Paperspace: Your Computer in the Cloud

Would you like to obtain a fancy new, powerful computer with all the latest bells and whistles and even including nearly unlimited storage space? The new computer will run 3D CAD, rendering, simulations and photo and video editing as well as all of the other programs that are less demanding of computer power.

If so, would you be willing to pay $10 a month for it plus a broadband Internet connection? If so, read on.

The Paperspace computer won’t sit on your desk or be held in your lap. Instead, it resides in the cloud. That is, the computer is actually a part of a bank of high-powered super computers installed in a data center in some distant location. If you have an Internet connection, you can use it from any or all of the following:

A display screen, keyboard, mouse, and a small device about the size of a hockey puck called a paperweight.

An older computer of any sort, such as the aging computer you wish to replace. You can keep the old computer and use it is a terminal that connects to the higher-powered Paperspace computer.

A laptop computer, even an older, low-powered device. The laptop might be at home, in the office, in a hotel room, or anywhere else you travel. All you need is a wi-fi or wired Internet connection.

A Chromebook laptop, often available (new) for $200 or so.

A tablet computer, such as an iPad or an Android tablet. You probably will want to add an external keyboard, however.

To access your new super computer, you use any of the above, connect to the Internet, and then you log into Paperspace’s servers, and your virtual desktop, applications and webpages are streamed to you from the cloud. You can get extra processing power when you need it; you can access your “computer” anywhere there’s a web connection; and if you break your hardware or there’s a fire or flood at your house then everything important is safely stored online, including multiple backup copies of everything.

This isn’t some low-cost and low-powered computer such as a Chromebook. The Paperspace computer is the equivalent of a high-powered workstation, fully capable of running the most computer-intensive programs.

The idea of using a local, low-powered computer to access a powerful remote computer isn’t new. The idea has been around since the mainframe days of the 1960s. However, many of the previous efforts often resulted in slow graphics and significant delays. The Paperspace project promises to provide a smooth and stable experience, assuming you have an Internet connection of at least 15 Mbps download speed and less than 60 ms of latency. Most of today’s broadband connections meet that requirement. Amazon Web services offered a similar service a year or two ago but prices started at $35/month for a basic configuration and higher-powered systems were available at higher prices. Paperspace promises to provide more power and will do so for $10 a month.

The key advantages of Paperspace include (1.) a low entry price, (2.) your computer won’t slow down over time like most Windows systems, (3.) no service contracts or service calls required, (4.) high availability, (5.) highly secure (The developers are promising that all connections and data transfers are securely encrypted en route) and (6.) the “computer” is highly portable, available anyplace where a wi-fi or wired Internet connection is available.

Paperspace will not be a good solution for everyone. However, it will appeal to many cost-conscious consumers as well as to sales people, service technicians, or anyone who travels frequently. It will also appeal to anyone who wishes to have a highly-secure computer system. The paperweight web site promises, “Paperspace is a ‘zero-knowledge’ company which means we do not have access to your personal information on your Paperspace desktop.”

If Paperspace can really deliver this amount of computing power for only $10 a month, I expect the Paperspace systems will become very popular amongst corporations, especially for use by teams of employees. Computers can be provided to employees at far lower costs than purchasing all the hardware required. I suspect it will also be popular with students for the same reasons: low cost.

Need a computer for a month-long project? With Paperspace, you can create a new computer in less than 5 minutes. Unlike regular computers, you pay for what you use and you can cancel at any time.

Paperspace should become available in September for about $10 a month. If you wish to purchase the remote “paperweight” device that is about the size of a hockey puck and sits on your desk, connected to an external monitor, keyboard, mouse, and Internet connection, the one-time purchase price will be about $50. However, that $50 charge is optional. You can use any lower-powered desktop, laptop, or tablet computer you already have in its place.

I am seriously thinking about signing up for Paperspace for use as my primary computer. It will be convenient to have all my information available wherever I am and the idea of having to install software on only one computer certainly is attractive. $10 a month for a computer that never has to be serviced and doesn’t need replacement every few years is also attractive. Heck, most service contracts for computers alone cost more than $10 a month! I will be watching the developments and reviews of Paperspace closely.

You can learn more about Paperspace at https://paperspace.io.

2 thoughts on “Paperspace: Your Computer in the Cloud

  1. What does Paperspace do to prevent government bodies, like NSA & CSIS, from invading your privacy?

    People should read the book 1984.

    Like

    • —> What does Paperspace do to prevent government bodies, like NSA & CSIS, from invading your privacy?

      The connection from your in-home computer or device to the Paperspace system is encrypted. Once you connect to the Paperspace system, the company has not yet announced what security measures are to be in place. However, most of the competitive systems, such as Amazon Work Space (which I have used) use Microsoft Windows Server security to keep connections private. That is very good security but certainly not perfect. It is, however, much more secure than the Windows system you use at home.

      You can read about the security within Amazon Work Space at http://aws.amazon.com/workspaces/faqs/ but we do not yet know if Paperspace will use the same methods. I am sure more details about security will become available before the product is released. In this day and age of high concerns about security, Paperspace probably won’t get customers to sign up until the company releases an in-depth description of the security features of their new product.

      Like

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