Updated 7.28am PST Saturday, following requests from readers, with details of the dead man and the full picture of the computer.
I wonder how many of you already know where you would like your ashes to live in perpetuity.
In a Cupertino parking lot, perhaps? Or strewn on the steps of a certain academy of sciences?
I only ask because it seems that a geeky man called Alan seems not to have wondered about this. With the result that his eternally powdered life is now being spent inside a SPARCstation computer.
One assumes this is what they call a SPARC of respect.
A Flickr member called Sam 3.14, who appears to be Alan's brother, explained on the site that it was he who decided to place Alan's ashes inside one of the most precious creations under the Sun.
Sam described it thusly on his Flickr page: "I kept the floppy drive cover but for space reasons removed the floppy drive, hard drive, and most of the power supply. I left behind the motherboard and power switch and plugs to keep all openings covered."
Which seems like a wise and brotherly gesture.
Sam continued: "The case worked quite well at his memorial party. His friends and family were able to leave their final good-byes on post-it notes. Anyone who wanted to keep their words private could just slip their note into the case through the floppy slot."
I would have liked to have had the chance to offer some private words myself. These might have included the words "brother" "slightly" and "nutty."
However, after an e-mail correspondence with Sam (who sent me Alan's obituary), I can reveal that not only is the story true, but that this was, indeed, a loving gesture.
The deceased's full name is William Alan Watson and his brother's name is Dave. At first Dave was concerned to preserve the privacy of Alan's daughters, but they now believe it's "kind of cool" that people should know this was their Dad.
What was also quite delightful about the SPARCstation is the inscription "Beam Me Up Scotty I'm Done Here," as these seem to have been some of Alan's last words.
Sam's fascinating mausoleum seems to have created an unintended consequence, however. As he puts it: "His daughters like the look of it so much they aren't now sure if they want to bury him."
So I wonder, please, would readers offer their ideas for an ideal ashen casket? Surely you might aspire to more than a SPARCstation? Something with an Apple logo, perhaps? Or would that be too expensive?