596: The Year of AI, Arc, and Being Mad About the Right Thing

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Looking back at the year of AI, using Arc on macOS and now Windows, dreaming of subscriptions, and knowing how to be mad about the right thing.



Chris Coyier and Dave Rupert in silly sunglasses and a sign that says Shawp Tawlkk Shough DOT COM

Chris Coyier and Dave Rupert

This episode is with just Chris & Dave, ShopTalk Show's hosts. Chris is the co-founder of CodePen and creator of CSS-Tricks, and Dave is lead developer at Paravel.

Time Jump Links

  • 00:24 Looking forward, looking back
  • 01:40 What I want for Xmas
  • 10:16 What's going on with "blockchain" and "web3"?
  • 16:15 Did OpenAI kill blockchain?
  • 23:05 Sponsor: Miro
  • 24:17 OpenAI employee mobilizing
  • 28:22 Weird dreams
  • 29:40 The Year of Arc
  • 43:24 2024 is the year of being mad about the right thing
  • 46:05 The size of YouTube embeds
  • 49:32 What's ahead for 2024

Episode Sponsors 🧡


Chris Coyier: Go.

Dave Rupert: Oh, is it going? I didn't see the countdown. Okay, here we go.

[Banjo music]

MANTRA: Just Build Websites!

Dave: Ho-ho-ho, Shop-o-maniacs. [Laughter] It's me, Davey Claus Rupert. With me is Chris--in the booth--Coyier. Ho-ho-ho. Jingle bells.

Chris: Hey, Santa.


Chris: Oh, my God.

Dave: Oh, that's good. That's good voice acting. Why aren't people hiring us for voice acting? That's just sad. Oh, man. So many questions these days.

How are you doing, Chris? The last show of the year. We did it, another loop. Finished the old 12th loop, huh?

Chris: Oh, I guess it is.

Dave: We're almost up to episode 600. Maybe we should cut this up into four episodes. [Laughter]

Chris: It's kind of good timing. Oh, yeah. Get us all the way there.

Dave: Yeah, get us there.

Chris: Yeah, maybe.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Nah, but I think it's good because I think there'll be a little more energy in January to do something interesting with it, should we choose to. There's also -- dare a decent chance -- It's just a regular ass episode like every other. [Laughter]

Dave: Every other one, yeah. I mean I think, yeah, I think we only did one big blowout one, I feel like, once or twice or something.

Chris: Maybe.

Dave: I don't know. 600, coming up on 600. That's very cool. Still having fun. That's, I think, the big thing. We wouldn't do this if it was hard.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Or not fun. So, there you go.


Chris: Yeah. What do you want for the holidays, for Christmas?

Dave: You know what I want? This is me. I want replacements for all the crap I have. I have a phone case, and it's busted. You know what I mean?

Chris: Oh...

Dave: It's peeling and the silicon is peeling off and stuff like that. I want a replacement of that. I need a new iPad cover.

Chris: Okay.

Dave: I'll admit it. Sometimes I take the iPad in the shower and watch YouTube. [Laughter]

Chris: What?!

Dave: I know.

Chris: Is it waterproof?

Dave: Oh, yeah. Totally. But the case is less waterproof, the little folio case.

Chris: Holy cripes. Oh, my God, Dave. This is says a lot about you.

Dave: This says a lot. No, it's mostly--

Chris: No wonder you're wound up. You can't even turn off for eight minutes to shower.

Dave: Thirty-two. Let's get honest.


Dave: Let's get real.


Chris: Oh, my God.

Dave: It's a weird thing. It just started. It was just like, "I'm not done watching videos, but I do have to shower by this time."

Chris: Yeah. No, I get it.

Dave: So, I'm just going to multitask.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: But anyway... anyway, that's something. But it's basically just like the case wears out, like on the edges. You know the little magnet folio case.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Then the other thing I really want are subscriptions because I cut off all my subscriptions. I think I talked about that on the show.

Chris: I know, including YouTube, right?

Dave: I killed YouTube.

Chris: I can't see it. I think that would be the last one to drop for me because I think those ads are insufferable.

Dave: It is fricken' bad. [Laughter] YouTube with ads is horrible. It's a dumpster. Not as Dumpster as Twitter, which is literal just not even... Dollar Store is giving it too much credit. It's just like full just like crap aisle of Spencer's Gifts or something. You know? That's what's going on with Twitter.

Chris: Hmm...

Dave: YouTube is like somebody who has a job version of that. It's like, "You know new gutters? Come on down to Gutter Surplus." You know?


Dave: There's not even a voice actor. It's just like text on a screen with some royalty-free music in the background. It is just atrocious. Anyway--


Chris: I almost prefer local ones. Yeah, once in a while. I had YouTube TV for a minute.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: Tried the trial during college football season it was kind of cool. Then once in a while, a local ad would come on.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: You're like, "Oh, how'd y'all get that sorted out? That's cool."

Dave: I like one really local ad, and it's for the new Brazilian barbeque where you raise a flag and they cut it off.

Chris: Oh, my God. I want to go there right now. That is my favorite.

Dave: I know that because we went there once.

Chris: Fogo de Chao, baby.

Dave: Yeah. We went to a Fogo de Chao once, but it's off-brand Fogo de Chao.


Chris: Yeah, they need to advertise. Okay.

Dave: But anyway, I get that one a lot. But a lot of it is weird. I think I have this weird... Because I watch video game content.

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Dave: I watch gamer stuff, so it's like, "Do you need a kitchen knife that looks like an axe, bro?" You know? It's just like, "Oh, man, I'm not that masculine. I wish I could identify." [Laughter] It goes straight into Jordan Peterson Prager U, all that stuff. And I'm just like, "No, no, no, no, no, no. Not me. Not me. Not me."

But I don't know, man. It's the ads. The ads are bad.

Chris: You'd think Google would have you pinned a little better. I mean you are just logged in all the time. We have our emails in there. Just 24/7 surveillance.

Dave: Yeah!

Chris: It's time to dial that in a little better. If you're going to have the data, let's use it.

Dave: Yeah. You don't know my iPad cover is broken? Just send me ads for an iPad cover.


Dave: That's what I want. So, what I really want, I cut subscriptions. We're on ad-supported Disney now, too, which is weird because you're like--

Chris: Is it free or is it cheap?

Dave: It's $9 a month.

Chris: Okay.

Dave: And with Hulu, which is good for me.

Chris: Do you have to open the Hulu app to watch Disney then?

Dave: No. weirdly, Hulu doesn't like me anymore. I get the Hulu app inside the Disney app. It's weird.

Chris: It's the other way around?

Dave: It's the other way around. Yeah, so there's now a Hulu icon inside Disney. Anyway, that wasn't how it was before, but that's how it is now. But ad-supported, just kind of doing that.

But I really want subscriptions to Crunchyroll to feed my Gundam habit--

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: --or to Dropout TV, the college humor spinoff paid service, which is really funny. It's really good. It's $6 a month. That's not much. But I don't want to steal from my--

Chris: You spun those down?

Dave: Yeah, I spun it down, but I like it, so I'm asking for it for Christmas, if that makes sense.

Chris: Yeah, right.

Dave: It's just this little sleight-of-hand on money, but it's like that's a gift to me. I want to use it without the guilt of, like, "Well, I'm not - whatever. My family does not have $82 because I like to watch goofs on the Internet at night -- or in the shower."

Chris: I do like the sentiment of that, that it should feel like a gift not like an addiction.

Dave: An entitlement, right?

Chris: Right.

Dave: It's not an entitlement. It's like, "No, this is a gift." If somebody was like, "Hey, he likes that. He can use that guilt-free." That's what I like about it.


Chris: Part of what I was thinking about the YouTube, it's not even the content for me. I don't care what the ad is. I'm pretty much going to tune it out anyway.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: But they're pre-roll almost all the time, right? So, if I click video then ad, it's training my brain to not want to click the video.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: Because I just know immediately what I'm in for.

Dave: No, it is. It's--

Chris: I just don't like that. And it's every one, too. You're not like, "Oh, whatever. I don't like this video. Next."

I was trying to find... This was unbelievable to me. Sometimes in the morning when I take my kid to school, I'm like, "It's news time in the morning." You know?

Dave: Yeah. News time.

Chris: Sometimes I'll be like, "You can DJ." But sometimes I'm like, "You need to listen to adults speak at each other a little bit sometimes."

Dave: Yeah. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Chris: So, we're going to do that. It's not all the time, but in my case it's podcasts. I'm a podcast guy, obviously.

Dave: Right.

Chris: I was listening to... It was probably like a pop culture happy hour or something, you know that one on MPR, and it was about Wish, Disney's Wish, a new movie.

Dave: The movie. Yeah.

Chris: Whatever. And they were talking about it. And I didn't really realize, but she was kind of into it because she was like, "They're talking about a movie that I saw." So, I'm connecting experiences in her pretty young head.

Then she gets out of school, and I pick her up. And she's like, "Can we listen to the Wish show?"

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: I was like, "Oh, honey. It's not a show. I mean I guess it's a show about Wish, but it's not like they just talk about Wish forever." You know? One episode of it.

I was like, "Ooh, my podcast actually has deleted that already because we listened to it."

Dave: Right.

Chris: But I was like, "Let's listen to something else," and go to YouTube, and just type in "Wish reviews" or whatever, and you get 50, like Cinema Judge, and it's got 13 views or whatever.

Dave: Yeah. [Laughter]

Chris: It's just some guy, like, "I don't know if this is worthy of 100 years of Disney." You know?

Dave: Yeah. "This is woke Disney's..."

Chris: Yeah.


Chris: I was like, "That's what we're going to do. It's only 12 minutes home. You're going to listen to this." But then I couldn't even deal with it. But I wasn't logged into YouTube, so every time I switched videos it was like, you know, ads.

Dave: "Need a kitchen knife that looks like an axe, bro?"

Chris: [Laughter] No.

Dave: "Oh, well, I kind of do." But if you have a kitchen knife that looks like an axe, I'm very happy for you. That is a very cool gift. It was not--

Chris: Where's the... Is the blade ahead of the axe, still? Isn't it just an axe if the blade is the head of the axe?

Dave: It's like a Ginsu knife with a hatchet on the end. [Laughter] It was... I don't know. The guy doing it, you know, clearly has some steroids. Like when he does not have a neck, like shoulders go up to his earlobes. You know?

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: You're kind of like, "Okay. All right."

Chris: Mm-hmm. appeal to. Well, it's the end of the year, Dave, I guess.

Dave: Yeah.


Chris: What happened this year? I mean that's a little too vague, but here's one from Simi de Klerk. Rather than get too vague about it, he was wondering what's happening with blockchain and Web3. [Laughter]

Dave: Ooh...

Chris: Which is funny because doesn't it feel super far off the radar now? When's the last time you read a Web3 anything: joke, article?

Dave: About October or November 2022 when it tanked. [Laughter]

Chris: Yeah!

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Just unbelievable. It felt surreal when it was happening because I'm like, "Okay. Okay. I get that there's technology. It's the immutable spreadsheet in the sky," or whatever we like to joke about it.

Okay, I get it. Because it's immutable, it does have some interesting capabilities. Like I'll give you one little concede.

Then it was like then you step back and be like, "Okay. Show me one thing that makes the Web better because of that concept." It just couldn't be done. There was never a demo. I never saw a single demo that was like, "Oh, yeah. This is worth of Web3." Not even a single demo let alone worthy of replacing the entire Internet.

I just felt like, "Am I crazy? Am I not seeing something? Am I too old? Do only the young see it?"

Dave: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Chris: It turns out, no, the old were right on this one. It was absolutely useless. It was absolutely blowing smoke garbage. I can't imagine the million/billion of dollars VC probably threw at it just in a fury of insanity. And now it's just gone.

Dave: It's gone. I mean it's up. I guess we should be like fully... [Laughter] Like it's crashing today, basically. Oh, no, it's--

Chris: Well, are you talking about cryptocurrencies, generally? Those are still around.

Dave: Crypto in general, yeah.

Chris: But I think Web3 took the idea of, like, because blockchain is a thing and crypto is a thing, that that somehow translates to the Internet, too, and websites.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: That's what I mean is dead. Cryptocurrency will drag on forever.

Dave: Yeah. I think there's too much money invested in it. Also, you can fund North Korea and Russia's war machines, to that's cool. That's a cool thing that you can do with it.

Yeah, I mean I think the idea that you would log into a website with your e-wallet is gone. That to me, I think that surface area--

I think one thing that made it cool was you could click a link and transfer money to people. The thing that killed it, I think, is you could click a link and send money to people (or assets or whatever).


Chris: Hmm... The very thing that made it cool was also just too dangerous?

Dave: Yeah. Just way too exploitable. Weirdly, the technology was against itself because you'd have this wallet, this wallet, and then you have a password for it. That's how you keep your money and your tokens and your nonfungible tokens all safe.

Well, the whole premise of crypto is we're spinning up GPUs to crack passwords to validate the chain and to validate the block. You're basically guessing random number-generating guesses to crack this block or validate this block. That's the thing that's keeping your money safe, too. So, it's this weird thing that makes it work is also the thing that makes it insecure. To me, that's my perspective.

Yeah, I think that idea that you log in and exchange assets and everything is ownable, that part really creeped me out that everything is ownable, like I could go into CSS-Tricks and own the article, or I could own a Pen. I'm sure that was very enticing at a time.

Chris: That was the NFT concept wrapped up into it. Yeah. I mean I guess you'd have to design it that way on purpose, but people did.

Dave: Yeah. I'm sure there's a place on the Internet where you can buy URLs of something. But I think that just went away.

Chris: Well, because it didn't have any obvious utility other than if everyone collectively mentally buys into this as a marketplace, then it will be meaningful in some way. You can make the argument that money is the same way. We all just agree that money is valuable and that's why it's valuable.

Could it be done again? Sure. Did it happen this time? No.

But then there is real-world practical stuff, like, is there a thing -- again, the demo -- that would make this all great? Concert tickets floated around at one point, and that you could be the provable owner of a ticket to an event.

Dave: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Chris: The blockchain technology is okay for that. Or maybe great for that. I don't know. That it has this provable chain of stuff. But where is it then?

Dave: Right.

Chris: If it is actually great, especially under capitalism where good ideas are supposed to surface like that, the fact that it just didn't means that there is something wrong with it.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah, I mean it just couldn't sustain. It had all the hype in the world, and that kind of just goes to show it can have all the hype in the world and still not take off or become commonplace.

Chris: We're not going to learn the hype cycle thing. I think it's just human nature that that has to happen.

Dave: We are so susceptible to it, aren't we?

Chris: We are.

Dave: We're just dummies.


Chris: And the problem is we're learning the wrong... we get the wrong lesson because then AI came along and I think it came so closely off the heels of blockchain that people were actually maybe a little extra skeptical at first. But AI is turning out to be actually kind of useful and has practical applications.

Dave: Well, yeah. I wonder if the OpenAI ChatGPT 3 demo killed blockchain. I wonder.

Chris: Right that our heads collectively burned? Yeah. [Laughter]

Dave: Collective ... Yeah. Just literally like, "Squirrel?!" [Laughter]

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Just full switch into that. Way more applications. I think if we want to define this year, it's the year of AI, probably, if we want to give it a term. Chris Enns has a great episode titled "The Year of AI."

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: I think even down to me, I'm using Copilot every day. Very different. Sometimes I'm fighting it because it just inserts extra brackets.

Chris: To me, that one is way at the top. It's insane. It's so good. Oh, my God.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Sure, it's fun for us to poke at little dumb things that it does or something. Of course, there will be. But we're not even a year into it, really.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Do you think that has an impact on what we're doing? Hell, yeah it does. Please stop writing code comments for me, though. Oh, my God. That's annoying.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: Or I'm in the middle of some Markdown and it's like, "I know what you want to say next."

Dave: Oh, yeah.

Chris: That's just little funny things to poke at and is easy enough to just flip it off really quick. I was using... Not a sponsor. Wish they were.

Dave: Hey. Sign up.

Chris: How much money you got, Loom? You know Loom? It's like a browser extension.

Dave: Oh, they've got $1.6 billion or something. Didn't they get...?

Chris: Oh, my God. Are they that big now?

Dave: They got acquired.


Chris: Oh, well. Good for you, Loom. I was like, whatever. They're these little easy to record videos where you put your face in the corner. I'm like, "Dude. Whatever. There are 100 apps that did this."

But it came up at work the other day. Dee wanted to try it out again. I'm like, "Oh, sure. Let's try it out. Whatever."

I like it when other people have "let's do stuff" ideas. I will join your train. Hell, yeah.

I just used it the other day, and I was like, "This is good as heck," Dave.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: Here's what it did. One thing, it just titled. I was done recording and it just titled it. It listened to everything I did and was doing and made a perfect title for the video. I don't even remember what it was, but I was like, "Did I write that? I don't remember writing that, but you freaking nailed it, so wow."

Then you know how this show has jump to chapters?

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: It's like at 16 minutes and 13 seconds, Dave started talking about AI. The second you're done recording, there's a little chapter thing like that of your video, of moments that some AI presumably has decided were important little jump points in the video.

Dave: Critical moments. Whoa!

Chris: I didn't have to ask it to do that. It just did it. I'm sure you can edit it and stuff, but I'm like, "We are one year after OpenAI launched, OpenAI did their stuff, and now there are models galore." Some are open-source. Every tech company in the world is working on their own. They're fighting over it. There are big announcements.

It's like, yeah. Year of AI, I'll say so. But when you see stuff like that, you're like, "I don't think anybody can disagree that that's actually pretty darn cool and useful."

Dave: Mm-hmm. Yeah. I know WhisperAI, isn't that the big transcription one? I would upload things into Slack and then get a transcript automatically for a video. I was like, "Whoa!" I made a little tool in a blog post to spit that out as a VTT file just to put on so I could wire up my own HTML video with a track something, closed captioning.

Chris: Right. Right.

Dave: Kind of cool, man. I mean I'm getting stuff for free that I didn't ask for. I didn't ask for transcriptions on my Slack videos, but I'm glad they exist.

I think it does bring out huge ethical or even just human questions about how this changes the workforce, changes work.


Dave: I saw this chart from the Financial Times the other day about, like, do you hire a junior developer? It's literally the line is when Copilot came out - or something. It's like, pew... like the need for hiring a junior developer just goes down.

Chris: Whoa.

Dave: Anyway, it was just kind of like this idea. That's frightening. You know what I mean? Yeah.

Chris: It sure is.

Dave: Anyway, I'll try to find that image to get it to actually make it news.

Chris: I haven't seen that. Somebody has kind of proven that? Isn't that correlation, not causation - in a way? Couldn't it have been something else, too, like the down economy?

Dave: It could have been the market.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: It could have been, yeah. It could have been the economy. It could have been a lot of things. It was sort of a shocking, like, "Hey, here's the line. Then here's the change."

Here, I'm going to actually... I found it. I found it. I did journalism. [Laughter] Okay, here.

Okay, "Generative AI taking white collar jobs." I'm going to put it in this question here. Here we go. You can look at it, too.

The change of employment and earnings from writing and editing jobs on an online freelancing platform after the launch of GPT, so it's affecting freelance jobs, basically. Earnings and the number of freelance job postings just tanks; goes from, I guess, a zero percent change to a -3% change when earnings goes down 12 points - or something like that. Whatever that is, 12%. In five months since GPT.

Anyway, pretty shocking chart is what I would say.

Chris: Hmm... Wow.

Dave: It's changing the workforce. It's augmenting the workforce, especially freelance. It's coming for freelance, white-collar jobs. I think that was the most surprising thing. I thought it was going to - whatever. [Laughter] I thought AI was going to replace - I don't know - drywallers first. Now it's like that's the only secure job. [Laughter] Need to go back to drywall.

Chris: Right. It turns out basket weaver will always be top job, you know, eventually. "Do you know how to reroute water from a stream into a more useful location?"

Dave: You'll be rich.

Chris: You're going to be useful forever.

Dave: Yeah.


[Banjo music starts]

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[Banjo music stops]


Chris: Oh, gosh. What was I thinking of now? I was thinking of the worker action -- bringing it back to the show we had about Ethan. Currently, we talk about Ethan a lot. Hey, buddy.

Dave: Hey, Ethan.

Chris: He had a good point about the immediacy around all the AI drama about firing Sam Altman, and he was back by the end of the weekend, practically. Whatever.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: It was like the unavoidable tech story of all time, and now we're doing the thing where we're talking about it, too. But part of the power of what happened and the immediacy was how quickly the workers mobilized to say what they were willing to do. Wasn't it, in the end, it was something insane like 90% of them said, "We will happily jump to Microsoft. Even though we don't necessarily want to, we will because he was our captain and you took him from us."

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: And it worked, right? I'm sure by no small margin the employees had the power there.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: My God. I'm sure Sam is an important guy, but do you think he's training these models himself?

Dave: No.

Chris: Because he's not.

Dave: It's the 700 people who work for him.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Yeah, it's the people in the nuclear submarine behind him - or whatever. But Ethan's point was kind of like, not that that was a bad job or anything, but what did you get for all that mobilization? You got a really rich guy his high profile job back.

You got nothing for yourselves. You know? It was all this worker mobilization, a strong power move, and you got what you wanted. But it's kind of like, gosh, you almost should mobilize sooner and mobilize for yourselves.

Dave: Yeah, well, yeah, it was the power of collective action, just like, "No, we are not." Probably saved the company. Just, "We are not going to... We'll kill the company unless you fix it."

But yeah, it is kind of funny. Yeah, it's like a collective action to get a guy--who was going to be fine--his job back.

Chris: Right. I'm sure this isn't the case, but couldn't you see his first thing is, "Hey, could you actually work this weekend? We've got a big deadline coming up," or something.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: And you'd be like, "Oh, crap." [Laughter]

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: "Huh. I thought you liked us."

Dave: Yeah, I don't know. Maybe in 2024, I'm going to be a pro-billionaire. Maybe that's the flavor I'm going to add to this podcast. I'm just going to be a total simp for Elon. You know? Be that guy on Twitter who is always defending Elon.

Chris: That's an easy one.

Dave: That'd be a good one.


Chris: I actually kind of get it. I'm not one, but I do kind of understand why really rich people are attractive to other people.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: Like, "I want to be like them so much. They clearly... They've figured out life in a way that I haven't yet." I can kind of understand standing for that.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: I think it's ridiculous. But at the same time, at least I understand it and sometimes in ways where I don't understand life. I'm like, "Why does a person behave like that? Why mad?"

Dave: [Laughter]

Chris: In a way that I generally don't understand. At least I get that one.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah. Nah, I mean I always just think it's funny. It's like I'm sure he appreciates that you're really vehemently defending him in comments. But he does not care. He does not read these. He has a checkmark.


Dave: He's not reading these. Anyway... Sorry, but maybe you just believe he'll show up and give you the money, and that's the power is maybe one day he'll give me the money.

Chris: Yeah, maybe. I had a weird dream once where he was in it, and the version of me in the dream was sympathetic towards him because I was getting face-time with him - or something.

Dave: Oh, yeah. Weird.

Chris: I found myself being like, "Oh, yeah. He actually is a smart guy." You know? I woke up like, "Oh, my God! Who am I?!"

Dave: [Laughter]

Chris: Gees!


Dave: [Laughter] Did I ever tell you about my dream where I had to go to a party where Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin was there?


Dave: Trump's Secretary of Treasury who I'm not a fan, to be honest. He has actually produced a lot of cartoons. That's where he made his money, I think.

Chris: Hmm...

Dave: If you look at his IMDB, it's actually pretty impressive. But I remember in the dream, I was like, "Who is going to be there?" Jessie was like, "Steve." I was like, "Oh, God. Not Steve!" [Laughter]

I just went to this party and was like, "Hey, Steve. How's it going?" Had to be cool but--

Chris: Right. Right.

Dave: ...Steve Mnuchin, and I just was like, "Oh, God. This is the worst. This guy is the worst." But I'm having to be cool about it. Anyway--

Chris: Because you're a grownup.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.


Chris: My email just pinged. Arc on Windows.

Dave: Arc on Windows made it.

Chris: Holy cow!

Dave: Arc. Hey! Speaking of 2023, is Arc--

Chris: The year of Arc?

Dave: Arc, the year of Arc?

Chris: It's only a year old, about. Oh, I think it's so good. Seriously.

Dave: I'm having a good time with it. I saw your feature. Well, you were featured in the Arc promo video. That was pretty cool. But then you just got on their little blog-a-roo, their little newsletter thing.

Chris: Yeah! See, this is why... And I hate this, but it's true. I got a DM from Josh Miller, who is the something C-suite guy at The Browser Company of New York.

Dave: Hmm... Yes.

Chris: Which I still make fun of to this day.

Dave: It's got a long cigarette, isn't it?

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Yeah. [Laughter]

Chris: It's like set in Tragen, too, or something. It looks so chiseled into stone. You're like, "Come on. Get out of here."

Dave: It's good. It's very good. Very good. Very good.

Chris: Too bad I now like them.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: And I like Josh, and I think they do a great job. It's all these little things that I notice that I'm like, "Oh, man. I do love that feature."

You get an email from a company that says, "Verify this email." You click it. In Arc, it just opens in this little window. You're like, "Okay, it's verified," and then you whisk it away.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: That behavior didn't need to have equal weight as a tab of every other tab I have open.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: That little Arc concept turns out that's a great idea. Good job!

Dave: Yeah, and those little Arcs, it's weird. It takes a while to get used to, but they're mutable like tabs, basically. It's like the tabs in the big Arc are immutable. They stay there until you get rid of them.

Chris: Right.

Dave: But the mini Arcs are just like, "Oh, it's the last thing you clicked on from some app." It's cool.

Chris: Right.

Dave: It's like, "Yeah, I didn't need that, that T-shirt I was looking at, I don't need that forever. Just get rid of it."

Chris: Right.

Dave: You have to promote it into the big Arc, and I think that's a cool way to think about it.


Chris: I remember when they launched, and they said... I think there was somebody from Chrome who started it and maybe is still there or at least worked on it heavily who said, "Listen. I work there. I know what they're willing to do and not do." And so much of what they're willing to do and not do is based on how does it funnel you toward search. This browser exists because Google needs you to use its stuff.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: There's all kinds of stuff baked into the Chromium project that's just for Google. They're never going to make a feature that's like, "Hmm... How can we make you use search less? How can we get you back to somewhere you were trying to go without having to land on a SERP?"

Dave: Right.

Chris: They're like... Well, then it's immediately killed at Google, like, "Nope! We want you to execute a search."

Dave: Well, yeah. It's less useful. Yeah.

Chris: Right, and I get that from Google's perspective even.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: They invested an absolute metric crap ton of money into this project and still do every day. They have all the right in the world to do that.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: So, I almost don't mind it, weirdly. But then if another browser can come along and say, "Hey, we don't have those same restrictions. We can think only of user experience." Now, we'll see if forever it lasts because, to this day, we still don't really know what they're going to do with money.

Dave: Right. Right.

Chris: They alluded to it this year with some AI features that then they might charge for. I love that they did it because that's the most admirable thing about Arc is they ship just constantly.

Dave: mm-hmm.

Chris: And I think the AI features are a little amiss for me. But at least they tried it.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Anyway, then they take this idea that they can do anything that they want, and they really capitalize on it. They do all kinds of weird stuff and I love it.

Dave: No, it's pretty impressive. It's just like their max feature. You can ask a question on page, which I have enabled but I don't like it because it actually ruins command-F. Five fricken' previews.

Chris: Oh, yeah. Totally. I hate it. I had to get rid of it.

Dave: It wasn't useful for me. I'd rather just go preview it myself for five seconds. Tidy tab titles, it worked okay. It wasn't my favorite. Tidy downloads, I have enabled. It renames your....

Chris: It can be confusing, too, the titles because I actually have to care about titles sometimes.

Dave: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Chris: I'm like, "Why is it different than what's in the HTML? I don't love that.

Dave: For sure.

Chris: Downloads was abhorrent to me on how poorly it made names of the files.


Dave: I kept it open, but I could see why you don't want it. Then GPT in the command bar, I just don't... I think they actually improved that, so I'd maybe turn it on again. But I just don't use GPT.

Chris: Interesting. I think it helps with GPT. I don't use that either, but if you do--

For a while, I had it, and I think I still have it. One of my little spaces in Arc is just the AI space, so I have Bard there and ChatGPT there.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: And things where the URL is a ready-to-use, type in a prompt and go thing. Arc already is helping me with that. It doesn't need to be in the command bar.

What it should do, I think, is then show me the answer there, too. Don't just whisk me to their website with my prompt prefilled. That feels very lazy.

Dave: Yeah, I don't need that. Yeah.

Chris: Now I feel like I'm yelling at them, but I'm not really. They were trying stuff. Whatever. Keep trying stuff. Get even weirder.

Dave: Shake it up. Shake it up. Yeah. No, I mean I think I don't have the time to put my AI in my browser, so it's cool to see them do it.

Chris: And they don't... They're not concerned with messing with the browser internals.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: It's just Chrome underneath it. Don't mess with my dev tools. Don't try to add APIs. Don't do any of that. This is UX only.

Dave: No, it's pretty cool. So far, I've enjoyed it. I like what they've done with the place.

Chris: [Laughter] Yeah.

Dave: It's great it's on Windows, too, because I'm a big fan of Edge. Loved Edge, historically. But man, it's gone in a weird direction. There's Bing inside of it, and then they tried to put Office on the sidebar, too. It's just like, "Uh, man. I can barely use it when I use it because there's all this stuff just jumping at me." MSN when I hit a new tab, you know. It's just like I've got all of Microsoft in this browser now. It's a little overwhelming.

When I pop open Arc, it's almost empty. It's just the stuff I put in there. [Laughter] That's kind of cool.

Chris: Yeah.


Dave: Back to AI, though. Other than CoPilot, do you use AI every day? You said you had a Bard tab and stuff like that.

Chris: Hmm...

Dave: I know people are using it for their search stuff. I don't understand that.

Chris: I don't know that I'm... I'd say I'm a light user.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: But I do like the idea that it's like an answer when you need one where I absolutely don't trust Google to give that to me anymore. I wanted an answer of taxonomy.

Here's a very real question from yesterday. I was like, "Okay. We have these processors at CodePen that do things that aren't really part of what you might think of as the build process. There are things like linters, analyzers, which are different, interestingly. Linters are opinionated, where analyzers tell you problems. Then there are formatters and optimizers and stuff. They run as tools, but they're not like TypeScript that's just a build thing.

Dave: Like minify or something. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah, and I explained. I wanted to be like, "Is there some way I can refer to all of those as a group?"

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: I asked, and it had not a great answer but who else would I ask? Twitter?

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: I can't ask... That's not a question I can ask anything. There starts to be this category of question that that's the perfect thing to ask.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: Yeah, that's part of my life a little bit. I almost used one called Codeium, like code, like C-O-D-E-I-U-M .com. I installed it as a browser extension after they reached out CodePen looking for integration, which, in a way, you don't need if you're just one person and you want it because you can install the browser extension and then you just get it.

Dave: Oh, sure. Yeah.

Chris: It does auto-complete whereas GitHub Copilot, it just works in VS Code and that's it.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: Codeium works wherever. It works in a whole bunch of stuff.

Dave: I could see that being useful. Yeah.

Chris: Oh, yeah, and what makes it cool to me is not these... I'll say my initial reaction was like, "Oh, you're not Microsoft." You're a little startup. Can your code completions possibly be as good?

I've done this before. I've used somebody else's auto-complete tool, and I found it a little lackluster.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: Codeium, I find better. I'm not blowing smoke and they're not a sponsor. Even though, please, we're always taking money. I think it's better than Copilot.

Dave: There you go.

Chris: It has some really... It's really good. Here's one, there's just one thing, and I'm sure Copilot will do it tomorrow, and then they're screwed - in a way. But it does the gray ghost stuff. You know what I mean?

Dave: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: But it doesn't have to be at the end. And once you've locked that into your mind, I feel like it's really distracting when I'm using Copilot now. It will only add code at the end of a line only, whereas Codeium, if it strongly detects that you're in the middle of a line and could use a little help, it will put stuff in the middle, too. You're writing the parameters for a function that's already scaffolded out and your cursor is in between two parentheses. It'll be like, "Oh, I know which parameters you're trying to put in here," and suggest them. Copilot will not.

Dave: Hmm... Hmm... Interesting.

Chris: And it's good. It's a nice feature. And it's light touch. There are times where if you're in a weird place, it just will not suggest anything. [Laughter] I kind of like that. Don't tell me if you're not really sure you have a potentially good answer.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: I feel like GitHub Copilot is not chill in that way. It will suggest something wherever you are.

Dave: Yeah. Copilot, one day, I hope, learns how to close brackets and parentheses.

Chris: Oh, my God.

Dave: If it could figure that out, it would change my life.

Chris: Console.log, it's like, "You meant three closing parentheses, right?" You're like, "No. How about zero? Is that how many you meant?"

Dave: You typed one parentheses, so I added five. I thought that was good.

Chris: [Laughter] Yeah.

Dave: Is that not good? Seven layers of indentation in five of those, that's not where you are?

Chris: Doesn't it make you feel, now that we're reflecting on the year, I'm like, we just got this.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: And it's already so good. Another year from now, another five years from now, can you imagine a world this isn't a huge part of our lives? Ah... It's almost so fast and so powerful that all these questions you're bringing up about the implication that it has on jobs and the ethics of it.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: Like, where did you get this data? I guarantee, just out of my own pride, that I have trained these models 0.000001% or something.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: I did that. You're welcome. Thanks for not asking. You know?

Dave: [Laughter] Yeah. Thanks for stealing this and I guess making my job better. I don't know.

Chris: Yeah, and now I pay you. Is that how that works?

Dave: You paid me. I pay you to steal my stuff? What?!

Chris: It's not like you didn't do work. You just didn't ask.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Yeah.


Dave: That's the twist about it. Yeah. I don't know. I am hopeful. I don't know. What I think my hope is that we get better verbiage and terminology for AI. I know AI groups have all their internal jargon. But I mean like consumer-facing because I don't believe everything I type goes in and starts training Grammarly's AI. If I have a file or Markdown that Grammarly is reading, I don't think Grammarly is like, "I'm going to take this. I'm stealing this, and I'm going to go train my guy." I don't think that's happening. I think they have a model that was prebuilt and they're just running my thing through it. They're filtering through it.

Now you can do fine-tuning and be like, "Yeah, use this set of data to then inform what you output." But that doesn't train the big model. Sam Altman doesn't get my Markdown file, I don't think. And so, I wish there was this verbiage around what is happening to that data that goes through.

The big stink-up this week was Dropbox has a new AI feature.

Chris: Oh, my God. Does it? What could it possibly do?

Dave: Yeah, I don't know. For a background sync utility, I really don't know what's going on. [Laughter] But everyone is mad because they're like, "Oh, it will train."

Chris: On the stuff I keep in Dropbox? Yeah.

Dave: Your private stuff to the thing. But I'm just like, I don't know if it's training or if it's just fine-tuning or what. There needs to be very clear delineation around what's happening to your data that goes through this AI.

Chris: Right, so I can be mad about the right thing or chill out my madness if it's not that big of a deal.

Dave: Let me be mad about the right thing. That's what I want.


Chris: It reminds me of analytics madness and GDPR. Not GDPR. What am I thinking of? Maybe it is.

Dave: That's it. Yeah, yeah.

Chris: Is it the privacy one?

Dave: Yep.

Chris: I was like, "Is that the one that's the revenue of a country?" No, that's GDP.

Dave: That's GDP. Yes.

Chris: GPD. [Laughter] Dang it! Woo! [Laughter]

You don't really need to ask or warn people if what happens on a page is like it's a PHP page and it goes to a MySQL database and increments and integer by one. We weren't mad about our privacy when we had a page counter for page view analytics.

Dave: Right.

Chris: That's still true. If I record some analytics absolutely anonymously that basically just says, "Person viewed this page," and pass nothing at all to that analytics company, that's okay.

Dave: It should be. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah. But the problem is people are generally mad about it because it's like usually people... Usually, it's actually not okay. They send your IP address, too. Now, all of a sudden, it's like, "Hmm..."

Dave: And that's stored in a cookie.

Chris: Yep.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: Then they're like, "Well, we geocoded you anyway because we do that, so we pass that along, too." Or it can be much worse, Dave. it can be like, "You're logged in, so we sent Dave Rupert as a string over."

Dave: Yeah. Happy birthday, Dave Rupert. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah.


Dave: Yeah. It's like, "What?!"

Chris: And that nuance really matters. It ranges from all the way fine to all the way very not fine, like the whole spectrum.

Dave: Yeah. I don't know. Ah, man. How do you... Ugh!

Chris: Ugh! [Laughter]

Dave: Yeah. I wish... That's it. I want tools. My hope for 2024 is we get tools to be mad about the right thing. And I do not want Google creating the tool. [Laughter] I want whatever, and I don't want just the alarmist, doomist creating the tool. I need somebody in the middle ground who is like--

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: "This is the verbiage and the tool or here's what's happening to everything that gets collected."


Chris: Yeah. I thought it was funny, thinking the other day about how... I think Zach Leatherman had a post showcasing how awful YouTube embeds are.

Dave: Right.

Chris: They're 1.2 megabytes, at a minimum, just one of them.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: You're like, hmm... That's above the recommended page weight for a website.

Dave: Right.

Chris: Let alone an embed. But everybody has known that forever. Of course, they're heavy - or whatever - because... Because why, Dave? I don't know why. Because they're trying to do too much. It's just JavaScript bloat. But also, analytics and stuff. They want to know what's going on with these embeds.

Dave: Yep.

Chris: Also, some of that stuff I'm a little sympathetic towards. Again, they host the entire world's video archive for free. Pretty nice of them, I'd say. You get something out of that. But whether that's privacy abrasive, that's not cool.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: It's always this spectrum of stuff. You know who fixed it, who has the best Web component for fixing that problem? Paul Irish at Google.

Dave: Lite YouTube, yeah. Yeah.

Chris: Who works there. Your boy did it. It goes to show it's hard to use the whole company and spread it with the same brush.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: I'm sure there are decenters. Not that Paul is a decenter, but he's just like, "I care about performance, and this is a clear win. So, whatever. Stop me."

Dave: Paul's Lite YouTube has six kilobytes of JavaScript. If you click on it, it'll load the full 1.2 mega.

Chris: It will. It just it by default, right? Yeah.

Dave: But according to Zach Leatherman, the YouTube one has 971 kilobytes of JavaScript, so it's a lot of extra going in there. But then it has 28 kilobytes of fonts, 3 Web fonts, 48 kilobytes of CSS, which seems a lot for a video. But it does have popups and stuff inside.

Chris: It's true. It's like what's practical, what's maintainable, what's on brand.

Dave: What's happening. Why is it so much?

Chris: What's happening?

Dave: But why is it so much? [Laughter]

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Why use so much?

Chris: The answer to that is just that you'll never know. It's so big.

Dave: At their scale, too, are they not incentivized to keep it down as low as possible? If that's as low as possible--

Chris: I think they are. I think that is an incentive. Yeah, right.

Dave: They are doing so much because that's a mega code.

Chris: I think they can be incentivized but that doesn't immediately mean that it's maximized as low as it possibly can be. In fact, I'm very sure that it's not.

Dave: Right.

Chris: They are still incentivized that direction, but other things beat it.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Like some boss saying, "How many people in South Africa watched today?" You better as hell be able to answer that if you work at Google.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: I mean that's just one tiny example. That's probably the easiest thing in the world. I'm sure the questions are much tougher than that.

Dave: How do you move Mt. Fuji? That's the question. How to work at Google, those things, those stumpers.

Chris: Oh, yeah.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Yeah. Yeah. But I mean you work for this guy, and who knows what kind of questions are coming your way on any given Wednesday.

Dave: Yeah. Oh, man. Hey, a hard stop. Are you okay? Do you got to get going?

Chris: Two minutes.

Dave: Okay. Well, no, I just was going to wrap up if we need to.

Chris: No.


Dave: It's been an interesting year. Any big thoughts going into 2024?

Chris: I do hope for a better year. I think we're in for a little tumultuous ride in the U.S. with elections coming, right?

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: And that's not going to feel good for anybody, probably. It's certainly not... Nothing is going to be like, "I'm so excited for that time to watch American democracy thrive."

Dave: My favorite is this 22-month run-up to the election. Yeah, I love it.


Dave: Uh... no. That's a source of anxiety.

Chris: That's okay. I don't mean to dwell on something negative. But I do hope for a better year. At least in the Chris Coyier book, we don't share every detail of our lives. It's not like mine was that bad or anything. But in comparison to the last decade or so, not my best year.

Dave: Not the best one, yeah.

Chris: Didn't love it.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: Didn't love it. This is my turn to have a bad year. Worst than... I mean this feels weird to say, but COVID sucked, too. So, I'm not trying to [laughter] say that.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: But for some people, some things went okay. Your business did. Our business didn't fail or go gangbusters during COVID, which kind of felt like a source of stability, and that was kind of a good.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: During COVID to not lose everything.

Dave: No.

Chris: Not that that's a threat, but this year was just like, "Man, that's just a lot of stress and blah-blah-blah." You know? Not my favorite year. Want a better year.

Dave: Yeah. No, that's fair. I think, for me, that whole... There's tech stress, right? Just the job market. I saw the other day Etsy had to let a bunch of people go. It's just been... Hopefully, that stuff thaws out. That's my hope there.

Chris: You hope people they over-fired, and that we can roll back a little bit, get some more people working.

Dave: Yeah. I want people to have jobs. I think there are qualified people. I think there are smart people. I think it's just was like, "Let's just introduce extra anxiety into the situation." That's what it felt like.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: It's like, "Hey, everybody. Let's get anxious." I don't know.

Chris: I think when there's... I've heard this from somebody. I'm stealing this anecdote. When there are smart people who want to work and can't, it's like a very bad place for a society to be.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: That's where real gnarly angst comes from.

Dave: Yeah. I believe that.

Chris: Which this country do not need.

Dave: No, we don't need more of that. That's for sure. Yeah, I think it'd be cool if that resolves or thaws. I think of it as an icing. I hope that thaws up.

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Dave: I think if there's... I don't know. I hope people come up with cool stuff. I really want... My big hope is a new website to waste my time.

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: Going to Twitter or Mastodon or whatever and just looking at the same dumb posts, I'm tired of that. I want something more entertaining in my life. [Laughter] If somebody finds it, let me know.

Chris: That is a great wish. I'm sick of the same old social media crap.

Dave: Yeah. Posting our little farts on the Internet. I'm done. I'm tired of that. What's new? What comes next? I'm ready to find out.

Chris: Wow! Yeah. I don't know. It's going to be great, though.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: All right, man. Well, I'm sure I'll talk to you personally. But for our podcast listeners, this is it for the year. We'll see you in January.

Dave: Happy Holidays! Have a good one. Happy New Year! Bye!

Chris: Yeah! We're so grateful for you. Bye-bye-bye-bye-bye.

Dave: ShopTalkShow.Christmas.