Since I am far nearer to needing such an app that most of my fellow technical writers, I was immediately attracted to iFuneral when I read about it today on Pocket-lint. I set out to review this free step-by-step guide to oblivion.
Sadly, iFuneral proved disturbingly frail and bombed out consistently to a mauve screen bearing the encouraging message: “Oops! Sorry, the App has encountered an error and cannot continue. GPS error! App is not Authorised for Location Services.” This is a particularly unhelpful note for the old dodderers the app is aimed at. I am made of sterner stuff, so I authorised iFuneral in order to explore further.
When I eventually got into the app I found it to be quite a decent little database and I suspect it could be quite useful, but only if you really want to plan for your demise on an iPhone. Still, it covers all the bases.
Annoyingly, looking up any of the sections leads to a screen with several options (burial, cremation, for instance) but with no way back without actually making a decision. This is bad. An exit button would be useful, but at my time of life I prefer call it a pre-exit button.
Blowing the last trumpet
Finally, I asked myself, how does anyone know that my testament is sitting on the sixth screen of the iPhone that fell off the cliff while in my pocket? Easy, use the “Send Details” option:
Once you press the “Send Details” button below, your details will be emailed to you and your next of kin. You must agree to the terms and conditions to do this.
So I pressed send, confident that iFuneral hasn’t a clue who I am or who might be remotely interested in my demise. Then I found an “About Me” section where you can add your own email and a “Next of Kin” form to add further addresses. It would be neat if this email could be generated precisely at the time of death, a sort of last blast of the trumpet, but perhaps this is expecting too much, location services or no location services.
Black bin bag
All in all, iFuneral is a fair effort and when I’m feeling a bit more jolly I shall complete all sections of the Wish List. I can even select the music from iTunes. I shall ponder the coffin style (casket, traditional, carboard, picture, woven) and wonder why it isn’t possible to add another option such as “black rubbish bag”. I shall choose clothes for the last call (white gown, blue gown, pink gown, own clothes).
Already I am entranced by the question on bereavement counselling (yes, I have, no thanks). I reckon I shall be ready for a bit of bereavement counselling when the time comes, even though I suspect I will be out of range.
Nearer my app to thee
This could well be the last app you ever need. Unless, of course, someone comes up with iHeaven. Meanwhile, iFuneral is free. You you might as well go ahead and plan your own.
by Mike Evans, 4 September 2012