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It's not unusual for parents to hand things on to their children when they die.
Sometimes it's a property, sometimes it's cash and sometimes it's something even more important and valuable -- it's the personal things, the collections the items by which those who have passed away will always be remembered by their children and perhaps their children's children.
One of the most valuable items I can think of is a collection of photographs and perhaps the books most oft-read or treasured by a partner, loved-one or parent.
Last century, the handing down of such things from one generation to another was a fairly easy task. Most people had a shoe-box or albums crammed full of snapshots, family portraits and other imagery. Likewise, there was nearly always a bookcase (or ten), containing shelves, lined with the most worthy, interesting and sometimes eclectic of volumes.
Then there were the stacks of 45s, LPs, CDs tapes and other media, a catalyst for memories of good times shared together.
Unfortunately, it seems that the transition from physical media to digital data may mean the end to receiving such "treasures" as an inheritance.
How do you pass on your collection of DRMed digital downloads to your children?
What about all those DRM'd ebooks that are registered only to you?
What about your iTunes account -- can that (and its entitlements) be part of a bequest made by way of someone's last will and testament?
And all those images that document a lifetime -- how do you pass them on?
Back a few decades, those images were in hardcopy, printed onto high-quality photographic paper that would last a century or more. Today they're more likely burnt to a CDR or DVDR, or perhaps just flashed to a USB drive. None of these media have anything like the lifespan of those old photos.
Even today's photographic printing techniques seem to produce images that just don't have the longevity of the older versions. Snapshots hastily printed at a DIY kiosk in The Warehouse seem to fade far more quickly than the old Kodachrome prints.
Of course we could simply store everything in "the cloud" and just hand on our passwords to our kids - but that would require some clever management.
We really don't want *everything* we might keep a copy of to fall into the hands of our children - do we? :-)
I'm sure such services already exist, but I'm picking that a good business opportunity exists in the market for "digital bequeathment services". A kind of cloud where you can lodge those bits of digital data that you wish to pass on to your kids or grandkids.
Part of such a bequeathment could be the cost of delivering that service to the next generation so they also can pass on their most cherished memories to their children in turn.
How do readers intend to pass on such things to their kids -- or will they simply not bother?
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