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Tuesday, May 18 12:00 AM EDT

Hardware Manufacturers Require Living Wills for Gadgets

By Brian Briggs

Sunnyvale, CA - Technophiles have created living wills for their computers and electronic gadgets voluntarily, but now some hardware manufacturers are requiring a hardware living will before consumers can buy the items.

"Software manufacturers have their EULAs for how their software can be used. We needed an equivalent in the hardware world," said Electronic Association of America President Quentin Berg.

AMD requires living wills for buyers of its Athlon 64 FX chips. "We don't want to put our chips through years of pain in some computer that's just surfing the Internet and reading e-mail. We want it to be able to put itself out of its misery," said AMD CEO Mark Chilton.

Willie Bang, grandson of Bang and Olufsen founder Peter Bang, created the first electronics living will when he discovered a friend using his top of the line stereo system to play nothing but John Denver LPs. Bang went straight to an attorney and had a living will for the stereo system drawn up. The stereo was put down a few days later.

Hardware living wills are not just to protect the hardware, but also protect the consumer. It keeps the consumer from letting love for an electronic device sway their decision making.

John Cameron loved his Commodore 64 so much that he could not bear to throw it away, or even to let it sit in a box in his basement. He modified the device, and now it is a small web server. One night, however, John's wife pulled the plug.

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Cynthia Cameron said, "I read its living will, and I don't think the C64 wanted to go on like this, with all those tubes and wires sticking out of it. John just could not let it die. I had to step in to abide by its wishes."

Many hardware sites are providing online forms for owners to fill out.

These wills can be used for when a person dies, when they are away on vacation or when they have lost all sense of good taste.

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