Blog: Postcard Questions

I receive several messages through my website posted email account and though the contact me form. A lot of these messages are simple "I like your website" kind of messages and are fairly generic. Recently though, I received a very unique (for this day-and-age) message in the form of a snail-mail, hand written post card. This post card, from a California resident and signed only with 'K', had several questions but unfortunately did not provide any contact information to answer to. Because of the unusual method of communication, I decided to try to answer those questions anyways. So, K, if you are reading this, here are your answers.

The first question is in regards to my gaming cockpit "The Throne": "Are you making custom PCBs for it?" Yes. As with most of my projects, I will be making custom PCBs for it. They will be for controlling the table section of the cockpit, which holds either the monitor, keyboard, mouse and joystick, or my laptop, mouse, and joystick. The table section rotates up and away from the chair to allow me to sit in the chair then pull the table section back toward the chair and down into the proper position for use. This table section will be motorized so that I can simply flip a switch to move it up and away or down and into position.

Next, they asked, still referring to The Throne: "How will you interface it with your PC?" Originally, I hadn't planned on interfacing it with the PC. It was intended just to be a fancy desk. After reading your post card, and this question, you have actually inspired me to integrate the movement process above into my computers. After just a little thought, I am now planning to connect The Thone's motor control circuitry to the computer with either USB or Bluetooth. With this connection the PC could easily have a small program to communicate to The Throne telling it when the computer is starting or shutting down in order to raise the table to allow me to sit or stand from the chair. Additionally, I could add pressure sensors into the seat, so the system would know when it could automatically lower the table section again. Thank you for the inspiration for this!

K also asked "What are your thoughts on the SolarWinds hack?" This is a topic (in a more general sense) that has bugged me for a long time. I could write an entire book on this topic, but I will try to keep it short. For years, IT has been shifting from on-site IT departments to off-site service providers. This has been affecting all aspects of IT, especially security and software. My thoughts are fairly strait forward: If you want something done right, do it yourself! If companies and organizations took responsibility for their own systems (via on-site IT departments and development), this would have never happened on the scale it has. Rather than hacking one service provider, they would have had to hack many separate organizations, drastically limiting the scope of the attack. I hate to say it, but every organization that chooses to use a service provider for their IT needs, as opposed to hiring their own IT people, have this coming and will have to live with the consequences. I hope these organizations (and others) will learn their lesson about this.

I really appreciated receiving this hand written post card. It was very unusual and your questions were direct and specific. I will try to get a full write up of The Throne posted so you have more details about it. Hopefully I have answered your questions well enough. If you have any more, or would like more in-depth answers, feel free to contact me again (preferably with some return contact information) and I will gladly have a conversation, or a few, with you. Thanks 'K'!

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