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by Don

I was over at the Domestic Diversions blog the other day looking at some posts that picqued my interest. One link out was to a Forbes article I guess. I am not sure I wound up where the blog author thought I would, but I found something kind of interesting there: a form that when filled out will deliver an email you send to your self at a future date you pick — or as they called it, an email time capsule.

This is an interesting concept, send yourself something for future delivery. We kind of do it with many things these days, countdown timers on phones come to mind. TIVO type recording devices can be set well into the future, and so forth. For many years I have asked my staff to tell me when the day arrives that it is obvious that I should retire. Maybe I should set email reminders for each five years into the future to ask myself the question, is it time?

There are many practical problems with the concept, not the least of which is who will maintain everything to be sure it is functional both now and into the future. Second, what is the average life span of an email address? Will they be whitelisted under current technology in place at that time? Leaving aside all of the practical issues* it is an intriguing issue.

*I tend to be pessimistic regarding many things. For example, an interesting thing happened last night just as I was going to bed (much later than I should have, due to working on some projects that had been around a while). A friend called — now you know you are on someones “friends they can count on list” when they call you in the middle of the night because they really need help, or is it that you are too stupid to say no when you should? — about 1:30 a.m. or so. A building he was having remodelled had a plywood enclosure covering the storefront. What ever anchored it was insufficient to hold it in high winds overnight, so it took a bit of a sail. Because the front of the building was open (no doors in it) the police who observed the situation asked him to go supervise the building to avoid vandalism and to be sure that nobody got hurt walking in, around or under the structure. He focused on the practical side of things when we arrived, what were the minimal steps necessary to secure the building and get out of there. I focused on the pessimistic side of things: what should we do so that someone would not get hurt under the worst case scenarios. The wind was still strong, and we wound up dismantling a significant portion of the stucture because I was concerned that it would again go sailing. We then boarded up one door, and built a barrier to tie the well anchored half of the temporary structure to the building so that to enter someone would have to do so with malice. My point? That I look at worst case scenarios often in life, and in the above article I try to overcome my pessimism to say … that is an interesting concept.

One Response to “Electonic Mail Time Capsules”

  1. Gary Says:

    Continuing on the pessimistic theme, strange to consider that an e-mail marked for future delivery could survive me. I send a loved one an e-mail and then pass away, some years later they receive it. Scary what that may do to the poor loved one!

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