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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Re: DreK

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

Is that the level above or below the one reserved for people who bastardise words with misused German, such as ---meister or uber----

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Re: DreK

Never mind meister & or uber ... How about a hefty portion of the English language?

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Anyone else read the software company name as WanKeCode?

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Anonymous Coward

Went to a wedding recently. At the reception there were the traditional speeches. For the first speech a large screen was rolled out - and the bride's deceased father gave a remarkably upbeat and humorous speech.

When the wedding date had been set he had known that his chances of surviving his terminal illness were not assured - so had taken the precaution of recording a video. Not a dry eye in the house.

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Chap.12 "the wheel of life" in "when the air hits your brain" https://www.amazon.com/When-Air-Hits-Your-Brain/dp/0393330494 has a similar story

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I just watched a video where a terminal father bought an electric guitar for his son's 16th birthday, and filled out a card. The video showed the son being surprised by the posthumous gift and card.

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Anonymous Coward

I just watched a video where a terminal father bought an electric guitar for his son's 16th birthday, and filled out a card. The video showed the son being surprised by the posthumous gift and card.

Oh yes, it was on one of those sickly mushy, "Hurray for Everything!" -type sites.

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twitter feed

"Just woke up after lovely long nap. But it's dark, musty and I can't move. lol You can let me out now. #bestprankever"

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Re: twitter feed

"seriously guys. #notfunnyanymore"

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Yet another Black Mirror episode coming true!

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Alien

Or, with a different twist, a Ray Bradbury story (I know it's set on Mars, but I can't remember if it's an actual Martian Chronicles story). Hmm, time to re-read...

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Anonymous Coward

Surely the best way of achieving this (if you wanted to) would be to rent some shared web hosting at £5 per month with a place like 1&1 and stick £200 on account. That gets you 40 months (3.3 years) of a known working service. Then simply cronjob a set of scripts to run in 39 months that generate emails to the desired target addresses. Like wide scale distribution lists at the company. Make a point of topping up the account balance every year and moving the dates in the cronjob backwards and it should be all good.

And then at the given hour...

--

Dear all,

I understand that you might be surprised to hear from me after you cremated me, but I always said I'd come back to haunt those of you who didn't attend my funeral so I felt obliged to honour the promise. btw, heaven is a bit overrated as a holiday destination, like any nice place you get bored with it after a while and hell's not much fun either but you can get out of both occasionally on day release passes.

So yeah, how's life been going for you lot? Most of you look like your doing pretty well.

Yours,

AC ghost.

<autoreply via rule on 1&1's email system for RE: $subject sent only once.

"It's good to hear from you mate, nice to know a few people still care. I'm a bit pissed at how few people actually responded tbh now people think I can safely be ignored, some friends those guys were! They might be surprised about that though, visitations are tiring but I can affect dreams rather more easily!"

<+ 2 days, allowing for a few replies and a lot of people freaking and WTF?>

Thank you to the people that replied, it's nice seeing that some of you still care.

It's a lot of work doing the whole disembodied spirit malarkey as you can only appear once in a while and it's bloody tiring, but emails are a lot easier and tbh half of you communicated that way in life anyway, so you can't expect more in death. As I say visitations are pretty tiring, but i'll try and drop in on each of you too busy to message me at some point in person. (or in spirit?)

<message via SMS gateway forging your old number + 3 days to a few disliked colleauges>

Really disappointed I didn't see you at my funeral, and haven't seen any reply to my email so will drop round in person, or disembodied spirit, whatever the right tense is there. Dropped around your house recently, but being a disembodied spirit couldn't knock on the door and I don't think you noticed me with the colour contrast in your house (and nice place btw). I'll drop in on you at some point in the evening, getting more requests from psyhic mediums in death at the moment than I got from salesmen in life, and that's saying something! Don't want to creep you out, so if I start materialising or walking around and you start freaking then i'll just go again and come back at a later point.

See you soon!

--

Oh, if you have a really bad sense of humour then you could have such a lot of fun with this. You could probably even do VOIP calls that play a .wav file the same way advertisers do with some effort.

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Anonymous Coward

Some people find the death of a loved one so traumatic that they want to keep up the illusion of being in contact.

That doesn't necessarily mean mediums and seances.

There have been instances of people posting a letter in a mail box every day to their dead mother.

When my sister died I was given her mobile phone as a memento as it was a model I had admired. I used it occasionally with her sim to use up the remaining PAYG credit and to keep the number open for a while. Obviously not used for texts to people who had been her contacts.

Then one day someone left a voice message. It was a heartbreaking paean from one of her grandchildren expressing their sadness that there was no voicemail greeting to remind them of their Nan's voice.

Luckily it was not switched on at the time they had called - so had redirected to voicemail. They probably never knew it was now my mobile and that I had heard their emotional message.

I now use that mobile with my own sim - but have never removed the last pictures she took with it.

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Surely, as IT pros, our first tweet from beyond the grave should be something like:

"Finally got the routing right! w00t! You have no idea how tricky IP over Angel Radio is, makes IPv6 seem like childs play!"

or perhaps

"You thought BT was bad? Took me !!6 MONTHS!! to get ADSL in Hell! And it's run by Verizon :("

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"See you soon!"

Oh, you didn't know that, did you?

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Surely, as IT pros, our first tweet from beyond the grave should be something like:

Or mentioning the connection goes via hell, and the firewall there is ancient and keeps crashing due to the heat and nobody wants to go down there to have a look?

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Anonymous Coward

There have been instances of people posting a letter in a mail box every day to their dead mother.

Or phoning them:

http://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/japanese-phone-booth-for-calling-dead-relatives

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With your references to Slade song titles I'm not sure you're young enough to wait for the app to be on Android.

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Bah!

You think you are revenge proof after death Mr Dabbs, but my startup EcksKobulProgrummers is working on an app called DabbsDrubb (or maybe DrubbDabbs, we haven't decided on which though DabbsDrubb is obviously better Brian so suck it up) which will give lie to that belief.

Anyone pestered by messsages from The Journalist Formerly Known As Dabbs can, with a few taps and a small transfer of funds, be directed to an archived article of yours open for rewrite. Key passages will be identified and suggestions offered as to how they might be "improved".

After these insidious and slanderous changes have been committed, the user can use a companion app called "TwitFace" to conduct a social media linkenblitz so that the maximun number of people get to see, for example, that Mr Dabbs was earnestly promoting OS2 five years after the world said "meh", or that the said Mr Dabbs was a staunch believer that the numerous shortcomings of his Apple gear were all addressed by Windows XP - in 2017!

Of course, none of this need come to pass. Were a suitably generous cheque made out to "Stevie Nest Egg Account" and left in a ziplock baggie in the cistern of the third stall in the Islington Dog & Bonio's men's room, this could all be simply like one of those NHS IT projects that never see the light of day.

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Re: Bah!

Anyone pestered by messsages from The Journalist Formerly Known As Dabbs can, with a few taps and a small transfer of funds, be directed to an archived article of yours open for rewrite. Key passages will be identified and suggestions offered as to how they might be "improved".

OhEmGee, you're building WikiDabbs? Lots Of Love.

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Please add BT to your list

Must be 25 years ago I was IT manager at a large US company and at that time we were supplying ISDN lines to "home workers". When we had a problem I tried to contact BT and ended up with an auto attendant, it wanted to know if it was business or residential, then various options about bills and installations, went through more options than I've ever had in an AA before or since, the final option was to complain about ISDN, selected the option and I got the number unobtainable tone. I tried again to make sure I hadn't made a mistake, exactly the same.

So I would be grateful if you could dial BT customer support periodically and choose random options in the AA until it gets to a real person and then play them some hold music that repeats every 4 bars and then hang up.

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Re: Please add BT to your list

Which is just a more efficient way of managing calls than those companies that route you through 5 levels of menus, most of the choices having no resemblance to what you really need, with hold music at every stage. Then when the phone arrives where you want to be the person at the other end picks up the phone and puts it straight down again. Click!

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Re: Please add BT to your list

"I was IT manager"

You were an IT manager and didn't know to prod keys at random until someone answers?

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Re: Please add BT to your list

Just remembered the top of my list for phone system hell. Barnet council. ( Or whatever part of Capita is running their phone system). It's a system designed to prevent you telling them about anything that they might need to know about. None of the phone options ever seem relevant to anything and which ever one you choose will still lead to another dead end. It's a Labyrinth determinedly designed to prevent access to the core.

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Re: Please add BT to your list

Can't remember which distributor it was but I remember calling them one day and being put through several levels of hell before being put into a queue.

You are number 19 in the queue please hold, your call is important to us.

Musak

You are number 18 in the queue please hold, your call is important to us.

Musak

"

"

"

"

"

"

Many minutes later.

You are number 1 in the queue please hold, your call is important to us.

Musak

Thankyou for calling X, our offices are now closed, our opening times are xxx - xxx

With the opening times plainly showing that all of the people in the queue had been holding to hear that the offices were closed.

I wouldn't be surprised if it was a premium number..

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Meh

Council phone systems

"Just remembered the top of my list for phone system hell. Barnet council. ...

None of the phone options ever seem relevant to anything and which ever one you choose will still lead to another dead end."

Memories of a different Council back in the 1970s. This was an operator controlled telephone exchange. Even if you entered the system armed with an extension number, you'd get transferred around several extension before finding the person you wanted. The amazing thing was that you'd get transferred back to the first extension you reached and have to start again at least once in the process.

It was my theory that when an automated system came along, they did a full time and motion study of the manual system and sought to replicate that.

That seemed the most probable explanation at the time.

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Anonymous Coward

Mis-spelled Names

"its misspelling serves no marketing purpose whatsoever unless that purpose is to be fucking infantile"

The purpose it that it can then be trademarked, as it is no longer the descriptive English term 'swan song', which cannot be trademarked for that very reason.

This is also why other descriptive company names are misspelled, such as KwikFit.

/ IAL.

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Re: Mis-spelled Names

That's my understanding too, except that it only applies when you are trying to trademark a word that relates to the thing you are selling.

That's how Apple were allowed to trademark their name for computers, but would not be allowed to trademark it for selling fruit.

IANAL also...

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Re: Mis-spelled Names

Trademarking is only part of the reason, I suspect search engine results are even more important.

swonsong comes top in a google search. Unless it caught on massively swansong probably wouldn't be on the first page.

n.b. Apparentlly Google is an inadvertent misspelling of googol (10 to the power of 100)

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Re: Mis-spelled Names

No. google is an advertent contraction of "go" and "ogle".

They told the rubes straight to their face, and still they got suckered in ... P.T.Barnum would be very impressed. (Yes, I'm aware of David Hannum, but I'm talking generalities here, not a specific quote. Thank you for your concern.)

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Mushroom

Agents...

Who call you saying "I've got my CV in front of you...", and then try to interest you in a D#/Z++/EbMinor/SumatraScript permanent position in Hartlepool.

When I know none of these technologies from nothing, and my CV clearly says I'm looking for contract positions in datawarehousing in the Southwest.

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Live fast and die punk

Swonsong's business plan is brilliant: they won't get any complain from unsatisfied customer ever! The dream for an IT firm comes true.

I asked my family to put a way to communicate between my grave and the world six feet upper. Just in case. A physical device with no electronics involved is required, there will be enough bugs involved already.

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Thumb Up

Re: Live fast and die punk

Ask and ye shall receive: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_coffin

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Unhappy

Facebook...

...suggested the other day that I send a birthday greeting to someone I knew who died 6 months ago.

That felt weird.

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Re: Facebook...

It has been doing that for one of mine for several years now.

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Re: Facebook...

I still have several late friends on FB so get this occasionally. Can't bring myself to delete them though.

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Re: Facebook...

Tell me about it. Facebook's constant nagging about Father's Day made me feel guilty for not taking the train up to Leeds and shoving a greeting card in the stream where I scattered his ashes earlier this year.

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Re: Facebook...

Relevant XKCD: https://what-if.xkcd.com/69/

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Hmm, cron with a deadman's switch and a virtual email server with the rent paid up for a few years should work. You don't need to re-invent the wheel Dabsy.

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What about just setting Outlook's "delayed delivery" to 200 years? Should be ample time to properly snuff it.

At last, a useful application for delayed delivery!

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Or

Small computer in a ceiling in a large company. suitably wired into their networking. Or maybe a box on a roof or hillside somewhere with solar panel charging, suitably hacked into a network.

I can't see the point of an app.

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Headmaster

not just bad spelling

The name is not only misspelled, it is inaccurate. These are messages to be delivered after death. A swan song should be delivered at the moment of death.

So to use the app as the name says, Dabbsy should spend his last moments in this realm of tears frantically tapping at his keyboard. Otherwise, it's not a swan song but merely a pre-recorded message.

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Anonymous Coward

Bonkers

"Two: you will be so bonkers yourself that you won't remember where your feet are, let alone a list of enemies with whom you planned to get even one day."

Oh no, I have a list of enemies and if I outlive them I shall publish true stories about them, since you can't libel the dead.

Nurturing my list of enemies for suitable treatment is one of the things that keeps my mind going.

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Message activation delay?

To be properly useful, it needs to somehow find out (obituaries?) that you've died so it can release your screed immediately. This serves the dual purpose of letting people know you've died in a funny/awful way (depending on whether you like them or not) and giving you a chance to give a last message of joy/bile to those who were already aware while your death is still very fresh in their minds.

It would be embarrassing indeed to be given a year to live by the doctor, set an activation delay of two years just to be safe, only to unfortunately have a miracle cure and forget to reset the timer, and tell everyone you're dead when you're not. It would unnecessarily upset those who (hopefully) like you, and cause undeserved joy for others. Though if you later ran into them at the grocery store the look on their faces might be worth it!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Message activation delay?

"Though if you later ran into them at the grocery store the look on their faces might be worth it!"

As Mark Twain said after an incorrect newspaper announcement "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

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Re: Message activation delay?

Probably best not to include your bank manager in the list of recipients.

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Snopes: Hot Down Here

http://www.snopes.com/humor/jokes/hot.asp

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Joke

Re: Snopes: Hot Down Here

Two soccerfans ask themselves whether soccer is played in heaven. They make the promise that whoever goes first tries to phone home. One of them dies and his friends phone rings: "I have good news and bad news. Yes they play soccer in heaven. You are in the team playing next Friday".

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Unhappy

I still occasionally get emails from

a colleague who died ten years ago, from his Yahoo email account. Usually asking me to click a link to what are either spam sites or possibly links to the afterlife.

While I can appreciate the dark humour of this, I doubt his wife and kids would if they still receive such emails.

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Happy

I created a delayed email to myself when I had a CompuServe account. I think it was to congratulate myself on my 100th b'day. Sadly I no longer access that account and suspect that it's all gone anyway. But I did like that feature - I wonder how many other people used it?

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