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[Discuss-gnuradio] Suggestions re liveDVD

From: Mike Parker
Subject: [Discuss-gnuradio] Suggestions re liveDVD
Date: Sat, 7 Dec 2013 12:51:32 -0700

Don’t assume anything is obvious to a newbie.  I cite two “obvious” examples 
that almost made me give up.
Specific examples of how to install, start running, and pointers to associated 
explanations would be really helpful.

I am a newbie with experience in signal processing and DSP, but I am very 
limited in Linux and Python and don't do C++.
I downloaded GNU Radio LiveDVDrelease 2013-1110 and finally got it running.  
Below are a few comments and suggestions that might be useful for future 

1.  There were no instructions found with the LiveDVD release.  It took 
significant research  and experimentation to figure out how to download the 
software, make a DVD, and later a USB stick, and figure out how to boot from 
them.  Instructions pointing to explanations of how to do this would have been 
very helpful.  Yes I found lots of information on the web, but it was a bit 
overwhelming.  A specific example or two detailing necessary steps and/or 
pointing to reference information would have helped to get started.  For 
example, not being a programmer, I had never transferred .torrent files or used 
the result.

2.  I then spent half a day doing a very stupid thing.  On the page 
http://gnuradio.org/redmine/projects/gnuradio/wiki/InstallingGR where the 
LiveDVD release was announced in "latest news" , there is an adjacent section 
titled “Installing GNU Radio” .
Silly me,  I thought I was installing GNU radio.  After booting into Linux I 
tried all kinds of commands in that section like $ apt-get install gnuradio and 
then $sudo apt-get install gnuradio only to be faced with error messages 
related to privileges and then missing things.   After a night’s sleep, I 
discovered that no installation was even needed; all I had to do was type the 
$ gnuradio-companion and the magic happened.

3.  I was inspired by Tom Rondeau’s excellent 4-part recorded talk given at the 
2012 ARRL TAPR DCC so I decided to duplicate his first demo of Gaussian noise 
passed through an FFTfilter and routed to a display.  In the FFTfilter block he 
entered the Taps parameter as gr.firdes.low_pass(1,samp_rate,1000,100).  This 
gave an error message for me, and I had another half day of confusion.  
Remember that to a newbie everything is new and it is easy to go down blind 
In the end, I am not sure why, I tried the Taps parameter with the prefix gr. 
left off, i.e. firdes.low_pass(1,samp_rate,1000,100) and everything started 
Perhaps someone can point me to an explanation of what happened, perhaps 
software changes over the last year?

My goal for this weekend is to understand the liveDVD News announcement.  It 
describes a number of things that “This release now has” .
My typical newbie questions are:
Why are these things are important,?
How do I find them on the disk?
In fact, where do I find GNUradio and associated files in the directory tree?
What should I do once I find them?
I'll probably figure this out, but any advice that might shorten the learning 
curve will be appreciated.

Thanks for all the work that everyone has obviously done.
Mike Parker, KT7D

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