Matlab readtable(): fixing reading numeric data as text

Matlab’s readtable() function as of R2014a cannot be manually told the spreadsheet column data format. The ‘Format’ ‘%s %f’ option ONLY applies to text files as of R2014a.

To help fix a problem where you have a spreadsheet (.xls, .ods) where an all-numeric column is being read as text in cells,
highlight that entire column, select Format Cells, Number.

Microsoft Excel has that handy green alert triangle if you do this (store a number as text). So far, Libreoffice 4.2 doesn’t have this alert.

Note: it is permissible to have the first row of an all-numeric column be a text header.

Matlab R2013b/R2014a: BLAS loading error

Matlab R2013b has a known bug where you get the error:

Error using *
BLAS loading error:
dlopen: cannot load any more object with static TLS

This is noted in Mathworks Bug 961964, where it’s noted that the problem exists in R2012b, R2013a, R2013b, and R2014a. I have only noticed this error in R2013b and R2014a. That bug report (requires login to Mathworks) will give you a .zip file, that at the time I downloaded, contained libiomp5.so dated Jan 30, 2014. This file goes into
/usr/local/MATLAB/R2014a/sys/os/glnxa64/
don’t forget to backup your original libiomp5.so before replacing it!

Separately, in R2013b and R2014a, I have noticed
MEvent.Case!
occasionally popping up in the Matlab command window. I have read in the forums that this is Java 7’s fault, and that disabling horizontal mouse scroll stops the MEvent.Case! message — which it does, but it also disables horizontal mouse scroll for all software.

Libreoffice Calc 4.2.2.1: cannot turn off AutoInput

When using Calc to store text data, it is very annoying to have Calc “autocorrect” your text. For example, it is impossible to have the first two letters capitalized when the third letter is lowercase. Unchecking Tools – Cell Contents – AutoInput did not correct this behavior in Libreoffice 4.2.2.1. Neither did setting Format Cell to Text. Guess I’ll have to use Microsoft Excel! (well, GNUmeric actually)

Installing Matlab R2014a Student Version R2014aSV on Linux

A new “feature” of the R2014aSV licensing is that it’s now locked to your Linux username, which you must specify at install time. Since you’re installing Matlab as root, the default username will be “root”, which you must change to your linux username, else you’ll always have to run matlab as root, which is undesireable.

I haven’t tried to reactivate under a different username, but this is the page the License Manager refers you to:
http://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/answers/99067

Another “feature” of R2014aSV is that it doesn’t appear to allow downloading and retention of the installation files. This is a concern for someone with limited Internet connection, since they would have to redownload almost everything to reinstall Matlab (toolboxes).

rsync to EXFAT drive

When syncing with the usual rsync Linux options:
rsync -av --progress --stats /source/a/ /dest/a
to an EXFAT drive, you’ll get errors like:

rsync: mkstemp … failed: Function not implemented (38)

because EXFAT doesn’t understand permissons, owners, or groups. So let’s pick out the options from -a that aren’t friendly with EXFAT.

rsync -vrltD --progress --stats /source/a/ /dest/a

should work for you. Try it with some small files first (yes, you can rsync individual files).
You can watch rsync progress on big files (verifying they’re actually being written to the new HDD) by viewing hidden files — rsync uploads to the destination HDD by prepending a dot . to the filename.

Working with Serial ports in Linux

1) add yourself to the “dialout” group so that you don’t need to use sudo to access serial ports (one-time)
sudo adduser yourlogin dialout
then logout and login

2) list the active serial ports
sudo apt-get install setserial
setserial -g /dev/ttyS* | grep -v unknown

3) Use putty to work with serial ports (can also use minicom, which is less user-friendly in my opinion)
sudo apt-get install putty