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Experiments using octave for B-Tech course

01 Apr 2009

I am a B-Tech student in University of Calicut, Kerala, India.  The lab syllabus of final year electronics engineering contains “Experiments Using Matlab” which are a set of three experiments to be done using Matlab.  In our college we are using Matlab.  Since proprietary softwares like Matlab are not recommended in universities (see this Why schools should exclusively use free software),  it is goodto use free software Octave.  As I am a free software enthusiast,  I love using octave instead of Matlab.

If I ask the lab staff to use Octave in the college lab, they will ask me “Will all programs work in  Octave?”. Actually they are not happy to accept Octave because it is not mentioned in syllabus. Is it compulsory that students should learn only what is in the syllabus? The other true fact is that, at the end of semester there will be a lab exam. The teachers coming from other college won’t be familiar with Octave. So when they see Octave, they will surely ask to install Matlab.

One of the method to bring free software in B-Tech course (not only in  B-Tech, but also in other courses) is to have a syllabus review. Thereby all will start using free software. If the syllabus changes there should be reference materials for these free software tools. The first thing everyone does if he/she doesn’t know about something is that he/she will Google it. So I thought of contributing once again to free software by writing some tutorials for Octave that can be helpful for implementing free software like Octave in universities.

These all led me to write this tutorial. This tutorial is about installing Octave and also contains some examples using Octave. I have tried to write the tutorial in a simple and lucid way. Hope this tutorial can guide university to use octave in their labs instead of Matlab.

The tutorial here explains the simple example code that can be used for  teaching Octave. This tutorial is specifically designed for University of  Calicut in India. But I hope the syllabus will be almost same in other  universities also.

**The tutorial is in my Wiki page. You can visit the tutorial from the link below

Experiments using Octave for B-Tech course{.wikilink1}**

Adding links to the header in WP K2 theme

28 Mar 2009

While using wordpress for blogging, you may have to add externel links. For example if you need a link to your flickr page, you cannot add it from the wordpress menu. I think adding external links in K2 theme of wordpress is a little bit different.

In some of the forums they will ask you to edit header.php in themes/k2/ . Or some may ask you to add an plugin. But I don’t love adding plugins too much. And I think adding external links in K2 theme of wordpress is not very hard.


  1. Just edit the file themes/k2/app/includes/display.php
  2. Find <ul class=”menu”>
  3. Just below that add the line <li><ahref=””>EXAMPLE</a></li>
  4. Save it and referesh your page. _


Do you see the new link as the first ? Just try to add the same line in other places and have your links placed as you wish….



Program an AVR microcontroller in GNU/Linux

26 Mar 2009

Program an AVR microcontroller in GNU/Linux is a tutorial for programing the AVR ATMega microcontroller.

The tutorial here is written for ATMega8 microcontroller. But still you can program an ATMega series microcontroller using this method.


This page is a wiki. If you find any missing portions, please edit the wiki if you can… Every content, even the circuit diagram is drawn using FREE SOFTWARE

After a single day work of writing this tutorial, I just googled about my tutorial. The funniest thing I found was that a tutorial similar to mine is in The Linux Documentation Project. One day work full of waste ! I could have just googled it before writting this tutorial… Also he is a student of Pramode Sir.

See this TLDP link..

Report on the Seminar-Embedded Design With GNU/Linux

22 Mar 2009

This is just a small description about the Embedded Design With GNU/Linux seminar that I had attended. Its not a complete report !

Free Software Cell, Government Engineering College, Barton Hill, Thiruvananthapuram had Organised a One Day National Seminar on “Embedded Design With GNU/Linux” On March 21, 2009, Saturday at the College Auditorium in association with Visiting Faculty Scheme, Directorate of Technical Education , Govt. of Kerala and Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment.

I was there to attend the event.  I and Sreeraj reached the Trivandrum  railway station at 3.oo AM. We waited Pramode Sir for his arrival. After refreshing we had a breakfast.  Almost at 9.15 Am we reached the college.

The inauguration was almost at 9.30 AM. There was welcome speech from students and also from the Principal of the college.

At 10 AM we had the Keynote Address  ‘Free Software for Science and Technology’ by  Dr. V.Sasikumar . It was a nice session about Free Software, its importance and also a short introduction on Creative Commons.  It was ended at 10.30 AM.

Next session was by Mr. Shakthi Kannan on ‘Badam Halwa of Embedded Systems’.  It was a nice session and was interactive.  He gave a very good description about the important topics in Embedded Systems.

There was one more session by  Shakthi  on ‘Electronics Design Automation Using GNU/Linux’. It was mainly about the Free Software EDA tools. He showed some electronics designs which was done using Free Software.

After the first session by Shakthi, I had shown him one of my GNUdino board design which was done using Free Software. In the middle of the second session Shakthi invited me to the stage to give a small description about the GNUdino board design. I gave a small description to the audience about GNUdino board and also ARDUINO. This session was ended at 1.00 PM.

The afternoon session was ‘How to Hack an ARM Microcontroller Using GNU/Linux’ by Pramode Sir. He showed the some of his STM32 Primer experiments which is documented here. It was also a nice session. Pramode Sir was afraid whether all will be sleeping because it was such a topic and also because everyone will be in a good sleepy mood after having a good Biriyani. But he showed his skills by giving sticker who answered his questions. All we eagerly listening his talk. There were also some question about the compilation.

The second afternoon session was ‘Java In Action- With Lego MindStorm NXT – Robot’ by Mr. David John. This session was about programming the Lego MindStorm NXT – Robot. It was also a nice and interactive session. At the end he showed a line following robot using Lego MindStorm NXT – Robot .

All the session had an end at 4.30 PM. There was award distribution to the speakers. Also participation certificate to the students who attended the talk.We left from Trivandrum at 11 PM.

It is nice if there is more such talks conducted.  Anyway thanks to Free Software Cell, Govt. Engg. College, Thiruvananthapuram..

GNUdino Revised Version-0.2

20 Mar 2009

I am back with the revised version of GNUdino-AVR.  This is actually one of the projects in FOSSTRONICS .  Also you can understand more about GNUdino-AVR from my previous blog post.

The last version that I had designed contains several errors.  But first I didn’t realize those mistakes.  But after posting to gEDA-User mailing list I got some suggestions.  These were some of the reply for the mail that I had received from gEDA-User mailing list when I had asked for error check.

My mail

Reply mails

Special thanks to gEDA-User mailing list members for pointing out the errors.

This version has a few of improvements.

1)  Components are on Component side (Last time by mistake I had placed them on the solder side).

2)  Polygons (There was no polygons in the last version).

3)  Numbering of components were removed  (Last time all resistors were ‘R1’ )

This is the source file GNUdino-AVR-0.2.pcb

This time also I have posted for a error check to the gEDA-User mailing list.

If you can please check the file GNUdino-AVR-0.2.pcb for errors. Also comment out those errors. It would be a great thanks if you can do that… :)

These are the files that I have used for tracing from the Eagle layout. The tracing process had been explained in the previous blog post. You don’t have to check these files for errors. These files have been placed for educational purpose i.e those who want to learn PCB track tracing in PCB.



For latest versions of GNUdino which are designed from me can be found from

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