I use computers for three things: business, learning and entertainment. At work, my use of the Internet is far more focused on business applications: Email is largely for business needs; online applications are used to assist clients with supply chain problems; web-based collaborative tools allow us to manage consulting engagements.

Previously, I was using Internet Explorer 6 on Windows. It works well if:

  1. I have the Google toolbar installed to prevent popups.
  2. I keep the cache emptied and do a weekly scan of the computer with Spybot and Adaware.
  3. I regularly check for and install the Windows updates.
  4. Antivirus software is maintained and updated.

In short, Internet Explorer works if I remain vigilant. IE feels like an application that you can never just forget about and use. You must always be wary of what you are clicking; you browse knowing that you are using the most targeted application in the history of data processing. That's not comforting or reassuring.

Nearly every article, discussion forum or security bulletin that mentioned a risk or problem with Internet Explorer would also make vague references to alternative, non-IE browsers. I was aware that alternative browsers were not suffering from the magnitude of attacks that IE was. In 2002, as I began reading more weblogs, I learned of enthusiasm for alternative browsers. As some of those writers became more trusted, I began to experiment with browsers that might handle our workload.

I have three other browsers installed: Opera, Firefox and Mozilla. I'm using Firefox on a day-to-day basis; it's an improvement in the area of security. I believe I get better warnings from Firefox (than IE) if something I'm about to do might impact the performance of my computer. As a pre-release application it is not perfect, but it's quick.