Get off my cemetery lawn
August 1, 2011 9:55 AM   Subscribe

For a mere $65, headstone maker Quiring Monuments will add a QR barcode to a cemetery headstone and run a linked web site for five years. A Seattle cemetery manager says he is considering adding the codes to historical monuments and even trees.
posted by grouse (54 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
C to the R to the E E P Y.
posted by item at 10:01 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Love this. Great idea. Remembering the dead 2.0.
posted by nickyskye at 10:06 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, 5 whole years? that's practically forever! I'll take two!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:06 AM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Let's just say, this is not what I want my tombstone to look like.
posted by Jahaza at 10:06 AM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


My children will have to convince my grandchildren that taking their smartphones activating their neuro-visual link to the OmniBrain is disrespectful at the cemetery. The fact of the matter being that Grandpa's friends got the email activated by his dead man's switch and made sure the QR code linked to goatse.
posted by griphus at 10:07 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, but the designer who built the site must be buried alive in the tomb with me, so that no living man may know the secrets of my CSS.
posted by PlusDistance at 10:07 AM on August 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


Maybe if you link it here, they'll pay for your burial.

What do you want on your tombstone?

posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:08 AM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just point the QR to a copy of my Excite profile, that'll surely be around for another hundred years.
posted by wcfields at 10:09 AM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


What do you want on your tombstone?

peperony and chease
posted by griphus at 10:09 AM on August 1, 2011 [18 favorites]


This happens, and after a few years and a handful of takers, he drops the undertaking (heh.) Five years after the closing date, the last site goes offline. Between then and now, this becomes easy joke fodder ("Dead web sites" and such) and people har-har about it a bit. The humor doesn't last, however, because these things are in graveyards, and people aren't typically in laughing moods when they're visiting.

Inside of five years, nobody remembers when these things were put on the gravestones. In ten years, people don't remember them at all; their eyes pass over them without noticing them. In forty years, long after some other bar code system has replaced this one, people think "oh, look at that decoration, it looks kind of like a bar code."

A hundred years from now, it is assumed to be an uncommon but not unique gravestone decoration, one not even compared to a barcode. Then, in 2137, someone doing historical research discovers an example of the same decoration on a product picture, starts digging, and discovers what the truth is. They write it up in an obscure paper and nobody notices.

'Round about 2183, some college kids studying cryptography theorize that they're codes of some kind, data encrypted in some old method, and they crack it -- ultimately generating a sequence of letters, numbers and slashes that doesn't mean anything to them. After several years, the fringe group of amateur and professional cryptographers become reasonably famous in academic circles, and someone finds the 2137 paper. The mystery of what the codes were for is solved, but the mystery of what now-lost information was available on the websites becomes the primary activity associated with these particular cryptographers, and their inquiries for data leave their traces all over the historical records.

Four hundred years later, the name cryptographer has become synonymous with people attempting to hunt down information about the long-dead, and what we used to know as cryptography has become widely known as encryptology, to differentiate it from those concerned with the grave.

So I'm okay with this!
posted by davejay at 10:09 AM on August 1, 2011 [57 favorites]


Let's just say, this is not what I want my tombstone to look like.

That is a rather Kafkaesque monument.
posted by grouse at 10:14 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


WANT. I'd make a wonderful scavenger hunt/geocache game/secret society that began and ended at my gravesite. Each stop along the way would have a memento mori for someone I loved during my life and at the end of the game, all my friends could gather at the gravesite for a farewell party.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 10:15 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


My friend says this site sets off WOT...
posted by azarbayejani at 10:16 AM on August 1, 2011


Interesting idea, but come on, 5 years is nothing in historical terms. Improve the offer!
posted by Miko at 10:19 AM on August 1, 2011




this is not what I want my tombstone to look like. --- This, on the other hand, would be an awesome tombstone.
posted by crunchland at 10:28 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]




I'm not sure the QR code will be everlasting. The new think is NFC (near field communication).
posted by fightoplankton at 10:36 AM on August 1, 2011


From babby's link: Nevermind the advertisers who have been putting QR codes on their ads underground -- such as on the NYC subway -- where there is no Internet connectivity at all.

what
posted by griphus at 10:37 AM on August 1, 2011


Yeah, that's stupid.
posted by babby╩╝); Drop table users; -- at 10:39 AM on August 1, 2011


The QR code is dead. --- What the hell do you want for $65? A pyramid at Luxor?
posted by crunchland at 10:41 AM on August 1, 2011


The QR code is dead.

So ... what's on its gravestone?
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:45 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


AOL Keyword: RIP
posted by griphus at 10:50 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


So ... what's on its gravestone?

#RIP #QRSUX #AnotherLongScalziTagForComedicEffect
posted by eriko at 10:51 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


What do you want on your tombstone?

Here lies BUTT.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:55 AM on August 1, 2011


Stop early adopters, and consider my stone
I heeded the lure of the next-gen smartphone
to type in a URL was just so "'97"
But the QR sleeps now with the CueCat in heaven

posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:00 AM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Awesome.

At the Platinum Subscription Level, the service should send spiders* out across the Internet to pick up each and every trace of the deceased's virtual corpse, and deliver it to the online reliquary.

-------------------
*or worms, if you prefer.
posted by notyou at 11:01 AM on August 1, 2011


Only 5 years? I wonder how much the Catholic Church would want for Perpetual Care of a grave website - they've got experience doing it for the New Orleans tombs, after all.
posted by dragoon at 11:02 AM on August 1, 2011


Could always cement in a USB flash drive into the headstone.
posted by wcfields at 11:03 AM on August 1, 2011


I like the idea of a gravestone pointing to a website. The purpose of cemeteries is, after all, memorial, and I can see it as being both therapeutic for the survivors to have a place to store digital memories and facts about the deceased and useful for future family members who wish to learn more about their ancestors.

However, as babby above points out, the QR code is not guaranteed to be an ongoing code (it doesn't seem to have really taken off in any way), and maintaining the site for five years? As opposed to the gravestone, which is maintained in perpetuity? The facts of the dead will long outlive the marker, and continue to interest the family long after anyone who would regularly visit the grave will have been laid to rest by their side. I realize there is no way to guarantee that a web address will have any staying power, but five years? And a code that could quickly become outdated? It feels rather half-assed.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:08 AM on August 1, 2011


Here lies andy.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:12 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


But the QR sleeps now with the CueCat in heaven

Funny thing about the CueCat: if you cracked it open and led a wire around the chip they used for encrypting the barcode info, you got yourself a perfectly serviceble barcode scanner.
posted by griphus at 11:13 AM on August 1, 2011


Oddly, one of my first jobs as a programmer was a website with a very similar business model. It was to provide an online memorial and guestbook for the deceased. This was 1998, we were a bit ahead of our time.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:23 AM on August 1, 2011


It just occurred to me that I have comments on this site that are older than five years. I'm not quite sure how I came to this conclusion, but I might be posting from beyond the grave.
posted by davejay at 11:28 AM on August 1, 2011


It is in part because of things like this that more and more people are choosing to be cremated and having their ashes tossed. Will they give you a special price if you opt for 25 year renewal?
posted by Postroad at 11:35 AM on August 1, 2011


Gravestones are "stone" because we like the idea of eternity. Thus any online presence has to have similar granite-like lasting "forever" properties. ("forever" is relative, even gravestones start to disappear after a few hundred years). So how to ensure an online presence "forever"?

1. It can't be a business since they don't last. It has to be a trust or some other legal entity maintained by a law firm. Such as created in a will.

2. Barcodes are a bad idea for a number of reasons. Plain URL carved in granite works fine. URL's may disappear with new technology (IPv8?) but will most likely remain backwards compatible to the new technology.

3. Maintaining the cost of the domain name and web site is what the trust fund does. It has enough money to ensure the $20/yr fee is paid "forever" plus legal fees ($10,000 seed money would do it since interest on that money would keep it going).

That would do it. The law firm would ensure your web site memorial stays active forever, paid for by the memorial fund. If the law firm goes out of business it sells/gives the trust to another firm. It's like a virus.
posted by stbalbach at 11:44 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


How our business worked. We didn't do direct sales, it was sold by funeral directors as part of a package. A significant portion of sales were "pre-need", that is to say a funeral packaged purchased ahead of time, if I bought my own funeral package I might actually pay for somerthing like this, my next of kin? not so much. So funeral directors sold the service and would simply contact us about setting up the online memorial, so there was nothing the loved ones of the deceased had to do. The site ended up getting sold to a giant funeral services conglomerate I believe, but well after I bailed.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:52 AM on August 1, 2011


REMEMBER ME!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:32 PM on August 1, 2011


What do you want on your tombstone?

At the very bottom, in tiny, tiny print:

LOOK BEHIND YOU
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:35 PM on August 1, 2011


What do you want on your tombstone?

Death: 1
...Ego: 0
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:49 PM on August 1, 2011


If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and aim your scanner at some homely URL.
posted by benzenedream at 1:18 PM on August 1, 2011


Memorial websites are a big thing in the Philippines... and elsewhere also, I discovered when I tried to find an example on Google:

http://www.memory-of.com
http://www.virtual-memorials.com
http://www.muchloved.com
http://www.last-memories.com
http://www.respectance.com
posted by subdee at 1:21 PM on August 1, 2011


I sell gravestones. Mine will say, "Avenge my death!"
posted by ColdChef at 2:01 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


I want mine to say "He never died," and the grave to be open, with an open, empty coffin inside.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:19 PM on August 1, 2011


I backed myself up in lossless already, so I'm good.
posted by brain_drain at 2:31 PM on August 1, 2011


Also, I made a shirt design with a QR code on it that goes to my website. I thought it was a cool idea too, but I can't sell those either, and they're far cheaper than tombstones, so good luck, asshole.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 4:01 PM on August 1, 2011


"I regret nothign!"
posted by ODiV at 6:34 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


What if I want the QR code on my tombstone to point to goatse or 2girls1cup?

I'm sure I could set up a trust via a lawyer to pay the $15 yearly hosting bill in perpetuity for a cheap mirror of goatse at some bulk hosting ISP. For shared server hosting you can get some ridiculously large quota of GB/month and disk space for $2.95 a month...
posted by thewalrus at 9:30 PM on August 1, 2011


I knew there'd be a reason I'd want the 3G over the WiFi-only, damnit.
posted by june made him a gemini at 11:11 PM on August 1, 2011


But what if you forget to renew the domain name? Imagine the mortification.

I plan on having my photo laser-etched on my tombstone. Can't go wrong.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:56 AM on August 2, 2011


But what if you forget to renew the domain name? Imagine the mortification.

I see what you did there.
posted by grouse at 6:57 AM on August 2, 2011


I like it. I want gravestones communicating to me wirelessly when I stroll through a cemetery. You look through your pad screen at the cemetery and it shows you the same stones but colored to indicate relationships. Tap one stone on your screen and that person's family and friends are highlighted. Download genealogies, biographies, video, any sort of digital time capsules the dead people (or their families) want others to have. Upload messages you want to leave behind. Have everyone in your church record themselves singing certain hymns so people can put the voices together and hear whole choirs of dead congregants singing from the grave.
posted by pracowity at 7:46 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cemetery as augmented reality theme park.
posted by crunchland at 7:50 AM on August 2, 2011


I like it. I want gravestones communicating to me wirelessly when I stroll through a cemetery. You look through your pad screen at the cemetery and it shows you the same stones but colored to indicate relationships. Tap one stone on your screen and that person's family and friends are highlighted. Download genealogies, biographies, video, any sort of digital time capsules the dead people (or their families) want others to have. Upload messages you want to leave behind. Have everyone in your church record themselves singing certain hymns so people can put the voices together and hear whole choirs of dead congregants singing from the grave.

Technically, they already do this; as you walk by tombstones, all you have to do is look at them to get information about who lies there, when they died, when they were born, and in some cases see pictures of what they looked like.

THE PAST IS THE FUTURE.
posted by davejay at 10:40 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older The Critic online? It stinks!   |   His noodly appendage, Eastern edition Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments