Thursday, April 27, 2006

When will Firefox be the next target?

So today, Google started advertising Firefox and their toolbar to any US resident using Internet Explorer. This led me to some thinking about why Firefox is currently considered the safest browser and why it's prefered by a lot of sources when recommending browsing software.

People use Ffox for different reasons, for example compatibility, ease of use, tabbed browsing and nowadays for security. Analysts argue that Ffox is less of a target for hackers and virus programmers because it's less popular than Internet Explorer. This is true right now and will probably still be true for another year or so - IE's 60% market share is slowly diminishing, while Ffox's percentage is growing up to 25% and more now - but when the balance tips over in favor of the alternative and it's not the alternative anymore... What browsers will hackers and virus writers target?

True, hackers are mostly biased against Microsoft in general and target their products out of some blind hate targeted at Bill. In my opinion that's justified by the fact that MS is largely basing their "R&D" on copying other existing products, something they've been doing from day 1.

But there's always a part of that dark community that completely disregards the background of the product they target, wishing only their 15 minutes of fame when they discover any random vulerability in a product and creating an exploit out of it. It happens sooner or later with all software even when we least expected - OSX.Leap recently showed that even Mac users are at risk - and so it will happen with Ffox at one point.

And the more it becomes popular, the more it will become a target. The more it's percentage of market rises, the larger the target becomes and the easiest it is to hit.

One can only hope that the open community on which Firefox is built will be enough of a solid foundation to protect it from this dreaded possible future. By having inputs from a larger base of programmers, it's possible that vulnerabilities will be quickly targeted and eliminated before they are exploited by the community. Being protected will then mean being sure you have the latest version of the browser, something the majority of home users need to learn to keep up with.

I modified my blog's template to include a rather large warning banner on the top of the screen if you're using Internet Explorer, prompting you to download FireFox. You might think this goes against this very post, however I beleive it it best to think positive and think that the community will always be quick enough to protect everyone from massive and dangerous vulnerabilities in FireFox. It's up to you to choose.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Should I jinx it?

I don't know if I should really be talking about this... You all know that I love Google. It's not only my primary search engine, but also hosts my blog, my email and probably my website in the future. I do 3D with Google, I use the maps for driving directions...

So what's this about then? Well, I saw a post on the Official Google blog about the Page Creator written by the project manager Justin Rosenstein, and I thought that it would be pretty cool just to email the guy with the ideas I had to make Page Creator a bit better. It was basically things that I had thought about for NetBench when it was actually a project I was aiming to do at one point.

The whole thing turned into an email exchange that, if I'm really lucky, will become a huge turning point in my life. How so? Because I might actually get a job at Google. I mean, getting support from someone on the Inside could just be what I need. You can read the email exchange on my blog.

It's just amazing what can happen when you simply step up to comment. I could have not only a job but an opportunity to get behind the walls of the most amazing company in the US, get contacts and make tons of friends. I'm just mostly speechless.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Monster in Workopolis (in theaters near you)

So two weeks ago, on Tuesday april 4th, 2006, I lost my job at B2B2C. Why? It took me a few days to come up with a definite answer on that one.

My boss' official reason was that he wasn't satisfied with the fact that I was doing personal work on job time, as well as the fact that I wasn't doing the "side-jobs" that were given to the team. These extras included calling new customers to configure their accounts, and doing followup calls to make sure clients had fixed their problem.

Now, this is true only insofar as it's... well, true. But there's an underlying reason to this, and it wasn't laziness. You see, B2B2C, as with most previous ISP tech support jobs I had, wasn't challenging enough - in truth, it was rather boring in itself. For me, a job or carreer has to be stimulating, challenging, it has to bring me something more than a daily routine of unchanging clients with the same questions.

A small company like B2B2C can't offer what a larger company can. Diversity, and lots of work that I can do so that each day is different. It's not that there's nothing to do, but rather not enough of it to go around for everyone on duty. On days where the most "productive" people were there, mostly everything was done whithin an hour or two. And with everything being the same everyday, I found that everyday I had the feeling that everything was already done, since I had done it the day before, and every other day before them.

I understand that some might find it's just an excuse that I'm building in order to make myself beleive that my job loss is not my own fault but rather of the company that employs me. Beleive me, I'm not deceiving myself. I can see my own errors and deviant ways that lead to the two words that are the bane of every man and woman on this planet: "You're Fired". I intend to find myself a place that will actually give me enough to do every day and with enough diversity for me not to continue in this bad way...

I've received some phone calls, returns from my applications here and there, but have yet to get a solid answer (mostly, I don't get called back). I still hope, and still have a few possibilities floating around. By the way, I also requested employement insurance in the meantime, so I am not in a financial hole when I finally find a job. Most probably I'll get a job before I get my first insurance check, but I'm sure it will still be worth it.

Now, as everything seems to tend towards change these days, me and Tiff have decided that we're going to move in July. We've already got the appartment we're going to move into and the "Bail" is signed, we'll be moving to Brossard, within earshot of my mother-in-law's appartment... No, that's not a bad thing, considering we'll be exchanging food for laundry time (since she has a paying laundromat, and we'll have our own washer/dryer).

The appartment is amazing, it was recently renovated, with the bathroom being redone, as well as the floors everywhere. It's nicely positionned also, around 20 minutes from downtown Montreal at rush hour (with the express busses). Pretty nice considering I have an interview tomorrow for a job that's about 10 minutes from Bonaventure... :)

By the way we need some muscles for our moving, which will probably occur around Juin 20th (we have the appartment starting the 15th, and it gives us time to paint and clean). If you're available, especially with a big truck, that would be really amazing...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Breaking up is hard to do... But not this time

No no, I didn't break up with Tiffany! That's still going on fine and dandy. In fact, did I mention we're moving on july first? Yeah, I did...

Anyway, the breaking up was between me and my boss at B2B2C. I was, in all honesty, fired from work last tuesday. Now, this might sound like a bad thing, and up to a certain point it was. It means that I still hadn't completely elliminate my bad habit of doing personal work and website developement from work, and that my bosses really didn't appreciate it.

But wait a second here, why did I do all this personal stuff? I thought about this long and hard, and realized that it could be that the work I was doing wasn't stimulating or challenging enough for me. I was trying to compensate for that by giving myself challenges, websites to build, applications to create, all stuff that, while not pleasing my boss, were exciting for me.

So, I set out to think about that, and did, for about half a moment. I then proceeded to start looking for a new job, this time not at ISP's (not that there's many I didn't work for in Montreal), but rather in bigger, and more advanced companies. I had already applied a few times at CGI, got a phone interview and never got any news after that, but on tuesday the first thing I did was apply at a job I saw in the "Hour", which is "Helpdesk Support Technician", at IBM.

Well my name isn't Lachance for nothing, as I got a call back yesterday, and interview on the same day, and on Monday I'll have an answer as to when I'm going to start working there (hey, I'm an optimist!). Obviously, IBM isn't a small unorganized company like B2B2C was. It's a large, exciting opportunity for me to start building a real career and a future. Though I understand I won't be a Lvl2 technician as soon as I set foot in the door, I think I can build my patience to wait for the right moment, look at the openings and apply at the right time.

At a salary of more than 30,000$ a year, I think I can be that patient... Now for the first time in over a year, I can't wait to get to Monday!