544: Feedback, RSS Talk, Arc Brower, and Product Talk

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Getting feedback for what you're building or writing, RSS feed reminiscing, Arc browser thoughts, products that didn't make that should have.



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

  • 00:28 Building and getting feedback
  • 06:00 Google Reader, RIP
  • 12:50 Sponsor: Sanity
  • 13:35 Arc and web browsers
  • 28:34 Arc part 2
  • 36:50 Products that should have made it but didn't


[Banjo music]

MANTRA: Just Build Websites!

Dave Rupert: Hey there, Shop-o-maniacs. You're listening to another episode of the ShopTalk Show, a podcast all about websites. I'm Dave Rupert. With me is Chris Coyier. Hey, Chris.

Chris Coyier: Hi. What's happening, man?

Dave: Yeah. Another little hard-stop episode. I know. I know. Hopefully, you're enjoying these.

Chris: But our business is what makes the show good because we're so busy doing the important work.

Dave: I am busy, baby! Yeah!

Chris: Baby!

Dave: Cutting features! Wham! Yeah!

Chris: Hell yeah, you are.

Dave: It's a busy time, and then cutting features, responding to customer feedback.

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Dave: It's been good. Busy. Interesting.

Chris: Yeah, that's nice.

Dave: Busy times at Luro, but we're getting there. We're getting close. We're prepping it. I said in the D-d-d-d-discord recently, you know, just kind of prepping it and want to get some good customer feedback before we go mass market.

I know the startup culture is like, open the doors and overwhelm yourself and die. But I am more on the, let me baby step into the pool. [Laughter] Let me just wade in and make sure we are even allowed -- you know, that this pool is the right temperature and stuff like that. Make sure we have the right thing before we go all in.

Chris: That's huge. I'm a little jealous, honestly, of that phase. It's fun, and it will stay in that phase for a long time.

I'm working on this product that's pre- a bunch of feedback, and I'm so excited about the feedback stage.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: I'm so convinced it's a good idea that I want to be hearing what people say about it, especially the critical stuff, so I can be like, "Oh, yeah. Good point." I want to fix it, fix it, fix it.


Dave: Well, and you have to get over your own biases. That's the tough part. I'm probably the worst offender, but you think it's cool. You think it's great. You think it's obvious. Then it's just not.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Anyone who has done real user testing, you see it. You see people just fail miserably at their product, or at your own product, and you're just like, "Oops! I thought that was a slam dunk. It is not."

Chris: I think we're old enough now where I'm not trying to -- I don't think I'm right all the time, like I might have in the past.

Dave: Sure.

Chris: Please tell me the thing is wrong. I want to know. I'd rather fix it for you than be right. [Laughter]

Dave: I am borderline. We've invited a handful of people to Luro, and I'm borderline, like, I will donate whatever amount to whatever charity you want if you tell me one thing that's wrong. [Laughter] Just tell it because I'm desperate for, "This is messed up. You need to fix this feedback." You know?

Chris: Hmm...

Dave: Everyone is positive, and people have ideas. It's been great. We have had some good feedback so far, but I'm almost so desperate for somebody to just be like, "Here's the brutal truth," and I just would be like, "Whoa!"

it's like bug bounty for just problems or something. [Laughter]

Chris: Yeah. Yeah. Not only are you ... [indiscernible].

Dave: Here's $200 to just tell me what's wrong. [Laughter]

Chris: Just hammer it, please. Thank you.

Dave: $200. Just tell me why it sucks. That would be awesome. Thank you.

You know. It doesn't exist yet, but maybe it does. Maybe that's the product I should be building is the UX bug bounty, or not even UX, but just, yeah.


Chris: I mean that's funny. I've seen so many boring takes on that, though, that it makes me, like, "Meh." [Laughter]

Dave: Right. Right. Yeah.

Chris: But, like, "Here's a URL, and now it has a sidebar on it, and you can just say whatever you want." I feel like I've seen ten takes on that.

Dave: Right.

Chris: The one I like now is Netlify just because it's just automatically built into that.

Dave: To the PRs? Yeah.

Chris: Yeah. That kind of makes sense to be there. I even built one, one time. Gosh, when was that? It was ages ago, way before I had any business building a Web app. All it did was iframe the URL. But on the left side, there was just a chat box, essentially.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: You could chat about any website, and I was like, "Look at me! I've added chat to every website." It was just stupid. It ended up being not a particularly compelling idea.

Dave: I was... [indiscernible]. I guess, yeah, anyone chatting about it, too, and not owing the discourse as a company would be kind of bad, but I just would love it, too. I don't know.

I would love it if it existed, but you had a tight circle of friends, or maybe it's your Twitter crew or your Mastodon server or something.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: It's leaves a little... Everyone would have to opt-in, of course, but a browser extension. It's like, "Oh, Chris was here. Chris read this on October 12th," or something like that. Maybe that's too much privacy.

Chris: Hm...

Dave: But just so you could be like, "Whoa! People have paid attention to this article," and maybe you could leave little secret notes on the thing. It's just for your special people.


Chris: Yeah. I guess that's a little Medium or Google Reader-like.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Highlighting stuff was such an interesting feature of Medium that actually worked, I think. You know?

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: It was kind of cool to see what people, especially in your circles, did. But that was the beauty. That's what people, I think, mean when they say, "Oh, I miss Google Reader." It's almost become like a cliché kind of thing to say. But that's what people really meant is that it applied the right amount of socialness to RSS feeds that nobody has been able to hit since then.

Dave: Yeah. What were those features? It was kind of like you could star it, right? Then people would see it. I forget what the social parts of Google Reader were.

Chris: They could leave little comments about it, or I could specifically share it with people and whatnot. There was kind of a follow-and-follower structure.

Dave: Oh, there was. Yeah. That's right.

Chris: Yeah, I didn't use the heck out of it. It mostly was a good reading experience. I wonder, though, if it came back and it's in the exact form that it left, after all these years, would we still think it's good or would we be like, "Ooh, actually, we've gotten used to some additional features," like I really depend on Feedbin's ability to send my newsletters there. Google Reader certainly never had that.

I also like how when I'm using it to look at feeds, it looks like the email would have looked.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: Because there are a couple of clients that I also use, like Net Newswire - or whatever - I think is a very nice RSS product, but it munges the crap out of everything that you subscribe to so that there's a good number of things I subscribe to that just look really bad in it. I'm like, "No." I like it when it looks like the original.

Dave: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah, this email...

Chris: Yeah. Tricky.

Dave: Yeah. It looks like sharing was from 2007 to 2011 in Google Reader, and it would share and link through an email. But then it got to a point it would show all the stuff Dave shared to whoever. But then it got replaced or kind of killed for the Google+1 button, basically the like button.

Chris: Yeah. I hate to admit I kind of liked that, too, because it felt like the most low-pressure way to single a thumbs up on content, like liking tweets. There's something nice about clicking the little like button.

Dave: Yeah. No, that's--

Chris: +1 was a like button for blog posts. You know?

Dave: I mean that's how we're doing it in stars in Feedbin, right? Then you and me and Robin Rendell share our Feedbin stars - or whatever.

Wouldn't it be cool if that was just built into the system? We didn't have to do workarounds.

Chris: It would be.

Dave: Anyway. Whatever. Hey. Hey. Hey.

Chris: Yeah. 2013, it died, so next year. Soon to be. I mean it's already November, and it looks like it was March 2013, so we'll have a ten-year party for Google Reader.

I'm no longer convinced that it would be awesome to exist again. It was cool to be mad for a while. But in ten years, we can be over it now.


Dave: Yeah. Well, you know, it's funny. It's a cliché to lament over Google Reader, and it is. But Feedbin, I have Feedbin. Feedbin is great. [Laughter] Or a reader app for iOS or whatever, it's great.

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Dave: It's $5 or $10, $8 or something, but it's great. Use these things, please. There are alternatives now that replicate near enough the features that you're not like, "Oh, my God. I miss Google Reader." [Laughter] I don't know.

Chris: Oh, no. If you actually care, you can get it done.

I see a lot of requests, though. They're like, "Well, starting from scratch would be hard. Can I just have your OPML file - or whatever?"

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: I kind of want to do that because I think my feeds are sweet. But there's just enough junk in mine. It's just unorganized enough. There are enough little, embarrassing ones, probably. There are enough mistakes or old ones that have somehow turned to spam that I haven't cleaned up and stuff. Mine are always just a hair away from being able to just hit export and share the thing.

Dave: Yeah. Right.

Chris: I almost want you to just do it yourself.

Dave: Right.

Chris: Do you like that website? Then subscribe to it. Gees.

Dave: Yeah. I can give you some starters, I guess, like five to ten starter feeds. But man, yeah, you get into my weird... I've got some weird ones.

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: And on purpose to just spice it up. Spice up my life with some weird ones. You know?

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Nothing that I would go to jail for or anything like that.

Chris: No. No. Yeah.

Dave: But it's just stuff that doesn't probably apply to your life. I'm not Mr. Tech-tech Business-business, you know? But you know there are just dumb stuff.

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: There are a lot of good websites out there, and they post dumb stuff, and you can subscribe to that dumb stuff and get it whenever you want. Not just right there. You know?

Chris: Yeah. Wasn't it on this show, we talked about the sweet spot a little bit where it's almost like the less you post the sweeter the spot, almost.

Dave: Kinda.

Chris: Not like... Once every two months might be a little too rare for me. Although, that's a perfect case because I don't want to miss your posts, so I would subscribe to that.

But as soon as you're into five a day, it's too much. I don't want that in my feed. It'll just overwhelm my stuff.

It's almost like one a day, I feel pretty good about, or one a week even is pretty nice. But there's definitely a sweet spot.

Dave: One a day, one a week, yeah. I think I have the wrong one where I post five days in a row and then just don't post for a month. I think that's wrong.

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: I think if I--

Chris: Maybe.

Dave: --could plan my life a bit better, I think it would be great. I think you were saying on our show with Zach, which I assume it came out before this show. We're recording a bit ahead--

But sometimes you just want to write or you want to share a link, but you're like, "I just want to write about this and blog a bit," or something "about it publicly," or tweet it publicly or something.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: That's kind of where I get. I have these things I want to write about, but then it's like, "Oh, this is just really burning a hole in my head. I need to just type it out and think about it."

I don't need some grand thesis about some video on Japanese carpentry I watched. You know? Yeah. This feels nice.


[Banjo music starts]

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[Banjo music stops]


Chris: Yeah. Well, speaking of software, Dave, I have -- should I call it a recommendation? I believe I will. But again, I'm having a new tech week because--

Dave: Okay. Okay.

Chris: It's like...

Dave: I think this would be a sick pick in the tech parlance. [Laughter]

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Yeah. Maybe it is. But I'm hesitant. I more just want to talk about rather than just wholeheartedly endorse it because it's early.

Dave: Okay. Okay.

Chris: There are still some things I don't like. That's true of Mastodon too. I'm very new over there.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: By the time this comes out, it might be a little less new. But you know what I mean. I feel a little underqualified to talk about it.

The same way with this, which is the Arc browser, which I will tell you about. I was mad skeptical because, for a long time, all we knew about what was coming was that there was this company called "The Browser Company of New York."

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: Which I'm not afraid to say I think is a very pretentious title for a business.


Chris: But it turns out they have some really strong lineage from browser-maker people, and I don't blame them. They're in New York, and there are some cachet to that. And they have some strong people working for them, so okay. They're The Browser Company of New York.

But there was hype before there was anything at all to see. So, you're like, "Okay. What could you possibly be working on that that's cool?" You know?

Dave: Yeah. Yeah, it was so hyped.

Chris: It was super-hyped, and they're definitely not making a browser engine. I've talked about that before. You just kind of can't anymore. Browser engines are too far down the line of software for you to jump in and do that.

Dave: There are a couple of people doing it, and they're doing it very well. They're rewriting browsers from scratch, HTML parser, JavaScript parser, CSS parser. It is not something you just do for fun. You do it because of science or you're trying to - whatever - optimize for Raspberry Pi or something.

Chris: Yeah. I can't imagine. Yeah, I could see that, some subset of APIs that do a perfect thing.


Dave: Arc browser, can I predict? [Laughter] I've seen a screenshot, but I'm going to tell you what I think of it, and you tell me if I'm right.

It's made by The Browser Company of New York. It comes with... It's dressed in a suit and smokes fancy cigarettes.


Dave: It knows the name of more than four martinis - or cocktails. [Laughter] See how good I am at that?

Am I describing The New York Company Browser correctly?

Chris: I think so. I think so. That's the right thing because it definitely doesn't care if you went for a jog today or anything. It's not that demographic.

Dave: Okay.

Chris: It's more sophisticated and stuff. But there's a twist of fun and stuff to it. Really, the point is, though, have you ever tried Brave or something?

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: Or what's another--?

Dave: Opera has this gamer one, right? Operate GX or something, right? Have you seen that one? It's all on gamer feeds. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah, I haven't, but almost like Shift is a little bit like this where it's like, "We're going to combine a bunch of apps and a browser together."

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: There was one that I was compelled to try that was like that, too, that it kind of pinned your most work-specific apps in a nice way - or something. But the point was it's probably Chrome or WebKit. It might be Firefox because it's open-source. But how many alternative Firefox have you seen? There used to be some, but it's not very common anymore for whatever reason.

Dave: There were but, yeah, not so much. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah, so chances are - whatever - people like Chrome, so Chromium is open-source, and people grab Chromium and keep up to date with Chromium the best they can while building a new UI on top of it.

I've written about this a little bit, too. It's a little bit more complicated than you think because even Chromium is just steeped with Google crap in it.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: First, you have to start with Chromium, and then rip out a bunch of Google-specific stuff if you want to. I believe there's a fork of Chromium that has done some of that work. But imagine the complexity of that work and the thanklessness of that.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Yeah. That should almost be a startup or something. You should have to pay $10,000 a month to use that fork.

Dave: To use that fork. For sure. For sure.

Chris: Yeah, which I don't think is the case.


Dave: I'll take the Google thing. Google is obviously putting a lot of money into their browser. They have objectives, business objectives for it supporting it, building it, supporting it.

But we all know, just when you code, your stuff seeps in, your private APIs or whatever. You're just like, "You know what? Rather than making an abstraction for whatever approved URLs--" What's the approved URLs where you can add your URL to a list of URLs that the browser knows about?

Chris: Yeah. CSRF. I don't know. That's not it. But it's a four-letter acronym, I think. What is that?

Dave: A four-letter thing for, like, HSTS.

Chris: HSTS! That's it!

Dave: Boom! Look at that. I got it.

Chris: Good for you.

Dave: HSTS, that probably links to Google's own copy of that, not some decentralized version of that (for Google reasons).

Chris: Correct. Yes. Right.

Dave: Then think of that times a million choices because browsers are millions of lines of code.

Chris: Okay. But this is where we're at. You can, if you want to (anybody listening to the show) could grab a copy of Chromium and run it and then change some stuff and call it The Dave Browser, or whatever. That's just something you can do.

It's still hard work. You know? Not to mention, why would anybody use this when you could just use the one that stays 100% up to date and from the trusted source of who it's from and all that stuff? You better have a compelling reason to use it, and they really try.

Also, Chrome and Firefox and Safari are free. You know?

Dave: Right.

Chris: If you're going to do this, you need to find a way to make it a business too. So, tricky. I have no idea how the Arc browser from The Browser Company of New York is going to make money. I assume at some point you're just going to have to pay for it. That doesn't seem like adding more ads into it or something is going to be a business model, and there's a pretty limited number of business models for stuff like this.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: It could just be, let's get a bunch of VC and then somebody will buy us because this browser is better. You know? Maybe... That's a hell of a gamble, though.

Dave: That's a play. That's a play.


Chris: Okay, but I haven't talked anything at all about why Arc browser. Like, I'm three days into using it. What's the play here? Is this better than just using Chrome (the other famous Chromium browser)?

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Normally, I'd say no because I'm usually very hesitant to use "off the beaten path" apps like this. They usually do not appeal to me.

It took me one day of having it side-by-side with Chrome and experimenting with the features. To its credit, it bugs you just enough to set it as your default browser, and it does so in a classy enough of a way that finally I was like, "Okay. If I'm going to actually try this, I'll try it," because you're not really trying it if you don't set it as your default browser.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: Because then every fricken' thing you click goes to your default browser.

Dave: You bail out. For sure.

Chris: And you're really pulled back. Yeah. So, I did it, and I'm day three now. I'm like, "I think this is good."

Dave: Really?

Chris: I think I might just keep it. I think I might just have this be my default browser, which it's the nerdiest thing to say is a big deal, but for people that spend as much time on the Web as we do, it kind of is a big deal to switch browsers.

Dave: That's quite an endorsement. Yeah. I'd be curious to see what it's like.

What's the killer feature? It's kind of frameless, right? It's less about tabs. It's more about--

Chris: That might be the killer feature. Yeah.

Dave: Everything is sort of a little applet kind of thing.

Chris: Well, there are tabs. I don't think they're trying to... Their tabs are all on the left, so you've got to get used to that. Although doesn't Edge have a left-tab approach?

Dave: Edge has the left tabs. I've used it. Mixed reviews.

Chris: Mixed reviews. Fair enough.

Dave: Yeah. It could be better. They're trying it, and I love people experimenting. Floaty tabbies in Safari, love it. I love experimenting.

Chris: Yeah. Sure.

Dave: But it's not my favorite. I think I just end up going back to regular tabs.

Chris: I thought I would hate it. I don't hate it. I like the left tabs. It's a good look. What I like about it (in a way) is there's nothing along the top.

Dave: Hmm...

Chris: They even put the URL bar in that really narrow sidebar spot, which is weird because URLs are long, right? I did pushback. I remember how much pushback there was.

Remember when Safari was only going to show you just the URL and not the whole URL? It was a little bit of like, "Oh, really? You're going to start messing with URLs?"

It's kind of what our company does too. And now that I'm living with it, I'm like, "Yeah, I don't really care that much."

You can see the full URL any time. Just go click on it. You can see the full URL. It's not trying to hide it from you, but you don't need to see the whole thing all the time.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: They take the URL out of there, and then they take everything else out of there too. Even browser extensions, menus, everything.

Dave: Hmm...

Chris: The top has nothing, and it really makes the website shine. When you're on the website, it makes their navigation of the website. It does; it feels more app-like or something.

Dave: Hmm...

Chris: It looks good, I think. It looks good. Even when the app that you're on has left navigation like CodePen does - or something - then it just feels like kind of a multiple-drawer situation on the left. And it feels good to me too.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: A lot of apps have that, and I just think it makes the Web look good in here. To me, almost, if there's killer feature, it's almost the aesthetic in that way.

Dave: Yeah.


Chris: But that is far from it. There's all kinds of stuff.

Here's one quick one.

Dave: Okay.

Chris: There's a lot of muscle memory for Command-T, right? New tab.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: They take that over, which is a bold move because you're like, "Ah! Give me the tab!"

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: But what it opens up then is it's almost like Command-T in VS Code or Command-Shift-P or whatever.

Dave: Like palette?

Chris: It's kind of the omni bar thing in the middle.

Dave: Command palette. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah, the command palette. What you can do is just treat it like a new tab. Just type in the URL you're trying to go to, or paste it, or whatever. You will go to that URL, but it can do other things, too.

What I like is that it added more power to this thing you already have muscle memory for instead of annoying you and being like, "Ugh! This isn't really a new tab." I mean it kind of is.

You go to the website, or it can enable an extension, or it can trigger a search - or whatever. It just has a little bit more power. But it's not annoying, which is clutch. [Laughter]

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Interesting things. The way that it handles tabs is there's almost like three kinds of tabs. There are all your temporary tabs, and there's some cool management of that, like, "Uh, if I haven't looked at that tab in 24 hours - or whatever," it's all set able, "just close it. I don't care."

Dave: Oh, wow. Okay. Yeah.

Chris: Then there are pinned ones at the top. Any tab -- I really like this -- you can rename. Can't do that any browser, right?

If you're annoyed that CodePen says something like... I think we start it with, like, "Your work - CodePen."

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: For whatever reason, and you don't like the way we've named the tab, you can just right-click it, rename it, call it CodePen or CP or something.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: Now that tab is called CP. Cool. Don't like our icon? Just right-click the icon and give it a different one.

Dave: Wow.

Chris: You can just pick from ones built in - or whatever. You don't like the way it looks or there's a better scheme or something you like.

Dave: It's kind of fun.

Chris: I think that's kind of cool. And those pinned ones just stay up there all the time, and I'm a fan of pinned tabs anyway. Lots of browsers offer that now. I just think that's nice to be like, "These are the tabs I always want open."

Then there are almost ones above pins, which I want to see the technology of. They're way at the top, and you only see their icon. But whenever you click on those, they just are instantly there. I almost feel like it keeps them in memory better somehow.

Dave: Okay. Okay.

Chris: Or pre-renders them or something. There's some kind of tech there. It's really interesting how fast those particular tabs come up. Just really nice. They've even overridden how confirmed dialogs work.

Dave: Hmm.

Chris: If there's, like, "This website is asking for your permissions to see something."

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: They tuck it out of the way over into the sidebar, and it has a really nice aesthetic look to it.

Dave: Hmm...


Chris: Really classy. Now, there are all these other... I mean there are millions of features, so I'm not going to do every single one, but they kind of want you to think in spaces, too. Almost like Notion of something. You have your work tabs and then whatever. I'm trying to lean into it, having a social media tabs space.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Then I can switch away from all that and there's no social media at all. It's just work stuff and whatever else in another one.

I don't know if I care about it that much, but you can make them look very different (different colors and stuff) so you can, at a glance, know what kind of group you're looking at.

Nothing has annoyed me, either. Because it's just Chrome, and I kind of like Chrome -- it has good dev tools and all that -- as a developer, it's not bothering me at all because it's all the same keyboard shortcuts. It's literally an identical copy of Chrome dev tools. They're not trying to mess with your dev tools. For development, it's fine.


Dave: Hmm... Yeah. Interesting. It was funny you say nothing annoys you. I just noticed Edge went to a rounded omni bar. It has 50% rounded corners on the omni bar.

Chris: Hmm...

Dave: I'm out. I am out.

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: I am not using that one anymore, so I need a new browser. I'll take an Arc invite. I don't care. I'd like to see it.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Man, it's funny how tiny little annoyances. Boom. I'm out.

I'd like to see it. I don't know. Maybe this ties into the whole Twitter thing, which we've talked about before.

Maybe it's time for a shakeup. Maybe we shake up technology. Just do it differently for a bit and start to see things in a different light.

I think JavaScript is having a bit of a shakeup too. Everything is kind of going server-side. It's all interesting, so maybe we just kind of embrace this big shakeup that things are doing.

Chris: Just a couple of more. Here's a bigger thing that I wonder... I feel like I saw this previewed and then almost kind of glad that they don't go all in on it, but it does seem like a big play. They call this Mini Arc or Little Arc or something.

There's a keyboard command for it, so wherever you are -- you're in Slack or whatever -- press command option N, you get a little tiny Arc. What happens is you get the command palette, so you can go wherever you want.

You're like, "Oh, I need to go to MDN quick." You just get a little tiny browser that has MDN in it. You look at what you're going to do, and then you just close it - or whatever. Just like a little tiny browser.

Dave: Oh, that's cool.

Chris: Maybe right where you need it.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: But it's not really part of the overall browser thing. I haven't got good muscle memory for it yet. We'll see if that works or not.

Dave: Yeah. That's cool. Interesting.

Chris: Yeah. It's an interesting idea and whatnot. You know how, like in dev tools, under the elements tab?

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: You can kind of click the mouse and then move the mouse around and kind of get yourself onto a section of the DOM that you're trying to look at it, and it highlights it. I feel like that's what they're... They have a capture portion of this page tool.

You click the little camera, and then you move the mouse around. It highlights area of the page that are clearly influenced by the DOM.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: You don't necessarily... You can drag if you want to. But before you start clicking and dragging, it's highlighting areas of the page that you might want to take a screenshot of.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: Then if it does that, it ends up being a really nice screenshot because it's cropped exactly to that DOM element.

Dave: To that node. Yeah, yeah.

Chris: Yeah, and then it just kind of saves it into its little internal library of screenshots but also has annotation tools built in and sharing tools built in.

Dave: Oh, wow.

Chris: I don't know how much they needed to do that. There's this one for Mac called Clean Shot X that I just think is a fricken' masterclass [laughter] in screenshot tools. That's the one I prefer, but it is interesting to see a browser make that a first-class citizen. Hmm... maybe.

Then part of that, what's interesting is that they go into this thing called Your Library.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: They want you to lean into the library concept, I think. It's like files and such that you have easy access to in the browser. Not convinced I like that. But, hey, it's an interesting play.

So, you know I keep talking and talking and talking. I'm not sure there is one killer feature. There are just lots of features and nothing is really getting in my way to the point where you're like, "Yeah, this could be my browser."

Dave: Hmm...


Chris: I think it's an improvement. Now, there are some interesting... I read a Verge article with one of the--

I forget who wrote it. I should be crediting this properly. That would be good journalism. Sorry.

But there was an interview with one of the guys whose lineage in browsers is super deep. He said, "While I was at Chrome, there was a lot of red tape as far as what we could do with the UI because so much--"

Dave: Darin Fisher.

Chris: Darin Fisher, that's it.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Was thinking so hard about they want you to search constantly, so if there was ever a feature that was proposed that would lead people away from needing to search Google again, they just wouldn't do it.

Dave: Wow!

Chris: You know? Because they're like, "Well, that's where the money comes from here."

Dave: A smidge damning, but yeah.

Chris: [Laughter] Yeah.

Dave: Like, oh, since 2006 or '07, or whatever, we've been funneled into a search box for everything. Yeah, that's interesting.

Chris: If there's a feature in Arc, they don't have that same tape. They can say, "Oh, if we can get you back to a tab you already have open, or get you to somewhere in your library, or something that's actually what you want to do, you don't necessarily need to execute a Google search to do it, we'll do that because it could be better UX."

Dave: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah. I don't know.

Dave: Yeah. No gods, no masters, or something? [Laughter] Yeah, you don't have any golden calves, so you can just do whatever you need to. You can experiment and move around.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Yeah. It's interesting.

Chris: Give it a spin, bud. I know it's--

Dave: I'd like to give it a spin. You know. I don't know. I do like websites as they are. The screenshots I've seen haven't been super, like, "Oh, man. I need that." You know?

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: But I do think if I reevaluate it, again, reevaluate in 2022, reevaluate what you do, I probably do just go to the same five websites over and over and over.

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: If I just put those as little thumbnail-docked little applets, that would probably be great. That would probably suit all my needs. It's like Feedbin, Mastodon.

Chris: Maybe. As long as you don't feel stifled by that.

Dave: Right.

Chris: Even if that's true, you could be like, "Hmm... But I don't like it." [Laughter] Which would be fair to feel, even.

Dave: I don't like it. Right, exactly. Yeah. No. Yeah. I think it's fun when browsers experiment and play, except for rounded corners on an omni bar. I think that's just taking it too far.

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: Taking it one step too far.

Chris: Yeah.


Dave: Sorry, Edge. You know what Edge has done? Not to bitch about browsers. It's fine.

Edge has been cramming in. They had this little -- you can turn it off -- Microsoft Office bar on the right. It was a vertical tab thing for Microsoft Office products. It's just like, I know that's how you make your money, but stop it. No one wants that. You know?

It's called the sidebar, and it's got links to Bing, man. You know?

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: I'm just like, "Please! I don't want MSN (Microsoft News Network) in my stickin' browser, man. Quit putting it there."

Chris: Put the most egregious one of those was if you have Dropbox installed, and then you open a local copy of an Excel sheet or something, Dropbox is like, "You know what? We're going to be so helpful. We're going to put a Dropbox logo over the righthand corner of the scrollbar." That's like I don't even know why. Why?

Dave: Yeah. Why?

Chris: Have you seen that one?

Dave: No, I haven't.

Chris: That one blows my mind.

Dave: Yeah. You know it's desperado. It's, like, thirsty. You know?

Chris: Oh, thirsty. That's the word for it, isn't it?

Dave: It's just like, "Hey, don't be so thirsty, man. Just be cool. Just be you. Just be a file sync utility that also has an inexplicable WYSIWYG editor document source. Just be that. Be you. Don't just be thirsty for clicks and likes and logo impressions."

Chris: But you can imagine the meeting. They're like, "We need--"

Dave: We need to raise brand awareness.

Chris: Yeah. "We got KPIs. How can we hit the KPI? Fricken' jam it somewhere else." And you know what that's going to teach them?

Guess whether the numbers are going to go up or down. They're going to go up - temporarily.

Dave: Yeah. Logo impressions are going up. They're going through the roof. And Tim has got a LinkedIn bullet point for his role in that. Tim, the manager.

But yeah. It's interesting what happens. I need to hard stop this, but we could--

Chris: [Laughter]


Dave: I have a fascination with products and services that should have made it or had big company backing, like the Kindle Fire phone, right? This is my quintessential example. It's by Amazon, a company most people like. I know they've got their problems now, but when the Fire phone came out, everyone was like, "Dude, this is awesome. I get packages in a day."

Kindle Fire, one of the best-selling tablets in history. It's kind of the budget iPad. That's fine. Super massively popular.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Fire phone comes out, not popular. But every Amazon box for like two years had a "Buy a Kindle Fire phone," you know? "Buy the Fire phone." They had infinite marketing is what I'm saying just through taping up boxes.

Why wasn't that successful? It was a company you liked. They had a successful product as a predecessor. Then all of a sudden, they could get zero traction on the phone.

I think it comes down to it was an expensive, bad Android phone, I think was sort of the idea at first. But then they dropped the price down to like it's free. You know?

Chris: Hmm...

Dave: Or it's one cent. How could they not give it away for one cent? Anyway, it's just interesting. That is interesting to me. How does a product with infinite backing not succeed? Something like that.

InVision is another one. Everyone loved InVision. We loved InVision.

Chris: [Indiscernible]

Dave: We're using InVision. Loved InVision. InVision is like, "Here's a tool for design system management." We love design systems. We're doing design systems. But we're not using that. We use Sketch.

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Dave: It was just an interesting world back then. You know?

Chris: It seemed like they had infinite money at some point.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: I don't know. It feels like I'm dunking on it, but it seemed like they did a lot of good for the world of design, so high-five, InVision. But I think I never quite understood what it was. I think there was one point where you could upload a JPEG of a design and then show it to people - or something.

Dave: Click through JPEG. Yeah. Prototype kind of--

Chris: Click through, so it had little hot spots you could add or something to it.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: Does that exist now? If you want to do that, can you still do that?

Dave: Yeah, you can do that. Yeah.

Chris: Okay.

Dave: You can do it in Figma too.

Chris: So, they didn't turn their back on their core thing. But they have started and lost a few things.

Dave: Yeah. They started doing other stuff, and they kind of lost the thread. Then Figma showed up and obliterated it, basically. But that's the thing, too. I think they maybe overplayed their hand at pricing, sort of, because they were like, "We own the market. We can just charge whatever we want." I think that hurt them. At least in stuff I've read.

Chris: Wonder what the real story is. Can they just scale down? That would be nice. That would almost be a really stronger success story is like, "Hey, we tried some risky stuff and it didn't work out. Guess what we're going to do now. We're just going to be a smaller company." That would be cool to me to not just be like, "Well, we shot our shot, but we're just going to shut down now."

Dave: Yeah. I wonder if you even know how at some point, though. You know what I mean?

Chris: Yeah. You might be so tired that you don't even care.

Dave: Or you're just so used to having somebody that cleans the toilets, you don't know how to do it anymore.

Chris: Hmm...

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: That would be really sad. I know how to clean the toilet.

Dave: Well, metaphorically.

Chris: No, I mean....

Dave: Whatever the metaphorical toilet in your application is.

Chris: That's true.

Dave: Sorry. I have a hard stop. I'm getting meeting notifications, so I'm going to wrap it up.

Chris: Sorry. Bye.

Dave: Yeah. Thank you, dear listener, for downloading this in your podcatcher of choice. Be sure to star, heart, favorite it up.

I don't know about following on Twitter anymore, so a different world.

Yeah, join us in the D-d-d-d-discord,

Chris, do you got anything else you'd like to say?

Chris: [Tongue roll]

Dave: A podcast company of New York.