Friday, September 23, 2005

You can

.. can't you?

You can get a couple of women out of the hen house, but you can't get the hen house out of a couple of women.

At least that's my impression.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Office fun

.. sigh!

We're having an internal move or rather a rebuild of the office space. So once again we have to put all our stuff into boxes.

Now they have given us way too many boxes. This what nice colleagues can do with those.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Firefox has more holes than IE

.. is this a problem?

This week Symantec came with a very interesting report stating that it more security holes were found in Firefox than in Internet Explorer in recent months. Well, that is something that shocks the world

But is it shocking? Even the number of serious holes is bigger in Firefox than in IE. So, are all the claims about Firefox being more secure than IE a load of crap?

To be honest, the numbers surprised in a way. But then I thought a little more about it and decide that the problem might not be as severe as it seems.

Now, Mozilla has reacted to the claims. Tristan Nitot, president of Mozilla Europe, came up with a nice list of arguments against the Symantec case.

  • Mozilla's reaction time is shorter than Microsoft's. When a vulnerability is found Mozilla has been more able to build a solution and roll it out. In this respect they are much better than Microsoft.
  • Adding to that, the observation that Microsoft decided this month to skip a security patch. It is obvious that any vulnerabilities will not be addressed for at least another month. Not something that Mozilla would do.
  • Over a longer period the Microsoft vulnerabilities were more critical. Last two years security company Secunia has issued 22 security advisories regarding Firefox 1.x, and rate it as "less critical". In the same period Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.x had 85 Secunia advisories, and is rated as "highly critical".
  • Firefox being open source gives more people access to the code. This gives them plenty opportunity to look for bugs. Internet Explorer is closed source and only reverse engineering gives a clue about vulnerabilities.
  • As Firefox runs on different platforms it is quite difficult to exploit.

So, there is plenty of evidence that defends Firefox, so for me that case is resolved. Firefox to me is still more secure than Internet Explorer.

However, now Firefox is becoming more and more widespread, it becomes an increasingly attractive target. People who have moved to Firefox shouldn't only rely on having swapped their browser, They should also look at the security of the entire configuration of their systems.

Finally I have to quote Tristan Nitot on the different types of security holes in Firefox and IE: Which would you prefer, to have a broken finger, or your head ripped off?

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Web is changing

.. are you?

Being on the Internet for a lifetime (in Internet years I am a dinosaur) I have seen quite a lot things change. We were all drunk when the Internet was booming and then it turned out that it was a all a bubble. Since then all these revolutionary ideas are slowly getting along. Not every hype has become something mainstream, but there is more and more cash flowing across the Internet.

There is still a lot that needs to be improved, but surely and slowly we are progressing along the steady path of evolution.

But every now and then things are making a small jump forward when people think of new applications of usually existing technology. Everything seems to have been invented by now. You want some examples?

These are all exponents of a new phenomenon: Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 isn't a 'thing', but a now way of approaching solutions. Solutions that not exactly solve existing problems, but instead raise inspiring new possibilities. The solutions are embracing technologies such as APIs, RSS, Folksonomies, and Social Networking. The combinations of these building blocks suddenly give developers a new way to approach hard problems with surprisingly effective results.

Results can be achieved with surprisingly little effort if you have a little skill.

This will again change the Internet landscape.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Search the world

.. and find the haystack with needle in it

As we all know searching does not always mean finding. It seems easy to find a needle in a haystack once you have found the haystack. The problem is finding the haystack.

Google is nowadays the leader in search on the Internet. Although there many more. Search around the ever increasing blogosphere has only recently been addressed by Google through the beta service Blog Search.. But there are others, see below.

Now there are even more ways to get completely lost in cyberspace.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Google Sitemaps

.. observations [2]

In my previous post I was already enthusiastic about my sitemap being pickup by Google twice within the first day. I can now say that that is not because I submitted it twice.

This morning I noticed that it was again picked up last night without me saying that it should do so. And again this morning at 9 am!. To me this proves observations by others that the Google Sitemaps get picked up twice daily. So this part of the system is working the way I hoped it would.

Now for the real purpose of the Sitemaps: getting your pages crawled. The Crawlers haven't yet crawled my site using the Sitemap. This can take some time before it happens. The predominant belief is that a fresh crawl of the Internet is done every couple of weeks or month. (BTW do you believe in Google?)

So, since I only uploaded my sitemap two days ago, it could take up to a month before my hidden pages are discovered.

Meanwhile, I sit and wait, check my logs and get on with my work.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Google Sitemaps

.. observations

In my previous post I was already enthousiastic about my sitemap being pickup by Google within a couple of hours. I can now say that it gets better than that.

Much better, even.

I just noticed that it has been picked up again this morning sometime between 8 and 9 am. So it's my guess that the sitemap is downloaded by Google on a very frequent basis.

Or maybe it is because I submitted it twice. Anyhow, it is on the move.

Google Sitemaps

... the start of an experiment

I have been reading up on the Google Sitemaps over the past few week. A Google sitemap is an XML file with all the URL to all the pages of your website and you can add some extra data to it like: last update date, change frequency. In theory it should make Google crawl the site more efficiently. Although it is still in Beta I have decided to give a go.

To see if the Google Sitemaps offer some benefit I have devised a little test project. I have used a free tool to generate a sitemap and have added to that a URL to a page that is not linked to from any of my pages. On that page is a link to a further page that is not linked to.

If I can see that Google spiders these two loose pages then I know that there is some benefit from the Google Sitemaps.

I have uploaded the sitemap.xml on my site and have signaled Google around 7 pm last night. This morning I saw that the sitemap was downloaded by Google about one and a half, two hours later!

As an added bonus I got a list of pages that Google tried to crawl on my site but could no longer find. Yep, I had deleted those. So, I can now figure out what to do about that. Probably just ignore it. Read more about these handy sitemap statistics.

For now I am already seeing some interesting effects.

Can't wait to see more results.

The Golden Day has come

... and moved quietly into oblivion

The much anticipated magical day of September 13 arrived yesterday and we did not have a celebration or a brilliant fireworks display. No corks of Formula One size champagne bottles flying through the office and the contents ending down the neck of the management.

No, nothing like that.

Our project has not yet completed and we are still working on it. Getting close though, but still it is not clear if we have built all required functionality as no one dares to take the responsibility to speak on that. So it still a wait and see experience.

And we still struggle on.