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Old 31 Jul 2017, 07:08 AM   #1
TenFour
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Join Date: Feb 2017
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Email for Life?

A provider I rather like and use, POBox.com (owned by Fastmail), uses the slogan "Email for life." I rather like the idea, but I was thinking is that all we really need? When I pass I would like my heirs to be able to access my email, file storage, etc., but if for some reason my domain or email subscription has expired it will all be gone. I think of all the dire warnings I get from all the services that require monthly or annual billing, and occasionally how the loss or expiration of some credit card can throw everything off. If that happens to your domain and your email provider, poof, your life's digital history will be gone, and possibly more important will be the loss of messages concerning bills due, etc. I know that after my mother passed, who was not online at all, we received many important things in the mail for years afterward. For many of us today those items will be undeliverable with the loss of our digital identities. Everything in the cloud? What happens when you stop paying the bills for the service?
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Old 31 Jul 2017, 10:42 AM   #2
jeffpan
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prepay for 100 years, that would be for life.
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Old 31 Jul 2017, 01:44 PM   #3
odedp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TenFour View Post
What happens when you stop paying the bills for the service?
Don't stop!
I use both Fastmail (since 2000) and Pobox (since 2001) and always renew for 5 years.
My sons have access to my passwords, so I don't see the problem
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Old 1 Aug 2017, 08:09 AM   #4
TenFour
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Sure, renew for multiple years, but that doesn't help if you die the day before the renewal notice goes out and nobody realizes that your domains or cloud storage will expire, etc. Someone will chime in now and say that you just have to remember to renew when on your deathbed. Having been through the death of several family members I can tell you that it takes years to sort everything out and you may not know where everything is located in cyberspace.
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Old 1 Aug 2017, 10:01 AM   #5
jeffpan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TenFour View Post
Sure, renew for multiple years, but that doesn't help if you die the day before the renewal notice goes out and nobody realizes that your domains or cloud storage will expire, etc. Someone will chime in now and say that you just have to remember to renew when on your deathbed. Having been through the death of several family members I can tell you that it takes years to sort everything out and you may not know where everything is located in cyberspace.
I also had this question. for example, I have a domain name whose evaluated value is xxxxxx USD, after I died in the accident, who will take benifit of this domain name?
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Old 1 Aug 2017, 11:36 AM   #6
n5bb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffpan View Post
I also had this question. for example, I have a domain name whose evaluated value is xxxxxx USD, after I died in the accident, who will take benifit of this domain name?
If nobody else has access (password and information about who is hosting the domain records), the domain will just sit there directing requests to the designated DNS server. If your DNS host is also paid up, then websites and email accounts which are paid up will continue to operate (if the host stays in business and doesn't require a login to maintain operation). When the accounts are in arrears, eventually the domain NS records will not work, and the domain will be available to be purchased by someone else.

My personally owned domain registration expires in mid-2024 (when I will be 70 years old). If I become incapacitated before that date without communicating the details to someone else or renewing the registration, the domain will be returned to the registrar and could be sold to someone else. My last renewal was for a 9 year term, including hosting the domain records. The Fastmail email account linked to my domain expires in early 2020, so email will bounce then if that's not renewed.

It's hard to guess how long domains, websites, and email services as we know them will be around. I have used many computer-related technologies which are essentially obsolete and not generally available for sale. At the time, it wasn't obvious when these would become obsolete, and in general these disappeared much sooner than I would have expected at the time I was using them:
  • Acoustic coupler and direct tip/ring telephone line connection low baud rate modems (just barely useful today)
  • RS-232 serial data interfaces (just barely useful today for special uses)
  • Teletype Model 15
  • Teletype Model 33
  • TI Silent 700 teleprinter
  • NEC Spinwriter
  • A wide range of dot matrix printers
  • HP Laserjet and other early laser printers
  • Monochrome 80x25 CRT terminals (character only)
  • Color 80x25 CRT terminals (character only)
  • "Centronics" and similar parallel printer interfaces
  • IEEE-488 interface (still used, but nearly completely replaced by VISA LAN and USB connectivity)
  • Punched paper tape 5-level Murray/Baudot data storage (Teletype Model 14 & 15)
  • Punched paper/plastic tape 7-level ASCII data storage (Teletype Model 33)
  • Punched card
  • 9-track magnetic tape
  • "Kansas City standard" analog Compact Cassette magnetic tape data storage
  • Digital Compact Cassette magnetic tape data storage
  • 3M DC100 magnetic tape cartridge
  • QIC (Quarter Inch Cartridge) magnetic tape (3M DC300, etc.)
  • 8 inch floppy magnetic disk (in a wide range of formats)
  • 5.25 inch floppy magnetic disk (in a wide range of formats)
  • 3.5 inch inch floppy magnetic disk (in a wide range of formats)
  • DEC RK07 removable cartridge magnetic disk platters
  • Iomega Bernoulli disk 8-inch
  • Iomega Bernoulli disk 5.25-inch
  • Iomega Zip disk
There were many other I/O and media types used between 1970 and 2000, but these are just some of the ones I was around. I used most of these myself.

My point is that industry went through a wide range of computers, I/O systems, storage media, and data formats in the 30 years between the age of minicomputers (starting in around 1970) and what we think of as a modern PC (around 2000). Similarly, wide scale network connectivity (what we think of as the internet) has seen great changes in the 25 years since the World Wide Web was introduced and search engines became available.

So I'm not sure if domains (and email) as we know them will be around in a few decades.

Bill
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Old 2 Aug 2017, 05:32 AM   #7
TenFour
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Quote:
So I'm not sure if domains (and email) as we know them will be around in a few decades.
I'm not in the crystal ball business, but my guess would be that email and domains may last a lot longer than other technology you have listed. The reason being is that billions of people utilize these things as part of their identities all over the world making them more like names, street addresses, or the names of cities. Yes, protocols for identifiers do change over the centuries, but not so swiftly because they become built into the fabric of so many things. It might be more practical for each one of us to go by a number or possibly a unique coded chip embedded in us at birth, but we still find very useful the old and clunky family names such as John Smith. Very low tech but hard to abandon.

One odd thing with regard to the "email for life" is that there are some free services, like Tutonata, iCloud, and I think Migadu that offer free email and claim your address never expires, making those addresses more likely to last beyond the grave.
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