Guus Bosman

software engineering director

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Christmas present Chess

Received a very nice Christmas present from Chess today by mail.

Christmas present.


Late Sinterklaas present

Today I bought "de Strijd om de Macht" (the Power Struggle) by Jacques Monasch.

He was one of the spindoctors of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) that suffered a huge defeat at the last elections and wrote a book about his experiences this summer. It's gonna be a while before I'll start with it because I still have a lot to read.


Dutch-American software engineering director

Guus.About Sasha & Guus

I'm a software engineering director and I work in Arlington, Virginia. My current work areas include fraud detection and high performance Java but I love all kinds of software development. My specialty is to run happy and productive engineering teams, with a good eye for what the business needs.

My wife Sasha graduated with a PhD from Duke University and now has a cool job in Washington, D.C. Our daughter Nora was born in 2012; our sons Leo and Adrian in 2015.

My full name is Guustaaf Bosman but I go by "Guus". This is a Dutch name, and some non-Dutch speakers use "Chris", "Guss" or "Goose" instead. Just don't say "Duck". I was born in the Netherlands and Alexandra (Sasha) is from Bulgaria. We speak a funny mixture of Dutch and Bulgarian at home, with the goal of teaching them our languages natively.

Sasha and I met in the summer of 1998 in upstate New York. In 2000 Sasha joined me in the Netherlands, and a few years later we moved to the United States permanently.

This blog serves to keep in touch with friends and family, many of whom live far away.

About my work

I love technology and really enjoy my work, which I started in September 2011. It's my policy not to describe my work or employer. Also: this is my personal blog and the views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

At my previous employer I created a very successful data center management product, see screenshots here (technology highlights: ExtJS for the UI, Ruby on Rails front-end, Java back-end and REST & ActiveMQ as the glue in the middle).


I enjoy reading about technology, management, psychology and history. I keep track of some of the books that I read on this site. I also have a big list with "must-read" classic books that that I'm slowly working through. I love 17th century Dutch paintings.

Are you interested in experiences of Dutch immigrants to the States? I'm the publisher of a successful newsletter & website for Dutch-Americans, Dutch in (also on Facebook). I was quoted in The Economist in January 2012.

I started this website in June 2001 to stay in touch with friends and family. The server used to be OpenBSD and Drupal but I migrated to Amazon AWS a few years ago. When I hosted it myself, it ran in the attic of my parents, haha, and had been running non-stop since October 2006, and was strong enough to survive an influx of Slashdot readers.

A small open source project that I'm somewhat proud of is Java Config ( it solves a simple problem really well and it's well written and well tested software with a code coverage of over 95%. It is now "old" and lost its usefulness years ago when newer tools like Spring came along. I've contributed some other code to open source projects, mainly tiny things such as a recent comments block for Php-Nuke in 2003 and more recently a patch and scripts for Drupal. I'm proud to say that, where appropriate, I've approved many patches and contributions to open source projects in my work.

I really like languages. Dutch is the native language in the Netherlands, and obviously English is my second language but I also try to maintain my skills in other languages. I speak German pretty well, and when I worked on a consultancy engagement in Puerto Rico in 2006 I attended a Spanish language course. I always keep working on my Bulgarian since my family-in-law is Bulgarian.

Occasionally I'll come across an American word or expression that I haven't heard before.

Some of the books and technology that I love.Engineering management

I'm an engineering manager by trade and I combine the roles of technical architect and people manager. I've managed up to 20 people at the same time, mostly software engineers.

I've worked with a variety of agile methods, including elements of XP and Scrum, but most companies I've worked at all had a slightly different implementation, and that's fine with me. I'm very pragmatic. I enjoyed reading "Rework" -- it had a lot of statements that reflect how I approach work and business.

Technology wise, I'm pragmatic. I believe Java/J2EE has its place in the enterprise, and there are places where Ruby on Rails or Python may be more effective. (When starting a new product at work, I switched our technology to Ruby on Rails with ExtJS for the product's front-end, a change that paid off handsomely). I use PHP and Drupal for my personal sites.

Programming wise, I've been across the spectrum: I've written kernel code in assembly and C but also used full-blown enterprise integration stacks based on XML transformations and web services and everything in between.

I'm a manager now, and do not typically write production code myself. I'll fix some small bugs here and there but I don't have the time that real development needs. Besides: I like to hire people who are better programmers than I am.

Sometimes I still dive in the code though. For a customer in Puerto Rico I designed and oversaw the implementation of an integration between an order entry system and a order work flow system, and many smaller subsystems such as for address validation and credit checks. I spent a few weeks working late nights and weekends reverse engineering one of the interfaces myself since it was very poorly documented and even the vendor couldn't help us. It was a great feeling when I managed to get a prototype of the basic system working, and in the months after that we implemented this successfully.

I've designed and architected great products from scratch. I'm very proud of a product I've made for my previous employer in Raleigh, which my team and I started two years ago and is now in use in some of the largest data centers in the world.

Technology skills have a half-life

A timeline of skills:

- 1992: Visual Basic for Applications. Created my first commercial software using Microsoft Access and OLE Automation.
- 1994: More VBA. Expanded my software business, created a payment terminal system for JUMA
- 1997: Learned Java in college
- 1999: First part-time work with Java
- 2000: Learned about Ant, jUnit
- 2002: Maven. OpenBSD. Apache.
- 2004: Learned about Unix CICS, IBM connectors, WBI integration
- 2006: CentOS, Nagios, SNMP
- 2007: Ruby on Rails
- 2008: Modern JavaScript. ExtJs
- 2010: High availability
- 2012: Responsive Web Design
- 2013: Malware analysis
- 2014: Android game development
- 2016: Kibana, Grafana, kafka
- 2017: Slack (built a very cool tool)
- 2018: AWS cloud
- 2019: really started my current focus on system performance

Netherlands and Bulgaria.


Hope to see you soon in real life,



Weekend Middenmeer

Mieke going for the first place.Yesterday afternoon we went to Gerrie's birthday in Opperdoes.

In the evening we played -surprisingly- a few games. It has to be mentioned: Mieke won the 2nd Steden & Ridders!

Today I'll read a bit. From the library I have a compilation of essays on politics. It's called "de Kwetsbare Democratie" and contains a wide variety of articles from Adam Smith, Aristoteles, Marx etc.


Sinterklaas evening

Yesterday evening we celebrated Sinterklaas. As every year we had a wonderful evening.



St. Nicolaas.Tonight we'll be celebrating Sinterklaas with Ettie, Gerben and my parents in Middenmeer. We've prepared a number of poems, decorated presents and nice things for it. The preparations are of course part of the fun.

Sinterklaas is a Dutch traditional festivity. If you like to know more about it read for example this excellent introduction to Sinterklaas and the traditions around it. There is also a lot of information on the website of the Dutch Ministery of Foreign Affairs.

It's nice to see that so many people celebrate Sinterklaas in the Netherlands. Here's a story about children on a Dutch school in the UK celebrating Sinterklaas (in Dutch). It's from the newspaper Trouw, that has another interesting article on the history of Sinterklaas.


Sinterklaas preparations

Sinterklaas' mijter.Today we're preparing things for Sinterklaas.
Really convenient that the shops were open today.

Poems, presents... working till late tonight.


Jaap to the USA

Pictures Jaap made.My father has been to the States recently for a business trip.

There was a conference on Electronic Teaching in Long Beach, close to Los Angeles. He took some pictures.


Too late!

We wanted to leave to Schiphol in about 30 minutes. But now it turns out Jaap's plane will arrive 30 minutes earlier. That means we would have to leave now to be on time.

Unfortunately he doesn't know we'll be there so he wouldn't wait for us either... too bad!


Slowly, slowly...

...starting to feel a little bit better.


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