Write your 2015 goals before the year begins

To-Do listWriting goals is one of the most important tasks that I believe everyone should pay attention to. It’s all about your plans for the upcoming year.

Unfortunately, most people don’t have an annual plan which is so bad. Some people have goals to achieve in their mind but don’t write their goals down which is not so good as well. Some write their annual goals after the year is begun.

None of those I’ve mentioned are good. I believe, we all have long-term goals. Writing your tasks down is one of key parts of being a successful person. It’s important to plan for a day/week/month/year before it begins. For example, if you’re going to plan for tomorrow, you should write your tasks down tonight.

In addition, be realistic when writing your goals. For instance, you may won’t be able to accomplish 20 tasks in a single day. Just write three most important tasks and sort them by priority.

Write three most important plans you want to do in the upcoming year. If you’re writing those on a paper, it can be stuck on your room’s wall. If you’re writing your plans/tasks in a file stored in your computer like what I do, put them somewhere on your desktop; so, you can see them every day.

Before install a Chrome extension, check out its permissions

Chrome-Store1It’s about a week that I am working on developing a Chrome extension. Actually, this was my first experience developing an extension. During the process of R&D, I’ve checked out some of existing Chrome extension for learning purposes. While searching, I’ve found some extensions which had suspicious activities. Actually, some of them has access to users’ sensitive information such as files on their computer!

The fact is that, extensions are one of the most dangerous piece of software I’ve ever worked with because of the access level they can get. A Chrome extension can get access to almost anything on your computer. from file system, to your web history. Even most desktop apps don’t have access to such resources. Here are some of things an extension can do and you may want to consider:

  • It can have direct access to all of your Chrome stuff: including your tabs, websites you visit, your password and a lot more.
  • It can have access your file system. This means that an extension can access all of your personal files in your computer.
  • It can execute a file: The extension developer can also include an executable file inside a chrome extension and run it in background without notifying you about. This can be very dangerous. Assume that extension developer develops a keylogger using C++ and run it on your computer. As a result, it can gather all of your password and personal information and then send it to a server.
  • It also can access system memory and CPU as well. This is ridiculous because only some low-level apps and services can have access to such resources.
  • And a lot more…

The following is an example of a chrome extension that has access to your computer resources more than it really needs (I’ve omitted the extension name and logo):

chrome-extension-permissions

As you can see in the above picture, This extension want to have access to nearly everything on your computer:

  • It can access your USB devices!
  • It can communicate with native applications such as kernel processes.
  • It can access your entire Google Drive account including all of your personal documents, photos, and etc.
  • It has full access over your network connections.

Permissions in a Chrome extension can be gained in the manifest.json file. The extension developer can request any access he/she wants. Google reads this file when a user attempts to install the extension and shows the above dialog.

Conclusions

You MUST check out an extension’s permissions before attempting to install it. An extension can be very dangerous. make sure it only asks for permissions it needs. For example, a game don’t need access to the browser proxy. You should not allow such permissions.

Even extensions which are downloaded from Chrome Web Store are not safe since there’s no review process behind them.

Note that everything I’ve mentioned in this post works the same in Firefox; consequently, a Firefox extension can also have unlimited access over your computer.

Hope it helps.

Nostalgia! Installing MS-DOS alongside Windows 3.1 on Virtual Box

You may remember MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 if you are 28 or older. These were the most important software and apps on a computer in that time. Most of us had memorable moments with these operating systems and applications. Actually, I started programming with QBasic and then moved to Visual Basic on Windows.

MS-DOS 6

Today I decided to get back to that sweet moments and tried to install MS-DOS on Virtual Box.

The first thing I had to do was to find the MS-DOS OS and other files; so, I can install it on my virtual machine. As a result, I Googled and found https://winworldpc.com. This is an amazing site contains most of old and nostalgic operating systems, games, applications and developer tools. In addition to MS-DOS, I also downloaded and installed some other apps on the virtual machine which I’ve listed below:

  • Windows 3.1: One of the first operating systems with graphical user interface by Microsoft.
  • Borland C++ for MS-DOS: A powerful IDE (Actually in its own age) to develop, debug and compile C and C++ applications in DOS.

As a gift for this Christmas, I packaged all of the apps alongside MS-DOS OS into a single “.VHD Virtual Hard Drive” file which can be access via the following link:

Ramezanpour MS-DOS.zip

Note: The zip file password is: ramezanpour.net

All you need to do is to download this package, unzip it and then import it in your Virtual Box. If you don’t know how to import a VHD file in Virtual Box, follow these instructions:

Open Virtual Box and click on “New” icon to create a new Virtual Machine.

create-vm-01

The “Create Virtual Machine” window asks for three things. The first is a name which can be anything you want. The second is type which has to be set to “Other”. The third is version which must be DOS. By clicking “Next” you’ll be navigated to the second step which is memory allocation. Since MS-DOS is a very small OS, 32 MB of RAM is enough but you can select as much as you want (Don’t select too much memory because MS-DOS may not support it).

create-vm-02

After the amount of RAM is defined, click next to navigate to the third section. This page will ask you to whether you want to create a new virtual hard drive or use an existing one. Select “Use an existing virtual hard drive file” then select the VHD file you’ve downloaded above.

You’re done. You can now start your MS-DOS 6.22 by double clicking on its icon in Virtual Box.

Enjoy and Happy Christmas!