Guus Bosman

software engineering director

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Canon A520

Canon Powershot A520.We have a new camera!

Two weeks ago we went again to Best Buy. I called in advance and they put aside one of the camera's that had just come in that day.

We choose a Canon Powershot A520. The HP PhotoSmart that I've had for a long time served me well, and I feel sorry that I can't use it anymore, but the new camera is very nice.

One of the features I like is the the display that shows the focus point chosen, as well as the the shutter speed and aperture chosen by the auto exposure system. The camera also has a beamer to determine the distance between the object and the camera when it's dark... a lot of useful tools but the camera is easy in use.

The memory cards of the HP fit in the new camera also so we can re-use those. We were not so lucky with the inital A520 we got Friday -- when I took the first picture in the metro station, the shutter didn't fully open automatically. We returned in immediately and luckily enough they had more camera's in stock.



At work somebody pointed me to Skype. I had seen it before, and experimented a bit with it in the past but never really used it.

However, being in Puerto Rico and all, it is very easy to make calls to the Netherlands. Good phone cards are hard to find here, and it's difficult to coordinate for someone to call me (sorry paps & mams!).

I just installed in on my laptop and spoke for a little while with a colleague in Virginia. That worked pretty nice, so I'll keep it installed and experiment a bit more with it over the next days.

So, for the technically inclined: my Skype name is guusbosman.


Map of Arlington

A nice tool that I recently tried out is Google Maps.

If you type in an American address in the Google search bar, you're given the option to see a map of that address. Of course I tried it immediately with our own address.

The main thing I like about it is that you can zoom in & out, and so get a good idea of the entire area. In the map of our address, you can see the Iwo Jima monument that I saw last week. In the lower-left corner is Quincy park, that's where our library is (about 25 minutes walking).

In the shadow of the address sign is the location of my work (at the crossing of Wilson Boulevard with the Fort Myer drive). The bridge of the river is the Key bridge, that leads to Georgetown and downtown D.C.

If you move the focus a bit, or zoom out, you can see Washington D.C. Another thing I tried was following the river, the Potomac from its beginning to the Atlantic ocean.


Hotmail 250 MB

Joost sent me a very useful tip: an explanation how to increase your Hotmail inbox size for free.

Traditionally the inbox of a Hotmail account is 2 MB but last year, when Google announced GMail, Hotmail planned an upgrade to larger mailbox sizes. For some reason, this increase is only available to people in the U.S. However, using Joost's tip, which basically comes down to temporary changing your address to a U.S. based one, you can get the large Inbox even when you live in Holland.

Right after I executed the trick, I got a 25 MB size account, and an hour that was increased again to 250 MB.

Not as large as GMail, but much better than the original 2 MB. Thanks Joost!

Increased Inbox size for 'Americans'.


Speed increase cable

Comcast, our cable internet provider, has announced that it will increase the speed of its internet broadband connections.

Currently we have 3Mb/s downstream, and 256 Kb/s upstream, and this will increase to 4Mb/s down and 384Kb/s up. The article didn't mention when exactly they'll switch, but it said "this quarter".

Nice they're upgrading the speeds here too.


AIM blocked

At my work many people use AOL Messenger (or "AIM") to communicate with colleagues in other offices.

This weekend someone told me that she couldn't sent me any messages anymore, and when I came in the office I experienced the same: my account seems to have been blocked by AOL. I have really no idea what could have caused it, and it's rather annoying. I'd rather not create a new account and have to add my name to everybody's buddy list again so I'm trying to contact AOL but that's not been very succesful so far.

For now: my MSN Messenger account is


Google Desktop

Joris pointed me out to a really cool new tool by Google: the Google Desktop. It's a search-engine that you works for your own computer, so locally.

It works really well, and it integrates beautifully with Microsoft Outlook and many other tools. Installing is a breeze: download it here (Windows only). It's really nice to be able to find everything so quickly: it's much quicker than Windows' own search tool and the integration with is great.


Phishing IQ Test

Found an interesting test to see if you can recognize fraudulous e-mails from real ones, the
Phishing IQ Test.

I had a 90% score; some were hard to recognize.



A simple but beautiful animation.


Webserver Vrije Universiteit

Tonight I was looking up something on the website of my university, and I noticed it was extremely slow. I didn't pay a lot of attention to it; I thought there was perhaps a problem with their internet connection.

But the real cause is very likely this article on Slashdot that I accidentily came across a few minutes later. The article about an ex-professor of mine, Mr. Tanenbaum, is making so many people go to the VU website that the webservers there are having a hard time staying 'alive'.

This is called the Slashdot effect: a link on the frontpage of that hugely popular website would cause Guus to immediately go up in smoke and it would definitely upset my ISP.


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