Low cost, fast computer you can access from any web browser

#4 Product of the WeekMarch 03, 2015

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Network computers have been in the collective consciousness for a while — so long we almost kind of forgot about them! But Paperspace and the super cheap $50 Paperweight device show us that these things have just reached the point where they're totally viable as everyday devices. The entrenched players use totally outdated technology, and this is potentially one of the most disruptive companies I've seen come out of YC to date.
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@garrytan awesome praise. cc @danielkobran - tell us more about how this came about!
@eriktorenberg Definitely. So my co-founder and I were working as architects (the building kind) and needed access to more powerful computers for doing simulations, 3D modeling etc. We sort of stumbled upon all this amazing cloud technology that just wasn't really accessible to the masses. 95% of Fortune 500s use virtual desktops but the technology is really complicated to deploy and manage. As a result, smaller companies and individuals don't really benefit from the technology at all. So what we're doing is trying to take that infrastructure and wrap it in a really simple layer and make it available to everyone else. Kind of the way Dropbox made cloud storage so simple that it could be use by anyone.
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Impressive, but I'm naturally skeptical of the latency. I used to work in the PC game space and followed Gakai and OnLive very closely. Amazing technology but lag and low resolution video killed the experience. I'm curious to hear how Paperspace has solved that problem.
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@rrhoover OnLive made a custom video codec to get their latency down SUPER low. I understand hardcore gamers didn't like it, but I'd be surprised if casual computer users noticed. Though I will admit that when I read the tagline, I was thinking it was a play to make computers accessible to more people (esp low-income). I really like the idea of getting to "use" a Mac powerhouse via the internet, or experiment with Linux without buying the machines myself. Existing solutions for that, eg EC2, are still pretty technical. So I'm curious to hear what Paperweight sees as their target customer(s). And that video is friggin' hilarious.
@rrhoover this is exactly what I was thinking. Possible lag is the key issue but non the less great idea. Just wish the shipping was a little less :)
Hey PH, Paperspace co-founder here happy to answer any questions you have. We also want to offer you guys a 25% off deal with the coupon PHUNT. Sorry we got to this so late, it was a surprise...
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I'd love to try this.
Honestly I was watching the demo video and I thought it was a joke. Log on to any computer with a web browser, and bam! There's a computer! Kind of like dehydrated water: Anyway, it was: (a) hilarious and (b) maybe suggests that you want to zoom in a little bit closer when you show the browser becoming the desktop.
@malcolm_ocean Dehydrated water is the future.
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@malcolm_ocean @danielkobran Agree on that video, I loved it. Still seems like there's work to do before it's as simple as DropBox. Specifically, the part of the video that says "you just need an ethernet cable for the Paperweight, a keyboard, a mouse, and a monitor. Connect all those things, and you're ready to go!" My parents can install Dropbox. I'm not confident they could do the above to install Paperweight. Do you guys have anything in the works that further simplifies setup? Edit: I just saw the FAQ that says you also don't need a Paperweight to access a Paperspace cloud computer. So... that's more parent friendly! But then what's the Paperweight for? :)
@malcolm_ocean @danielkobran @staringispolite I could see a case for putting a paperweight in my summer cabin, rather than dragging my laptop across the country. I'd imagine if I was really using a remote computer, in the future I'd want to spend my $$ on a sweet keyboard or monitor, so Paperweight seem to fit that well. Anyway, this is a super cool product, I'm just so skeptical it could replace my MB Pro (but it's cuz I loves my MB Pro =)).
@malcolm_ocean @danielkobran @dshan Ah I see, so the Paperweight is just the last bit of hardware that lets you replace your current computer (if you want). I'm also curious how this handles hardware. For instance: for DJing, I need my NS7 (connects via two USB cables). For RockSmith, I need a 1/4" guitar plug to USB cable. For arduino projects, photography, etc I also need USB plugs. It looks like the Paperweight supports 0 USB cables at the moment? (Can HDMI be made to support a USB hub?)