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.

  • Meetup and Conference Etiquette Revisited

    Meetup and Conference Etiquette Revisited

    I don't have an particular themes from the week I can remember in enough detail to discuss this week, so thought it time I dragged out one of my long term 'topics to discuss'.

  • Display Data Sets in InDesign with Porky

    Display Data Sets in InDesign with Porky

    As a coder of many years, I am a keen believer in writing everything once and being able to use it in multiple places. In the coding world, thanks to open data formats and widely supported APIs we can generally have one central set of content and use it for different applications and use cases, all nicely in sync.

  • Video - Using layout managers to craft awesome Android interfaces

    Video - Using layout managers to craft awesome Android interfaces

    Using layout managers to craft awesome Android interfaces

  • Celebrity Death, Netflix vs Digital Nomads and Introducing the Enthusiastic Amateur

    Celebrity Death, Netflix vs Digital Nomads and Introducing the Enthusiastic Amateur

    It's been quite a week (month, year) for celebrity death and I'm certainly not going to be the first or last to talk about the subject this week. I am going to mostly talk about Bowie, because I was a bigger fan of his work than say, Alan Rickman, but also for other reasons I will come to. Whilst we're here I should also briefly mention the death of John Bradbury, drummer with The Specials. He actually died on December 28th of 2015 and wasn't part of the new 69 club, but was 62.

  • How to auto deploy from GitHub to your server

    How to auto deploy from GitHub to your server

    GitHub, and the Git version control system it's based on, are fantastic tools for managing and collaborating on projects – code-based or otherwise.

  • Blink(1), a Programmable Indicator for All Developer Needs

    Blink(1), a Programmable Indicator for All Developer Needs

    Late last summer someone handed me a curious USB device that I popped in my bag and then sat on my shelf until today when I thought it was about time I plugged it into my computer to see what it did.

  • Video - Getting to know Volley

    Video - Getting to know Volley

    Volley, next generation network communications for Android

  • Berlin Winter, Art Exhibitions and Submarine Cables

    Berlin Winter, Art Exhibitions and Submarine Cables

    Firstly, the beginning of this week was COLD. For a couple of days there was a low of around -11° and a high of maybe -5°. I know for some of you in more northern climbs this is nothing but having lived in London, where the weather is generally average most of the time and Melbourne where the coldest it gets to is about 0°, for me this was the coldest I have ever been.

  • Turning Chip Shop into a Board Game

    Turning Chip Shop into a Board Game

    I spent some time this week finishing off a lot of the changes from my last round of playtesting, most of these have resulted in changing Chip Shop from a somewhat random card game with a board (for no particular reason) into a more rounded actual board game.

  • Estonia-between East West and the World

    Estonia-between East West and the World

    It seems fitting that as I start piecing together the fragments of interviews and notes gathered over the past months that it has been just over a year since Estonia’s innovative e-Residency program began, which is where my fascination with Estonia began and this story starts.

  • The Next Full Stack Language? Server-side Swift with Perfect

    The Next Full Stack Language? Server-side Swift with Perfect

    I will keep re-iterating (for the next 6 months at least) that whilst Swift is not the first language from a commercial company to be open-sourced, the enthusiasm and outcomes so far have been astounding.

  • Beginning the Weekly Squeak — Wrapping Up 2015

    Beginning the Weekly Squeak — Wrapping Up 2015

    What better way to start my new blog post and podcast of semi-random uttering and opinions than with a round of the year and thoughts that have led me to starting it in the first place.

  • Trello Shortcuts for Dash

    Trello Shortcuts for Dash

    I have loved Kapeli's offline documentation browser, Dash for a while now and have been intending to start contributing to it for the best part of 2015.

  • Commodore Amiga: a visual Compendium by Sam Dyer

    Commodore Amiga: a visual Compendium by Sam Dyer

    First, let's get the disclaimers out of the way. I helped Kickstart this book, but that wouldn't necessarily make my review biased...

  • A Mind Forever Voyaging: A History of Storytelling in Video Games by Dylan Holmes

    A Mind Forever Voyaging: A History of Storytelling in Video Games by Dylan Holmes

    As part of creating Chip Shop (and future game ideas) I read recommendations on reading about (and playing) various types of games, not just board games.

  • 2015 in Review, New Languages, Rising Frameworks and More

    2015 in Review, New Languages, Rising Frameworks and More

    Across the mobile channel in 2015 we had over 3 million views and published just over 160 posts.

  • Video - Submitting to the Chrome Store

    Video - Submitting to the Chrome Store

    There are quite a lot of specific images and text descriptions required to create a listing page for your app, we detail them here and provide some useful tools to help create them. In this final section we submit our application to the store. You're almost there!

  • Video - Interacting with Browser Content

    Video - Interacting with Browser Content

    A Chrome extensions prime function is to interact and enhance a users' web pages and in this video we look at how to do this, building our first extension with a combination of HTML and JavaScript. This extension will replace all images in a SitePoint article with images of Super Heroes, bringing even more super powers to your browsing experience.

  • iOS and Android Programming with Go

    iOS and Android Programming with Go

    Whilst not a new language, Go has gained a lot of interest over the past two years and the number of bigger name projects utilizing the language is growing rapidly. I wrote an introductory article on the language for SitePoint and came across mentions of mobile support, so thought I’d take a look at the possibilities.

  • Further Changes From Play Testing

    Further Changes From Play Testing

    A few more changes from my first play testing session.

  • Video - Super Powered Web Services

    Video - Super Powered Web Services

    No application exists in isolation, in most cases it will frequently need to access external data and services to bring it to life. In this video we look at the principles of connecting to these services. We will cover the basics of APIs, REST and JSON in an Android app and play with some Marvel Super Heroes on the journey.

  • Backing up and restoring Crate databases

    Backing up and restoring Crate databases

    Our databases contain valuable and business critical information and whilst there have always been manual ways to create restorable backups of Crate databases, as of version 0.53, we are pleased to announce the 'Snapshots' feature.

  • Changes From Play Testing

    After my first constructive play test session, here is the first wave of changes to the game.

  • Video - Activities and Intents, the lego blocks of Android

    Any Android app that requires even a basic interface will need the basic building blocks of activities and intents to manage interface screens and the flow between them. In this video we look at the different activity types available and how we connect them with intents.

  • Simple, Clutter-free Programming with Go

    Simple, Clutter-free Programming with Go

    GoLang (generally shortened to Go) is the latest language-that-everyone-wants-to-learn-and-use. In this article, I'll provide an introduction to the language, its features, its potential, and whether you should care about Go or not.