Simon Willison’s Weblog


Tuesday, 9th July 2024

Inside the labs we have these capable models, and they're not that far ahead from what the public has access to for free. And that's a completely different trajectory for bringing technology into the world that what we've seen historically. It's a great opportunity because it brings people along. It gives them intuitive sense for the capabilities and risks and allows people to prepare for the advent of bringing advanced AI into the world.

Mira Murati

# 3:07 am / ai, openai, llms

Chrome's biggest innovation was the short release cycle with a silent unceremonious autoupdate.

When updates were big, rare, and manual, buggy and outdated browsers were lingering for soo long, that we were giving bugs names. We documented the bugs in magazines and books, as if they were a timeless foundation of WebDev.

Nowadays browser vendors can fix bugs in 6 weeks (even Safari can…). New-ish stuff is still buggy, but rarely for long enough for the bugs to make it to schools' curriculums.

Kornel Lesiński

# 10:43 am / browsers, chrome, web-standards

Deactivating an API, one step at a time (via) Bruno Pedro describes a sensible approach for web API deprecation, using API keys to first block new users from using the old API, then track which existing users are depending on the old version and reaching out to them with a sunset period.

The only suggestion I'd add is to implement API brownouts - short periods of time where the deprecated API returns errors, several months before the final deprecation. This can help give users who don't read emails from you notice that they need to pay attention before their integration breaks entirely.

I've seen GitHub use this brownout technique successfully several times over the last few years - here's one example.

# 5:23 pm / apis, github

hangout_services/thunk.js (via) It turns out Google Chrome (via Chromium) includes a default extension which makes extra services available to code running on the * domains - tweeted about today by Luca Casonato, but the code has been there in the public repo since October 2013 as far as I can tell.

It looks like it's a way to let Google Hangouts (or presumably its modern predecessors) get additional information from the browser, including the current load on the user's CPU. Update: On Hacker News a Googler confirms that the Google Meet "troubleshooting" feature uses this to review CPU utilization.

I got GPT-4o to help me figure out how to trigger it (I tried Claude 3.5 Sonnet first but it refused, saying "Doing so could potentially violate terms of service or raise security and privacy concerns"). Paste the following into your Chrome DevTools console on any Google site to see the result:

  { method: "cpu.getInfo" },
  (response) => {
    console.log(JSON.stringify(response, null, 2));

I get back a response that starts like this:

  "value": {
    "archName": "arm64",
    "features": [],
    "modelName": "Apple M2 Max",
    "numOfProcessors": 12,
    "processors": [
        "usage": {
          "idle": 26890137,
          "kernel": 5271531,
          "total": 42525857,
          "user": 10364189
      }, ...

The code doesn't do anything on non-Google domains.

Luca says this - I'm inclined to agree:

This is interesting because it is a clear violation of the idea that browser vendors should not give preference to their websites over anyone elses.

# 5:50 pm / browsers, chrome, google, ai, chatgpt, llms, claude

Claude: You can now publish, share, and remix artifacts. Artifacts is the feature Anthropic released a few weeks ago to accompany Claude 3.5 Sonnet, allowing Claude to create interactive HTML+JavaScript tools in response to prompts.

This morning they added the ability to make those artifacts public and share links to them, which makes them even more useful!

Here's my box shadow playground from the other day, and an example page I requested demonstrating the Milligram CSS framework - Artifacts can load most code that is available via cdnjs so they're great for quickly trying out new libraries.

# 10:25 pm / ai, generative-ai, llms, anthropic, claude

2024 » July