How to make a simple Solar Cooker from a shoe box

Today I attempted a long pending dream of making a solar cooker from household items.

Items needed are

  • a shoe box
  • black color paint
  • scissor
  • glue
  • cutter
  • aluminium foil (you can use the one from kitchen)
  • a transparent plastic
  • some cardboard pieces


1) Paint the bottom (inner side) of the shoe box with the black color. This will help in retaining the sun rays in the box

2) Cut 4 cardboard pieces such that they can fit inside the box and act as 4 walls. Now cover these with aluminium foil

3) Take a cardboard piece & draw out a rectangular window leaving approximately 2.5 cms width from all the edges of the cardboard. Now cut this rectangular piece & cover the remaining piece with the transparent plastic. This will act as a lid.

4) Cover the top (inner side) of the box with aluminium foil. This will help in directing the sun rays in the box.

Done. Your solar cooker is ready. This will take approximately 50 mins to make.

I tried out maggi & it turned our pretty well. Though it did not cook in 2 mins, I was happy to see it cook in about 15 mins

IMG_20150510_111848 IMG_20150510_111834IMG_20150510_111907IMG_20150510_115547


Installing Apache SPARK on windows – Step by step approach

Apache Spark is a general purpose large scale clustering solution which claims to be faster than Hadoop & other HDFS implementations. More theory on Spark can be accessed on the internet.

Here I will focus only on the Installation steps of Apache Spark on Windows

You need JDK1.6+ to proceed with the steps below or in PDF

Step 1: Download & Untar SPARK

Download the version 1.0.2 of Spark from the official website.

Untar the downloaded file to any location (say C:\spark-1.0.2)

Step 2: Download SBT msi (needed for Windows)

Download sbt.MSI & execute it.






You may need to restart the machine so that command line can identify the sbt command

Step 3: Package Spark using SBT

C:\spark-1.0.2>sbt assembly

Note: This step takes enormous amount of time. Please be patient


Step 4: Download SCALA

Spark 1.0.2 needs Scala 2.10. This is extremely important to note. And you can read the README.MD file in the SPARK folder to find the correct scala version needed for your spark.

Download and unzip the scala to any location (say C:\ scala-2.10.1)

Set SCALA_HOME environment variable & set the PATH variable to the bin directory of scala

Verify the scala version (and thus the download)


Step 5: Start the spark shell



Sample program in SPARK

  • Create a data set of 1…10000 integers

              scala> val data = 1 to 10000

  • Use Spark Context to create an RDD [Resilient Distributed Dateset] from that data

              scala> val distData = sc.parallelize(data)

  • Perform a filter mechanism on that data

             scala> distData.filter(_ < 10).collect()





Budget 2014 Top 50 words spoken

budget 2014 word cloud


Recently India’s finance budget 2014 was presented by the Finance Minister. I took the transcipt of the speech from the budget website of Indian government & plotted a bubble chart of top 50 words spoken (of course minus the stop words like I, is, was, them, etc).

Some observations –

1) Government was the top spoken word. It was spoken 71 times (71x)

2) Tax (70x) & Taxes (18x) [Not surprising]

3) Development – 53x

Infrastructure – 33x

Growth – 31x

Investment – 28x

Banks – 24x

Economy – 23x

Coal – 21x

Agriculture –  20x

Manufacture – 18x


Get your old Geocities data

Many of you might have heard about the popular free hosting service provided by Geocities. Long ago, in 2009 or so Yahoo discontinued the free service & all sites were brought down.
So if you might have had anything posted on geocities then & forgot to take a backup, can do so now.


Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 12.54.53 PM

This is an archive of all the geocities data.

I was able to get all my old data/articles, etc. Happy for the moment !

MySQL installation steps for Mac OS X

Firstly, download the latest version of MySQL for Mac from here 🙂

The installation involves 3 Major steps each comprising of further steps.

Part 1: Installation of mysql-5.5.27-osx10.6-x86_64.pkg

Follow on-screen steps until you reach the screen below

Part 2: Installation of MySQLStartupItem.pkg

Part 3: Installation of MySQL.prefPane

You can then locate your server console to Start/Stop in System Preferences under ‘Other’.

New features’ list

Today got a chance to look at the new hotmail (now called as from Microsoft. My first look at isn’t bad at all. Uncluttered user interfaces, nice font types, layout of screen, sober colors- all look great.
I am primarily a gmail fan but I must confess that with rapid growth the gmail service is suffering with some problems. And comes as a very pleasant surprise.

Some features-
#1: Nice User Interface 🙂

User Interface-Nice, cool, attractive

User Interface-Nice, cool, attractive

#2: Unlimited Storage. Yes you read it right.

#3: Feature like 10minutes mail from Outlook itself. Isn’t that cool ? I like it.

Feature like 10min mail (Temporary mail address)

Feature like 10min mail (Temporary mail address)

#4: Integrated with SkyDrive. Adds additional storage

SkyDrive cloud storage

SkyDrive cloud storage

#5: Facebook integration

Be in touch with FB world

Be in touch with FB world

Salesman – my friend

Date: 24 June 2012 Time: 11:00 am

I visited a prominent electronic retail store to buy a printer. I headed straight to the section where printers were displayed. After having waited for some 10 odd minutes & having looked at a dozen printers, I felt miserable as a consumer. No body in that store was willing to attend to the new customer. I tried & ‘caught’ a couple of sales people to explain me what features were there in printer A v/s printer B. However they escaped the situation in the name of getting more info.

I finally called their boss and quizzed him about printers. And no surprise here. He too was ignorant about what he was selling. Basic printer parameters like speed (prints per minute), cost of per print, cost of new cartridge seemed to elude our sales champs.

This is the state of salesmanship in this country. Anybody can sell any goods WITHOUT complete knowledge of what he is selling. Take anything. Be it clothes or furniture or anything. We go to Pepe or Van Heusen or any branded shop & ask what material this Tee or shirt is made of. And we get a standard reply – COTTON. How can every shirt be made of cotton?

(Long) gone are the days when an experienced person who has spent some credible number of years selling a product used to explain the details of the products – Clothes (material-cotton/silk/jute), Utensils (metal/fibre/plastic/grade), Cement (Grade). Everything in this world has some parameters. As a salesman these things should be known to every sales person.

Thank god that yesterday I had gathered all the relevant info on printers before stepping out for shopping.
And yes the printer plan has been deferred for now 🙂