Posts Tagged ‘border’

Flight from Sofia Minsk via Moscow Sheremetevo airport a few impressions from Russia and Belarus

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

Sofia-Sheremetevo-Minsk-my-impressions-on-Russian-and-Belarusian-airport-what-it-is-like-in-Eurasian-Union

Thanks God, today we had a safe flight  for one more time with my wife Svetlana from Sofia  airport Vrazhdebna ( Terminal 2 )  to Minsk Belarus National Airport.
We travel 2 times to Belarus from Bulgaria (European Union) and though in Summer time tickets are more cheap and more regular and more convenient direct flights are available from Bulgaria to Minsk (Varna -> Minsk and Burgas -> Minsk) because of tourism the only way to travel quickly by plane to Minsk from Bulgaria is either via Moscow or via Istanbul as in the late days the political situation in Turkey is so ignited and the problem with these refugees and crazy bomb hihhadists is escalating we decided to not fly through Istanbul Ataturk airport even though the bit lower ticket prices.

The trip started from Sofia airport, there we had to go through the regular Metal Detector scan and removal of all metal things and going through the scan "gateway" doors. It seems after the last terrorist acts in Brussels Belgium and the risk for many other Islamic ones the security in airports was raised even further.

The distrust to the regular flight traveller like me has reached a crazy levels, these times besies the regular Metal detector, we were asked to give our hands and with a small device called "Trivka", were checked whether our skin has recently been exposed to explosive materials and stuff like this …

For both flights Sofia -> Moscow Sheremetevo and Sheremevo -> Minsk we flied with Aeroflot. This is not the first time we fly with Aeroflot and I think it will definitely not to be the last time. The airplanes we flight with were a new airplanes (SU) Sukhoi airplane and I enjoyed the flight.

My impression was the Russian pilots are "driving" / flying the plane very much like they drive an ordinary military airplane and that's quite fun as the airplane lift off and landing is done very rapidly exactly like being done with a military aircraft. Of course that could be my own gut feeling but it feels that way just to compare the aviators of other Westerner airplanes such as Boeng 737 / 777 does speed up before lift off much more easily so the flight out doesn't boost up so much adrenaline 🙂

The food in Sofia -> Moscow plane was quite decent too we were served the so common and valued in Russia, Belarus and Eurasian Union (EAC) juice called RICH before the meail toghether with some option for a beef meal or a chicken meal. The meal itself was worm and served in a board inside holding 2 cardboard boxes one containing the beef together with some spaghetti with steamed vegetables and the other one containing a tiny soared corny with a few pieces of beef (or pork) meet with two pieces of some healthy "black" rye bread pieces one of which was with some healthy sesame seeds accompanied by a small package of butter and some other souce. For a dessert  a delicious waffle like made of drought mashed fruits.

To be honest my first impression seeing that strange meal combination was not very positive, not to say that I honestly wanted to puke but after tasting it I would say I really liked it. Aeroflot offers also a vegetarianian menu but this has to be pre-ordered in advance and as I didn't ordered it earlier but for next time if it is a fasting period before Easter or Christmas I would definitely pre-order a vegeraranian meal.

What I truly liked about Aeroflot's Sukhoi SuperJet 100-95 with which we flight is the the simplistic design, no extras inside the plane no annoying monitors that show you all the time the altitude and reporting over which country you're flying and generally no useless and often unwanted information.
However we were reported by the pilot a couple of times some information such as that we're flying over Brest and Minsk, but of course the English of the pilot was hard to understand. Well the radio from the pilot on the airplane is definitely something that didn't impressed me as in any other western airplane the radio connection from pilot is much more clearly heard but I guess this can be solved quickly.
The toilets in the airplane was also normal ones as in any other Western built Boeng, here is time to say it was always intesting for me the wiping of the toilet once the wipe off button is pressed a small hole is opened letting some air directly from outside to pull off what is inside the toilet and that quickly cleans it up 🙂

Entering the airplane was done through an attachable cordon (air tunnel) and not like with my earlier flights in which we were driven to the airplane by an ordinary bus.  

moscow-sheremetevo-terminal-2

Sheremetevo is really huge airport and what impressed me is the fact Sheremetevo's airport letters were written in pure cyrillic, something surely unique to see for any person coming from the west.

First impression from Moscow Sheremetevo if compared to Shiphol airport in Holland or Heatrow port in London is Sheremetevo is much more calm and quiet, the airport looks feels relaxing and cozy even though its outlook is a bit old fashioned. The marketing and advertisement ads all around the place and complexity of Sheremetevo is much less if compared to any other huge International airport and some things are made in a typical Russian manner, even the number of products being sold in the airport are much less than in any western airport, though there is plenty of caffeterias and restaurants to have lunch / dinner.

Moscow-Shermeetevo-free-duty-shops-and-terminal-D-red-cooridor-signatures

The simplicity on Sheremetevo airport is really a great thing as even the monitors showing up information for the flights are displaying the information in a very understanable and simply way even though possessing generally an old fashioned DOS like outlook if compared to the modern European Union / United States airports.
While waiting on Terminal D for the onboarding to flight Moscow -> Minsk, I had an amazing view of the airports airplanes, moving all around.
This is the first time I saw so many airplanes gathered on one place even though I've flight via Sheremetevo previous times this is the first time I'm starting to understand how big is really Sheremetevo.

One unfortunate fact about the flught was that our luggage was not transferred directly to Minsk Belarus but sent from Sofia to Sheremetevo and then we had to wait for some time to pick it up right after we've been checked by the border control kiosk.
There by the border police Russian lady I had to answer her few questions and she filled me a small list called "Migration card" blank for the Transfer visa.
Oh yes, I almost forgot in order to fly through Russian to another country inside the Eurasian Union such as Belarus, you need to have a Russian Transfer Visa which is being applied for from Russian embassy in Bulgaria.
The Russian Transit flight  VISA costs 60 EUR (if it is to be made from 4 to 10 days) and for a 3 days creation of VISA it costs 95 EURO.

Sheremetevo_airport_Saint_Nicolas_Eastern_Orthodox-Chapel

One very great thing about Sheremetevo which I liked so much as I'm an Eastern Orthodox Christian is the existence of the Eastern Orthodox Chapel in honour of Saint Nicolas the Myrh-Bearer who is in our Christian faith considered to be a protector of all travelers. Thus if like me you happen to be a Christian and you're flying via Moscow it is very nice to drop by for a few minutes in St. Nicolas chapel to light up a candle and pray to the saint with a beseach for a safe flight.

Sheremetevo-airport-Saint_Nicolas_Chapel-iconostas-icons-of-the-Savior-Jesus-Christ-and-Virgin_Mary
Here in Minsk the airport is also very cozy and warm (especially the old terminal), so one have a relaxing feeling once in Minsk.
Minsk airport is also very well organized and well maintained so to be honest it looks to me personally more beautiful than Sheremetevo.

Minsk-National-airport-logo

To transfer to the 2nd airplane that flight from Moscow Sheremetevo to Minsk we needed to make transfer from Terminal F (where we arrived) to Terminal D which is the terminal that runs the local Eurasian Union flights from Russia to Belarus (note that Russian, Belarus doesn't have a flight border so anyone flying from Russia to Belarus could fly freely and once you reach Belarus, you're not being checked at all from any border control and that's pretty cozy because we didn't have to be checked for a second time once we reached Minsk.

minsk-inside-airport-shops-and-infrastructure

My impression from Minsk National airport is that it is a nice mixture of communistic remains architecture and modern architecture.
There are plenty of private  busses (marshrutki) that goes every 15 minutes from Minsk airport which is 43 km from city center as well as an ordinary state bus that gues to the train station and city center.
The train station in Minsk is also on a very much Western level and for some things it is even better as it has a cheap shop, where you can buy food at same prices as in any other supermarket chain in Belarus. 
We travelled to train station and there what striked me is the touch screen interface allowing you to see various info about Minsk infrastructure the trains timing and even there was a video call to Train Station Staff to find out more about anything you can't find out yourself.

Trip to Romania ( TTR ) – Few of my impressions from Ro-Mania :)

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

I just came home from a short 4 days trip to Romania. I'm truly impressed by the beauty, the people goodness and their piety.

Over the last few years, I've visited Romania numerous times, most of the times I just crossed by car while traveling to Holland. My impressions the previous years were quite good already but I didn't have the opportunity until now to see how the country looks "from within" – I mean how the life flows there etc.

I've heard quite a lot of BAD thinks about corruption (from european parliament critics in new) and gipsy like people and plenty of bad stuff over the years.
This is all lies, the country people are not corrupt, they're just smart and find plenty of ways to earn money. For instance while I was traveling there were Romanians people selling raspberries brought by the nearby woods, the raspberry selling is not entering the treasury of the country and this is considered by the European Union corruption and a crime 🙂
Well talking about police, they're a bit corrupt and stopping you for no reason sometimes to ask if you can give them some coffee or cigarettes but i wouldn't put this police act as corruption it is rather an act the patrol police do in order to find some extra cash near the low sallaries received for serving in police 🙂

Well anyways my trip to Romania here are few of my travel notes. The whole travel Route was Bulgaria – Romania, the aim of my travel can be classified as business trip, since I was travelling with a relative's husband who was their to transfer some physical goods (a kind of logistics). The wohle trip started from my hometown Dobrich; we went through Silistra and Ruse and then the so famous Danube bridge. The roads in Bulgaria are not perfect and some regions were full of road holes, but this is normal since we have a harsh winter here and now a road recovery works are in progress on the roads. Crossing the Danube bridge, there is a custom police and they charge something like 23 BGN (Bulgarian levs) for crossing it. Then there is a border police check which as most people who travelled by bus or car over borders (out of Schengen) knows pretty well. You have to hand in your ID and it is checked by a policeman and if you're not in the list of WANTED CRIMINALS 🙂 they let you go. Some 500 meters or a 1 kilometer after that is the Romanian border police which (since not part of Schengen yet checks your traveller ID again).

In Romania we travelled through Gurgevo which is one of the closest cities to Danube river bridgeroad and one of nearest romanian cities to Bulgaria.
Our first destination was a place in Romania called Targo Mures, to go their our route passed through the side road of Bucuresht – Bururesti as Domneles (misters) calls it.

As I'm trying to live an Orthodox Christian life the most striking think from the moment we entered Romania to the one we went off it was the number of Churches, Crucifix and religious references one can see by just crossing the country roads.
Many villages in Romania had 2 or 3 Churches a small chapels a Cross on the road sidewalks etc. Even many Romanian houses almost everywhere had a Christian Cross on top of the house or on the house door. Putting a Christian cross on top of your home is something I myself has thought of and wondered why Christians did not put here in Bulgaria and other Christian countries seeing this being a reality in RO-MANIA 🙂 was unexpected.

Other from my impression is that Romanian people work hard and a lot of them live in the village, owning a small land to grow vegetables and animals (sheeps and cows) mostly. While driving we saw on many places shepherds with large herds of sheeps, people mowing and generally many people who seemed to be working hard to grow their own food. This really made sense since here in Bulgaria grievously animals are rarely grown by country people and most people are living in cities (our rural population is very small).
Growing myself vegetables and having sheeps and living a village life is one of my dreams so seeing so many people growing big portion (if not all of their food on their own) especially in this crazy super-market times is really something that gives me hope, we're not completely doomed yet.

Biggest part of Romania is Orthodox Christian, while the deep central part and the western part is Roman Catholic. Nomatter the differences between the two the people in both parts seemed to live in piece. The western part was visibly more developed than the eastern.
In my observations the western part of Romania is highly influenced by Hungarian culture and architecture, while a lot of Hungarians live their today. We went through Sigishuara which seemed to be mostly Roman Catholic though I saw some Orthodox Church too on the city center. Sigishuara is amazingly beautiful. The people we met all throughout the trip was extremely friendly and always wanted to help and threated us like true Christians, something one can rarely see happening nowdays …

Most of Romania we travelled is mountain covered and the air was extremely clean, so when you're even breathing you feel very different and alive if compared to whether in my hometown.
Brasov is one of the big cities in Romania but its construction is not too much concentrated, the city is quite scattered consisting of neap houses up to few stages per hight. Generally in Romania I haven't seen too high buildings almost anywhere, in Bucurest there are some but still they're not so tall as the blocks in Bulgaria or some other ex-communist countries.

Something interesting about Brasov is that near it is Transilvania and a castle in a small village (or town) called Bran, the castle is dating back from the 12 century and is told to be the original castle where Count Dracula lived. Perhaps the region is filled with Vampire stories but unfortunately my knowledge in Romanesco was so poor so I couldn't get into contact to locals to ask for that (neither I had the time to).

Bran Count Dracula Castle

Bran castle was restored a couple of times and has been a host for the royal family of Romania (many Romanian kings, princesses) through the middle ages in Communistic time it was abandoned and just recently it was turned to a cultural museum (probably part of UNESCO).

The castle is located on a high rock and near it is a beatiful garden and an old times mention. In the castle there are plenty of objects left and traditional princess dresses, pictures, a cinema room, an ancient torture room and plenty of other medievel furniture.
The price was normal 25 LEU (the romanian currency), this equals to something like 6,5 EURO.

On the road, while travelling in Romania on many places you see the signs reading <b> DRUM BUN</b>: which in English means <b>"Have you a good trip"</b>.
During our way back from Bran we travelled through another mountain region – Sinaia.
The prices of food in the super-markets in Romania are quite almost same like in Bulgaria and if compared to western europe many products can be considered even cheap. The quality of food I found to be quite satisfying. A lot of people in Romania are still selling home made yellow cheese and natural grown products in villages as well as I've seen plenty of this street old fashioned tradesman which I like so much on the streets. The country roads especially the central ones and highways were quite good too. Well there is a lot to be said but unfortunately I don't have the time to prolonge this post anymore. In the mountain areas there were some sinaguture for monasteries according to what I've heard from some priests here in Bulgaria in Romania currently they have 7000 Orthodox Christian MONKS! ! ! The number is amazing high just for a comparison in Bulgaria as of time of writting we have not more than 300 monks.

Our trip thanksfully was safe and every romanian we met or ask anything was more than welcome to us and tried his best to help us. Finally it was time and we hit the road back to Bulgaria through Danube riverbridge – the bridge road is a bit better than before some holes are filled in but still there are plenty of holes.
We had to pass through the Romanian Customs and pay a fee for passing by and later were checked by Bulgarian border police – thanksfully with no problems. We had to deliver some cargo to Karnobat in Bulgaria so we passed by there and then through Burgas headed back through Stara Planina (Old Mountain) which is amazingly beautiful mountain and is a must visit place for any keen on mountain tourism.

Thanks God I came back home alive and well and here I am writting this post. To sum it up if I have to grade America and being asked if it is worthy as a tourist destination I would say not only worthy but it is a real pearl you must see!
 

How to take area screenshots in GNOME – Take quick area selection screenshots in G* / Linux and BSD

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Quick Area screenshot in GNOME how to make quick area selection screenshots in Linux and FreeBSD gnome-screenshot shot

Often when, you do something on your PC, you need to make a quick screenshot of a screen area.. Yes GNOME's feature to take complete screenshots of Screen with Print Screen SysRQ and consequential picture edit with GIMP is one way, but this is far away from quick. This method to chop out of a complete display screenshot usually takes from 40 secs to 1 minute to properly cut and save a selection of the whole picture.
Another common use, that I love in GNOME is the ALT + Print Screen SysRQ key combination. alt+ print scr sysrq is handy while taking a single window screenshot is desired. Anyways often you only need to make a screenshot of a tiny area of the screen. Many people might think this is not possible currently in GNOME, but they will be wrong as there are no impossible but hard things to achieve on Linux / FreeBSD 😉

There are at least two ways using a predefined command for taking quick area screen snapshot.

1. Taking quick area screenshot by using ImageMagick's import command

To use import you will need to have installed ImageMagickswiss army knife of command line image manipulation 😉
For area screenshot with import, press ALT+F2 and type inside Run Application box:

Screenshot GNOME run application GNU / Linux Debian ImageMagick import area screenshot

import -frame screenshot.png

Now make the selection of the exact screen area you would like to screeshot in file screenshot.png
Note that screenshot.png file will be saved by default in your home directory as it is read from $HOME shell variable:

hipo@noah:~$ echo $HOME/home/hipo
hipo@noah:~$ ls -al screenshot.png
-rw-r--r-- 1 hipo hipo 4950 Mar 14 21:11 screenshot.png

You see my $HOME equals /home/hipo, therefore screenshot.png just grabbed is saved in there.

One downside of taking the screenshot with import is that picture snapshot is not further edittable, if it has to be further processed with GIMP or some other graphic editor program.

In the screenshot, below I show you one screen area of my XMMS taken with import -frame screenshot.png cmd:

XMMS Screen Area Screenshot import screenshot

Trying to open the screenshot.png, file with GIMP displays the following error in GIMP:

PNG image message PNG the file specifies offset that caused the layer to be positioned outiside image GIMP screenshot

Not all area snapshots taken with import -frame, create this issue sometimes screenshots are opening in GIMP but only area of the screenshot.png is visible in gimp.

Thanksfull, there is work around to this issue by converting the import generated PNG format picture to JPEG with ImageMagick's convert and then edit the .JPEG with GIMP etc.:

hipo@noah:~$ convert screenshot.png screenshot.jpg

Hence to permanently work around it, in case you intend to apply (GIMP modifications), once area snapshot is made instruct import to save its output picture in .jpeg, e.g.:

hipo@noah:~$ import -frame screenshot.jpeg

2. Taking quick area screenshot using gnome-screenshot cmd

Once again invoke the GNOME command Launcher by pressing Alt+F2 (holding alt and pressing F2) and type in the launch box:

gnome-screenshot -a

gnome-screenshot Run Application in GNOME 2.30 on Debian GNU / Linux

Below is a small area from my desktop, chopped with gnome-screenshot 🙂

GNOME desktop area chop screenshot with gnome-screenshot on my home Debian Linux

You see on above screenshot a tiny (picture) icon one of the greatest, if not the greatest bulgarian saint – saint John of Rila. St. John's lived as hermit for many years in Rila mountain and by God's grace possessed incorruptable body. His incorruptable body is still kept and can be venerated in Rila Monastery. The monastery is located 160 km from Bulgaria's capital city Sofia

St. Johns first Bulgarian established monastery Rila Monastery is currently the biggest functioing monastery in Bulgaria. The saints monastery is considered one of the most holy places in Bulgaria. If you have a travel or plan a holiday in Bulgaria, I warmly recommend you go there and venerate the saint incorruptable relics.

3. Binding keys to allow quick area screenshot taking with gnome-screenshot in GNOME

This configuration is for GNOME 2.x and is tested to work on my Debian (Squeeze 6.0), GNOME ver. 2.30.2, it should work in earlier Ubuntu versions shipped with GNOME 2.2.xx too. As I've red on the Internet it works well with Ubuntu 10.10Binding a key for screenshot area grab, should be working properly also on any GNOME 2.2.x supporting OS, including the BSD family OSes (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD)

a) setting gnome-screenshot key binding for interactive screenshot area grab

Navigate the mouse cursor to GNOME main menus panel in left top, where you see (Applications, Places, System).
Therein use menus:

System -> Preferences -> Keybord Shortcuts -> Add ->

Alternatively if you prefer you can directly invoke the Keyboard Shortcuts configuration with command:

hipo@noah:~$ gnome-keybinding-properties

Further on, assign a shortcut by filling in something like:

name: grab-screen-area
command: gnome-screenshot -i -a

GNOME add keyboard shortcut map key for area interactive screenshot

press Apply and next map a key to the new defined key binding:

GNOME add keyboard shortcut map key

Under the Shortcut column click on Disabled and assign some key combination to invoke the cmd for example Ctrl+F4

The command gnome-screenshot -i makes gnome-screenshot, show interactive make screenshot dialog like the one in below screenshot.

GNOME screenshot interactive screenshot select area grab shot

b) creating gnome-screenshot -a area screenshot key binding for quick area screenshots "on the fly"

The procedure is precisely the same as with adding interactive screenshot; Under Keyboard Shortcuts GNOME config assign new key binding by pressing Add button and adding:

name: grab-screen-area1
command: gnome-screenshot -a

Once again in Shortcut column in line starting with grab-screen-area1 add your desired key switch. I personally like Ctrl+Print Screen SysRQ as it is close to the default GNOME key combination assigned for taking screenshot for a Windows Alt+Print SysRq

It was logical, that this key binding should work and a direct selection mouse cursor to appear once Alt+Print SysRQ is pressed, however for some reason this is not working (hmm, maybe due to bug) ??

Thanksfully it is always possible to substitute the just assigned gnome-screenshot -a key binding with import -frame /home/hipo/Desktop/screenshot.png

If you have followed literally my article so far and you did tried to place a bind for gnome-screenshot -a, modifty grab-screen-area1 to be something like:

name: grab-screen-area1
command: import -frame /home/hipo/Desktop/screenshot.png

Where modify the path /home/hipo/Desktop/screenshot.png, to wherever you prefer the region screep capture to be stored.

c) bind keys for delayed screenshot

This also a handy binding, especially if you every now and then need to make screenshots of screen with a few secs interval.
Add one more keyboard shortcut;

name: grab-screen-area2
command: gnome-screenshot -d 5

Assign a key to make a screenshot of the active display after a delay of 5 seconds. I prefer Ctrl+F5

Onwards every time you would like to make an area screenshot, just use the defined keys:

Ctrl+F4 - will prompt you interactively for the precise type of screenshot you would like to take
Ctrl+Print SysRQ - will prompt you for a direct area to select and once selected will immediately screenshot it
Ctrl+F5 - would do delayed screenshot of entire screen after a delay of 5 seconds

4. Adding border and drop shadow effects with gnome-screenshot Actually, there is plenty of interesting things to do with Screenshots which I never thought were possible.
While reading gnome-screenshot's man page, I've stumbled to an interesting argument:

-e, --effect=EFFECT,
Add an effect to the outside of the screenshot border. EFFECT can be ``shadow'' (adding drop shadow), ``border'' (adding
rectangular space around the screenshot) or ``none'' (no effect). Default is ``none''.

This would have been a nice feature but as of time of writting this article, untofrtunately it is not working in GNOME 2.30.2. I'm not sure if this is a local Debian bug, however I suspect on other Linux distributions with different GNOME build configuration, this features might be working well. My guess here is drop shadow effect and border effect are not working because, gnome-screenshot was compiled without (support for ImageMagick?).
Anyways the way the feature is supposed to be work is by invoking commands:
:

hipo@noah:~$ gnome-screenshot --border-effect=shadow
hipo@noah:~$ nome-screenshot --border-effect=border

The same basic effects, are also available through GIMP's menus:

Image -> Effects

5. Setting default behaviour of gnome-screenshot in gconf-editor GConf (Gnome config registry db)

Experienced, GNOME users should already know about the existence of gconf-editor and the gnome registry database. For those who have don't, coming from MS-Windows background gconf-editor is GNOME (graphical environment) equivalent to Microsoft Windows registry regedit command

gconf-editor can be used to atune the way the screenshots are taken by default. To do so, launch gconf-editor cmd and follow to sub-structure:

/ -> apps -> gnome-screenshot

gconf-editor GNOME screenshot border effect none default gnome-screenshot gnome behaviour

The settings in above screenshot are configurations which are used by default by gnome-screenshot, right after install.
You can play with the options to change the default way PrintScreen SysRQ key press will take screenshots.
Here is one example for changing the gnome-screenshot default GNOME behaviour:

GConf Editor GNOME screenshot, border effect drop shadow and include border option set on Linux Debian

As you can see in above screenshot, I've changed my default gnome-screenshot snap taking to include a drop shadow effect:
Name | Value
border_effect | shadow include_border | (tick on)
last_save_directory | file://home/hipo/Desktop

As you see you can also control, where by default gnome-screenshot will save its screenshots, by default, its saved in $HOME/Desktop
. If you prefer some custom directory to only contain Screenshots taken for instance $HOME/Screenshots, create the directory:
hipo@noah:~$ mkdir ~/Screenshots

and then change the value for last_save_directory gconf var:

last_save_directory | file://home/hipo/Screenshots

Once settings are applied screenshots with Print Screen SysRQ key will be made with Shadow Border effect and saved in /home/hipo/Screenshots

Strangely enough, changing gnome-screenshot default screenshotting values to include screenshot effects like drop shadow or screenshot border effect works just fine.
Even though gnome-screenshot –border-effect=shadow and gnome-screenshot –border-effect=border doesn't directly affect the current screenshot to be made, I've later noticed writting this two commands in the gnome-terminal, does change the border settings for gconf-editor screenshot border.

If you enjoyed, this article and you intend to become "a professional screnshotter" :), you might also enjoy my two other articles:

Happy screenshotting 😉