Hacker News - Wednesday, January 17th 2024
From Hacker News
US developers can offer non-app store purchasing, Apple still collect commission
Apple is making significant changes to its policies for the U.S. iOS App Store. The company will now allow developers to direct customers to a non-App Store purchasing option for digital goods. Apps will be able to feature a single link to a developer website that leads to an in-app purchase alternative. However, Apple will continue to collect a 12 to 27 percent commission on content bought through this method. Developers will need to apply for a StoreKit External Purchase Link Entitlement, and the link will inform users about where and how to purchase items outside of the App Store. Apple will collect a 27 percent fee on first-year purchases made through the link and a 12 percent fee on second-year or longer subscriptions. The changes come after Apple's legal battle with Epic Games, where the court ruled that Apple must allow links to in-app purchase alternatives and allow developers to communicate with customers outside of the App Store.
Flowblade: Open-Source Video Editor
Flowblade is a video editing software that has received positive feedback from users. One user praises the way the clips in Flowblade snap together, making it easy to edit out bad video and rearrange clips. Another user, a group of German students working on a school project, decided to use Flowblade after trying various other solutions. They found that the software worked well and did not crash, and they also appreciated the availability of numerous filters. A professional video editor and director from Italy with over 15 years of experience in broadcasting praises Flowblade for its great potential. They believe that the software was designed by someone who truly understands the needs of video editors. Overall, Flowblade appears to have a user-friendly interface, helpful features, and solid stability, making it a valuable tool for video editing.
Fluorite lenses: Corrective capabilities beyond ordinary optical glass
Canon lenses are known for their high image quality, and one crucial material that contributes to this quality is fluorite. Fluorite is a crystallized form of calcium fluoride and has the ability to reduce chromatic aberration to extremely low levels. Canon embarked on a project in 1966 to develop its own technology for producing large artificial fluorite crystals. In 1969, they released the FL-F300mm f/5.6, the world's first consumer telephoto lens with fluorite lens elements. Chromatic aberration occurs when different-colored waves within light are refracted at different angles, causing a color fringe or haziness in the image. While ordinary glass lenses can correct chromatic aberration to some extent, they have limitations in mitigating residual chromatic aberration on certain wavelengths. Fluorite lenses, on the other hand, can effectively correct chromatic aberration when used in combination with glass lenses. Fluorite lenses have low-refractive, low-dispersion properties and can eliminate residual chromatic aberration, resulting in clear, sharp, and high-quality images. Canon has developed the technology for producing artificial fluorite crystals, overcoming challenges in crystallization and polishing. They have since incorporated fluorite lens elements in many of their lenses, particularly in telephoto lenses. In addition to correcting chromatic aberration, fluorite lens elements also contribute to reducing the size and weight of lenses. They are widely used by photographers who demand high image quality at super telephoto focal lengths, including professionals and enthusiasts alike.
ALOHA robot learns from humans to cook, clean, do laundry
Researchers at Stanford University have developed a new AI system called Mobile ALOHA (A Low-cost Open-source Hardware System for Bimanual Teleoperation) that allows mobile robots to perform complex tasks in different environments. The system addresses the high costs and technical challenges of training mobile bimanual robots, which require careful guidance from human operators. Mobile ALOHA costs a fraction of off-the-shelf systems and can learn from as few as 50 human demonstrations. The system builds on top of ALOHA, a low-cost teleoperation system for bimanual mobile manipulation data collection. It extends the system by mounting it on a wheeled base, enabling the robot to learn movement and other control commands simultaneously. The researchers have demonstrated the system's capabilities by training it to cook a three-course meal and perform a variety of housekeeping tasks. However, the system is still reliant on human demonstrations and requires improvements to its form factor and autonomy.
Post-mortem for last week's incident at Kagi
On January 12, 2024, Kagi, a tech company, experienced a significant service interruption that lasted for 6 hours and 50 minutes. The incident occurred when the team was upgrading the infrastructure, coinciding with reports of slow loading or complete page timeouts from users. Initially, the team reverted the infrastructure change, but the issue persisted. They discovered that the cause was high contention on rows in the users table, leading to a steep increase in write latency. This put pressure on the application's connection pool, eventually exhausting all available connections. The team took steps to identify and handle the bad actors responsible for the abuse of the platform, removing the searching capability from offending accounts and implementing a hotfix to prevent further exploitation. They also acknowledged their shortcomings in promptly updating their status page and plan to improve their communication processes. Additionally, they are working on making the system more robust to this type of abuse, conducting load tests, implementing additional monitoring, and setting automated limits to detect and prevent future abuses of their terms.
From Posts IndieHackers
1 year after self-publishing my AWS Book - $74.792 and 1.712 orders later
Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the publication of the book, "AWS Fundamentals - AWS for the Real World." The book is aimed at developers, managers, and tech professionals who want to learn more about AWS. The author shares their approach to writing and marketing the book, starting with writing in public and launching multiple times. They used resources such as Adam Wathan's talk and blog post on launching books successfully. To validate the idea, they created a simple landing page that connected to Revue and gained 2,000 subscribers. They also incorporated beta readers, although this did not work out as expected. Writing in public on their blog, Twitter, and newsletter allowed them to share progress and gain credibility, with a shout-out from Jeff Barr, a VP at AWS. They adopted the approach of writing quickly without re-reading, recommended by Rob Fitzpatrick. They sought advice from other authors and used channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and email marketing to promote the book. They also utilized sales sequences and implemented SEO strategies. Affiliates were another channel they later incorporated. The author plans to create another book, the CloudWatch Book, and aims to monetize newsletters without compromising on content quality.
Indie Hackers in NYC?
If you're an indie hacker looking for a community in NYC, you're in luck! The city offers several great communities for like-minded individuals who are building their own projects and startups. Here are a few notable ones: 1. IndieHackers NYC: This group is part of the larger Indie Hackers community and organizes regular meetups and events. It's a great opportunity to connect with other indie hackers, share experiences, and learn from each other. 2. Product Hunt NYC: Product Hunt is a popular platform for discovering new products and startups. They also have an active community in NYC that organizes events focused on product development, marketing, and entrepreneurship. 3. Meetup.com: This platform has various tech and entrepreneur-focused meetups happening in NYC. Search for keywords like "startups", "indie hackers", or "entrepreneurship" to find relevant groups and events in your area. 4. VentureOut: VentureOut hosts events and networking opportunities specifically for entrepreneurs and startups, including indie hackers. They bring together founders and investors to facilitate connections, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. Remember to actively participate in these communities, ask questions, and share your own experiences. Building relationships with fellow indie hackers can be a valuable source of support, inspiration, and potential collaboration opportunities as you continue your journey in NYC.
Why Start Small? Building a Private Equity Firm Generator from Nothing.
The author shares their recent discovery of an easy way to acquire businesses by spamming requests on bizbuysell.com. Surprisingly, many businesses responded to their inquiries, providing financial details that appeared trustworthy upon random sampling. The terms for buying these businesses were generally low, with asking prices below revenue and manageable installment payments. The author notes that the majority of these businesses are owned by retiring baby boomers and often lack technological literacy, which presents an opportunity to improve their margins. Rather than pursuing traditional bank financing for a couple of logistics businesses as initially planned, the author decides to cast a wider net by building a Private Equity Firm Generator. They plan to recruit unpaid interns pursuing finance degrees and offer them equity and senior positions in subsidiary companies. This unconventional strategy aims to attract ambitious and talented individuals while providing them with real industry experience and potential upside. The author invites questions and ideas from the audience and plans to provide updates on their progress in the coming days.