Suggestions re liveDVD

Summary:
Dont 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 releases.

  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 nights sleep, I discovered that no installation was even needed;
    all I had to do was type the command
    $ gnuradio-companion and the magic happened.

  3. I was inspired by Tom R.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 alleys.
    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 working.
    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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