Not that much to say for this sprint, but one exciting news for people located in Taiwan, India or Bahrain:
It's now possible to create NVIDIA and General purpose workstation in Hong Kong, Mumbai and Bahrain !
For that, you just have to go to the creation workstation page, and select one of these location in the list !
Use them like you would use and share Google Drive folders.
With one difference. Those file system are automatically mounted on any workstation you connect to 😀
Sadly Tom was out of office those last 2 weeks !
Very exciting post today! We can show a very early streaming test we have done recently.
There are obviously a lot of issues to iron out here, but it shows that the video streaming pipeline is up and running and ready to be improved upon.
Microsoft can now be used to sign up/in, using the new invitation template or the old one
Users can now update Instance Type of their persistent workstations in the workstation setting menu.
This lets you switch from a small machine to a high powered one with multiple GPUs in minutes !
This sprint I finally got to start implementing full video encoding and decoding, up until now we have only been sending key frames, whereas now we are sending key frames and predicted frames.
What does all that mean?
When we compress video, unlike images, we can use previous frames to determine what the next frame will look like. For Flaneer that means that only the bits of your desktop that have changed need to be sent. This can massively reduce the size of the frames being sent, take a look at this for example:
The first frame is over 10 times as large. For us, that means we can deliver the same high quality streaming experience in fewer pixels than before!
There is still work to be done before we can show anything major, but here is a sneak preview showing how better compressed video will send the same image in fewer bytes and fewer packets:
You can now attach a fix IP to your Workstation! Using a VPN, a proxy, accessing data or software that needs to authorise your IP: we got you covered. It now takes 10 seconds to attach an IP you will keep for life!
We made the workstation flow much faster, cleaner and overall easier to use. Say bye to our ugly modal we’ve had for the last year, say hello to a 2-steps flow.
Start by choosing the software you use the most:
and the select the specs you need. Start using your tailored machine in less than a minute. You need something else? That machine is automatically set-up in the closest server possible!
Most of this sprint for me was spent at MIFA, however I did get some time to implement a simple Ack system:
Acks (acknowledgements) are sent in response to a packet arriving to let the sender know that their packet arrived. These are a part of the TCP protocol, however we are using UDP. We still want the acks, but we don’t want to wait like TCP does. This will let us determine in future what our packet loss is and allow us to react in real time to changing network conditions.
Since UDP is an unreliable transport, we need to pack in some redundancy. We don’t want to waste data, so we are going to pack 32 boolean values into a single 32-bit integer using the binary. Each ack will then contain the packet it is acknowledging and a record of whether the last 32 values have been received. That was if our ack gets lost, there are 32 more chances it will be recorded.
We unveiled the new sign up process 2 weeks ago, and we keep going in the same direction: simplicity and rapidity. Organizations can now enable Azure Directory SSO with Flaneer, invite their members and synchronise groups and permissions with their Flaneer instances. You can now directly enable Azure directory groups for specific type of machines or environments!
With the same mindset, we are now implementing Google and Microsoft SSO and they will soon be available. New users will now be able to directly sign-up with those accounts!
Heard of the Platinum Jubilee?
We reduced the number of steps to create a Flaneer account, and its now the fastest it can be. (until we implement Google SSO of course). You can now create your virtual PC in less than a minute. We are also working on our new Workstation creation flow. No more tedious modal or hard to read dropdown: everything is available in one place.
Say hello to your blazing fast new PC.
When we are beginning to look at the performance of our video streaming solution, the temptation is to get stuck right in and start ripping the guts out. However, a wise move is to take a step back and start to look at how we are going to perform our measurements. We need a robust and easy to read logging output.
We chose to leverage https://spectreconsole.net/ for pretty ✨ looking logs. That isn’t just a vanity thing, colours and emojis can help encode lots of information in a smaller space.
Not only is logging to the console important, but being able to observe important statistics as you work. As such, we can now log directly to the window title with an easy API:
That FPS is looking a little low 👀…. back to work!