windows programming

Windows version of Linux’s $(pwd)

Tonight, I played around with Docker in Windows, and I wanted to use Node to install my packages to my local environment. Then I found a command on Chris Fidao’s Laravel Vessel website which looked like…

docker run --rm -it -v $(pwd):/opt -w /opt shippingdocker/php-composer:latest composer create-project laravel/laravel my-app

I modified it for use with npm to…

docker run --rm -it -v $(pwd):/opt -w /opt michaelbrooks/node:latest npm i vuepress

I ran the command and got the following…

docker: Error response from daemon: create $(pwd): "$(pwd)" includes invalid characters for a local volume name, only 
"[a-zA-Z0-9][a-zA-Z0-9_.-]" are allowed. If you intended to pass a host directory, use absolute path. See 'docker run

A quick search and I found I could replace $(pwd) with %cd% which looked exactly like this…

docker run --rm -it -v %cd%:/opt -w /opt michaelbrooks/node npm i vuepress

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Barclays has fixed Windows 10 – Creators Update app issues

Today, Barclays fixed some major issues which it had with Windows 10 mobile devices running on the creators update. First issue it ran into when this update was released was a message saying… “Sorry, Barclays Mobile Banking is not supported on jailbroken devices”.

I thought that as I was running on the insiders update. It may have been some new measures to ensure the app was being run securely. I tried coming off the Insiders updates, reset my phone and was still received with the same message. My fiance who wasn’t on any insiders ring, had updated her phone to the creators update. Where she was met with the same message.

Barclays then proceded to text her (not me for some reason) to apologise for the inconvenience. And said they were working on a fix (great news). We then waited a week, then tried the app again. The message had disapeared. Then we thought it was back on, but when we entered our pin, the app would just exit with no explanation. I tried on both mine and my fiance’s phone and the same thing was happening.

After a few weeks

Now, after a good few weeks, we have received the very welcoming text that the issues have been fixed and we can use the app as normal. It has and I thank them for their support on this.

I really wish other banks were this responsive. And they really need to take a page out of Barclays book and learn from them. Banks such as Lloyds, Halifax and TSB have all removed their apps from the Windows 10 store. And are no longer supporting Windows 10 which is sad and I hope this changes in the future (especially considering they were just mobile wrappers anyway).

They could all make our and their lives easier by creating a UWP app and bring in new features which I really hope they are looking into this for the future.

Windows 10

Windows 10 Creative Update Event Overview

Thursday night, I sat watching the Windows 10 event, and I have to say, they blew everyone away…

Surface Studio

Let’s start with the biggest announcement, the surface studio. This product is purely beautiful and should be every creator’s dream. The zero-gravity hinge, which enables you to angle the screen where you want with just the press of a single finger means you can get the correct angle anytime. When you push it all the way down, you can lean against it and put quite a bit of your body weight onto the screen.

It’s a 4.5k screen and looks incredibly beautiful and detailed, and you even have the option of changing colour profile so you can get the most accurate range of colours. I would never need a computer like this, but damn would I want one anyway which goes to show how sought after this device is going to be.

Surface Book

The surface book has a huge overhaul with a better-dedicated GPU with 2GB of dedicated GPU RAM which is built for gamers. However, they didn’t quite go into detail on how well it will perform for most modern gamers. This is something I kind of wish they went into more detail about.

However, it just looks insane, and I think it could make a lot of people happy, especially if they were on the lookout for an upgraded SKU. They have managed to push a lot more inside, yet the form factor is still pretty much unchanged, which is spectacular.

VR AND AR Devices

Last year we saw the Hololens, a great augmented reality device which really pulled all the punches. Virtual objects scattered across your room look really fun. This year, they showed it in even more detail alongside the new Paint3D (more on this soon).

They showed that you could view an online community of 3D created models which you can pull into reality and place wherever you like, they also showed a proof of concept where you can go shopping in Edge and pull out the products into reality and check if it works within your room.

This is truly the future and is something we will all be keeping a close eye on. They then showed their new VR headsets starting at $299, which is cheaper than what’s currently out now. You could picture yourself in other countries without even having to travel, and this means you could easily plan your holiday before even flying over.

Windows 10 Creative Update

Now for the actual software updates, there has been so much packed into this update, and I believe it’s enough to excite any creative user from 3D paint which allows the user to create any 3D model and even import models scanned from real-life objects.

They showcased a sandcastle on a plinth which was scanned in from the HP x3 and then imported into the Paint application. Then a little holiday memento was created including a little 3D emoji with sunglasses. This looked spectacular; they then took this 3D object and placed it into real-life using the hololens.

New broadcasting options are using Microsoft’s newly purchased Beam, which will be competing against Twitch. Beam offers zero-latency streaming between the broadcaster and the viewers, which seems like a great win. I have noticed that Twitch can have a good couple of seconds latency between the broadcast and users.

There are even rumours that the Paint3D app will be UWP. Which means it will work with Windows mobile, but we will have to wait and see how this actually works.

Full video of the event

Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone, Why did I pick it?

Windows Phone, Forever alone…

In my office, I’m the only one who fully supports Windows Phone as an operating system. My fellow colleagues disagree with me and would rather have either an Android phone or iPhone. I would like to make a quick post on why I chose Windows over Android and Apple and why I think Windows phones are the winners.

Like Android, Windows has been able to get it’s OS into many phones, which I think is fantastic because it gives the user more choice and is why I would choose it over Apple any time. Apple, however, does have a very solid OS and phone, but the fact you can only get 2 variations limits it, I mean surely the more phones you have your OS in, the better. Why? Because it gives people more choice and choice is great.

Android, although it’s implemented in a lot of phones, lacks being able to be kept up to date for each phone manufacturer. And each company implements the Android OS in different ways because of how open source it is.

Windows has managed to make it open, but not too open that it contains loads of bugs and makes the experience different on every device. It has rules which each manufacturer has to abide by. Which means, no matter what phone you choose, you always have the same or a similar experience, and any bugs which get found are updated across all platforms. I like the fact that Windows says to each company “You can add whatever you like onto your phone as long as it doesn’t change the experience too much”. This is perfect, it means more choices on hardware and no matter what phone you use, you will always be up to date.

The choice between open and non-fragmented

I would also like to add that I do like Android and the iPhone, but you have one which is way too open and doesn’t give you the same experience across the board, then you have the other one which gives you a nice experience, but absolutely no choice.

Windows has managed to overcome this by controlling what happens, but not too much that it closes it down too much. And this my friends is why I choose a Windows phone over any other phone.

Let me know what you think in the comments below, whether you agree or not.

Windows 10

Windows 10 UWP Web Wrapper App Release

At the beginning of this week, I had decided to give myself a little project of creating an app for the Windows 10 ecosystem. I wanted to my website to be a Windows 10 app and I wanted to create this with as little effort as possible.

After a little searching around, I managed to find Project Westminster. You can use Visual Studio to create a web app which is a wrapper for your site, but I remember reading that you can use a web-based version and have something created for you with 0 code.

This is where I found Windows App Studio a free tool which gets you creating Windows 10 apps without the need to know any code. It was as simple as adding my site URL, uploading a few icons and screenshots and then generating the code to publish it to the store.

I then downloaded my generated my code, submitted it to the app store and just two days later, I had a lovely Windows 10 UWP app. This app can be used on mobile, tablets, desktop and even the Xbox One and Hololens. That is some crazy platforms with minimal effort.

If you would like to see my work, you can check it out with this link. I would love to create a proper native app somewhere down the road, but I will need to invest my time in learning C# and hopefully, in time I can create some amazing Windows 10 apps.

I’m already excited for the Hololens and Xbox One development tools and am keeping an eye with the Windows Insider builds. Now is a pretty exciting time for Windows 10.

Composer Private Repository Problems

Cross development can be a pain…

Recently I have been finding out the slight differences between Windows and Linux for use with Laravel and Composer. One difference is Windows isn’t picky about the way you set out Composer’s packages which can be a major problem. Here’s the issue I had and what I had to do to get it going…

"description": "The Laravel Framework.",
"keywords": ["framework", "laravel"],
"license": "MIT",
"repositories": [
        "type": "vcs",
        "url": "",
        "url": "",
        "url": "",
        "branches-path": false,
        "tags-path": false
"require": {
    "laravel/framework": "4.1.*",
    "cartalyst/sentry": "2.1.*",
    "imagine/Imagine": "0.5.0",
    "edvinaskrucas/notification": "2.*",
    "way/generators": "dev-master",
    "pulse8/admin": "dev-master",
    "pulse8/sliders": "dev-master",
    "pulse8/parks": "dev-master",
    "geedmo/yamm3": "dev-master"
"autoload": {
"scripts": {
[ "php artisan clear-compiled", "php artisan optimize" ],
"post-update-cmd": [ "php artisan clear-compiled", "php artisan optimize" ],
"post-create-project-cmd": [ key:generate" ] },
"config": {
    "preferred-install": "dist"
"minimum-stability": "stable"

As you can see, I placed all of my private VPS URLs into one JSON object. On Windows, everything was fine and dandy, nothing was overwritten and everything could be found easily. However, when I placed it all on the server, this is where I ran into problems. Linux is more strict on standards (which is definitely not a bad thing) and caused a lot of aches and pains for me as I wasn’t coding to these standards. It took me and my team a whole day to suss out what was wrong, but this was our finished code for the private VPS URLs…

        "type": "vcs",
        "url": "",
        "branches-path": false,
        "tags-path": false
        "type": "vcs",
        "url": "",
        "branches-path": false,
        "tags-path": false
        "type": "vcs",
        "url": "",
        "branches-path": false, "tags-path": false

They have been separated into their own object and now runs perfectly fine on Windows and Linux. Had similar issues? If so then please feel free to share and let me know how you overcame them.