Greetings! I'm Bolo, although my parents christened me Josef Thomas Burger when I rolled from the ways. Call me Bolo... everyone, including my parents, does!

I'm not quite sure who I am or what I do; here's the best explanation I've developed so far. In many ways the question who is a person is defined by what that person does. In my case, I'm a software engineer who develops semi-real-time operating systems and utilities. I've been doing that for the last 12 years. Before that, I was a BSD Kernel Hacker and Unix system Administrator.

I create things, and that's why I'm an engineer. An engineer applies science to the design and construction of "things", and that's what I do. You can't really call me a scientist, though I have a Computer Sciences degree. I'm more of ... a Mad Scientist!!! The guy who pays me, David DeWitt, (who is a scientist) shudders at my methodology. On the other hand, I'm right most of the time. It works for me, eh?

When I'm not designing, architecting, and implementing new operating system type things, I'm often doing the same to other things. Some of those other things are my FORTH system, Woodworking, Home Control, Drawing and Brewing Beer.

To completely relax, try sleep -- it works wonders! But sleep is not enough, although my ex-roommate disagrees with me. Other pursuits which I enjoy are flying, reading science fiction, comic books, railroading (both prototype and model), and role playing games.

You may notice images of the most sublime striped creature, the Tiger in appearing throughout my WWW pages. Tiger has taken me for his own. William Blake's poem Tyger! Tyger! puts words to the wonder of Tiger.

People ask me why I like tigers. It's not a fascination ... it more of respect. They just fit well with me. Perhaps it has something to do with the stripes! I have made an observation, though. I have a large number of Tiger design T-Shirts. When I walk into the room with a Tiger shirt on, people take notice. Walk into a similar crowd with other shirts on, same thing doesn't happen. Maybe other folks just like tigers too!

Look at my Fascinations & Pastimes page for for more info on these items.

On the Road Again

Back in 1996, in a tremendous leap of insanity :-) I've purchased a house! A house is a nice place to put all your stuff, but it is also a nice place to suck up all your time and money with maintenance and smaller and larger projects!

Boring Work

Work at work drives me bananas. It used to be fun, but now it's a grunge. Either I've changed, or the job has changed over the years, perhaps some of both.

For a while it seemed like we get new parallel computers every other month, and I have to beat them into submission, while doing everything else under the sun, moon, and stars. Now, it seems we just don't do anything interesting any more. All of the capability to do really good stuff has been taken away from us, and we are more drones than researchers. So much for systems research when you can't actually do anything systems related to the systems!

I've either worked with, or am currently working on the following projects for David DeWitt, a world-(in)famous database hacker!

All this, and a whole lot more, occurs at the Computer Sciences Department of the Madison Campus of the University of Wisconsin. The campus is located in Madison, WI (USA) on a peninsula between two of Madison's five lakes.


Credits, etc

I either appear as a credit in the following work, or have contributed to the work or research these papers discuss.

Not so boring work

In addition to my work for the UW, I also consult. I don't provide solutions, but rather advice and technical expertise. Helping out Internet Providers, porting software to new systems, reviving old computers, and other oddball tasks are the kinds of things I do. I'd tell you to visit my web server but I haven't had time to do anything there, so it's mostly empty, except for the home pages of some friends.

I haven't done much consulting since about 2000. The opportunities for smaller people have really dried up. Also, beating my soul to death at NCR trying to make Paradise work really took a lot out of me. It also kept me from keeping on the forefront of technology for 3 years, and that is really a killer. Most people these days need help with current things, not the dino-technology I also specialize in.

I am partially or fully responsible for some small software packages. The one I am most proud of is NewThreads, a thread package which runs on many CPUs.


NewThreads is light-weight and low overhead. Though not one of the original authors, I provided bug fixes and made thread core support for a bevy of newer and older CPUs. I've been the owner and maintainer of NewThreads for a number of years now. It is still actively used, and adopted by others, due to its functional and light-weight nature. One of the most prominent users of NewThreads doesn't give it much credit (which is my own fault) -- NewThreads provides the guts of Shore's thread package, and is one reason that it is quite easy to make shore support a number of platforms. When I find the time I am going to put together a up-to-date release of NewThreads with its full complement of bug fixes and thread cores. Currently I am providing support in the form of patches to the current release, since the demand for New-Threads is not too demanding!

Aviation Work

I mentioned earlier that I fly. While true, that doesn't go into the details. I fly part-time for a living as a Commercial Pilot. I am also a CFI, an Certified Flight Instructor. My flying certifications are currently for Airplane category aircraft. If you are interested in flight instruction I can be reached either through my normal contact information, or through Wisconsin Aviation's Flight School at (608) 268-5005. Please check my flying webpage for more details about things aviation-related.

Other activities

Pool -- Billiards

Pocket Billiards took on a much different aspect after I became a flight instructor. Actually many things do, you just look at stuff differently as a good CFI -- it's an attitude shift.

Pool is a great problem solving exercise, just like any research project:

It can be very much a complex task -- and you perform it in real time!

While I'm not particularily talented at pool, playing for money is pretty much a joke. I find that I approach pool somewhat professionally and enjoy playing it. I've meet many better players who appreciate that level of professionalism, which they also share. It's way more fun than lower level opponents who don't know the rules, or try sharking techniques, or other lame things instead of putting their skills with the rock (the cue ball) to a contest!


Uwvax is dead. I'm still quite proud of running a usenet news system for about a decade or two which stayed in the top100 list regularily until huge news farms started to dominate the traffic levels. Pushing news well is a challange that I enjoyed. I miss it, though I don't miss the complaints from the local readers!
I operate the uwvax Usenet News and UUCP site in my free time. "All the news thats fit to print", or something along those lines. uwvax, a CS department computer, has been part of Usenet, UUCP, and the internet for longer than I've worked here. As of 2002 or so, you'll see the name uwvax show up less in path listings. Look for or Nothing wrong with the ancient uwvax label, trying to make the local news setup more sane. Unfortunately, I haven't bothered to finish doing all of this, so the new names are sticking around.

Along the same lines, I am also the Computer Sciences Department's volunteer news master. Much of that goes hand-in-hand with running uwvax. However, trying to take care of 3 or 4 news readers across 5 or 6 different architectures is a trying task. I don't have much time to take care of that software.


I am or have been a member of several organizations. I don't always agree with what they do, but they often have a lot of good benefits, for both members and other users of their communities. I may not even belong to some of them anymore, but I still like them anyway!


When I was in school a horde of friends and myself visited a local pub every Thursday night. This place, The Essen Haus, imports beers from all over the world. Slowly we worked our way through their entire selection.

Over the years we've developed new acquaintances, and many of them became part of our loftily-labelled Blitz Drinking Society. We're rather diverse ... some of the members don't drink! We meet once a year at the Essen Haus during the time of Octoberfest to have a weekend of fun.

Chud has accumulated a short history and whatnot of this charade.

Bolo's Home Page
Last modified: Wed Apr 17 09:27:41 CDT 2013
Bolo (Josef Burger) <>