Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Thursday 03/02/2005Grave news from Germany, where the Reg reports on the Telefon-Engle (Angelphone), a mobile phone designed to sit on top of the last resting place of your dearly departed. Weatherproof and with a battery designed to last twelve months, you can call it up and chatter to your hearts content.

Thursday 03/02/2005

Grave news from Germany, where the Reg reports on the Telefon-Engle (Angelphone), a mobile phone designed to sit on top of the last resting place of your dearly departed. Weatherproof and with a battery designed to last twelve months, you can call it up and chatter to your hearts content.

Or so the news has it. Personally, I think that anyone who's invented a battery that can run a cellphone for a year has better things to be doing than poking around in cemeteries. It also shows a shocking lack of imagination.

Here's my invention to solve the same, er, problem. Take one gravestone, and coat it with solar cells. Inside, place a small yet powerful web server with copious solid-state storage and a 3G modem. Before you pass on, program up the server with as much detail of your life and works as you feel appropriate, including video and audio clips, and a calendaring utility. Carve URL on headstone. Die.

Then, those who mourn your loss can visit at any time from any web browser. And those who don't can be delighted by regular emails, in which you can tell them exactly how you feel about them, your happy memories of the things they did to you, and so on.

It may even be possible to extend this to limited forms of AI, so that you can check the bequests made in your will are being carried out -- or even continue to manage your share portfolio (not difficult, as recent models of the equity markets show the best match is made by assuming people make random trades). In fact, there's no reason your ability to meddle in other people's affairs should be in any way diminished by your untimely demise.

Take extra care when configuring the security of your gravestone server, though. The last thing you'll want is to succumb to a spammer's attack -- and we can't have graveyards full of zombies and worms.

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