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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    12.11.17 @ 04:37 PM
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    Default Death leaves online lives in limbo

    NEW YORK - When Jerald Spangenberg collapsed and died in the middle of a quest in an online game, his daughter embarked on a quest of her own: to let her father's gaming friends know that he hadn't just decided to desert them.

    It wasn't easy, because she didn't have her father's "World of Warcraft" password and the game's publisher couldn't help her. Eventually, Melissa Allen Spangenberg reached her father's friends by asking around online for the "guild" he belonged to.

    One of them, Chuck Pagoria in Morgantown, Ky., heard about Spangenberg's death three weeks later. Pagoria had put his absence down to an argument among the gamers that night.

    "I figured he probably just needed some time to cool off," Pagoria said. "I was kind of extremely shocked and blown away when I heard the reason that he hadn't been back. Nobody had any way of finding this out."

    With online social networks becoming ever more important in our lives, they're also becoming an important element in our deaths. Spangenberg, who died suddenly from an abdominal aneurysm at 57, was unprepared, but others are leaving detailed instructions. There's even a tiny industry that has sprung up to help people wrap up their online contacts after their deaths.

    When Robert Bryant's father died last year, he left his son a little black USB flash drive in a drawer in his home office in Lawton, Okla. It was underneath a cup his son had once given him for his birthday. The drive contained a list of contacts for his son to notify, including the administrator of an online group he had been in.

    "It was kind of creepy because I was telling all these people that my dad was dead," Bryant said. "It did help me out quite a bit, though, because it allowed me to clear up a lot of that stuff and I had time to help my mom with whatever she needed."

    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 center, 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 e-mails 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 e-mails 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 e-mails 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 e-mail 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.

    He wasn't dead: Three months later, he came back from his summer vacation, which he'd spent without Internet access. By then, the Potters had already had Slightlymorbid.com up and running for two weeks.

    A third site with a similar concept plans to launch in April. Legacy Locker will charge $30 per year. It will require a copy of a death certificate before releasing information.

    Peter Vogel, in Tampa, Fla., was never able to reach all of his stepson Nathan's online friends after the boy died last year at age 13 during an epileptic seizure.

    A few years earlier, someone had hacked into one of the boy's accounts, so Vogel, a computer administrator, taught Nathan to choose passwords that couldn't be easily guessed. He also taught the boy not to write passwords down, so Nathan left no trail to follow.

    Vogel himself has a trusted friend who knows all his important login information. As he points out, having access to a person's e-mail account is the most important thing, because many Web site passwords can be retrieved through e-mail.

    Vogel joked that he hoped the only reason his friend would be called on to use his access within "the next hundred years or so" would be if Vogel forgets his own passwords.

    But, he said, "as Nathan has proven, anything can happen any time, even if you're only 13."
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Hang 'Em High sickman's Avatar
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    12.16.17 @ 05:11 AM
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    I wonder if any members here who haven't posted in a while have died? What ever happened to Mike L?
    I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk
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    07.24.11 @ 04:36 PM
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    I have a dear friend that I met online about 15 years ago. We speak almost daily. We talk on the phone, exchanged photos and I've even hung out with her daughter online. We've often talked about death and how if the other died we would probably think we did something to piss the other off or that we just got tired of talking. If something were to happen to me I would like someone to send her a note and post something here for that matter...not that most of you wouldn't be happy to finally be rid of me!

  4. #4
    Sinner's Swing! vh_chick's Avatar
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    I belong to tons of groups. This sure makes you think.
    "Hey, thanks for the bracelet! Was that one for me?" - Michael Anthony to me in the Golden Ring in Grand Rapids, MI July 9, 2004
    July 9, 2004 - Mike pressed a guitar pick into my hand!
    "We're in the right place!" EVH @ The Joe in Detroit, July 10, 2004
    "Hey! What's up!?" - Mikey, upon recognizing me in the Golden Ring in Chicago after getting his second bracelet, July 21, 2004
    "What is uuuuuuuuuup!!!???" - Mike to me in Detroit, May 12th, 2005, after receiving third bracelet.
    "You found me again!" - Mike to me in Detroit, Nov. 2, 2007

  5. #5
    Good Enough
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    12.14.17 @ 12:39 PM
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    Default

    I am a high school teacher and one of the things I use Facebook for is to keep in touch with former students. Well last year I also received some terrible news...one of my former students from not so long ago died in her sleep at the age of 19. One of her family members notified her Facebook friends, which was shocking enough, but worse was that before I got a chance to check my inbox I noticed a Facebook group that was created in memory of her. My first reaction was that it was a bad joke. That was the first time I had ever been notified online of someone's death and it was a rather odd experience I must say.

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    Yes it does give one pause for thought. I never think much though.

    If something happened to me, my daughter would know my passwords b/c they're all the same. It's the only word I can remember.
    RIP - Classic Van Halen

    "A lot of people take Van Halen more seriously than we do." The Diamond One



  7. #7
    Future's in the past....
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    There are only a few places I am diligent about posting on, and I have the usernames and passwords written in an envelope that Mrs VHR knows about that she should open should something happen to me so she could pass on the info.

    She also knows the phone numbers of a few members on the sites I frequent most (and knows them by first name as well), and since she's less than internet savvy, she'd likely do that first.
    11/05/78 Hollywood Sportatorium
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    01/21/84 Hollywood Sportatorium
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    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    I've got dreams in hidden places and extra smiles for when I'm blue.

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithjc View Post
    Yes it does give one pause for thought. I never think much though.

    If something happened to me, my daughter would know my passwords b/c they're all the same. It's the only word I can remember.
    is that an invitation for us to start guessing?

    I'll go first...how about "uvula"

  9. #9
    Future's in the past....
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    Default

    I'm thinking it's "Mikey".
    11/05/78 Hollywood Sportatorium
    12/10/82 Hollywood Sportatorium
    01/20/84 Hollywood Sportatorium
    01/21/84 Hollywood Sportatorium
    02/16/08 Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    I've got dreams in hidden places and extra smiles for when I'm blue.

  10. #10
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    Wow nobody guessed regla.
    RIP - Classic Van Halen

    "A lot of people take Van Halen more seriously than we do." The Diamond One



  11. #11
    Eruption Naked Wake's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 12:57 PM
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    Default

    it's a pretty good idea, actually.

  12. #12
    Good Enough Tropical Storm Tracey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithjc View Post
    Wow nobody guessed regla.
    I'm guessing.....Michelob?

    TST<------------ ------------

  13. #13
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    I don't think we'd get off that easy....I can think of several former linkers who would this place from the dead

  14. #14
    Atomic Punk Lodewijk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithjc View Post
    If something happened to me, my daughter would know my passwords b/c they're all the same. It's the only word I can remember.

    Michelob ?
    Lode's Facebook
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  15. #15
    Atomic Punk Lodewijk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tropical Storm Tracey View Post
    I'm guessing.....Michelob?

    TST<------------ ------------



    Shit ! I guess I should've read through the entire thread !


    At least I now know I'm as clever as you......I'm honored.
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