Varna or somewhere nearby to the city center and from the city center to Travel to the so called (Asparuh's bridge / (Asparuhovia Most) – which is a common hitch-hike waiting and pick-up destination).

As we were left in Aksakovo by the driver, we were lucky to have a close bus stop near us. We went to the bus stop and we only had to wait about 8 minutes until the next bus driving to Varna city center arrived. We pick up a bus number 207 and travelled 'safely' to the city center (on the price of 1 lv per ticket). So our overall travelling for both of us instead of 10 lv (5 lv per person bus tick) costed only 2 lv 🙂 Along with the low price for travelling the hitch-hiking was also very healthy as we had a long walk to the place to depart from and after that had a small walk to pick up the bus to Varna. We made a mistake to not go out of the 207 bus near Varna city center Cathedral but two stops earlier, so we also had a small 15 minutes walking to the Cathedral. As we were not sure which bus we need to take to go to Asparuhov's bridge, we asked few people on the city center. We were told we need to pick bus number 2 or 17 (IIRC).

Eventually as we're waiting near the bus station where the bus-es leading to Asparuhovo stopped, we came to meet a taxi driver driving people to Asparuhovo on the price of a bus ticket (1 lv). In 5 minutes time, again obviously by God's might intervention the driver was able to collect 2 more people so he offered that we all immediately travel. The taxi-st left us on a place a bit after Asparuhovo's bridge which was the common place for hitch-hikers. We had to climb a little hill like place and walk a bit on the highway on (the car damage and wreck area). Very near us was a police car waiting to catch violators of speed limits. I didn't know about this very moment that Hitch-Hiking in Bulgaria is considered illegal!, happily I found this sad fact not by the police man but from Kliment (Kimba). The policeman did not stop us as we found a way to walk through a place which is bit far from them. Kimba choose a place and we started doing the hitch-hiker "PLEASE STOP AND TAKE US" gesture once again (actually the as Kimba was a professional in hitch-hiking he was mostly doing the hitch-hike sign.

There we had to wait about 40 minutes or so until, a good man with a small bus carrying some paper palettes stop and took us.
Thanks God he had to travel to Jambol to deliver the palettes so his travel route passed by near Bourgas (and respectively Pomorie). We had a an intimaditing chat with the person by which I found out he seem to be having many money issues and a lot of debts (just like many of the people in BG nowdays). Unfortunately he shared that just like a lot of us the common people in Bulgaria he is underpaid and often even though he works extra in Saturdays and Sundays it is almost impossible for him to pay his rent, food and family expenss …..

As the conversation progressed, he asked us where are we going if we're going to find a work and I told him we're going to be guests and pilgrims to Pomorie Monastery and in the mean time help the monks if there is work to be done….

It was a pleasure for me to meet such an honest bulgarian middle aged man, which also was good enough to pick us up. The time passed quite quickly as we shared some of common living joys and griefs. The bus quickly approached pomorie so we left us and we split. As I was thankful to the guy and felt pity for his bad life misfortunes and I wished in my mind that God bless, help him and return him for the good deed he done to pick us up.

We were now only 2 km from Pomorie entrance so to the monastery we had to walk only about 4 or 5 more kilometers. On the gas (oil) station, where we were left a fun story happaned as the computers counting the gasoline stopped working. People who filled the car tanks with Gasoline had to wait until someone comes and fixes the computer, neither nobody can purchase anything from the station (a snacks, a coffee, even a bottle of water) was impossible to buy. We stayed on this little station (Petrol) located just 2 km from Pomorie for 20 or 25 minutes and in this time this people who couldn't pay for the gasoline had to just hang up there loosing their time waiting for someone to fix the BUGGED PC ,,,

This scene has once again confirmed my theory that computerization is not always necessery a good think and the over-computerization of everything as the trend is nowdays could create a lot of time lags in many places and often create a great havoc if systems somehow reject working as planned ….

Anyways to be sure which way to walk to Pomorie Monastery we had to consult few local people. Nicely the road leading to Pomoriiski Manastir was easy we just had to walk straight and then turn right. Actually the monastery bell tower is visible on the way so it is not likely that anyone walking straight will not notice the tower which is taller than other one or two stage housed highed buildings.

We came to the monastery and by Gods grace as we asked previously the abbot for a blessing to come to the monastery, they were expecting us.
Immediately one of the persons serving in the monastery gave us a room. I asked for the abbot and we found him in his Abbot place and gave us a blessing. That's the over of my first and hopefully not last great hitch-hiking adventere. The moral from my trip is:
 

To sum it up, if you never tried stopping on a highway give it a try! 🙂

  • hitch-hiking is a great must experience in a life-time thing;
  • Obviously we were lucky and it is always a great think to travel with an Abbot blessing
  • Hitch-hiking in Bulgaria is illegal, so there is thrill in doing it 🙂
  • hitch-hiking could be a very healthy initiative
  • Hitch-hiking is a great raise up and experience new random people self-confidence exercise 🙂

Barcodes are dangerous for human freedom! Technology not trustable!

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

This post will be short as I'm starting to think long posts are mostly non-sense. Have you people all wondered of barcoding?
All world stores around the world have now barcoding. Barcode numbers regulations are being orchestrated by certain bodies, we people have no control over. Barcoding makes us dependent on technology as only technology can be used to read and store barcodes. It is technology that issues the barcodes. We have come to a point, where we humans trust more technology than our physical fellows. Trusting technology more than the close people to us is very dangerous. What if technology is not working as we expect it to?
What if there are hidden ways to control technology that we're not aware of?

Technology concepts are getting more and more crazy and abstract.
Thinks about the virtualization for a while. Virtualuzation is being praised loudly these days and everyone is turnning to it thinking it is cheap and realiable? The facts I've seen and the little of experience I had with it were way less than convicable.
Who came with this stupid idea, oh yes I remember IBM came with this insane idea some about 40 years ago … We had sanity for a while not massively adopting IBM's virtualization bulk ideas and now people got crazy again to use a number of virtualization technologies.
If you think for a while Virtualization is unreality (unexistence) of matter over another unreality. The programs that makes computers "runs" are not existent in practice, they only exist in some electricity form. Its just a sort of electric field if you think on it on a conceptual level …
As we trust all our lives nowdays on technology, how do we know this technological stored information is not altered by other fields, how we can be sure it always acts as we think it does and should? Was it tested for at least 40 years before adoption as any new advancement should be.
Well Of course not! Everything new is just placed in our society without too much thinking. Someone gives the money for production, someone else buys it and installs it and its ready to go. Or at least that's how the consumers thinks and we have become all consumers. This is a big LIE we're constantly being convinced in!
It is not ready to work, it is not tested and we don't know what the consequence of it will be!
Technology and Genetically Modified Food are not so different in this that they both can produce unexpected results in our lives. And they're already producing the bad fruits as you should have surely seen.
You can see more and more people are getting sick, more people go to doctor more people have to live daily with medication to live a miserable dishealthy I wouldn't say live but "poor" existence …
Next time they tell you new technology is good for you and will make your life better, Don't believe them! This is not necessery true.
Though todays technology can do you good, In my view the harm seriously exceeds the good.

Technology one big freedom trap – Drop off technology to live true life

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

I'm lately thinking over technology and the way, we interact a lot. I've thought over that so many times and most of the times I get into the conclusion technology is not liberating us as we're told everywhere on the contrary it makes us weak and dependable. Try to switch off your mobile and live without a mobile for instance. This is almost unthinkable for probably over 3 000 000 of people around the globe. Also this Mobile Phones and Computers and all this technology surrounding, us make us servants of technology. Technology used to be invented to serve us but what is happening is we're starting to serve it as more and more people are included in supporting technology equipment. The internet is also a big illusion as it is just something stored on electronic signals somewhere. The world is starting to get mixed too much as a result of the huge globalization the internet impose on us. The magical and non-Christian teachings has multipled many times as a result of the internet boom. Nowdays most of people are spending big part of their life in one illusionary world (the internet). This desire for multiple virtual realities make us desire something that is not real. The more we stay on the internet the more busy, we're loosing time in non-sense. Since so many people have plenty of free time, they put their time on the internet in all kind of empty things from spiritual point of view.  The worst thing from the digitalization of society is it makes us void and digital like. The structure of language is being changed by a hype words not meaning anything as they only relate to an idea to have physical dimensions. We better go back to our roots and drop technology. I'm starting to think people should start rejecting technology and live a free life like our forefathers and mothers used to have. The ancient life was harder but more real. I'm wondering if more people are sharing my ideas. Why don't we quit technology why don't we decide to live again a real life?
 

What is the Pirate Party / Interview with Peter Sunde – The co-founder of ThePirateBay on CeBIT 2011

Monday, February 20th, 2012

The Piratebay website logo

Many people are using ThePiratebay to get all kind of data and share Movies, Games, Programs etc.)

ThePirateBay has become like a standard media for file sharing and still not many people are aware of who is behind ThePirateBay.
This is why I thought, by posting this article I can "rant" on the existence of the Swedish Pirate Party
The Pirate Party – Is a party fighting on behalf of information sharing freedom (or in other words a party fighting for our freedom as individuals in the digital era).

Swedish Pirate Party Official Party mascot
Pirate Party (Sweden) party official mascot

The Pirate party are swedish political party established in 2006, its members are activists lobbying on freedom of information as well as pointing at threats to our human freedoms imposed by new legislations and anti-freedom agreements like the recent ACTA treaty.

Since there creation in 2006, they have grown from a local Swedish party to an international party, locally existing in 33 countries arount the world.The ideology behind the Swedish PirateParty as well as the rest of existing Pirate Parties international is as I prior said Freedom of Information on the internet. PP is a party phenomenon, as they are neither a left or a right oriented party (on the traditional left-right scale). PP are independent bloc pursuing their political agenda colabborating with all mainstream parties, which stand behind the ideologies the party fights for.

After last European Parliament elections, PP received 7% of all Swedish votes for a country EU representative.
As of today according to Wikipedia , the party holds 2 EU deputee seats in EU parliament.

I've a friend who is taking membership in the Pirate Party and from him I know the PP party are big supporters of Free Software.

One major key figure part of Pirate Party is the swedish Peter Sunde. He is a front person who is behind ThePirateBay project as well as holds a very interesting revolutionary ideas. Many of his ideas are close to "the father of all free software" – Richard Mathew Stallman (RMS). Therefore the PP would be probably of interest to anyone who is interested in Free Software. Here is an interview with Peter Sunde's taken in Cebit 2011:

As long as I know the Pirate Party are along the only few organizations in the whole world, who are trying to fight on behalf of human freedom.I'll be glad to hear if someone know about other ornigazations apart from Pirate Party the Free Software Foundation – (FSF) lobbying on present worsening conditions of invidual human freedom.

Here is few curious facts proving how BIG and important thepiratebay.org is, the text below is again quote from Wikipedia

Currently ThePirateBay.org is ranked as the 80th most visited website in the world and 20th in Sweden by Alexa Internet, has over 5.5 million registered users and, as of February 2012, hosts more than 4 million torrent files.

According to the Los Angeles Times, The Pirate Bay is "one of the world's largest facilitators of illegal downloading" and "the most visible member of a burgeoning international anti-copyright or pro-piracy movement"

If you want to further check on what is today the Pirate Party standing for be sure to check ThePirateParty.Com – PP’s official website .

What is the real development costs of Debian GNU / Linux – How much costs the development of a Free Software projects

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Free Software (FS) is free as in freedom as well as free as in price. Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is developed by geek hobbyist which voluntarily put their time and effort in writting, testing and sharing with anyone for free million of lines of programming code. This doesn't mean however the price of free software costs is 0 (zero). Though the "end product" –  Free Software developed is FREE, "real" software costs as with any other product costs huge money.

I've recently read on Jeb's blog an estimation on how much is the cost of one of the major Free Software project efforts – Debian GNU / Linux
According to James E. Brombergerthe whole Debian project was estimated to be at the shocking price of $19 billion – $19 000, 000, 000 !!!

Here is how JEB got the $19 billions, a quote taken from his blog:

"By using David A Wheeler’s sloccount tool and average wage of a developer of US$72,533 (using median estimates from Salary.com and PayScale.com for 2011) I summed the individual results to find a total of 419,776,604 source lines of code for the ‘pristine’ upstream sources, in 31 programming languages — including 429 lines of Cobol and 1933 lines of Modula3!

In my analysis the projected cost of producing Debian Wheezy in February 2012 is US$19,070,177,727 (AU$17.7B, EUR€14.4B, GBP£12.11B), making each package’s upstream source code worth an average of US$1,112,547.56 (AU$837K) to produce. Impressively, this is all free (of cost).

James has done incredible job with this great research and he deserves applause.
However I believe the numbers proposed by his research are slightly different if we speak about realistic cost of Debian GNU / Linux.
The real costs of the working software ready to install on a user PC are way higher, as according to Jeb's research only the software cost based on code line count is considered.

Hence James software estimation calculates only the programming costs and miss many, many factors that constitute the software end cost.
Some of the many, many REAL COST / expenses for developing a huge Free Software project like Debian GNU / Linux to be considered are:
 

a) bandwidth costs for hosting free software (on the server side)b) bandwidth cost for developers or FS users downloading the software

a) Time spend to spread the word of the great added value of Debian and bundled software (Mouth by Mouth Marketing)

b) Time spend to advertise Debian and its free software components on blogs, social networks (identi.ca, facebook, twitter) etc.(Voluntary online Marketing, SEO etc.)

c) Time spend on generating ideas on future program versions and reporting them to Debian FS community

d) Time on evaluation and feedback on software

e) Time spend on managing free software repository (download) servers voluntarily (by system administrators)

f) Time spend by users on Bug Tracking & Bug Reporting

g) Time spend on research and self-actualization by software developer)

h) Time spend on software Quality Assurance

This are most of the multiple factors which should probably influence the cost of any non-free (proprietary software) project. No matter this costs apply for non-free software, it perfectly applies for free software as well.With all said if if we assume the non-programming costs are equal to the programming costs of $ 19 000 000 000 (suggested by Jeb). This means the real cost of Debian will presumably be at least $32 000 000 000. Putting $ 19 billion for all this long list of "additional" costs (besides pure source) factors is probably still very under-scored number.
 

  • the developers use of their own computers (hardware depreciation)
  • electricity bill of the volunteer (developer) working on the program or project
  • electricity bills for servers where free software is stored and available for download
  • volunteer developer IT skills and tech knowledge (KNOW HOW)
  • Internet, network, dial up bandwidth cost
  • personal time put in FS development (programming, design, creativity etc.)! here the sub costs are long:
  • Costs for Project Management Leaders / Project Coordination
  • The complexity of each of the projects constituting Debian

Very interesting figure from Jeb's research is the Programming Languages break down by source code figure.
Jamesresearch reveals on the 4 major programming languages used in the 17000+ software projects (part of Debian GNU / Linux):

 

  • ANSI C with 168,536,758 – (40% of all projects source code)
  • C++ at 83,187,329 – (20% of all projects source)
  • Java 34,698,990 – (lines of code 8% of sources)
  • Lisp – (7% of all projects source code)

  His research also provides a general idea on how much the source code of some of the major FOSS projects costs. Here is a copy of his figures
 

Individual Projects

Other highlights by project included:

Project Version Thousands
of SLOC
Projected cost
at US$72,533/developer/year
Samba 3.6.1 2,000 US$101 (AU$93M)
Apache 2.2.9 693 US$33.5M (AU$31M)
MySQL 5.5.17 1,200 US$64.2M (AU$59.7M)
Perl 5.14.2 669 US$32.3M (AU$30M)
PHP 5.3.9 693 US$33.5M (AU$31.1M)
Bind 9.7.3 319 US$14.8M (AU$13.8M)
Moodle 1.9.9 396 US$18.6M (AU$17.3M)
Dasher 4.11 109 US$4.8M (AU$4.4M)
DVSwitch 0.8.3.6 6 US$250K (AU$232K)

 

As you can imagine all the source evaluation results, are highly biased and are open for discussion, since evaluating a free software project/s is a hard not to say impossible task. The "open" model of development makes a project very hard to track, open source model implies too many unexpected variables missing from the equation for clear calculation on costs. What is sure however if turned in money it is very expensive to produce.  At present moment Debian Project is sponsored only through donations. The usual yearly budget 5 years ago for Debian  was only $80 000 dollars a year!! You can check Debian Project annual reports throughout the years here , for year 2012 Debian Project budget is as low as $ 222, 677 (US Dollars)! The output price of the software the project provides is enormous high if compared to the low project expenses!

For us the free software users, price is not a concern, Debian is absolutely free both  as in freedom and free as in beer 😉
 

Bulgaria silently signs for ACTA / Why ACTA, SOPA and PIPA are bad for our freedom

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

r freedomYesterday silently with zero publicity, Bulgarian representatives ratified the ACTA (Trade agreement for fighting counterfeit.)
The name sounds really good, but it has not much to do with what ACTA is about, when applied to digital medias and data sharing.
The ACTA legislation has been ratified in Tokyo last week, where 22 of the European Union membership countries signed in favour of these "malicious" treaty.

The basic idea of ACTA looks tempting as it gives more freedoms to copyright holders, however if you look closely you will understand actually this copyright infringement clauses are not so in favour of us the users but mostly in favour of multinational corporations.
For all those who have not heard about ACTA and SOPA in short this is anti freedom of speech treaty, which if put in action could lead to serious filtering of the internet.
The ACTA 's controversial treaty has already raised an outcry from dozens of computer literated individuals who daily use the internet. Unfortunately, ACTA is less known among non-tech guys … and hence most people on the internet have no about its existence.

If ACTA is ratified and set to be valid as a legislation to Bulgaria, this could lead to total Internet censorship in BG (more or less like it is in china now).
ACTA legislation will make sharing files via torrents and other P2P community file sharing networks a criminal activity.
Another effect of ACTA is that practically free software which reads a proprietary formats like DVD becomes illegal in Europe (like it is currently in America) and I will become guilty for just reading the non-free format..
As a result of ACTA our ISP (Internet Service Providers) will be forced to log and keep all traffic flowing through their (Routering servers). Filters on a local ISP level that will be censoring free speech could also become totally lawful…
Already there are plenty of ANTI-ACTA and ANTI-SOPA propaganda website which are trying to bring some more awareness to the public for the issue… Once an individual is suspected, to fraudulent activity or anything that breaks what is in ACTA is he is presumed to be guilty of crome …
Just watch the two videos below and you will see how terrible the consequence could be if this legislation is integrated with todays Bulgarian government laws. If you're hearing for ACTA for a first time and you live in a country which has still not rafitied ACTA as a local country legislation, make sure you spread the word and let all your friends about the bad impact of this anti-human legislation. We have to really stand up and protest to retain our digital freedom !

The Internet can be censored if Protect IP ACT (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are put in action !

ANTI-ACTA – Hmmm But What can you do??
 

KRaptor a Raptor free software (open source) arcade game clone for GNU / Linux

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Kraptor is another Raptor Shadow of Death free software, open source clone arcade game for GNU/Linux, DOS and Windows (98, XP etc.).

KRaptor main menu game screenshot Linux Debian Squeeze

The game is not under active development anymore since 2004. Kraptor features a powerful engine for creating quickly 2D shooter games, so the game should be a good learning curve for people interested into creation of arcade game shooter games.

The game just like Rafkill is built upon DUMB sound engine.
The game intro is quite entertaining 😉 The intro plays one by one the text:

Near Future:
Blobalization
Imperalizm
Corporations
Megalomaniacs
Money and Power. Slaves of the New Millenium!

KRaptor Bill gates like looking oppressor

After years of oppression, the slaved people of the world have raised against their masters. You, has a mercenary pilot, has been
contacted by the popular rebellion to fight against the forces of oppression.

In the morning, you jump into your cockpit and start up the engines. It's time to get airborne and start the attack. Get ready to
scramble the scum hired by the masters. Murder for freedom is the only way, you're on a mission, don't defraud us...

Like Rafkill, Kraptor is one man masterpiece created by a free software Argentinean geek known under the Kronoman artistic pseudonim. The game is really incredible for a one man work … a true masterpiece.
The game is licensed under MIT License.

Even though Kraptor is older game than Rafkill, the design is more resembling the original Raptor game. The game music is high quality stereo. Besides that music and fx sound effects are quite awesome. After each level you have a Raptor like weapons "blackmarket", where you can buy new weapons, recharge ship energy, upgrade ship etc.
The blackmarket implementation part of the game is probably the worst moment in the game along with the game menus (in my view).
Talking about graphics Kraptor supports really high number of resolutions ranging from 320×240 to 1280×1024! 640×480 is the standard resolution in which the game is running.

Kraptor raptor like Linux game plasma gun debian screenshot

Something I really like in the game is the number of multiple weapons your ship uses during play. Even if played in Easy mode it is taught.

There are game Saves after each level, so thanksfully you don't have to start again from zero once death.
At the end of each level there is a huge bad BOSS you have to destroy ;).
Kraptor the boss Debian GNU / linux

Installing Kraptor on Debian / Ubuntu and deb derivatives is with:

debian:~# apt-get install kraptor

On most rpm based Linux distributions, you can install the game by converting the deb package to rpm with alien or by building from source from Kraptor's sourceforge page

Its interesting the game name e.g. Kraptor is also a death / grind metal band name, (Maybe Kronoman is metalhead big fan of Kraptor and that's how he came up with the playful name. For all the old school game addicts there is the joystick support. I've tested it with my Genius analogous joystick and it works fine.

The game is lacking .desktop gnome definition and after once installed it only appears through Debian (section) GNOME menus and not in Applications -> Games :

Applications -> Debian -> Games -&act; Action -&t; Kraptor

Just like Rafkill on Debian the game exacutable binary is located in /usr/games/kraptor . Also like with the Rafkill case when launched the game has troubles with choppy sound and music caused by the stupid buggy! pulseaudio

Analogously like with Rafkill's case, the work around to the problematic music en sound is to use a little bash shell script like:

#!/bin/bash
pulseaudio -k;
/usr/games/kraptor
pulseaudio --start;

You can dowload Kraptor fix sound issues wrapper here

To install it on your Debian / Ubuntu and hence make the game sound play good issue with root:

debian:~# cd /usr/bin
debian:/usr/bin# wget https://www.pc-freak.net/bshscr/kraptor.wrapper.sh
...
debian:/usr/bin:# chmod +x kraptor.wrapper.sh
debian:/usr/bin:# mv kraptor.wrapper.sh kraptor