In an interview with ZDNet, Charlie Miller (winner of CanSecWest’s Pwn2Own contest) said,”For all the browsers on operating systems, the hardest target is Firefox on Windows.” He notes also that,”It’s more about the operating system than the (target) program. Firefox on Mac is pretty easy too. The underlying OS doesn’t have anti-exploit stuff built into it.”
He says throughout the interview that OSX is extremely easy to crack. Just interesting.
Sometimes its the little things that make you happy. For me its two little things that add up to freedom from Outlook. Why am I so happy to be shed of Outlook? Because I don’t connect to an Exchange server, I don’t use POP and IMAP support in Outlook stinks. Not to mention that, at least in its 2007 incarnation, Outlook can’t seem to run for 30 minutes without crashing or locking up.
Both of the little things I am talking about are plugins for the Mozilla mail program Thunderbird. Thunderbird has fabulous support for IMAP, is light on system resources, integrates well with XP or Vista, and works seamlessly as a front end for Gmail. While Thunderbird by itself is not a replacement for Outlook it becomes one with some help from Lighting and Birdie Sync.
Lighting provides very nice calendaring services, including a to do list, inside of Thunderbird. While I would not say it is the slickest calendar program I have ever seen, it is more than usable, works like you expect it to and does all of the basics solidly. It even lets you send invitations to event attendees that they can receive via email as iCal entries that can be added to their calendars. Unless you are using some very obscure features of Outlook you won’t be disappointed in Lighting.
To Lighting add Birdie Sync. Birdie Sync is the answer for those of us who couldn’t find a way to cut the final cord from Outlook and fly free because we couldn’t sync the calendar and contacts from Windows Mobile devices with anything but Outlook. Birdie Sync is not a free program, it costs 19.95 Euros but it works like a charm out of the box. Fields from Thunderbird/Lightning are properly mapped to the relevant fields on your Windows Mobile device calendar and address book and vice versa without any help from you.
Now if you are looking for a real bonus, you can get most of the functionality of an Exchange server with Thunderbird too. Thunderbird works perfectly with Google IMAP so Email backed up to a server is taken care of. Gmail also provides shared calendars and you can bring those into Lighting by using Provider for Google Calendar to read from and write to your Google calendars inside Lighting, and with Zindus to keep your Thunderbird contacts synced with your Google contacts. Provider for Google Calendar does have one drawback, while it allows your to cache your calendar for review offline, you cannot modify your calendar unless you are online.
All in all this software stack is quite a competent replacement for Outlook and I recommend it highly.
Got the final build of Firefox 3 Beta 3 installed (Build 2008020514). Looks good so far. Still don’t see anything revolutionary about it, but I just don’t use some of the features they’ve added.
After staying away from the beta builds of Firefox 3 for as long as I could stand, this morning I installed Firefox 3 b3 RC in place of FF 18.104.22.168. I managed to make all of my important add-ons work, notably Adblock Plus (which worked out of the box) and IE Tab which required loading the Nightly Build Tools to work.
My first impressions are that this seems to be a solid build, although in the limited time I have been running it I don’t see anything revolutionary. Most of the changes are supposed to be under the hood, things like getting rid of the Famous Firefox memory leak, better Acid compliance etc. Still to come is the theme to integrate with Vista, which I suppose will be in beta 4 due later this month.
Yesterday I made a real effort to try and use IE 7, I installed IE7 Pro and used its adblocker program. There is no comparison. With IE7 Pro installed IE7; seems to me slower to render pages than Firefox and the ad-blocking capabilities of Adblocker Plus put everything else on the market to shame. You should be using Firefox for Adblocker Plus if for no other reasons. I was shocked to see what some sites looked like without ads blocked, they were nearly unreadable.
More on Firefox 3 as I dig deeper.
Do you suffer from cognitive dissonance related to the software you use to do your daily work? Are you constantly wondering if you have made the right selection or if there is something better out there? I do, but maybe its just my obsessive compulsive self coming through.
In particular I’ve been wondering if Firefox, my longtime choice in browsers, might have been eclipsed by IE 7. IE 7 especially running on Vista, is touted as secure and supporting many of the features those of us in the Firefox world say are necessary for a decent browser including tabbed browsing.