Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Mail from the past

By John Milton in MLP
Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 05:06:09 PM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)
/etc

Mail from the past offers a rather unique service. They will mail letters or time capsules years after you create them.


I guess this just reminds me of that scene from Back to the Future. The big question for me is what happens if the company shuts down before they deliver your message.

Some possible uses of their service:

  • Delayed love letters.
  • Posthumous confessions. Tell them after you're dead. They can't kill you then.
  • Send yourself a reminder of your life goals on your 40th birthday. That'll start a mid-life crisis.
  • Spook your grandchildren.
  • Write all those alimony checks at once.

I have to admit that I don't trust a service that doesn't have a TLD. Are there any more reputable services that perform this function?

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
I would use this for
o birthdays 8%
o confessions. She'll forgive me once I'm dead. 35%
o talk to my descendants 14%
o replacement for sticky pads 41%

Votes: 34
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Mail from the past
o Also by John Milton


Display: Sort:
Mail from the past | 24 comments (19 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Huh? (3.50 / 2) (#1)
by delmoi on Sun Jun 03, 2001 at 09:53:45 PM EST

I have to admit that I don't trust a service that doesn't have a TLD. Are there any more reputable services that perform this function?

You mean you only trust national governments and ICANN?

Perhaps you meant second-level domain...
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Yeah, that's it (nt) (4.00 / 2) (#2)
by John Milton on Sun Jun 03, 2001 at 10:00:50 PM EST

nt

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
Trust (3.00 / 1) (#3)
by slakhead on Sun Jun 03, 2001 at 10:05:31 PM EST

I have to admit that I don't trust a service that doesn't have a TLD.

I don't trust anyone who uses italics for headers.

So there!

Dave Winer has this for email (4.00 / 1) (#4)
by dennis on Sun Jun 03, 2001 at 10:36:51 PM EST

Mail to the Future.

It would be nice if we had a service for letters. (none / 0) (#5)
by John Milton on Sun Jun 03, 2001 at 10:44:21 PM EST

It would be cool if the postal service had some kind of service that allowed you to store letters for historical purposes. Sort of a letter museum. You could tell them to only bring them out after your death. That way future generations could know more about life in our time period.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
This is like in those Robert Ludlum stories... (3.00 / 2) (#6)
by adamba on Sun Jun 03, 2001 at 10:51:05 PM EST

"It's true, Mr. Under-Secretary," said Tikhonov, "If I do not make a coded call [italics mine] by 4 pm tomorrow, this packet of information will be sent to every major newspaper in the world."

- adam

Sure, but what happens when.... (3.33 / 3) (#7)
by MattGWU on Sun Jun 03, 2001 at 11:03:57 PM EST

....they go out of business? Sorry to be pessimistic (it must be the poster), but how many dot-coms are around for the decades over which you might want to send something? It's amazing if one of these things lasts the year, let alone the 20-odd years (in my case) to wait to send the 40th birthday goals reminder. I can think of a bunch of cool uses for this, but what will become of the letters when they finally go under? You know you're not getting your money back...think of the trouble of tracking everyone down after a decade, and keeping the records out of harms way, especially with creditors hopping around them for every dime.

Probably not a problem (2.50 / 2) (#10)
by fluffy grue on Sun Jun 03, 2001 at 11:11:55 PM EST

This business is run in a really low-income part of Las Cruces. Their office space rent's probably $300/month, and it's probably comprised of 2 or 3 people who are paid $7/hour. They don't need to do much business to break even. :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

It's even worse (none / 0) (#11)
by John Milton on Sun Jun 03, 2001 at 11:13:03 PM EST

They admit on their site that they won't track down people if their address has changed. Actually, they seem to be only recommending their service for up to ten years in the future. They don't mention a specific date though. I would love to find a service that I knew would be around for hundreds of years. I guess the only way to do that is to bury a time capsule.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
Holy crap (3.00 / 4) (#9)
by fluffy grue on Sun Jun 03, 2001 at 11:07:36 PM EST

Zianet (their ISP) is a local two-bit operation here in Las Cruces. :) Just a bit of a shock to see a K5 MLP point to something which is probably within 3 miles of me.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Try it. You'll like it. (4.50 / 6) (#12)
by eann on Sun Jun 03, 2001 at 11:24:52 PM EST

I had a high school teacher that did this for her students. Just before graduation, we all wrote letters to ourselves to be mailed in 5 years and sealed them in self-addressed stamped envelopes. She paid the postage rate increase.

It was strange getting the letter. I was surprised how much my outlook on things had changed while I was in college. I came across it again at my parents' house last summer, 10 years after I wrote it. The thoughts expressed by that 17-year-old would've seemed totally foreign to me if I hadn't known they were my own. But I thought about it for awhile, and I remembered. It was an amazing opportunity to reflect on my life.

Most of us grow and change so slowly, we never realize it. Seeing things like old yearbooks and such can remind us of some things, but it's not the same as seeing a private, personal time capsule from yourself.


Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


Likewise..... (2.75 / 4) (#15)
by SvnLyrBrto on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 01:59:09 AM EST

I've only saved a small portion of my paper correspondence over the years, but I'm something of a digital packrat.

I have ascii files (originally done in Appleworks (for the IIc)) of letters, school reports, and other writeing that date all the way back to middle school.

For a while during High School(mostly at the demand of a particularly sadistic english teacher), I kept a journal... THAT is an intresting read... detailing my progressive disillusionment with xtiananity... how I pissed my dad off by dating "out of the faith" and having a jewish girlfriend (I forget how many hail marys it takes to absolve THAT sin). Intresting process; I went from being a good little xtian, confessing my sins, taking communion, and everything... and as I slowly thought more and more for myself, read more and more books that the church would rathar I had not, I developed a deep loatheing for xtiananity that I hold to this day. But damn, I was a scary kid in those days.

My college papers show an equally drastic change. I started in college as a standard-issue coldhearted "mine Mine MINE" republican. Then, throughout the four and a half years of college, I developed more empathy, more compassion, a sence of obligation and careing for my fellow human beings. Back in the day, I actually wished I had been two years older so I could have voted for george I against Clinton. By the time Bob Dole vs. Clinton came along, I was like "yeah, whatever, they both suck". Now, I've seen the truth about the right and hold george II in the lowest contempt possible.

It was, as you say, in BOTH cases, such a slow change I never saw it happening. It's only NOW, when I look back at my old writings, that I can ask "damn... was *I* really THAT inhuman beast?!?!?"... and realise, sadly, that I was.


cya,

john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Copy this comment (3.00 / 5) (#17)
by cezarg on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 08:31:09 AM EST

and save it for the future. Your opinions are still so juvenile that you will look back at them in 10 years and think: "was I really this immature?". The fact that you have narrow minded, primitive, bible thumping parents doesn't mean there is something wrong with any particular religion, be it Christianity, Judaism or Islam. It's just fanatics who skew the ideas to fit their agenda that are evil. Live and let live and get some perspective on things. There are lots of evil Christians out there. Similarly there are lots of evil Jews or Muslims.

Yes, I know I've been trolled but it gave me an excuse for this short rant.

[ Parent ]

Well, hell... (none / 0) (#23)
by SvnLyrBrto on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 01:01:39 AM EST

If thinking for myself and not blindly accepting the bullshit that the holier-than-thou, moralistic, overbearing xtian right tries to feed me, and holding them in contempt for their hipocracy and dictatorial aspirations is a sign of immaturity....

... well, then call me immature. And I'm damn proud of it. I'm quite happy thinking for myself, and have no intention of stopping, hank you very much.


john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

or there's the easy way (3.00 / 1) (#16)
by electricbarbarella on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 02:52:06 AM EST

Get a safe deposit box at your local bank (you should have one anyway), then put your letter/package in there, tightly sealed and with a note on it telling you when to open it.

Granted, this method only works if you have marginally good willpower, but since it's in your bank's vault, you won't have to look at it very often.

-Andy Martin, Home of the Whopper.
Not everything is quantifiable.
Law Firm (4.00 / 2) (#18)
by SEWilco on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 09:09:57 AM EST

In SF stories, the traditional way to have a message delivered to the future has been to leave sealed envelopes with law firms, sometimes multiple firms. Some of the stories refer to past corporate mergers...of course the stories tend to only report successful messages to the future, as lost messages tend to not make good stories.

The big question... (none / 0) (#21)
by Crashnbur on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 04:14:04 PM EST

The big question for me is what happens if the company shuts down before they deliver your message.
That was the only concern I had with it... Otherwise, it seems pretty interesting. I don't think I'm going to try it, though. If this took off and was flooded with future messages to be sent, imagine the problems with potential bandwidth caps in the future... delayed messages, downtime... your message could be ten minutes late and it could cost a life. Or several. Oh, the potential!

crash.neotope.com


It's not for email. (none / 0) (#22)
by John Milton on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 04:26:46 PM EST

They deliver snail mail. They keep it in their warehouse until the date you want it sent.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
Another way to do this... (none / 0) (#24)
by grifter17 on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 01:23:15 AM EST

Instead of storing the message in a vault or entrusting it with someone, you could encrypt a message using fairly weak encryption (perhaps RSA at sub 200 bits?) that would take you too long to crack now but only take a matter of hours 10-15 years from now.

This might even work as a digital "time capsule" for someone to send a message hundreds of years in the future if you choose higher bits of encryption.

Mail from the past | 24 comments (19 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!