While living in Vancouver I built a simple dead man's switch into WordPress that would publish a post and send a series of emails if I didn't login at least once during a 21 day period. This was done mainly because I wasn't sure if anyone would notice if I were to die in my apartment. With the nearest family member living almost five thousand kilometers away and most of my friends being online acquaintances, how long would it have been before someone reported me as missing? Sure, the boss might have called a few times, but I wasn't confident that he would instigate a missing person's case. Hence the perceived need for a dead man's switch.
Now that I'm married and living with somebody, the need for a dead man's switch is mitigated. That said, I still wonder if it would be worth making a function like this into Noteworthy with the following use cases in mind:
- a person is nearing the end of their natural life and they want to leave a "Good Bye" post afterwards without taxing their grieving family
- a person is traveling around the world and may be going through some rather dangerous places
- a person lives alone and want a precaution in the event something happens
There are several other good uses for a dead man's switch, and an effective implementation of this system could take care of them all. A single post could appear. A post with a bunch of emails could be sent. A series of secret documents a person was using as an insurance policy against the mob could be revealed. There really is no limit to what a function like this could help people achieve.
In my case, I would use this function to notify the world that I've either been incapacitated or pushed in front of a train. It wouldn't take much to build this into Noteworthy and then have Google search results for possible death notices pulled into the post results. Morbid? It is ... but I really don't think that my wife would sit down to put up a final post on my site saying that I've passed away, or send a Tweet on my account1.
The function will probably not be necessary for another 80 years2, but I will put it into the next release of Noteworthy.