Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hi, I'm Alan Burnett And I Just .....

Take a look at the New York Times obituary of the American humorist Art Buchwald and you will see something rather strange. Yes, its a video of Art B which starts with the words "Hi, I'm Art Buchwald and I just died". According to a programme I was listening to this morning on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp) this is all part of a new trend towards interactive and participative obituaries and memorials. Microsoft is seemingly working on a videopod - powered by solar energy - which can sit on the top of your gravestone and display still and video clips of key events in your life. I know this sounds daft and I would normally consign it to the "stories someone made up in a dull moment which everybody now believes" file if it was not for some independent verification of this new trend. As regular readers will be aware, I am disproportionately fond of reading obituaries. The more obscure and far distant the subject, the more I like them. I recently managed to tune my RSS reader so that it would automatically download each day the obituaries from the Aberdeen News (that's Aberdeen in South Dakota in the USA). Intrigued by one such obituary I decided to visit the Funeral Home (OK virtually visit) and maybe sign the on-line book of condolence ("I didn't know Jim but he has left a lasting impression on a resident of Huddersfield West Yorkshire"). However I was directed to another website called memory-of.com (The Library of Life). Here you can have a website set up in memory of your nearest and dearest complete with photo albums, videos, music and the ability for people - for just a few cents - to light a virtual candle in your memory. As far as I know, nobody has caught onto this trend in the UK yet and I am determined to be first on the scene. The video camera is on the tripod ready. 3,2 1 .... "Hi, I'm Alan Burnett And I Just ....."

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