Chris Robison's Blog Posts

Getting the job done from Apache to z-index
  • Mar 21, 2024

    Painting with Code

    Unveiling the Magic Behind CSS Gradient Backgrounds

    background: radial-gradient(25% 50%, var(--c1) 98%, #0000) var(--s) 0/calc(2*var(--s)) var(--s), radial-gradient(25% 50%, var(--c2) 98%, #0000) 0 0/calc(2*var(--s)) var(--s), repeating-conic-gradient(var(--c1) 0 25%, var(--c2) 0 50%) 0 0/calc(2*var(--s)) calc(2*var(--s)); }

  • Dec 27, 2023

    Our Modern Calendar

    Unraveling the History of Figuring Out What Day It Is

    The calendar our society uses daily is, by all counts, objectively weird. It defines and regulates our lives in such a fundamental way that we don't give a second thought as to how it came to be. Well, I'm here to tell that tale. Sit back and relax while I take you on a journey through its history, where we'll uncover the reasons behind the seemingly haphazard arrangement of months and why the celebrations of the New Year in various cultures happens in February. Let's dive in.

  • Dec 9, 2023

    Game Concept

    AR Alternate Reality Mobile Game

    An idea I've been kicking around for an Alternate Reality game that uses Augmented Reality and provides challenges and quests that involve using your phone camera to locate virtual coins and gems placed by other players in the real world or scanning a QR codes or taking pictures of historic locations or art murals. The game involves getting the players to perform actions that become the challenge for another player. As an example: say you've been given quest to pick up a QR code sticker from a ^[[D^[[local merchant and place that sticker on Lotta's Fountain on Market Street. You place the sticker and checkin and then the system will assign the challenge of scanning that QR code to other players until a player reports that the sticker is gone and the system starts again.

  • Dec 2, 2023

    The Vigilance Committees of San Francisco

    Guardians or Vigilantes?

    San Francisco in the 1850s was a city of stark contrasts. It was a burgeoning hub of opportunity following the Gold Rush of 1849, attracting fortune-seekers, entrepreneurs, and adventurers. However, this rapid growth also attracted criminals who brought lawlessness, corruption, and crime. Amidst this chaotic backdrop, the Vigilance Committees emerged, a phenomenon unique in the annals of American history.

  • Nov 24, 2023

    Blog Post Ideas

    The List

    The creative process can be a funny thing. There are times when the creativity just flows from me and at other times, not so much. The only problem is, I often need to be creative on a schedule but if the creative process if fickle and unpredictable what is one to do? You capture that creativity when it strikes and make lists that can be referred to later when your muse is off doing other things. So here is my list of blog topics for future me to write:

  • Nov 17, 2023

    Font Fundamentals

    The Vital Role of Font Choice in Web and Mobile Design

    The fonts you use can have a profound impact on how people will remember your website and by extension, your business. Do you use ComicSans on your invoices? I'm sure someone out there has done just that but most of us know better. But which fonts to use? The options seem almost endless. For me, serif fonts convey a air of professionalism but at the same time I find them a litte busy to the eye. They are supposed to be easier to read (have I been conditioned by newspapers?) but most online publications seem to use sanserif fonts. What's the deal? As digital experiences continue to evolve, the choice of fonts in web and mobile design plays a pivotal role in shaping user engagement and readability. The concept of optical sizing, a design practice where typefaces are tailored for different display sizes, is especially crucial in this context. Let's delve into why font choice matters and how you can implement it effectively in your designs.

  • Nov 14, 2023

    Encrypt Everything

    Let's Encrypt and the Long Journey to No-Cost SSL

    If you've been around the web for as long as I have, you may remember when a SSL or secure cert could cost a company 00's each year just to maintain a valid certificate. Things have changed quite a bit since those days. Security is no longer a nice to have, it is a necessity. But the good news is that it is now free! That's right, %%content%%. Zip. Ziltch. Nada. Out of the goodness of their corporate hearts and for the greater good of humanity, some of the biggest players in Silicon Valley got together and formed something called [Let's Encrypt]( that wants to encrypt the entire web.

  • Nov 13, 2023

    Machine Learning for Fleet Maintenance

    Keeping Our Fleet Road-Ready

    In the world of transportation, particularly for those of us managing a fleet of buses, the adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" couldn't be more apt. With the advent of machine learning and predictive analytics, we're not just preventing problems; we're anticipating them, ensuring our fleet remains road-ready and reliable.

  • Nov 11, 2023

    Broke Down

    The Mysterious Melting Ignition Coil

    As an experienced software engineer with a knack for hands-on tech repairs, I recently faced a challenging yet intriguing issue with my 2015 Mini Cooper S Convertible. The car's #2 coil pack had not just failed once, but twice, and did so quite spectacularly, melting in a way that was both baffling and concerning. Determined to get to the bottom of this, I embarked on a journey of automotive troubleshooting that tested both my patience and my technical skills.

  • Nov 6, 2023

    AI and the Art of Logistics

    Predictive Analytics for Small Transportation

    In the intricate dance of logistics, timing and foresight are everything. For small transportation businesses, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are not just buzzwords; they are transformative technologies that can predict future scenarios and optimize operations. Let's delve into how AI can elevate the art of logistics through predictive analytics in demand forecasting, maintenance, and customer service.

  • Nov 4, 2023

    Unpacking Modern JavaScript

    Optional Chaining and Nullish Coalescing

    JavaScript has come a long way since its inception, continuously evolving to meet the demands of modern web development. Two of the most exciting additions to the language are the Optional Chaining Operator (`?.`) and the Nullish Coalescing Operator (`??`). These operators simplify the way we write code and handle data that might be `undefined` or `null`. Let's dive in and explore these operators with some practical examples.

  • Oct 26, 2023

    Haunted History

    San Francisco

    San Francisco has earned a reputation as a world-class haunted city. With it's beginnings as a gold rush town through today's technology boom, The City's tumultuous past has lured many tortured souls to remain. This is my personal list of haunted or spooky places in San Francisco that you don't usually see in other lists. This list is by no means exhaustive, just some places and stories I have found to be spooky and interesting.

  • Sep 6, 2023

    Leveraging IoT

    How Small Fleets Can Get Big Data Insights

    In the transportation sector, the Internet of Things (IoT) is not just a buzzword—it's a fundamental shift in how data is collected, analyzed, and utilized to drive decisions. For small fleet operators, IoT presents an opportunity to harness big data insights that were once the exclusive domain of larger companies with deeper pockets. Let's explore how small fleets can leverage IoT to enhance their operations.

  • Sep 1, 2023

    Client-Side JS Modules

    It's About Time!

    JavaScript has come a long way since its inception in 1995. One of the most significant leaps in JavaScript's journey has been the introduction and widespread adoption of client-side modules. Modules have revolutionized how developers structure their code, making it more manageable, reusable, and efficient. Let's delve into the history, uses, and benefits of client-side JavaScript modules, complete with some code examples.

  • Aug 18, 2023

    DOT Compliance

    Navigating Legal and Regulatory Aspects of Tech Adoption in Transportation

    In the dynamic landscape of transportation, small businesses face a myriad of challenges, especially when adopting new technologies in their fleet operations. While technology offers immense benefits, such as increased efficiency and safety, it also brings with it a need to navigate complex legal and regulatory frameworks. This is particularly relevant in light of the recent federal Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations regarding electronic logging.

  • Jul 6, 2023

    Tech Talk: Fleet Communication

    Communicating with Your Fleet Anywhere, Anytime

    In the transportation industry, where the workforce is inherently mobile, maintaining clear lines of communication is not just important—it's essential for safety, efficiency, and operational success. With drivers scattered across different routes and locations, traditional means of communication can fall short. Enter the modern era of communication technologies like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and various messaging apps, which have become game-changers for managing a mobile workforce.

  • Jun 8, 2023

    Caching Assets

    Service Workers in JavaScript

    We've all been there. You're on your computer, online taking care of business. You're just wrapping up the final part of a 6-part online job application form and you click submit. The page just spins and after a few seconds, you get the dreaded Network not available screen and all your work is now gone. Sure, browsers have gotten better at recovering from these types of scenarios but we need to be able to write software that will work, offline or online, if we expect users to rely on our web application. Until recently, there was little you could do to address the loss of connectivity as there was no client-side control mechanism for offline asset caching or hooking into network requests. But now there are Service Workers. They're perfect for asset caching, which can not only dramatically speed up your web apps, but can also make them available offline. Don't confuse Service Workers with Web Workers; They are very similar but the main difference between the two is that Service Workers are persistent while Web Workers are not. In this post, I'll walk through setting up a service worker for caching assets and explore a couple of different caching strategies.

  • May 6, 2023

    Tech-Enabled Compliance

    Staying Ahead of Regulations in Transportation

    In the fast-paced world of transportation, staying compliant with the latest regulations is not just a matter of legal necessity but also a competitive advantage. For small transportation businesses, where resources are often limited, keeping up with these changes can be particularly challenging. However, technology offers a beacon of hope, providing tools that can simplify, streamline, and automate the process of regulatory compliance.

  • Apr 15, 2023

    Cybersecurity for the Road

    Protecting Your Transportation Business from Digital Threats

    In an age where data breaches and cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent and sophisticated, cybersecurity is no longer a concern exclusive to the realms of IT departments. For the transportation industry, which increasingly relies on digital technologies for operations, the threat is very real and potentially devastating. Small transportation businesses, in particular, must recognize the importance of securing fleet data and take proactive steps to protect themselves from digital threats.

  • Mar 15, 2023

    Balancing Fun and Functionality

    The Key to a Fulfilling Life

    Life is too valuable to squander in idle fun but it's also too short to be all work and no play. Striking the right balance between enjoyment and productivity isn't just a nice-to-have; it's essential for long-term well-being and success. Here's why incorporating fun into your life while still getting the job done is vital.

  • Jun 15, 2022

    Cross-Platform Mobile Frameworks

    Devil's Toolkits or Developer Nirvana?

    The digital age has brought us an array of mobile devices running different operating systems like iOS and Android. Developing applications for multiple platforms usually involves writing distinct codebases for each OS, which can be cumbersome and time-consuming. This is where cross-platform mobile app development frameworks come into play.

  • Mar 22, 2022

    The JS Event Loop

    Core Concepts

    JavaScript is a non-blocking, single-threaded language, but how does it handle asynchronous operations like AJAX requests, timers, and user interactions? Enter the Event Loop, a core concept that allows JavaScript to juggle multiple tasks without getting bogged down. In this post, we'll dissect the Event Loop to help you understand its inner workings.

  • Jan 10, 2022

    Async/Await and Fetch

    A Guide for Real-World Application

    JavaScript, the language that's fundamental for front-end development, has evolved immensely over the years. One of the game-changing features introduced is the async/await syntax. This has revolutionized how developers write asynchronous code, making it more readable and manageable. Combine this with the fetch API for making network requests, and you've got a powerful toolkit at your fingertips.

  • Oct 2, 2021

    Unmasking Data Sellers

    How to Use Honeypot Email Addresses

    Ever wonder how your inbox gets flooded with promotional emails from companies you've never heard of? Chances are, your data is being sold or shared without your explicit consent. But how can you find out which websites are the culprits? In this post I explain how to setup a honeypot email address to catch data-selling websites red-handed.

  • Jul 21, 2021

    Ancient Petroglyphs

    A Theory of Global Catastrophe

    I was recently watching some youtube videos on ancient petroglyphs and rock art around California and the southwest and it got me thinking. The similarities between many of the figures from various sites is striking. After doing a bit of research online, it seems this imagery is not limited to North America but can be found all over the world! What's going on here?

  • Apr 8, 2021

    Data-Driven Decisions

    Utilizing AI/ML in Your Advertising Platform

    In today's ultra-competitive online advertising landscape, leveraging data isn't just a bonus; it's a necessity. As someone who's led a mobile team in a prominent online ad company, I've seen first-hand how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) can turn data into actionable insights, leading to more efficient and effective ad campaigns.

  • Jan 11, 2021

    Scaling Up

    How to Manage a High-Volume Mobile Advertising Platform

    In today's fast-paced digital landscape, managing a high-volume mobile advertising platform can be a monumental task. As your user base grows, so does the complexity of serving ads at scale while maintaining performance and user experience. Based on years of experience in the online ad industry, here's a guide on how to scale up your mobile advertising platform effectively.

  • Dec 2, 2020

    From 0 to 100

    A Guide to Assembling and Leading a Stellar Development Team

    Assembling and leading a high-performing development team is a challenge that many engineering managers face. Over the years, I've navigated this task in multiple roles and learned that a stellar team is more than the sum of its parts. Here's a guide to building and leading a development team that truly excels.

  • Jun 6, 2020

    Realtime Black Lists (RBLs)

    The Double-Edged Sword of Using RBLs for Spam Filtering- The UCEPROTECT Scam

    In the ceaseless battle against spam, Realtime Black Lists (RBLs) have emerged as a potent weapon. A RBL contains lists of email servers, domain names, and IP addresses that are associated with hosting, producing, forwarding or otherwise contributing to creating spam. Email servers can reference these lists to determine if an email is being from a "spammer" host and flagging or denying the message.

  • Mar 13, 2020

    Adapting to Agile

    How to Successfully Implement Agile Methodologies in Your Team

    Agile is more than just a buzzword; it's a methodology that has revolutionized the software development landscape. Transitioning from traditional development models to Agile is a significant shift that requires buy-in at all levels. Here's my guide on how to successfully implement Agile methodologies in your team, based on years of experience in the tech industry.

  • Jan 27, 2020

    Crossing the Divide

    Bridging the Gap Between Software Engineering and Physical Computing

    The realms of software engineering and physical computing have often been seen as separate entities. One deals with lines of code, abstract data structures, and virtual environments, while the other focuses on embedded systems, hardware-software interactions, and the tangible world. However, as someone deeply involved in both disciplines—from coding complex algorithms to designing 3D printers—the line separating these two fields is blurring more than ever. Here's how and why these domains should and are coming together.

  • Nov 19, 2019

    Code Review Culture

    How to Foster Excellence and Accountability Among Developers

    As someone who's worn multiple hats—from developer to engineering manager—I've witnessed firsthand the power of a strong code review culture. Code reviews are not just a formality but a linchpin in building a sustainable and healthy engineering team. Here's why code review culture is essential and how you can foster excellence and accountability among developers.

  • Jun 10, 2019

    Real-Time Bidding

    A Deep Dive into RTB Systems and Its Impact on Online Advertising

    Real-Time Bidding (RTB) has revolutionized the online advertising landscape, making it more efficient, targeted, and profitable for all stakeholders involved. Drawing upon years of experience in the online ad industry, this post aims to provide a deep dive into the intricate world of RTB systems and explore their far-reaching impact on the advertising ecosystem.