Death leaves online lives in limbo; leaving instructions helps survivors
By Peter Svensson, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
...David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, has had plenty of time to think about the issue.
"I work in the world's largest medical centre, and what you see here every day is people showing up in ambulances who didn't expect that just five minutes earlier," he said. "If you suddenly die or go into a coma, there can be a lot of things that are only in your head in terms of where things are stored, where your passwords are."
He set up a site called Deathswitch, where people can set up emails that will be sent out automatically if they don't check in at intervals they specify, like once a week. For $20 per year, members can create up to 30 emails with attachments like video files.
It's not really a profit-making venture, and Eagleman isn't sure about how many members it has - "probably close to a thousand." Nor does he know what's in the emails that have been created. Until they're sent out, they're encrypted so that only their creators can read them.
If Deathswitch sounds morbid, there's an alternative site: Slightly Morbid. It also sends email when a member dies, but doesn't rely on them logging in periodically while they're alive. Instead, members have to give trusted friends or family the information needed to log in to the site and start the notification process if something should happen.
The site was created by Mike and Pamela Potter in Colorado Springs, Colo. They also run a business that makes software for online games. Pamela said they realized the need for a service like this when one of their online friends, who had volunteered a lot of time helping their customers on a web message board, suddenly disappeared.
rest of article: http://ca.lifestyle.yahoo.com/family-re ... _survivors