May 27, 2024
min read

Dev Digest 121 - AI goes offline

Chris Heilmann

Hello fellow developer, let's take a look at the cost of AI and its efficiency, catch up on security issues and sing the praise of new JavaScript and CSS features.

News and Articles

The way we use AI these days seems powerful, but it isn't very efficient. This shows up in a spike in energy consumption of data centers and people compare how much more expensive it is to generate an answer rather than showing search results. One answer to work around that would be to host LLMs on your own computer. There are several options to do so, there's Use Anything, Chatty and Secret Llama to mention but a few. It is also worth while to question the effectiveness of LLMs, for example a study of AI copilots for lawyers didn't deliver good news, Mathew Duggan's GitHub Copilot Workspace review shows it failing simple tasks and comedians tried to get AI to write their routines and failed. Poster-child AI search engine Perplexity AI was caught lying about their User Agent, masquerading as Chrome to index more content and might be susceptible to prompt injection. That said, AI is still a goldmine, with AWS announcing a $230m pot for Generative AI startups. On the weirder side of things, a photographer won an AI-image contest submitting a real photo.

In security/privacy matters, the GitHub Security Bug Bounty program is 10, AI helped finding a CSRF vulnerability in a WordPress Plugin with 100k installs, and VS Code extensions are less secure than browser extensions or even npm packages. Yes, they are more powerful, but also have fewer users. A disgruntled ex-employee costs his company over $600k by deleting all 180 test servers and it isn't that hard to reverse engineer a restaurant pager system.

Code and Tools

In code land, Meta released a Threads API, React 19 almost slowed down the web, Node.js has a detailed test runner writeup, and whilst Rust grows fastest, JavaScript still reigns supreme. Talking of JavaScript, we will soon get some new promise, import, regex and error functionality, which inspired the amazing Bruce Lawson to come up with a TC39 song and performance. CSS will get an if() statement and in general CSS layout is awesome. If you are a visual learner, there are some lovely zines out about Git, How Git Works! and the delightful classic Oh shit, git! got an upgrade. Our runner-up winner of CODE100 Manchester, Salma Alam-Naylor published an article on Smashing magazine about hacking Google Lighthouse scores In 2024 and in utterly bonkers news, you can write Quake in 13k JavaScript.

Some tools for you:

  • RTranslator is a free, and offline real-time translation Android app
  • Share URL makes web share, copy or sharing to social media easier.
  • Blocknote is an open source Block-Based rich text editor
  • Clipbook - clipboard history for Mac
  • Smart Paste for context-aware adjustments to pasted code
  • Visual testing with Chromatic and Playwright


Coffee with developers: Kyle Daigle - How and why GitHub works

Kyle Daigle is the COO of GitHub and we caught up with him live at Merge Festival in Berlin to talk shop. Check out what's happening behind the scenes on GitHub!

Other videos of note:


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Dev Digest 121 - AI goes offline

May 27, 2024
min read

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