Instructions for Installing KDE Plasma on FreeBSD

By Nicholas Scribner
August 31, 2022

I originally published the contents of this article on the FreeBSD Forums on November 19, 2021 (I started the thread on October 10, 2021—my 33rd birthday). In this fifth rough draft of instructions, I will show you how to install KDE that will be started with the command startx. Thanks go to astyle for ironing out the final details and everyone else who contributed on the FreeBSD Forums.

Without a desktop environment such as KDE, FreeBSD is just the UNIX shell (think "WarGames," "The Matrix," or MS-DOS!). Follow these instructions to set up a quality desktop environment so your computer looks like Windows or Mac.

Commands, code, and keystrokes are in bold (some other functions may be in bold as well). Commands and code will also have a silver background. Filenames are in green. I recommend reading all of the instructions before trying them.

1. Enter the superuser/root account by entering % su and the password for the root account. Note that the command prompt on the shell (%, $, #, etc.) is dependent on what user is currently logged in. Therefore, the % should not actually be typed out. Once in the root account, the command prompt will be #.

2. Run # pkg install drm-kmod

3. Enter the easy editor to edit the file /etc/rc.conf by entering the following command: # ee /etc/rc.conf

4. Once in the easy editor, on a new line, enter the following two lines on separate lines:

kld_list="/boot/modules/i915kms.ko"
dbus_enable="YES"

5. Make sure to hit Enter so the file starts on a new line after saving.

6. Save and exit the easy editor by pushing Esc and following the prompts to save and exit. The KMS driver should now be set up.

7. (7 and 8 are superfluous if you reboot in step 10. i915kms and dbus get loaded while booting because you added them to /etc/rc.conf in 4. In other words, you can skip 7 and 8. I am still including the steps for future reference.) Go ahead and load the drm driver. Run # kldload /boot/modules/i915kms.ko

8. (7 and 8 are superfluous if you reboot in step 10. i915kms and dbus get loaded while booting because you added them to /etc/rc.conf in 4. In other words, you can skip 7 and 8. I am still including the steps for future reference.) Run # service dbus start

9. Run # pkg install xorg

10. Reboot by running # shutdown -r now and booting up to a command-line login prompt.

11. Log in as a regular user (this is important).

12. Run % startx as a regular user. (Even the Handbook tells you to do this in the Quick Start section 5.4.1, Step 3.)

13. TWM window manager will start. You can return to text mode by opening the pop-up menu by left-clicking on the desktop and then clicking Exit.

14. Become the superuser/root account again by running % su

15. Reboot by running # shutdown -r now

16. After logging in, become the superuser/root account again by running % su

17. Run # pkg install kde5 firefox

18. Enter the easy editor to edit the file /etc/fstab by entering the following command: # ee /etc/fstab

19. Once in the easy editor, on new lines, enter the following two lines (you can push the Tab key or spacebar after entering each field):

fdesc   /dev/fd fdescfs rw   0  0
proc   /proc procfs rw   0  0

(See post #33. There is debate on whether this instruction should be included; I am including it because it may be beneficial for those who want to run applications such as LibreOffice.)

20. Make sure to hit Enter so the file starts on a new line after saving.

21. Save and exit the easy editor by pushing Esc and following the prompts to save and exit.

22. Run # mount /dev/fd

23. Run # mount /proc

24. Exit the superuser account by running # exit. All files in your $HOME directory should be edited as a regular user, not as root.

25. Enter the easy editor to edit the file ~/.xinitrc by entering the following command: % ee ~/.xinitrc

26. Once in the easy editor, on a new line, enter the following line:

exec ck-launch-session startplasma-x11

27. Make sure to hit Enter so the file starts on a new line after saving.

28. Save and exit the easy editor by pushing Esc and following the prompts to save and exit.

29. Become the superuser/root account again by running % su

30. Reboot by running # shutdown -r now

31. If you chose not to reboot, enter # exit to leave the superuser account.

32. If everything worked, you should see the KDE desktop after running % startx as a regular account.


I Discovered I Am a Human Experiment

By Nicholas Scribner
August 2, 2022

This article was originally posted on December 30, 2021.

Schizophrenia is not a real diagnosis. If you don't believe me, you can read this blog post I made about phony schizophrenia diagnoses in nursing homes. Nevertheless, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia 10 years ago after first being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at a New York hospital (I have lived at home with my parents in Minnesota nearly the entire time since then).

My so-called mental illness began with what might be described as a nervous breakdown. I first started to become suspicious that the N.S.A. was tapping my phone because of audio aberrations when talking on the phone. I then suspected the F.B.I. was spying on me in person. Finally, I thought the C.I.A. was playing games with my mind.

Shortly after my first hospitalization in New York, I visited my uncle's mansion in Westchester County. There, he told me he went to West Point with the director of the N.S.A. (I later learned he also went to West Point with the director of the C.I.A.)

I have been trapped in the mental health system ever since. While I don't want to go into everything that's happened to me (that would take forever), I can say that I have been abused, assaulted, tortured, and poisoned. The worst thing that ever happened to me was when my brother tackled, beat, and strangled me (for a significant amount of time) exactly nine years ago (December 30 is my dad's birthday).

Why is the government using me as a human experiment? First, I suggest you read this article put out by the Ministry of Truth. That article, of course, will only tell you part of the story. In my case, I suspect I was chosen at birth for use as a human experiment because my dad (supposedly shortly before I was born) suffered some kind of accident that caused nerve damage, which has progressively weakened his ability to run and—now—walk. Of course, my uncle, being high up in the Army (he also works for the Justice Department), allowed the experiment to take place.

Maybe I will write more about this topic. I've never really written about it before for the fear of being labeled "crazy." As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am currently at a crisis residence, which, like everything else in the mental health system, is not about helping people like me, though it is at least more livable than my previous living situation at home with my parents.

Being a human experiment is not easy. I've had numerous health concerns, including an ongoing neurological problem that makes thinking almost impossible approximately two times per week. Furthermore, this "experiment" is highly illegal and unethical. On top of that, what makes the whole ordeal particularly bleak is that no one in my family shows any indication of ever telling me the truth about my life. I worry I will die—or possibly even be violently murdered—without ever being accepted by my family or society.

There probably isn't much else to write, though it is likely I'm leaving out some important details. I'll end this post by saying, if you have a conscience, please don't have a family member become a human experiment. My brother fits the profile of a sociopath to a T, and it's likely my parents are sociopaths as well. If the government is reading this blog post—and they obviously are—I hope they decide to help me soon.


When a Photograph Becomes Inextricably Connected to a Song

By Nicholas Scribner
June 26, 2022

If you look at my cover photo on Facebook from March 3, 2021, you will see the first photo I took of my second dog, Missy. You will notice the photo is not in focus, because she was moving so much. I only had one opportunity to take my first photo, and I did my best. (In my mind, the cardinal rule of photography is making sure the photo is sharp.) In the case of my first photo of Missy, I was OK with her not being in focus—if anything it made the photo better, since one can see a glint in her left eye that might not have been as noticeable had the photo been in focus.

After taking a Greyhound bus to Des Moines last year, shortly before I posted the photo, I kept thinking of two memories simultaneously. My first memory was of my first photo of Missy, which was easy enough to find; my second memory was of the synthesizer sound at 3:14 in this YouTube video (note: the YouTube link will start the video at 2:51 for context). It took me a while to find the song, because my only memory was of the sound that lasts eight seconds at the end of a song. But after considerable time (I don't remember if it was days or weeks) and much thought, I eventually found the song: "Fortune" by Little Dragon.

There's something about the photo of Missy and the synthesizer sound that just seem to go together. I feel the overarching idea the two media evoke is Missy's mortality.

Missy was born in March 2014, almost exactly three years after her half-brother Pugsley. In recent years, she's been on medication for some medical condition that I don't know much about. I named both my dogs, but it was Missy who I had the hardest time naming. I even spent time researching dog names at the Chanhassen Library. I eventually settled on Missy, because I wanted her never to get hurt. No matter what life would throw at her, everything would be a "miss."

But it didn't turn out that way. She's now on medication and is overweight, though I am trying to lower her weight. I'm afraid to ask about her life expectancy. All I can do is cherish the time we have left together.

Sometimes I think my dogs will thank me in the afterlife (heaven). I think of them as helpless, innocent creatures, who wish they understood more language and the meaning of life. I wish they knew how important they are to me, and how I go out of my way to post photos of them online to celebrate them. If they knew I stayed up late to write this article tonight, I hope they would understand how much they mean to me.


How to Find Good Art

By Nicholas Scribner
June 10, 2022

Instead of relying on AllMusic's objective ratings, sometimes I buy an album for subjective factors. In the case of the June 2021 album Sun by Pastel Coast, these included the album cover and band name. Of greater importance, though, I enjoyed the snippets of the songs.

I know what you're probably thinking: there are no objective ratings when it comes to music or—more broadly—art. Yeah, I get it; I've seen Dead Poets Society, too. But if that's the case—if art is in the eye of the beholder—how is one supposed to find exceptional art? Individuals don't have the time to form an opinion on every work of art. Looking more carefully at highly-rated artistic output from professional critics solves this problem.

Yet I found this 3.5-star album that will always evoke the intense feelings I had last June and July. I go through phases where I don't listen to any music (with the exception of tuning in to the Current while driving) and phases where it seems I'm always listening to music. I hope I'm now entering one of the latter phases.

I guess the point of my harangue is that good art can be both objective and subjective. And these opposite ideas can coexist. Opinions are rarely based on one extreme metric (objective or subjective)—unless you're an extremist, in which case you probably didn't finish reading this rant.

Watch the music video for "Sunset" by Pastel Coast: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51PP40w7Ib8>.


Announcing WWIII... Blog

By Nicholas Scribner
February 24, 2022

I created a blog tonight (the night of February 23–24) called WWIII Blog. I sincerely hope there is not a World War III—since that is often equated with nuclear annihilation—but if there is a WWIII, I have a blog for it.


Chanhassen Named Best Place to Live in U.S.

By Nicholas Scribner
October 1, 2021

My hometown of nearly 30 years was named the best place to live in the United States in 2021. In September, Money Magazine awarded Chanhassen, Minnesota, the number one spot. Chanhassen is a suburb 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

This isn't the first time Chanhassen has placed near the top of Money Magazine's list, either. In 2009, I remember them reaching number two. They have also placed in the top 10 in other years. The bordering cities of Chaska and Eden Prairie have also made it toward the top of the list (Eden Prairie even reached number one in 2010).


I Bought My First Bitcoin

By Nicholas Scribner
July 21, 2021

I am now the proud owner of 306,000 satoshi (sat)! That sounds like a fortune, but it's actually just USD 100 worth of bitcoin. Another way of writing it would be 0.00306 bitcoin (BTC), or, as I prefer it and how my wallet defaults, 3.06 millibitcoin (mBTC).

I first started thinking of buying bitcoin six months ago in January 2021, when bitcoin was on the rise. Because of uncertainty (or laziness), I decided not to buy then. But then, yesterday, I saw a kiosk at my local supermarket for purchasing bitcoin, and I started thinking about it again. When I went to the supermarket today to try to use the kiosk, it said I needed to first download an app to my mobile device. Not wanting to figure out something complicated in the middle of a supermarket, I decided to just go home and figure out how to buy bitcoin on my computer.

So I did just that.

My first step was looking up Bitcoin on Wikipedia and discovering their official website address is bitcoin.org. I went to that site and read the introductory material and discovered that I needed to pick out a wallet to use (I take it wallet is basically synonymous with application). Their website has a feature that helps users find a bitcoin wallet. After selecting my preferences, the website suggested just one wallet for me: Electrum. I then researched them a bit on Google and decided it was a good wallet and proceeded to install the application. I was installing the application on Ubuntu Linux, and, since I am a Linux noob, I had some minor hiccups getting the application to launch. Because of the helpful Bitcoin and Linux communities, I discovered I just needed to launch the application by entering the command

electrum

in Terminal. (By the way, to install the application on Ubuntu Linux, I just copied and pasted the lines of code found on Electrum's Download page under "Installation from Python sources.")

With the app now able to launch, I proceeded to buy my first bitcoin. But I'm lazy, and I didn't feel like researching where to buy bitcoin—when there was a big button on bitcoin.org to do just that. So I bought the bitcoin from bitcoin.org, which apparently was just using a third-party website called MoonPay. I researched MoonPay a little bit as well, and they are apparently legitimate (as they should be, if that's what bitcoin.org uses).

But it all worked out, and I am now the proud owner of 3.06 mBTC. I suppose I could consider this my first investment. Indeed, it will be interesting to see how bitcoin fares over time.

Maybe I will buy more bitcoin. But, then again, maybe I won't.


See Every Album I Own on AllMusic

By Nicholas Scribner
June 29, 2021

I finished adding all 1,079 of my albums to my AllMusic profile tonight. It was a tedious process, but I'm glad all these albums are on my AllMusic profile again. Yes, again. I made the rash decision of deleting all my albums from my AllMusic profile a number of years ago.

I store all my music on Amazon Music, so deciding what music to listen to with my Amazon Echo Dot will now be much easier. There's also the added bonus of sharing with everyone my musical taste.

AllMusic is probably the best music resource out there. If you don't already have an account with them, I recommend creating one. I pay them a small fee each year to remove their abundant ads and load their pages faster, so that is something you might want to look into as well.


REISUB Performs a Safe Reboot of a Linux Computer

By Nicholas Scribner
March 28, 2021

Tonight, I was writing an email to my brother, when suddenly my computer locked up. Not wanting to lose the contents of my email, I took out my iPhone to look up how to do the equivalent of Control-Alt-Delete on Ubuntu Linux—a familiar search query for me, though I'd never had success in the past. This time, however, I found an informative forum post on Ask Ubuntu as the first result. The most useful answer instructs the user to first try a few other methods when the computer hangs. None of these methods worked for me (no surprise, as they never had in the past). But the last method sounded promising because it didn't sound familiar. It promised a safe reboot without having to press and hold the power button—a big no-no among computer people—and involved pressing an interesting sequence of keys (someone commented that "REISUB" is "BUSIER" backwards).

Here are the instructions: Press and hold Alt + SysRq. If your keyboard doesn't have a SysRq key, press PrtScr instead. While holding the previous keys, press, in order, R, E, I, S, U, B while making sure to pause for one second between each key, since "each letter is a different kernel action leading to a 'graceful' reset."

After following the above instructions, my computer rebooted like magic. Note that my ThinkPad doesn't have a SysRq key, so I pressed PrtSc (the screenshot key) instead. Furthermore, I don't like trying things on computers based on one forum post (however credible), so I Googled this method before trying it and read this helpful article that confirmed the above answer and recommended a Wikipedia article on the topic.

Back to that email I was writing to my brother, the contents reappeared in my webmail in Firefox after the reboot. So it all worked out.


Pugsley's 10th Birthday

By Nicholas Scribner
March 5, 2021

Today, my first dog, Pugsley, turned 10. He and his half-sister, Missy, got a YETI dog bowl from me today—even though I had no idea at the time that it was Pugsley's birthday. I've been saying the word "serendipity" a lot recently, and it certainly applies here.

I hope you had a good birthday, Pugsley, and I hope there are many more to come.


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