A Canary in a Coal Mine Can Help You Source More Candidates by @AaronLintz

Nov 25, 2014

Close-up of Canary, Serinus canaria domestica, 2 years old, in fLike many sourcers, I found joy the day that Firefox came into my life. In 2009 that odd looking fox had looks to die for, performance improvements, tabs, and sexy new add-ons. These features converted users into hardcore fans and the days of IE dominance were numbers. Fragmentation led to Opera, Safari, and Chrome. Choice is good, but I always went back to my main squeeze Firefox. Then came the day that my perfectly organized bookmarks disappeared. The paid add-on I used to sync them was no longer compatible because of constant Firefox updates without notice to the third party developers. 

My love waned. I spent more time with Chrome. She understood me. She knew how to keep my bookmarks, passwords, and add-ons in sync for free. At first there weren’t many add-ons, but now they exceed the options that work with latest version of Firefox in form and function.


This is not a history lesson. I wanted to explain why you should consider using Canary now in tandem with Chrome. Canary, like Chrome is based on an open-source project called chromium. Canary is designed to test out the latest features before they are pushed as final release to Chrome. As the name implies, the icon is canary yellow but everything else looks and feels the same. In the code it is the proverbial canary in a coal mine. Designated to detect disastrous problems before they happen. Chrome does have some hidden features like flags, plugins, and Dev Tools that allow you play with some of these features, but wise developers prefer to test in a sandbox.

Chrome improved security recently by automatically disabling all extensions that are installed by any third party. This action was taken after malware was found to have been installed on updates to existing chrome extensions. All extensions now must be approved and distributed by the official store. Google introduced a tool to detect this malware and re-set Chrome 100% if you have problems. There are workarounds to enable older extension, but updates will detect and de-activate them each time you open your browser. Canary on the other hand was designed with development in mind, so you can install any properly signed chrome extension.

advanced sync settings

In Chrome I have noticed that some extensions do not play nice with each other. There have even been allegations in sourcing circles of certain chrome extensions doing mischievous things in the background. With Canary I am able to install new extensions for testing independently from my chrome settings. I still sync my bookmarks and passwords, but not extensions, apps, or settings.

Currently, the coolest feature available only on Canary is ability to manage and switch users on the fly. Each user has his/her own cookies and settings, but sync passwords or bookmarks if you like. This can useful to help you on other websites you may use.Canary requires about the same amount of memory as Chrome, so if you have issues with performance on Chrome, running both at the same time will not help. There are other versions of Chromium for improved security or portability.

aaron james horse

It has been as stable as Chrome but does update much more frequently as anyone experienced with nightlies may know all about. I’d love to hear what ideas other uses sourcers may have with all these options. If you have the old Police song stuck in your head now, at least you are not alone.

image credit: bigstock