Guus Bosman

software engineering manager

Links & Technology

Lego building robot


Wired had a fun video today about a machine, made from Lego, that can build Lego objects.

“Here’s how the MakerLegoBot works: A feed system that’s about two-and-a-half feet tall and can hold about 35 bricks connects to the LegoBot. The object that the MakerLegoBot is to assemble is designed in MLCad, a modeling program. A Java app that runs on a PC takes the file from the MLCad software, determines a set of print instructions and sends those instructions over USB to the LegoBot.

The machine retrieves a brick from the feed system and places it in the exact location where it should be. It uses an axle-based release mechanism to leave the brick in place.”



A small book with great ideas. It describes an ‘agile’ approach to business — how to think small and be effective.

It’s an inspirational book, written with a great mindset: keep it simple, release early, be nimble.

Book details:

   Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. ISBN: 9780307463746.
   I read this book in English.

Broken laptop screen


Laptop screen.Just before the weekend Sasha’s laptop screen died. When you start the laptop the screen displays vertical, colored stripes.

Dell sent a replacement screen today and tomorrow an engineer will come and install the screen at my work. I could have easily replaced the part myself but it’s a nice service.

Modern times


A while back I connected my accounts of several social networks and tools to each other. If I update my ‘status’ in one place it shows up in the others automatically. So if I type a status update on my phone, it gets routed to my website, to Facebook and to Hyves (a Dutch Facebook clone).

I maintain two separate streams; I have a separate stream for work-related updates. Those will show up in my LinkedIn account, on Skype and on Yammer, which is a sort of Twitter for companies.

This week I changed the way status updates are displayed on my website. They are no longer limited to a box ‘What am I doing?’ but they became real nodes on the site, so you can add comments to them on the site.

(Diagram source).

Actuate & BIRT


BIRT designer.This morning I attended a roadshow by Actuate, the company that created the open source project BIRT. I recently introduced BIRT in one of my products, and I’m very happy with that decision.

The roadshow was in Plainsboro near Princeton and about 40 minutes away from our place. Most of the presentations during weren’t very informative — ‘they had a low information density’, as one of my friends would put it. I always wonder, am I the only one who feels that things could be told 5 times faster?

The part I liked were the short 3 minute demo’s. While my product uses BIRT mainly to generate PDFs and other files, BIRT could be used for dashboard functionality as well. Apparently you can hook in your own Flash library to it, which is nice because we use FusionCharts already.

Operating Systems: Design and Implementation


My first introduction to large scale development.

When I was 16 years old I borrowed this book from our neighbor next door. I brought it on vacation in France, and still remember the smell of fresh cut grass when I was reading this book in France, over and over again. The Appendix contained the entire source code of Minix.

Years later when I did my Master’s Degree in Amsterdam I followed two courses by the author, Andrew Tanenbaum.

Book details:

   Operating Systems: Design and Implementation by Andrew S. Tanenbaum.
   I read this book in English.

   This book is one of my all-time favorites.

Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software


In my first job at Chess patterns where just coming in fashion in the mid-1990’s. Can’t say that the GoF is a book that’s great to read but it has a wealth of knowledge distilled.

Book details:

   Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by Gang of Four.
   I read this book in English.

   This book is one of my all-time favorites.

Disabled Windows XP beep


It’s 2010 and I’m still using Windows XP, and I’m actually quite happy with it.

One of the small annoyances is the ‘beep’ that sounds when you change the volume. Since it’s a quiet Saturday morning and the snow is impacting some of the plans we had I googled for a solution. has the answer I was looking for.



Cool demonstration of the possibilities of SixthSense by Pranav Mistry, its inventor.

TED talk

(thanks Mark).

Invoking a single Ruby test


I usually run my unit tests in Eclipse on my development system, or from the command-line on the target environment in bulk.

Sometimes though it’s useful to run a single unit test from the command line. There are two equivalent ways of doing that:

rake test=test\integration\firmware_upgrade_test.rb
ruby test\integration\firmware_upgrade_test.rb

About me

I’m a software engineering manager in Arlington, Virginia. I love technology and working with people to build great software.

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Send me a message, find me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Random facts

I was quoted in The Economist and my site was posted on Slashdot. I speak English and Dutch fluently, and pretty decent German, French and Bulgarian. I founded Dutch in which has more than 3,300 Facebook fans.

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