It is a painfully awful thing to think about and likely none of us like to ponder a couple of important questions about mortality. Specifically, are there vital pieces of information, last wishes, messages, thoughts or other pieces of data that you’d like shared if you pass away? Think about it: While a last will, which most Americans don’t have, can codify who gets what, custody and such matters like that, what about all the other things that a will is not likely to cover? For example, passwords and sign in details for all of your online accounts, heartfelt messages for loved ones, financial info, secrets or anything else that you want revealed or shared when you die.
Death Switch gives you a perfect opportunity to share the joke again, tell your favorite story to a loved one, say goodbye, give an overdue thanks or apology and have these final messages safe and secure and only delivered at the appropriate time. So how does Deathswitch know that you are no longer around and how does it work? Read on to learn about this service that might help deliver important information, comforting thoughts or otherwise make your family and loved ones grief a little more bearable in their time of need.
Man, this is cold. I hate talking about death. Yeah. Me too. I came upon Deathswitch several years ago accidentally after Googling something entirely different. Intrigued, I poked around and instantly fell in love with the idea. I spent the next several days writing letters to each on of my family members including wife, children, parents and brothers. It was exhausting, tiring, and a couple times I broke down in tears as I was writing them.
I called my twin, Steve, and told him about it. We always shared everything that we knew and I was excited to tell him about it. I told him how I had written him a letter and encouraged him to do the same. Then, several weeks later, I encouraged him again to do it. Finally, a follow up email with another nudge: “Don’t forget about Deathswitch!”
A couple of weeks after his untimely passing a couple years later, Deathswitch popped into my head. I was so optimistic and hopeful he took my advice. Email checking became obsessive as I really wanted to read more words and thoughts from my beloved Steve. Sadly, the message never came and I still yearn for it.
Imagine not only being able to share last messages with loved ones and how much it will mean to them, but all the other small things that will make life easier for loved ones: Facebook password, account info, online details of all sorts, bank account info, and generally anything else like that.
So how does Deathswitch know when to send the info? You have to respond to an email confirming you are alive with a frequency with which you set. For example, you can be emailed daily, weekly, monthly, every 90 days. every 240 days or any other interval you’d like. Then, again according to you settings, you need to respond within the given time period which can be anywhere from 1 to 20 days.
[Deathswitch settings allow you to customize the frequency of emails and other important aspects]
Seems risky. What if I miss the email and all my life secrets are sent out accidentally? There’s a few layers of security against this. Firstly, after you do not respond to the initial “Deathswitch” prompt, the service goes into “worry mode”. Now the service will send out additional emails to re-prompt you to tell the service that you are fine. Again, this is completely up to you how many times you want to be prompted. You can be prompted for example 20 more times each separated by a day or a week giving you ample opportunity to respond. Secondly, you can designate a trusted friend to get an email that Deathswitch has gone into “worry mode” to remind you to log in. Finally, if you know you won’t have computer access for an extended period, you can go into “vacation mode” for any period of time that you’d like.
Is the service free? The basic service is free allowing you to send one message to one recipient. If you have multiple messages and multiple recipients, you can buy a subscription for $19.95/year allowing up to 30 messages and up to 10 recipients per message.
What can I send? With the basic service, just text messages. With the Premium Subscription, you can also include attachments like PDF’s, DOC files, JPG’s, WAV’s, etc. There’s plenty of ways to upload your messages, pictures, attachments, etc online and share the links to them with the free service.
My messages change over time and my recipients email addresses do too? Is that easy to change? Of course. You can log in anytime and change anything you want. As my kids have matured, my messages to them have certainly changed over time. Similarly, every time you respond to a prompt, you can update your info then too.
- Deathswitch is also a great way of ensuring well being of loved ones that may not be close. My father-in-law lives all alone and has now set up Deathswitch with a daily prompt and one day worry mode. If he doesn’t respond to those prompts, we’ll get an email and know that there might be a problem.
- If you don’t trust a web service with important info that could potentially be breached (like passwords), you could of course use code for your loved one. (Password for Facebook is Dog’s Name followed by last two digits of office phone).
- It might be a bit startling to receive an email like this especially in time of crisis and grief. While ultimately I’m certain the benefits will ultimately outweigh the initial shock, it might be best to inform your loved ones that you are using the service and to expect such correspondence. Likewise, it might push them to use it as well which may be of benefit to you.
Bottom Line Do you have “information insurance” already? Are there messages, thoughts and secrets which need to be set free? Don’t die with them all bottled up inside you. A small percentage of people have a Last Will which is understandable in that they can be time consuming, expensive and a hassle to get executed. But why not a Deathswitch? It is free or cheap, sets up in minutes, easy & painless way of potentially giving loved ones a truly precious gift.
I know. Death. It is a bummer of a subject. Make the best of it.
Hidden Track Technology Tuesday
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