back to article Dead serious: How to haunt people after you've gone... using your smartphone

I will be annoying when I am dead. In fact, I plan to be much more of an irritant after passing away than I am at the moment as the once-dicky ticker continues to clock up the artery miles. How will I inflict annoyance from the grave? Well, I have an app for that. Or at least I will have once it's available on Android: …

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  1. Esme

    Nice one, Dabbsy!

    Howsbout a message from the hereafter saying that the results have just come back and everyone that's been in contact with you should see their GP to get the jabs, pronto?

    1. dav0id

      What About...

      ... some messages like:

      "I'm not dead yet"

      "I'm getting better"

      "I feel happy"

      "I think I'll just go for a little walk"

      ... etc. ad nauseum....

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: What About...

        With respect to Spike Milligan...

        "I told you I was ill!"

        1. frustin

          Re: What About...

          yep, just like when I was ill one morning i couldnt get out of bed.

          Me: i think we need to call the doctor

          wife: you've probably just got the flu

          me: really, i cant move nor hardly talk

          wife: <tut> ok

          one call to NHS direct later

          NHS direct to wife: put him on the phone

          Me: hi

          NHS direct back to wife: call and ambulance

          wife: oh shit!

          me in my mind because i cant talk: yeah that's right, i'm ill!!!! hahahaha

    2. PK

      or...

      Alexa: play Tubular Bells

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Better still "Help! It's all dark let me out!"

      1. Long John Brass Silver badge

        Or...

        Jeeze it's hot down here :)

    4. Korev Silver badge
      Pint

      Top BOFHery Ma'am. Have a pint ->

  2. Terry 6 Silver badge

    You surely must have forgotten

    The on-hold messages that say they're unusually busy at the moment - whatever time or day you call them. Especially annoying because it obviously translates to being "we don't employ enough staff to manage our call load"

    1. tfewster Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: You surely must have forgotten

      This. Be right back, just going to rent a botnet to upvote Terry 6 a few million times.

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

        Re: You surely must have forgotten

        The wonks who call you to sell you a better tech solution than you already have, but don't know either what you have or what they are selling.

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: You surely must have forgotten

          "The wonks who call you to sell you a better tech solution than you already have, but don't know either what you have or what they are selling."

          Almost as bad as those SIP trunk providers who call you from a line that sounds like it's being fed over the deep space network in real-time, and someone is multiplexing it over "morse code in silence".

          They always try and claim that it's "at my end", but it's only EVER SIP trunk providers that I have the issue with, whether they come in over my otherwise perfectly-working analogue, ISDN or SIP lines.

      2. cosmogoblin

        Re: You surely must have forgotten

        Am I the only one who first thought this was a political reference to helping the Maybot win an election?

        "Terry 6", our Prime Minister in 2030 after this one's been to the repair shop a few times

  3. Ralph the Wonder Llama
    Meh

    Copyright

    I strongly suspect that any attempted use of SwanSong would have prompted an immediate and vigorous haunting from one Jimmy Page Esq., formerly of this parish, or his zombie lawyers. In this case, I would approve.

    1. Sparkypatrick

      Re: Copyright

      I'm pretty sure you can't be haunted by the living - but you can certainly be sued.

      1. Ralph the Wonder Llama
        Joke

        Re: Copyright

        See icon...

      2. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Copyright

        I'm pretty sure you can't be haunted by the living

        You can't have met my mother-in-law...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Copyright

        Did you know that Apple has got a lawyer called Sue? (Carroll)

  4. DailyLlama
    Facepalm

    Reminds me...

    "On equal footing is coding company WeKanCode, co-developer of such essential apps as Staller ("the Airbnb for horses"), whose inability to distinguish between the letters C and K really ought be a kause for koncern."

    Reminds me of the Python sketch where Eric Idle couldn't say the letter C, so he substitued it with the letter B. When asked why he didn't change it to K instead, he replied "I didn't think of that... Silly bunt"

    1. DJV Silver badge
  5. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

    Article:

    "So far, my public list includes all companies whose customer contact phone line answers with the declaration "We record calls for security and training purposes" but when you try to follow up a previous complaint they claim they have no record of it."

    Response:

    Well of course they have no record of it. They don't say that they record calls to better handle complaints, do they?

  6. Tom 38 Silver badge

    The website claims it doesn't matter whether the message activation delay is set to five years or 75 years

    Because they don't ever plan on delivering them at all?

    1. matchbx
      Facepalm

      That reminds of a Dilbert Cartoon......

      Dilbert drops off some Documents to Record Retention and informs the guy working there to to keep them on file for 5 years..

      After he leaves, they guy promptly throws all of the documents in the trash.....

      thought bubble: "This job got so much easier when I realized that nobody ever asks for anything back"

      1. paulf Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: matchbx "That reminds of a Dilbert Cartoon......"

        This is the Dilbert cartoon you're looking for.

  7. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Great for delivering a most scathingly ad hominem attack on some deserving public figure (which'll get you into jail normally)?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Double points if you can get your ghost into an argument on Trumps twitter feed

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Double points if you can get your ghost into an argument on Trumps twitter feed

        A ghost must be the only thing which has a thinner skin than Trump.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Great for delivering a most scathingly ad hominem attack on some deserving public figure (which'll get you into jail normally)?

      Why wait?

      The immediate thought that occurs is "how will they know you're dead?". Obvious: someone has to tell them. Next thought: "how do they know who you are?". Obvious: you have to tell them.

      So set up the app with an entirely fictitious person and then report their death. All the company can do is point to an apparently dead customer. (Point of order - should this be an ex-customer?)

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Trollface

        "The immediate thought that occurs is "how will they know you're dead?""

        No, the obvious way to do that tends to be "no logins for X amount of time", ie. a "dead man's keyboard". The obvious problem being that any failure to remember the need to log in periodically would likely result in the deluge of nasty pranks you planned being unleashed while you're still alive, and the fact that even if the real likelihood of that would be low, simply living under the threat that it might happen accidentally would probably put you in an early grave, all by itself.

        1. GrapeBunch

          Alexa, buy local newspaper.

          Alexa, look in obit section.

          Alexa, am I there?

          If yes, trigger [doomsday machine]

          Else, make coffee;

          Repeat daily 7 am until [doomsday machine].

          Just sayin', another way to get away with stuff is to become terminally ill with an expiry date. If you commit a messy crime but have only two months to live, will they even bother to try you?

          Also, it seems in the interest of the company to deliver none of the messages. If a message is damaging, they might get caught up in messy legal muck. "We just did what we were told" may not cut it. Contrariwise, the person to sue them for non-delivery is a dead hand. And foot. IANALBIPADOOOTI

  8. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Who should I entrust those important post-death messages to?

    I know, a start up which will be gone this time next year and will have sold the contact data on to all and sundry as part of the winding up process. Oh how they're going to remember you when they receive that spam.

  9. Franco Silver badge

    Can I add to the list any company whose website pops up a customer satisfaction survey as soon as you arrive and before you have done what you went to the website for in the first place? This is (IME) a sure fire guarantee that their website is so shite that they know it and so will not ask for feedback after you have visited any page whatsoever.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Perfect observation

      I have replied to a couple of these satisfaction surveys that appear as soon as you visit a site with a huge rant but deleted it before I sent it. Perhaps I won't in future. They are intensly irritating.

      IMHO, it is like asking for the tip before you sit down to a meal.

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    " SwonSong ceased posting to its own blog ten months ago."

    They don't seem to have had any faith in their own product if they couldn't set up a few decades' worth of posts in advance.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      Maybe there was a failure in the delivery method?

      Or perhaps, the Blogger died, and no ones's got around to telling the Company to post their Messages yet...

  11. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Like those Chryogenic companies

    If they can't revive you in 100 years time you can't sue 'em. Yer dead.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Like those Chryogenic companies

      Well at least you can get your own back by defrosting all over their carpets.

      Or go one better, do a Henry VIII, and explode.

    2. D@v3

      Re: Like those Chryogenic companies

      I once had a long conversation with a friend who didn't understand the futility of freezing dead people. They couldn't understand that even if you can be defrosted (which as far as i know, no one has cracked yet) you're still a corpse.

      You would of course need to freeze 'nearly' dead people, and hope that by the time you have a cure for what ails them you have also worked out how to defrost them.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Like those Chryogenic companies

        Do we know that for sure? Is it possible that our personalities are coded into the connections in our brain, so that some future tech could sort of rebuild us from that info? Seems rather unlikely. Also, I'm not sure being frozen just as your hear is giving up the ghost is going to be all that much help either. Surely you need to be frozen with a couple of days left of life, so that future medical tech has a decent run at saving you.

        Of course the this is all covered in Larry Niven's Known Space stories. He assumes rather more people froze themselves in the 20th Century than actually did. When the technology comes to revive them, the corpsicles as they're known, their bodies are still destroyed by formation of ice crystals. I can't now remember if it's brain transplant or some sort of hand-wavey personality transplant. But anyway they get revived, but into the bodies of executed criminals who've been mind-wiped and then enslaved until they've paid off the hideous cost of their medical bills. I didn't say it was a cheeful future, as it also involves forced organ harvesting for parking offenses...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Like those Chryogenic companies

          "Of course the this is all covered in Larry Niven's Known Space stories. "

          Also the basic premise of "The Joy Makers" by James Gunn. In that story a person is only frozen if there is a substantial cash endowment invested for them. They are defrosted when the account has increased to a sufficiently large amount to pay for the restoration process. The central character happily enters into the future hedonistic culture without realising that he is then rapidly exhausting his residual funds.

          Do the current billionaires who elect to be frozen also set up a trust fund for when they are defrosted?

          1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

            Re: Like those Chryogenic companies

            "The central character happily enters into the future hedonistic culture without realising that he is then rapidly exhausting his residual funds."

            That bit sounds a lot like Age of the Pussyfoot by Frederick Pohl.

          2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

            Re: Like those Chryogenic companies

            "Do the current billionaires who elect to be frozen also set up a trust fund for when they are defrosted?"

            I'm pretty sure they do. It would be a logical thing to do, and after all, we're talking "crazy - but not stupid" here.

            Set up a couple of shell corporations and trusts spread around various tax havens in a way that they are well funded and safe against widows, ex-wifes, heirs, the IRS, what have you, and also in a way that they can only be liquidated by you personally.

            Make sure that all that money isn't just stashed away in order to provide you with an adequate lifestyle when they peel you out of the aluminium foil1), but that some part goes 1) into cryogenic research to make sure that they can revive you and 2) secure the storage facility so that there will be something to revive.

            1) If Woody Allen's Sleeper is anything to go by.

          3. Donchik

            Re: Like those Chryogenic companies

            Favourite term from Larry Niven's chryogenic tales was "Corpsical"

            Mmm Tasty...

        2. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

          Re: Like those Chryogenic companies

          World Out of Time. Something about processing the brain for the RNA and using that to transfer the memories, IIRC. He ends up even farther into the future and a completely different dystopia.

          1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

            Re: Like those Chryogenic companies

            Oh and AFAIK it's technically not part of Known Space, though one could be forgiven for thinking it was.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Like those Chryogenic companies

          Of course the this is all covered in Larry Niven's Known Space stories. He assumes rather more people froze themselves in the 20th Century than actually did

          He also assumes that we overcome tissue rejection so that people have a ready source of replacement organs from criminals, and then pretends that adults are the only ones who will ever need organ transplants

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Like those Chryogenic companies

        "You would of course need to freeze 'nearly' dead people, [..]"

        A recent report said that brain activity continues longer then expected after someone is pronounced dead. It raises some debate about when exactly someone should be declared dead.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Like those Chryogenic companies

      "If they can't revive you in 100 years time you can't sue 'em. Yer dead."

      It seems like a sort of reverse version of Pascal's wager.

  12. sebt
    Pint

    DreK

    "SwonSong is not a pun nor is it an acronym, and its misspelling serves no marketing purpose whatsoever unless that purpose is to be fucking infantile."

    There is a special place in Hell reserved for the twatmeisters who come up with these names.

    They are useful in a way though, as a clear signal that whatever it is a bunch of interestingly behaired and bebearded dickwipes are trying to sell under them is guaranteed to be a piece of opportunistic crap of no use to anybody.

    I'm just waiting for "apps" called Mynge, SmgMa and KrudFerrit to come along.

    On the main subject: there's no need for [[[[[Swonsong]]]]] (brackets for the purposes of hygiene). Just read the comments boards on any UK newspaper, and it's clear that 98% of comments were written by dead people. Or brain-dead, at least.

    Icon because I like Beer. No, not BiR. No, not BérR. ByR? ..... hold on, I'm just starting the ThysBotlOverYorHedVeryHard app, it's a bit slow to get going sometimes.

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