Weeknotes 2024.22

Microsoft had its week this time around, with not one, but two events. OpenAI messed with the wrong Black Widow. Vercel shipped stuff, including a new Next.js. Bing went out and we noticed where it’s used.

This issue of my weeknotes are a bit different again, in an attempt to give it more structure and focus. Even “just” summarising what blipped the radar and commenting on a few of those can be pretty time consuming.


Microsoft made a smart move and split related topics into two back-to-back events, with the Surface event on Monday and Build developer conference kicking off on Tuesday. Speaking of the Surface event, while I don’t run Windows on a daily basis, the Surface Pro is still my favourite form factor. Apple, please…

Windows on ARM, for real this time!

Microsoft has now taken several pages out of Apple’s architecture transition book, though it still relies on a third party to create the chips.

With Prism, they introduced their own Rosetta translation layer and if it’s anywhere as good as Rosetta, people should have no issue running older software.


You might be forgiven to think this branding is for PCs with ARM / Snapdragon chips. It comes down to signifying whether your chip has an NPU with a minimum of 45 TOPS (trillion operations per second) and therefore capabilities to run AI models locally. The counterparts from Intel and AMD will come eventually.


Probably the most interesting and controversial feature of Copilot+ capable PC: the ability to record everything you do with your PC, so you can ask you your AI later to help you remember. If this is not thought through properly, it will be a privacy nightmare, yes. However, as someone running their browser with the history set never delete, I can see the appeal. I just hope that this and similar solutions have working incognito modes.

We reached the point of AI adoption where the default will switch from opt-in to opt-out, instead of deciding for and adding AI to your workflow, you’ll have the AI until you disable it. I’m not sure whether this generation of AI is there yet.

Copilot, Copilot everywhere…

Insert Buzz Lightyear meme. During the Build keynote and conference, there was the obvious AI focus. For Microsoft and Github this means Copilot features everywhere, even in your clipboard.

Custom Emojis

The most important announcement almost went unnoticed in all the AI noise: Teams now supports custom emojis! Finally! 😂

Further reading

OpenAI & Scarlett Johansson

Is it “her” or not. Currently I would say, they wanted the voice to be “her”, which she declined and then they set out to be as close to “her” without downright imitating it. It seems like OpenAI, like so many others before them, has developed a certain entitlement, due to their impact with ChatGPT, which we can’t deny.

That Bing outage

This was a curious one. I guess most people have noticed it just like me, through a service using the Bing API. DuckDuckGo and OpenAI are probably the most prominent consumers of the API, but I heard Yahoo and plenty others are using it as well.

Yes, when it comes to search engines, the sad truth is that there is Google and Bing, with Bing not only being a distant second, but also the technology behind virtually every web search that is not Google — that is, outside of Russia and China and maybe a few language specific markets.

The most recent try to compete failed, because creating a search index of the whole internet and dealing with SEO gaming is massive work, with vanishingly few ways to recoup the money. So the dream of an independent solution might stay just that: a dream.

At this point the only option I see for improvement is a consortium of major players like Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, AWS and others to collaborate on what has become a commodity and cross-finance it with products that consume a better search experience than what we currently have.


I haven’t talked much about Vercel, the infrastructure provider for frontends (mostly). It has eclipsed Netlify as the darling of the frontend world, taking care of all the annoying and error-prone bits when hosting a site or application web frontend by simply pointing to a Git repo. They are also the maintainers of Next.js and seem to hire virtually everyone who is doing significant work in the frontend field, whether it’s related to Next.js or not.[1]

They held their first in-person event for all things Vercel, but allowed anyone not willing and able to travel to New York to join via live stream.

Next Next.js

Truth be told, I never was the biggest fan of Next.js or React, because it always seemed a bit too bro-culture for me. The last few bigger projects went with Vue.js which was and still is more welcoming. Svelte and SvelteKit have peaked my interest lately when I absolutely need it. That said, since Next.js truely is the Swiss Army knife of frontend frameworks and has quite a few first-party integrations, it makes for a very pragmatic choice.

The new version (RC) further enhances this notion of being the Swiss Army knife. All of these frameworks (Next.js, Nuxt.js for Vue, SvelteKit and I’m sure Angular has something as well) have become specialised frontend servers that can serve static or dynamic content depending on what makes more sense. It almost seems like they are replacing PHP or Rails or Django, but it’s a different way of thinking about your architecture and not necessarily a bad thing. If you want me to expand on this, let me know!

Feature Flags

Quite frankly, I’m astonished that feature flags have not become a more normal thing in software development. Until now feature flags were a bit of a pain syncing up with the frontend and the best solutions basically sent all possible flags to the frontend, which allows sneaky people to turn on features at will (at least the frontend portion).

So I’m quite happy about the deeper integration of feature flags and it’s one more reason for myself to consider Vercel.

Vercel Toolbar

Having a toolbar for commenting and collaboration on development environments has become a must have feature for most of the frontend infrastructure services. Many of them are inspired by the multi-player collaboration Figma popularised.

Vercel’s toolbar takes this to the next level and makes the toolbar probably my number one reason to use Vercel in the future:

Can’t wait to use it later this week.

The Rest

  1. E.g. they hired the creator and maintainer of Svelte and SvelteKit, Rich Harris. ↩︎