Welcome

I am Chris Ward (aka Chris Chinchilla). I am a Developer, Writer, and full of crazy ideas.

After 15 years as a developer I realized that my skills lie in helping others understand technical subjects. I achieve this through technical writing, blogging, networking and educating people through presentations and workshops.

This site is the home of my personal and work projects and the experiences I have working on them. If you like what you see, read more, come and see me present, or support what I do.

Why do you call yourself Chris Chinchilla? Yes it does sound silly doesn’t it! It’s a nickname I’ve had since 1997 after a passing comment at school, I’ve carried it through all my fanzine and music years and like it. For those who are interested, a Chinchilla is a small (and very cute) South American rodent, a Small Town in Queensland, Australia and is a real name in South America.

  • An Introduction to CoreOS

    An Introduction to CoreOS

    If you're reading this blog, then you have a rough idea of what containers are and why you want to use them. Docker has made it easy to experiment with containers, and is slowly making it easier to deploy and manage them in production environments. However, there are a still a lot of gaps in what Docker offers (for free), and others have stepped up to fill them. CoreOS is one such option; it's not just a container management system but an entire (Linux-based) operating system designed to run containers.

  • Weekly Squeak, 18th September - Maximum Linkage

    This has been a week of me appearing at meetups rather than attending, and I must admit, when I present, I tend to forget what else happened. More of an adrenaline rush than egotism. I hope.

  • From the UK Games Expo to Essen

    From the UK Games Expo to Essen

    It's been a while since my last update pertaining to the Chip Shop board game. After realising that board games isn't that lucrative of a business, it slipped down my priority list somewhat. I also had a lot of feedback from the UK Games Expo (thanks to Carrie and Tyler for running the booth for me) to process and that took time...

  • Exploring the Evive - A Book-Sized IoT Device

    Exploring the Evive - A Book-Sized IoT Device

    The evive aims to reduce the complex tangles of sensors, circuit boards and cables you have covering your workbench. It's a compact, all-in-one small book-sized device capable of reading and outputting a variety of sensor and trigger data. Built in includes power sensors, multiple motor channels, voltmeter probes, and two analog to digital converters. If that's not enough for you, at the heart of the evive is an Arduino Mega offering large expansion possibilities with a mini breadboard, communication module (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and XBee), IC, SPI and Serial pins.

  • Weekly Squeak, 9th September - Apple vs the Prosumer

    In this Weekly Squeak I cover another week in Berlin meetups and after Apples September product announcements, do they no longer like the prosumer?

  • Making Atom (even more) awesome — My Setup

    Making Atom (even more) awesome — My Setup

    I spent a long time researching, trying and tweaking text editors. As a cross-platform developer and technical writer (mostly writer these days) I work with different programming languages, document formats and want an editor with particular features, but that is also easy on the eye. Ideally I wanted all the functionality I was looking for in one application, not split between 5.

  • Building Your First Blockchain App with Eris

    Building Your First Blockchain App with Eris

    A few months ago I was at the Berlin Blockchain awards, and it appears that 'blockchain' is the new buzzword that startups and tech-folk like to throw into everything, without completely understanding the concepts behind it. Whether you believe that blockchain is just a new buzzword for the industry or a truly revolutionary technology, developers are often uncertain of how they can use the blockchain concept in their applications. Eris Industries' solution might make this a bit easier.

  • Medium Exporter for Atom

    Medium Exporter for Atom

    I love Markdown and I love editing Markdown in Atom. But I also love the exposure that Medium offers, and whilst I admit it has a great editor, I like to be able to write offline and I like having a central repository (i.e. Git) of my work for collaboration, consolidation and other purposes.

  • Editors Friend for Atom

    As a (very) frequent writer and editor I often find myself writing and correcting the same words over and over again. Or in preparation for publishing I have to repeatedly undertake the same steps, such as adding short codes or formatting links.

  • Communist and cultural effects on tech communities

    Communist and cultural effects on tech communities

    This is my second visit to Tirana for the OSCAL conference, an annual celebration of open source technology in Albania's capital. Aside from excellent content, the conference stands out for a couple of reasons. Most attendees and organizers are under 30, and the gender divide is pretty much an even split. Anyone who attends tech-related events in other countries know that this is (sadly) unusual, and I was interested in digging beneath the surface to find out more.

  • Video - What’s New in AppCode 2016.2

    Video - What’s New in AppCode 2016.2

    A video about new features and improvements in AppCode 2016.2 is here!

  • An Introduction to Docker for Mac

    An Introduction to Docker for Mac

    Recently out of private beta, Docker's new native applications aim to replace the current methods for running Docker on Windows and Mac, creating a better experience for developers using those platforms. For the previous solution, Docker Toolbox used VirtualBox to create a small Linux virtual machine that hosted your images and containers. It worked pretty well but could be unreliable at times and required workarounds that sometimes resulted in unexpected outcomes or not working at all.

  • Rapid IoT Development with the relayr Android App and SDK

    Rapid IoT Development with the relayr Android App and SDK

    relayr is an IoT platform as a service, aiming to help IoT developers centralize and aggregate the data generated by IoT connected devices. By installing their hardware and software SDKs you don't need to worry about specific SDKs and data types generated by various devices, but instead code against the relayr APIs.

  • Video - Which Continuous Integration Tools Support Bitbucket?

    Video - Which Continuous Integration Tools Support Bitbucket?

    Automate your tools with Bitbucket

  • Otto: The Next Generation of Vagrant

    Otto: The Next Generation of Vagrant

    Not so long ago, Vagrant was the prime tool that attempted to solve that time-immemorial problem of "it works on my machine." Developers could create shareable Vagrant files to allow coworkers to spin up replica machines for testing code and the interconnecting parts of a typical modern project. Vagrant is far from dead, but it suffers from a couple of long-lasting issues, including the resource footprint of virtual machines created, the speed of sharing files between the host and virtual machine, and the speed of making configuration changes to virtual machines.

  • What Do Apple’s App Store Changes Mean for Developers?

    What Do Apple’s App Store Changes Mean for Developers?

    It's a sobering time to be a mobile developer, with both app and device sales down. Personally, I feel this is just the maturation of a new(ish) industry, and everything will work out eventually. But, noticing major dents in their revenue, the major players are clearly worried.

  • The Story of English by Robert McCrum, Robert MacNeil

    It's taken moving to a non-English speaking country to realize how wide spread and common place the English languages is in the World. This has piqued my interest in learning about the origins of our bastard tongue and how it got to this position.

  • Generation Xbox: How Videogames Invaded Hollywood, by Jamie Russell

    I loved this book and couldn't stop reading it, which was a pain as I mostly read before going to sleep. The book takes an era by era look at how the video games and movie industries have tried to collaborate together, and largely failed.

  • The Offline Coding Challenge, Theoretical Concepts in Videos, and Beginner Coders Wanted

    The Offline Coding Challenge, Theoretical Concepts in Videos, and Beginner Coders Wanted

    I recently read http://www.bfilipek.com/2016/05/coding-without-google.html about a Developer's workflow before the proliferation of the internet, search engines and developer websites. It reminded me of an idea I had wanted to write about for a while and this blog post prompted me to drag it off my todo list.

  • Teaching Programming: What’s the Best Language for Beginners?

    Teaching Programming: What’s the Best Language for Beginners?

    Like many of my age and generation, I started learning to program with BASIC. These were the days when you bought magazines full of pages and pages of code for games or basic applications. You spent hours with your friends painstakingly typing these programs into a computer to find there was a typo, or the game didn’t work, and then giving up. It was more about hanging out with your friends, whilst your parents felt like you were learning something.

  • An introduction to the Docker trusted registry

    An introduction to the Docker trusted registry

    Many of us start our Docker journey pulling images from the Docker Hub with the time-honored docker pull command.

  • 8 Key Announcements for Android Developers at Google IO

    8 Key Announcements for Android Developers at Google IO

    Another year, another IO. Google made a slew of announcements, from their own foray into the assistant arena, to several curious devices and apps. Few of these have details or any API access for developers, so SitePoint will cover those at a later date. If you’re interested in reading more, I recommend Google’s official IO blog post.

  • Create Cross-Platform Desktop Apps with Electron

    Create Cross-Platform Desktop Apps with Electron

    Call me old-fashioned, but I have always preferred using a desktop app suited to each purpose. I feel that if all I'm going to use is a browser for everything I do, then why have a 'proper' computer? On a practical level, I travel frequently and am generally 'between' internet connectivity or using unstable internet connections, and 'real' applications are typically far better at allowing effective offline working.

  • Observations on Albania and Australia in Eurovision

    Observations on Albania and Australia in Eurovision

    Last weekend I was back in Tirana for my second OSCAL, an awesome little open source conference that has a massively diverse audience and punches well above it's weight. Whilst in Albania I was conducting some interviews and research for a forthcoming article on the Albanian (likely also including Kosovo) startup and tech scene(s), but more of that later. When I visited Albania last year it was my first trip to a Balkan country and since then I have visited Serbia (twice) and Croatia. Last year, everything was new and novel, this trip I was seeing beyond that into things I might have missed.

  • Teaching People to Code — Part 1, Talking to Beginners

    Teaching People to Code — Part 1, Talking to Beginners

    Like many of my age and generation, I started learning to program with BASIC. These were the days when you bought magazines full of pages and pages of code for games or basic applications. You spent hours with your friends painstakingly typing these programs in to a computer to find there was a typo, or the game didn't work, and then giving up. It was more about hanging out with your friends, whilst your parents felt like you were learning something.