Project Trident/FreeBSD/TrueOS beginner tips and tricks

Fun with “that other OS” paradigm

I recently set up my 1st Unix machine running Project Trident (based on TrueOS, which is in turn based on FreeBSD.) Here, in no particular order, are some things you might need to know.

All commands are to be entered into QTerminal and followed with an Enter keystroke, and it’s assumed you’re running (Project) Trident.

BSD is not Linux

If you have Linux experience, it’s tempting to think BSD is more of the same. It isn’t. For one, while Linux emphasizes performance and modularity, BSD emphasizes monolithic technical correctness and consistency (read: on the OS scale, not just at the kernel level.)

How to prepare your PC’s BIOS for BSD installation

  1. Enter your PC’s BIOS.
  2. Disable Secure Boot.
  3. Switch boot mode from UEFI to Legacy.
  4. Enable booting from external devices.
  5. Change your boot order so that the PC boots from the external device first.
  6. Check that your BIOS is set to the correct time. If it’s wrong, the time in BSD will be wrong too.
  7. If your PC currently runs Windows, install the latest BIOS version before you replace it with BSD. Technically you may be able to update the BIOS via USB later, but it’s a major PITA in comparison.

How to create an a Project Trident USB installer disk in Windows

  1. Download the installation ISO.
  2. Change the downloaded ISO’s extension from .iso to .img.
  3. Write the .img file to the USB disk using Win32 Disk Imager.

Shell selection

Just stick with the default shell, as most documentation is written assuming you’re using it. zsh is pretty good.

SWAP partition creation

When given the option during installation, enable it at the default size.

Documentation

The canonical documentation for any BSD flavor is the main type of BSD it’s based on. So, for example, since Project Trident ultimately descends from FreeBSD, FreeBSD’s documentation is canonical for it.

How to set your timezone correctly

  1. Enter the PC’s BIOS and set the correct time there manually.
  2. Boot into Trident.
  3. Open QTerminal, then execute the following commands:
      1. sudo tzsetup
      2. sudo service ntpdate restart

The command for the Lumina text editor

… is lte. If you need to start it as root, use sudo lte.

The command for the Lumina file manager

… is lumina-fm. If you need to start it as root, use sudo lumina-fm. You can also start it as root from within the file mangaer GUI itself.

How to set up Resilio Sync in Project Trident

  1. Open AppCafe. You may have to open it twice and/or click on the TrueOS logo in the middle for the dropdown at the top center to change from local to trident.
  2. In the Browse tab, search for “Resilio.”
  3. Click the download icon beside the Resilio Sync search result. This will add the installation to the Pending tab, which you can then switch to follow the progress.
  4. Start Resilio Sync by entering rslsync in QTerminal.
  5. Access Resilio sync by going to localhost:8888 in your browser.

There are a few quirks about running Resilio Sync on BSD. The first is that the documentation in the package and in the .conf files is rather misleading. Although most of it talks about Resilio running under the rslsync user, it’s installed to run under the the account that installed it (read: yours.) I still haven’t figured out exactly how to get it to run as a service, but when I do I’ll probably write a separate post about it.

How to list all the hardware the OS can see right now

sudo pciconf -lv

If you want to search the output of the above for a particular item, e.g. “bcm”, you can do so via:

sudo pciconf -lv | grep bcm

How to load something into the kernel

Using bwn as an example:

sudo kldload bwn

How to search output strings from a given command

Just add | grep searchterm to the end of the command. You can also sort the search results by adding | sort to the preceding. For example, to search the output of dmesg for bwn and sort the results:

sudo dmesg | grep bwn | sort

You can also use | tail -n to get the last n lines of a command’s string output.

How to check whether BSD detects a hardware component at all

sudo dmesg

The above is basically a printout of everything that scrolls down the display at boot. It’s pretty long, which is where the grep and sort commands come in: they help you filter it for what you want to find.

Deletion is a permanent operation

Unlike nearly every other OS type out there, BSD (and non-macOS Unix at large, apparently) assumes deleting something means you don’t want it anymore ever again.

The ways to get around this are to:

  1. Use snapshots.

    OR

  2. Make absolutely sure you want to get rid of something before you do.

Where to find Project Trident and/or TrueOS support

Project Trident Telegram

TrueOS Discourse

TrueOS Telegram

r/BSD

r/TrueOS

 

How to get the Windows 10 Samsung Notes app to sync with Samsung Cloud

In a stroke of absolute brilliance, Samsung ships a working app whose primary feature is disabled by default

You got Samsung Android device, took a few notes in Samsung Notes, then installed and signed in to the Samsung Notes Windows 10 app. Now none of your notes are showing up in the Windows 10 app. WTH is going on?

Answer: Samsung Notes’ default settings pretty much guarantee sync failure for desktop use cases. Here’s now to fix it:

  1. Ensure you’re signed in to Samsung Cloud in both the Android and Windows 10 app. The remaining steps take place entirely in the latter.
  2. Enter the app’s settings.
  3. Click on Samsung Cloud.
  4. Toggle “Sync via Wi-Fi only” (the fact that a setting is literally in quotes in the app may be a red flag here) off.
  5. Toggle Sync with Samsung Cloud off and then on.
  6. Click Sync now.

The app should now sync and pull all your notes from Samsung Cloud.

Users whose Windows devices are frequently between mobile and Wi-Fi data connections might want to leave the setting in #4 above enabled to save data, but pretty much everyone else should disable it.

Thanks u/Act1v1si0n for this solution.

ToJane TG600/TG801 Clip Lamp Manual

A rare good product that lacks a proper support page.

ToJane sells the above wonderful products, but apparently doesn’t have the manual or operating instructions available for download anywhere. So here it is, scanned in: ToJane TG801 Manual. You can find the TG801 on Amazon and at the official ToJane Store. Perhaps more alarming is the lack of a ToJane support page anywhere. Basically, if this thing breaks on you, you’re toast.

How to change Windows 10’s network profile if the setting isn’t there

Being more secure makes settings disappear. Great.

So you want to change the profile of the network to which you’re currently connected from Public to Private or vice versa. If you’ve already gone to Settings -> Network & Internet -> Ethernet, and clicked on the network you’re connected to, only to not find the Public/Private setting not there, here’s what to do.

Most likely that’s due to a custom UAC (User Account Control) setting. You can change it back to the default by doing this:

  1. Open Settings again.
  2. Search for “UAC.”
  3. Click the Change User Account Control settings result that pops up.
  4. In the ensuing window, ensure the slider is positioned at the 2nd notch from the top:

    Clipboard012

  5. Click OK.
  6. Return to the Ethernet network setting as in the 1st paragraph above. The Public/Private network setting should be available now.

If that doesn’t work, you can also try the Registry method described here.

How to recover from “E: Error parsing XML file” in TWRP

I recently ran into the above error after attempting to encrypt my Verizon Samsung SM-G900V (Galaxy S5, klte) running LOS 14.1 (that was a mistake.) Basically it means TWRP can’t successfully decrypt the filesystem.

When this happens, your best bet is to simply factory reset the device and restore a backup. To do this, simply tap Cancel at the decryption password prompt in TWRP, then factory reset via the Wipe menu as usual.

Unfortunately, this will totally negate whatever encryption you had – aside from adopted storage – but it should get return your device to a usable state.

The HTC U11 USB-C to 3.5mm adapter now works with other Android devices

Should’ve been compatible from the start, but I’ll take it.

HTC’s USB-C Digital to 3.5mm adaptor (it’s “adapter,” guys) now works with other Android devices, thanks to a firmware update. It previously worked with HTC devices only.

I tested it successfully with my Moto Z2 Force.

Windows 10 UWP apps installed but missing from Start menu &/or taskbar? Do this

Do you accept PowerShell as your lord and savior?

I recently installed a new Windows 10 Insider Slow Ring build, only to find all my pinned taskbar UWP shortcuts missing. The apps didn’t show up the Start menu either via searching or manual scrolling.

The fix is here and involves a bit of PowerShell wrangling for batch operation, but all you have to do is literally copy and paste commands. I highly recommend you close all UWP apps before doing it, but don’t worry about “resource currently in use” error messages after that as the commands will work just fine.

Yes, the Moshi USB-C Digital Adapter with Charging works with the HTC U11 & Moto Z2 Force

$45 for a feature your previous phone had. What a time to be alive.

If, like many people, you’re frustrated by the increasing number of new phones shipping with a headphone jack, you can take solace in the fact that the only USB-C device – that I know of – that allows simultaneous charging and (wired) headphone use probably supports your phone.

I got one recently and it successfully tested it with the (US unlocked) HTC U11 and the Lenovo (Motorola?) Verizon Moto Z2 Force (MOTXT178901). Given that, I’m willing to say it’ll probably work with any USB-C Android device, and not just Google’s new Pixel 2.

I’ll try testing it on a (Sprint) Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SM-G995U) when I get the chance.

I found the sound quality and volume excellent; the adapter will definitely drive demanding earbuds.

The only drawbacks I’ve found are:

  • It’s definitely on the larger side of things. The good news is this makes it much harder to lose.
  • The cable is much stiffer than some of the product photos would lead you to believe.
  • $45 is pretty expensive for a dongle.

You can find it at Google or Moshi. Part number is 99MO084242.

 

List of Android devices and ROMs that support adoptable storage

Android’s most powerful feature is found on only handful of devices. None of which are Google’s. *sigh*

After Googling the above turned nothing up, I decided to start an XDA thread about it.

Please comment at the thread; I’ve disabled comments here to prevent folks from chiming in without reading the very important rules.

How to find the right coax cable digital splitter

Yet another topic there’s much less documentation on than there should be

If you have cable internet or are using the coax cable inside your house for MoCA networking, you might eventually want to split a cable outlet between 2 end point devices, e.g. a set top box and a modem, or a network CableCARD tuner and a MoCA adapter.

You’ll need a digital splitter for that, and the most important spec for the job is the frequency range the splitter is rated for. It must be from 5 to approximately 1000 MHz. I say approximately because some splitters that work are rated for 5-1002 MHz.

Splitters that have worked for me – most recently with an Actiontec ECB6200 – include the Extreme Broadband Engineering BDS102H, CommScope SV2G, and Regal ZDSB3DGH10. If you can’t find any of those or a splitter that meets the 5-1000 MHz spec, then get one from a cable company truck. I did this myself years ago by just hanging out in the cable company office lot until a truck came by. I told them what I needed a digital splitter for, and they tossed me a couple.