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Author Micah Cambre

windows dual monitor sucks

It’s that simple. What’s not so simple is the nuance and variability of getting it right. So many graphics cards, so many retina and non-retina displays and monitors, moving windows from one monitor to the other, plugging in and unplugging the second screen, it’s quite a mess.

AMD’s method or redrawing the GUI on a new or second monitor is weird, where everything starts at the top left. In fact, often the windows all get shoved to the top left in this scenario instead of a redraw in relatively the same place.

Maybe it’s just my Acer monitor? Plugging my XPS 9575 into my Acer 27″ monitor can take up to 15 seconds to get everything in its place. But then again, Windows doesn’t seem to remember the placement of the session’s previous layout with two monitors. If I have a full-screen editor in my laptop monitor with other browser windows on the secondary monitor (set as my primary), and then I unplug and later re-plug back in, that full-screen editor takes up the secondary monitor.

Moving windows between the monitors is also an annoyance. With the XPS high resolution vs the Acer’s standard resolution, the redraws that happen during moving one to the other can cause enough rendering issues that things get squashed, resized, and displaced on the destination monitor.

I can look past a lot of this but I don’t enjoy the experience of connecting two monitors together with Windows 10.

craft cms inside of laravel homestead on windows 10 using wsl

Install Craft button

I’m jotting this down for future Micah because there are a couple of things in this process that weren’t obvious to me despite at least a couple of tutorials going through the process of installing Craft CMS from scratch using Laravel Homestead on Windows 10. I wanted to include Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) so this goes a little further.

I will mirror a similar tutorial that has a lot of the same steps but I will highlight on my pain points because of using the Bash script.

Set Windows up

Let’s get Windows set up first. Configure and install the following below, or use the commands below this list.

Use Powershell for these commands.
Install Chocolatey

Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString(''))

Install Virtualbox and Vagrant

cinst virtualbox vagrant

Install the Homestead Vagrant box

vagrant box add laravel/homestead

This will take a while, possibly more than an hour if your internet speed is low. I’d suggest you keep this running the background in another terminal window while you take care of the rest of this. If you haven’t already installed WSL below, I’d wait to run the above command until you reboot Windows.

Install WSL

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux

WSL made this process a little more challenging because Bash inside of Windows is not yet a first class citizen when it comes to traversing the operating system. Within the Ubuntu distro, there are packages that need to be added.

Use Bash on WSL for these commands.

Check what’s already installed in WSL

apt list --installed

Install what you don’t have from the following.

Update packages list

sudo apt-get update

Install PHP latest version and verify it installed

sudo apt-get install php
php -v

Install PHP CURL

sudo apt-get install php-curl

This fixed an error I kept getting:

craftcms/cms [version number] requires ext-curl * -> the requested PHP extension curl is missing from your system.

Install Composer and move into global path

php -r "copy('', 'composer-setup.php');"
php -r "if (hash_file('sha384', 'composer-setup.php') === 'a5c698ffe4b8e849a443b120cd5ba38043260d5c4023dbf93e1558871f1f07f58274fc6f4c93bcfd858c6bd0775cd8d1') { echo 'Installer verified'; } else { echo 'Installer corrupt'; unlink('composer-setup.php'); } echo PHP_EOL;"
php composer-setup.php
php -r "unlink('composer-setup.php');"
sudo mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer

Verify everything is installed so far, now it’s time to get through the rest of the installation process.

Use Bash on WSL for the rest of this.

Homestead configuration

Note: I am approaching this as a global installation because it allows Craft to stay encapsulated from the web server that Homestead creates. It also allows you to use Homestead for multiple projects for the same Homestead environment.

Create projects directory or use existing one; this is where your web projects live.


Above is an example on my OS where my web projects live. Now let’s go in there and create the Homestead container directory for your Craft projects.

cd C:\Users\[username]\Sites\
mkdir [homestead_container] && cd [homestead_container]

where [homestead_container] is the name of the company or project. This directory will contain two sub-directories, one for the Craft repository files and the other for vendor files containing Homestead.

You should now be in the following directory shown in Bash:


Continue using Bash on WSL for the following commands in the current directory.

Install Homestead

composer require laravel/homestead

Generate Vagrantfile and Homestead files

php vendor/bin/homestead make

Install Craft

Install Craft (for new installations)

composer create-project craftcms/craft [Path]

where [Path] is the name of the sub-directory containing Craft. I just called it craft.

Your directory structure will probably match this screenshot
project files

Configure Homestead

Open Homestead.yaml in your editor. As of Homestead 9.0.7, you’ll see the following generated code in the Homestead file.

memory: 2048
cpus: 2
provider: virtualbox
authorize: ~/.ssh/
    - ~/.ssh/id_rsa
        map: ~/code
        to: /home/vagrant/code
        map: craft.test
        to: /home/vagrant/code/public
    - homestead
        mariadb: false
        ohmyzsh: false
        webdriver: false
name: [homestead_container]
hostname: [homestead_container]

This is where I started with my confusion. I’ll highlight only a few lines that might cause issues.


Most of the time, this won’t be an issue. If your internal network, or LAN, is using a network in the range of ip: 192.168.10.x, you’ll have to change the last two ranges of the IP address so that it’s not starting with 10.

As long as the above is valid, the next issue to verify is that your firewall won’t prevent the localhost from starting. Sometimes firewalls can be aggressive and Windows Defender, VPNs like NordVPN, PIA, Mullvad and others, or Antivirus applications can all prevent localhost connections from being made. Each has its own IP filtering that you should make sure isn’t getting in the way. If there is a firewall blocking localhost, you might get a general failure when you ping the above IP address. This has bitten me before!

Inside of folders: and sites:, let’s make updates.

        map: C:/Users/[username]/Sites/[homestead_container]
        to: /home/vagrant/code
        type: "nfs"

The first major thing I got stuck on is how to update the map value above. In this section, map is the local directory that contains your project and to is a directory inside of the Vagrant VM that mirrors the local machine. It’s syncing both ways, so you can make changes locally in your editor or you can SSH into Vagrant and make edits on the mirrored files and they will automagically stay in sync.

We can’t use this UNIX-based directory structure syntax since this is Windows


We have to use the inherent Windows structure syntax


EXCEPT for some reason the backward slash must be converted to forward slash!


When running the Vagrant virtual machine and trying to use my browser to go to the domain name specified inside of this file, all that would come up in the browser window

No Input File Specified

I couldn’t find any documentation on what was going on until I studied this Homestead installation tutorial and saw his use of the forward slash. It was such a small nuance that was easy to overlook!

Laravel briefly touches on the inclusion of NFS, but after a little research, I found that including NFS is a good idea for speed optimization. With that, we need to add NFS support to Vagrant in Windows.

vagrant plugin install vagrant-winnfsd

Using Homestead on Windows will probably be slow. Using it with WSL will probably be just as slow. When I say slow, it can take the browser anywhere from just a few seconds to anywhere up to 20-30 seconds just to start loading the asset files like CSS and JS. My average is about 7-10 seconds to get to that point. That’s really bad and I hope this improves as I learn more. With this in mind, there are some tweaks that can be made to speed up Vagrant inside of [homestead_folder]\vendor\laravel\homestead\scripts\homestead.rb with regard to NFS.

Look for a line that looks like the following:

mount_opts = folder['mount_options'] ? folder['mount_options'] : ['actimeo=1', 'nolock']

The last two array items are two mount_options and the article on speeding up Vagrant shows more possible options that you can add to that array to help speed up access and read times.

This whole section took a week to wrap my head around so I’m glad I could document it for others using Windows!

Let’s continue.

Map the updated domain name to the correct public directory inside of craft

        map: craft.test
        to: /home/vagrant/code/craft/web

Change map to your preferred domain name. I’d suggest not using .dev for anything since Google now owns this and it can resolve on the regular internet. This is why I kept .test.

to needs to read the public directory inside of Craft. Older versions of Craft show a public directory outside of the craft folder. The latest versions of Craft 3 show the public directory as web inside of the Craft folder.

Finally, update the database

    - craft

If you didn’t already install vagrant-hostmanager, you’ll need to update your HOSTS file so that the virtual host name will resolve in the browser. Otherwise, vagrant-hostmanager is smart enough to do this for you. craft.test

Optionally, I recommend enabling MariaDB for MySQL. It’s more efficient in several ways, enough so that it’s worth enabling every time.

mariadb: true

Turn on Homestead

Run Vagrant

vagrant up

This will take a few seconds to provision everything with the virtual machine and get its contained server up and running. Once completed, go to your browser and let’s go to the URL.


If everything was set up correctly, you should now see a 503 error that indicates the database isn’t set up correctly. If you don’t see something like a 503 error, or if you see the same thing I got earlier saying No Input File Specified, revisit the above sections to make sure everything was updated correctly.

Configure the Database

If you need to import a specific database, follow these instructions to import your database into Vagrant.

For new Craft installations, update the environment file inside of Craft. In your editor, open the craft directory and find the .env file. We have to make a couple of edits to the credentials.

# The database username to connect with

# The database password to connect with

# The name of the database to select

This should now allow you to get into the Craft installation page




fixing audio issues on windows computers

Recently, I purchased a Dell XPS 9575 laptop because I’m fascinated by the hybrid laptop and tablet modes in one computer. This was also my way to re-immerse myself into the Windows ecosystem after using it less and less in the last decade outside of a large desktop computer.

I’m now reminded what it’s like to use a computer that regularly has driver issues. One time it might be my laggy touchpad, just from tapping it to select something and the selection isn’t instantaneous. Another time, it’s plugging headphones back in and sound doesn’t work in the headphones, audio still coming out of the internal speakers. You get the idea.

Just this week, I found a solution for the headphone jack problem that didn’t first occur to me but is a good idea to fix more of these issues in the future. The audio chip inside of this Dell laptop is made by Realtek. Realtek provides its own drivers to make this computer’s audio work and generally it works pretty well, except when it doesn’t.

When I turn the laptop on from a cold boot up, I can have the headphones plugged into the computer and it works just fine. When I unplug the headphones, the audio comes out of Dell’s internal speakers. Plugging the headphones back in? Sounds still comes out of the internal speakers. It’s enough to drive you mad.

I spent a few weeks looking for solutions with little success, only that I have the restart my computer every time to make it work again. It wasn’t until I ran across an answer describing the process to switch away from Realtek’s drivers and over to Windows default audio drivers that I found the solution.

I don’t recall if this is new to me or a distant reminder from older days of putting together computers, but it was definitely an effective way to solve this stupid audio issue. It also demonstrates that default Windows drivers are likely good enough to solve more problems like this in the future.

All of that said, would I recommend this laptop, a Dell computer, or Windows to anyone else? Not this model, I’m ready to upgrade to a new one. Dell computers are still well built and this one is beautiful, but the battery life is terrible. And Windows laptops are still an excellent choice for people, sure. But if I do change, I’d probably go with the next version of the Surface Book. Can’t beat getting Microsoft products straight from Microsoft!

I’m mentally stuck in the middle between using modern JS ecosystems that blow up separation of concerns by integrating everything into one javascript file and using non-JS paradigms that still mostly promote decoupling. Is this PTSD? I think I’m bitter!

gatsby’s hidden browsersync

gatsby + browsersync?

Gatsby, a static site generator that allows apps to be progressive web apps out of the box, is a fascinating way to build React websites and applications in a moderately opinionated way. It’s fun to see the parallels between using Gatsby and using the build system I’m more familiar with including NPM plugins like Gulp and Browsersync. I’ve even open sourced a starter project that I forked which includes both, because I love the real-time feedback that Browsersync provides on both my local machine as well as devices I use to browse my machine’s IP address. If you don’t know Browsersync, it’s probably a game changer for you if you need to do device testing on your website or web application.

Well, the time finally came in the last few weeks where I was missing out on using Browsersync with a Gatsby project I’m working on. Maybe I could just install the package and wire it up? Too much work, I thought. So I went searching to see what I could find, and guess what?

There’s already a solution! Gatsby updated with one simple change that allows a Browsersync-like feature. How has this not been reported more already?!

Using the command below, Gatsby’s app can be viewed at http://localhost:8000.

gatsby develop

But if you add a simple flag and localhost address, you get the main feature that Browsersync provides, Gatsby website viewable using the local IP so other devices can easily connect on the browser!

gatsby develop -H

And what does this add?

gatsby command output for browsersync-like feature

Grab your smartphone, open up your browser, and type in the IP address displayed on the On Your Network line, shown in the above screenshot. Let that Gatsby site resolve in your browser and your laptop and smartphone browsers will be in sync!

Game changer!

learning redux

Read A Complete React Redux Tutorial for Beginners (2019) ( )

A Complete Redux Tutorial (2019): why use it? – store – reducers – actions – thunks – data fetching
Trying to understand Redux, it’s really confusing how it all works. Especially as a beginner.
So much terminology! Actions, reducers, action creators, middleware, pure functions, immutability, thunk…

Redux documentation is good, but @dceddia really got it right with his version of a Redux tutorial. Very well done!


over the hill

The journey that brought me to the 40th year of my life is now behind me. Now I look ahead of me as I continue walking down paths, taking new roads, and finding my way into the future.

As I reflect on my last decade, I smile at all my success and failure. The difference in where this last decade started and where it ends couldn’t be more different, but in so many ways it’s exactly the same. I continue searching for my next path, I give thanks for the things I have, and feel happy for where I’ve been.

I was able to be so many versions of my self.
I was a traveler, visiting Europe, South America and all over the US.
I was a photographer, spending some of my travels buried inside of a camera or my laptop creating photos.
I was a web developer, working for myself and for others, learning and creating code and doing my part to help make the internet better.
I was an organizer, putting together a reunion for my classmates who were in the marching band with me.

I was able to create and participate in many ways. But I’m not done. As I move forward, I hope I can revisit some roles I put aside.

For now, I look forward to what I face. I expect the good to be better and the bad to worse. I know I’ll bring new people into my life and lose others. I will settle down with the love of my life and enjoy a new future of love and family. She has waited long enough! I will try new things, travel to new places and do my best to live life with a warm heart.

Mid-life has, is and will be the best years of my life.

an ephemeral web

match lighting on fire

I’ve been reflecting more lately about how I spend my time online.
I think about the idea of taking back more control of my online presence.
I’ve made efforts to reduce attention and energy I give to social media.
And in these ways, I’ve never been more thoughtful of what I’m creating online than I am today.

It’s a challenge sorting out how to stay connected to people I care about who don’t understand the internet the same way I do. For the last couple of decades, my choice to live away from people I care about requires me to both make an effort to stay connected as well as participate in online communities. Sometimes that’s through social media, sometimes it’s here on my website. In fact, using this website, I’m learning how to create new ways to connect to others starting here on this site as a relationship to social media. I keep what I write here first primarily and syndicate or republish this content elsewhere secondarily. My site is my home and I want this home to contain what I create online more than I want to create elsewhere.

Lately, there’s another side in this I think about. In the last few months, I’ve had competing thoughts about this desire to post on here and in other places. These thoughts are in conflict of this need to own your own content or take control.

the web is mostly ephemeral

The need for connection is what makes the internet what it is. It’s what prompts us to browse websites, set up services, or download apps on our various devices. So often, communication on sites or services is performed in the moment. What we say, type or text matters but for a brief moment in time, as a reaction, for attention, or to provoke thought. So much of what I’ve said to others wasn’t formed but with a moment’s notice. This is true of many verbal conversations; our brains process things so quickly that we end up saying things without thinking and these thoughts are temporary.

I remember when I started using email in the 1990s (and the name included a dash [e-mail]), much of what I would get from people was forwarded emails or informal replies. I’ve even archived so much of my email since the 90s that I can review some patterns of what I used to send and receive from people. I was not aware of how much of what I sent was silly memes, jokes, poems or prose, things that were never meant to be more than just momentary. Having looked back upon a lot of that, it’s almost embarrassing what I thought was important or interesting enough to send to other people.

Even on this blog, I’ve written or copy and pasted a few silly posts that were in a similar mindset of just being interesting for a moment. I was lucky to have this platform to post to the few family or friends who would even read it. But some of these blog posts were meant to be meaningful in the moment I posted it.

into a black hole

When I look around at Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and so many other social media silos, I see a similar pattern as I remember with email. There’s a lot of forwarded, reposted, pinned, replied, retweeted, and generally recycled material that has a simple purpose for those moments.

Even in forum-like places like Reddit, Facebook Groups, and Slack/IRC, I see only some value in the threads and messages that people leave. More of what I see is that immediate connection we’re looking for, a way to bond, to engage or be engaged. And at some point, this content more or less disappears from the consciousness.

In the earlier days when companies were producing instant messengers like AOL, AIM, Yahoo, ICQ, MSN, and so many others, I had countless conversations that I can’t recall what was discussed. Those conversations are mostly lost in time, the recipients sometimes forgotten.

I can’t even tell you what some of my earliest posts on this website say without looking as well as what I said on younger versions of Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, or Yelp. Plenty of it doesn’t really matter to me and I suspect that most people feel the same way. I’ve seen my own family use these various sites and apps to communicate and catch up on each other’s lives. There’s not a lot of thought that goes into it otherwise.

If I was to suddenly lose access to everything I’ve ever written everywhere online, the noise of forwarded posts and emails being lost forever would not tear my heart into two. In the various replies by email and text message, or posts on Facebook, Medium, Reddit, and Twitter where I’ve made spontaneous remarks or thoughts, debates, support for trivial and non-trivial, like religious or political content, there’s little or no value to much of that.

so, what does matter?

I suppose the last section sounds fairly apathetic and nihilistic. No matter what truth there is in what I’ve just said, there’s plenty online that I’ve poured my heart into and and would make me sad to lose. I’ve manually backed up or saved some of the more important things I’ve written into the virtual world or in conversations I’ve had. These are a part of my personal history as who I am and I’d lose that part if it was to disappear.

It’s gonna be an ongoing challenge for me to figure out how to choose between forever posts that I write here and in-the-moment posts, tweets, comments, conversations, and chats that I have elsewhere. Some of this might change when I can figure out a way to encrypt certain content so that approved connections will be able to read what I write. This conversation crosses into my personal privacy as well. The less I solely use social media, it’s better for my overall privacy.

Many people won’t face the same issues I do; many are satisfied posting freely on free sites or apps irregardless of what happens to what they post or who gets their data. It’s just as ephemeral as email has been. I hope we’ll continue to see effective, popular and free ways to stay connected to each other on the internet like we do now but with less personal costs to our freedoms and privacies.

Maybe the idea of controlling our online presence and posts is more popular with more people than I realize, but my personal experience tells me otherwise. We just want a place to be together, share things, and live in the moment. We have that in so many ways and it’s still working, even if bad things happen.

web components

Quoted Web Components will replace your frontend framework by an author ( )

The benefits of native web components are clear:

  • native, no framework needed
  • easy integration, no transpilation needed
  • truly scoped CSS
  • standard, just HTML, CSS and JavaScript

Whoa, native support for Web Components is here? Going through the process of learning advanced Javascript, React.js and broader programming, the prospect of Web Components being a system I can use that browsers already support is so appealing.

The biggest concern I want to learn about is accessibility and the fact that Web Components basically use an extension of javascript to work. I browse the web with plugins that disable Javascript by default for most sites and I enable what I want to run, for security, privacy and performance reasons (maybe a topic for another post).

There are so many quotable lines in his post that I wish I could highlight everything here but just go read it for yourself.

EDIT June 30: As much as I want to believe in the hype, I’m going to continue my front-end code without web components.

I have subscribed so many new-to-me RSS feeds in the last few months that it feels like an Indieweb renaissance for independent publishing