A Digital Time Capsule

By on November 13, 2005

Someone at Forbes had a great idea, and made it reality:

Most time capsules involve cramming stuff into a metal box and burying it in a hole in the ground. It’s a method that works — but it’s so primitive. What if you could write an email to yourself, and be assured of receiving it twenty years in the future?

So from October 24, 2005 until November 30, 2005, you can create your own time capsule. Forbes will do what they can to ensure that your data will be around when it’s time to go, but of course, there’s no guarantee that the e-mail address you use now will be the same one you use in twenty years.

While this has probably been done before, and probably isn’t really all that difficult to set up on your own mail server, apparently Forbes is trying to set itself apart with the redundancy on the sending end, teaming up with Yahoo and Codefix Consulting.

I might give it a try, although I don’t know if I’d have much to say to a 20-year-older me that would be worth saying. I’m sure I’d forget all about it in the meantime, so if it worked that message would definitely come as a surprise.



  1. I was re-reading some Calvin and Hobbes yesterday. This post reminded me of the following two strips:

    First strip…

    Calvin: Ah! I got the letter I wrote to myself!

    Hobbes: What did you write?


    “Dear Calvin, Hi! I’m writing this on Monday. What day is it now? How are things going? Your pal, Calvin

    Calvin: My past self is corresponding with my future self.

    Hobbes: Too bad you can’t write back.

    Next strip…

    Calvin: I got another letter from my past self.

    Hobbes: What’s it say?


    Dear Future Calvin, I wrote this several days before you will receive it. You’ve done things I haven’t done. You’ve seen things I haven’t seen. You know things I don’t know. You lucky dog! Your pal, Calvin

    Calvin: sniff I feel so sorry for myself two days ago.

    Hobbes: Poor him. He wasn’t you.

  2. Ahh, Calvin! He’s the greatest!

    We’ve got several C&H books, and the scary thing is that they are my kids’ favorite thing to read. They get all kinds of wonderful ideas from him.

  3. It just occurred to me that it’d be kinda fun to combine this with the results from the Death Clock just to see if you’re still around when your day comes. If nothing else it’d tell you how accurate the Death Clock is.

  4. Of course, I would read the Death Clock/Future Email right away in the morning and be too scared to go to work that day.

  5. Actually — someone at Forbes thought FutureMe.org was a good idea, and decided to rip us off (full disclaimer: I created and still run FutureMe)

    Indeed, a writer for Forbes contacted us at FutureMe about incorporating FutureMe into a online feature…but then after establishing initial contact, never returned my e-mails and apparently decided to blatantly approproriate what we’ve been doing (quite well I might add) since 2002 — having already delivered some 50,000 e-mails, and with over 100,000 future mails already been written. And of course we also have the fun feature where you can make your public (and anonymous) mail public and browse through the hopes/dreams/fears of the net-going population.

    We at FutureMe are not so happy with these imposters at Forbes.

    And besides, do you really want a thoughtful and personal letter to yourself residing in the database of a publishing company owned by a guy who things a flat tax is a good idea? Sounds scary, if you ask me…

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