I blogged before about switching from Firefox Focus to DuckDuckGo mobile. Now it’s been 3 weeks since I made the switch and I wanted to do a quick post about my experience.

First, it’s going great. I really like the fact that a search widget is included. I replaced the Google search with DuckDuckGo and I find myself using it a lot more. Which is great because I really like using DuckDuckGo as my default search engine.

Another great feature is the snappy-ness of the browser. DuckDuckGo mobile “feels” faster that Firefox Focus. I don’t know if that’s because it was built with Chromium but it just feels faster. I was never really bothered by FF’s slowness but pages to render faster in DuckDuckGo.

Also it’s been nice to have the option to have multiple tabs open. This was possible in FF but it was not as intuitive as it is DuckDuckGo. Though the ability to delete all tabs with one click is rock solid on both browsers.

The one down side that I really experienced was the fact that not all apps were able to send URL links to DuckDuckGo mobile. For example, when I click on a link in a Youtube video description I do not get the option to open it in DuckDuckGo. I only get regular Firefox or Chrome. When I had Firefox Focus installed I could open that same link easily.

Overall I am really happy with DuckDuckGo mobile and I would recommend it for anyone wanting a “privacy” browser. I still using Firefox Focus and may download it again in the future. But for now I’m sticking with DuckDuckGo mobile.

Region One Cybersecurity Summit 2019

Region One hosted a Cybersecurity Summit for 2019 in Edinburg, TX. The event was free and I signed up to attend. It was a great event that had many great presenters. The theme of the summit was Cybersecurity on a regional level. Here are some of the talks I attended and the takeaways I got from them.

Reduce Your Cybersecurity Risk and Get Complaint with SB 820

– Develop Policy: use already established policies as blueprints
– Items to invest in: Malware protection/Endpoint protection, Firewalls, IDS/IPS, Spam Filtering, Log Monitoring

 

Sharpen your Cybersecurity Skills in 1 Hour

– Leverage free courses

– Practice as much as possible (1 hour a day)

– Find and compete in Cybersecurity competitions

 

Ransomware: How to Detect, Prevent, and Respond

– “Not a matter of If but When”

– Leverage immutable storage

– Develop strategies and policies.

South Texas College 2019 National CyberSecurity Awareness month

To help celebrate National CyberSecurity Awareness month the Information Security office at South Texas College created an “Escape Room” challenge. I got to participate in this years festivities. I like the challenge of doing escape rooms so one that had a cybersecurity theme seemed even more fun. The activity was quite fun despite not being able to “escape” in time.

The challenge consisted of finding the decryption key to decrypt a computer that was attacked with Ransomware. The whole exercise was intended to show the damaging effects ransomware can have on a business or institution. After the challenge the moderators gave a brief talk on tips and tricks to securing your online identities and business.

Banner with the text "Eduardo Robles"

I have been using Firefox Focus for about half a year now. I came to use because I was using Chrome and simply got paranoid of what stuff Google was collecting via Chrome. So I made the switch to Firefox on my PC and started using Firefox for Android. Now before I started using Firefox Focus I was using Brave Browser for Android.

Brave Browser is a Chromium based browser that tauts privacy for the end user. Since I became paranoid of Google I naturally was paranoid of Google based technologies. Chromium though open source is a Google project. It’s development is steered by Google. So Google has a vested interest in Chromium. While making the switch to Firefox I came to learn about Firefox Focus via a Mozilla Newsletter. So I downloaded it and gave it a try.

It was a bit weird getting used to it but after a while it was my default mobile browser. What made it great was the fact that my history was deleted after each use. I never had to worry about cookies or deleting search history. It kept my browsing experience as pure and fast as possible.

This is why I was a bit disappointed at the latest update. The app started to have memory leak issues. Causing some battery drain on my phone. The issue wasn’t all that bad but it was annoying enough that I just unistalled the app.

But I loved having a mobile browser that deleted search and use history after each use. When I looked in the Google Play store for other mobile browsers, DuckDuckGo, was recommnended. DuckDuckGo is my favorite search engine, so I was excited to see they offered a mobile browser. And it was highly rated (4.7 out 5) with a lot of positive reviews. I decided to give it a try.

On first impressions I really like it and it feels faster than Firefox Focus. Plus if I want I can get DuckDuckGo browser via F-Droid store too. It’s only been a few days since I downloaded it but so far I’m really impressed with it. I’ll continue to test it out and see if I stick to it or go back to Firefox Focus.

Shelf with lots of books

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Since I have been reading “self-help” books my wife suggested I check out The Alchemist. Luckily she owned a copy, so I grabbed it from our bookshelf and stuffed it in my backpack. I gotta say that I really enjoyed this book. I can now see why so many people consider it a “self-help”, book. Here are a two of my favorite passages:

 

“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer”, the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse that the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity”.

I loved this part because it closely aligns with my own personal beliefs on suffering. You cannot hope to succeed without a bit of hard work.

“Every second of the search is an encounter with God”, the boy told his heart. “When I have been truly searching for my treasure, every day has been luminous, because I’ve know that every hour was a part of the dream that I find it. When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve”.

 

I got teary eyed when reading this part. It’s funny how sometimes you read something and it spurs such a deep emotion. That’s how I felt reading this part in the book. I’ve always characterized myself as an optimist and I believe that it takes a bit of courage to remain an optimist in this day and age.

Man reading book

Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg

I had heard so much of Charles Duhigg from many “entrepreneurial youtubers”, so naturally I became curious of his work. Most people recommend his book The Power of Habit, I even remember a colleague reading it. But I didn’t find a copy of it at my local library but I did find a copy of Smarter Faster Better instead. Oh boy was I happy with this book. I highly recommend this book for anyone, especially if you are looking for ways to be more “productive”. The book is full of stories of how people, organizations, or businesses overcame serious obstacles to come out on top. Here’s my favorite part from the book.

This, ultimately, is one of the most important lessons of places such as NUMMI and the lean and agile philosophies: Employees work smarter and better when they believed they have more decision-making authority and when they believe their colleagues are committed to their success. A sense of control can fuel motivations, people need to know their suggestions won’t be ignored, that their mistakes won’t be held against them. And they need to know that everyone else has their back.

 

There has been very few work environments where I felt trust between myself and management. This always left me alienated and demotivated. But I’ve had other jobs where I truly felt like I was part of the team. Those were great jobs and enjoyed my time at them. Not just because it was a fun working environment but because at the end of the day I felt that my work meant something.