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France's Minitel to be disconnected
If you have time, read this G-translated article about this dinosaur technology of another era.

The Minitel was a sort of a pre-internet.
The most surprising was that it was used by millions of french and absolutely nobody outside the french borders. It wasn't even extended to the french speaking countries around France.
In Belgium we live all these years with total ignorance of this thing.

The French did something that worked, incredibly popular but they couldn't export it.

Two reasons for that:

1/ Lack of Europe. French then thought french and bothered little about other countries.
They didn't think of technologies to extend it to foreign networks.
Today in the EU that would sound unthinkable. At this time it was normal. The EU made poeple think more internationaly.

2/ State-run company. The project was started before privatization. There were little incentive for a non public company still called the "Post, Telegraphs and Telephones" to do business.

The end of Minitel (G translated)

La fin du Minitel
So the net could have been maintained by France instead of the US?

Par Lez vous Francais? Qui! Bon voyage Fred!
Wow ... I never realized that Al Gore was French ... who knew??
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard."
-- Henry Mencken
I can't get the translated page to load up.
“Conservatism is only as good as what it conserves.” - Friedrich von Hayek -

Devices Minitel in the buildings of a company of recycling of Toulouse, on June 12th.
[Image: 2206-minitel.jpg]
It was thirty years ago. France inserted the world in the 21st century, and nobody – or almost – noticed it. In 1981 and 1982, two inventions of French origin offered a first impression of the future to us: the famous Train at High speed (TGV) and the Minitel. What???
The Minitel was a kind of national Internet before the hour. Well before the appearance of Facebook, Google and other Twitter, of the million French “were connected” already to find information, to hold their stays of vacancies, to discuss with the unknown ones or to mix with the riff-raff in line on (more or less) good account.

In 1985, the Minitel – kind of proto-computer to the sinister look which connected on a classical phone-line – was present in a million French hearths. At the end of the Nineties, nine million terminals was connected to some 25 000 services Minitel. Would the French thus have invented Internet? Not completely.
Of these two great innovations of the Eighties, it is most traditional – the TGV – which allured the most world. Although advances some over its time, the Minitel proved to be a technological dead end. It did not never take abroad and was exceeded in the Nineties by “the true” Internet “invented” in the United States.
At the end of June, the network will be disconnected, putting thus fine at a courageous attempt at French exceptionnalism. More surprising is still its longevity. Nearly 810,000 terminals are always in service in the country, the majority used by restive elderly people with the computers. The Minitel offers 1800 more services even if (ultimate affront) most people reach it by Internet.
The question of knowing if the Minitel - managed by France Telecom and its predecessor, postal and telecommunications authorities - were an accelerator towards the future or a cul-de-sac unfortunate was still not clear-cut. The gray case became the emblem of French resistance in a globalized world and under Anglo-Saxon domination.
It was often said that this French obsession for the Minitel delayed the conversion of the country with Internet. At all events, the Minitel proved to be a kind of technological Néandertal: a great progress of the evolution condemned to be exceeded by a more intelligent, more flexible and more aggressive cousin.
The Minitel was the first database general public in the world. The terminal – offered all to the subscribers free – was the first association of the keyboard/screen duet to invade the hearths of a country. The Minitel proposed transport where people could comment on world events on line or speak about their life well before the invention of the blogosphère. Had the Minitel even made emerge a shortened “language” preceding the language sms (“hello, t-piece ki? ”).

Compared to Web, the Minitel however had many limits. The terminal was not a computer, it could neither store nor to analyze information. It could not make either of “open” research on the network: it could connect you only to the one of the 25 000 services officially affiliated with the system. The subscriptions or the invoicing at the time of consumption – in particular for the “Blue message service” – could also cost very expensive.
The announced end of the Minitel causes a wave of reminiscences today and caused at least a confession. Gerome Nox, veteran of the pop Frenchwoman, admitted this week in Release having worked like “presenter” for the Blue message service under the name of “Julie”. Rare were the women to accept this kind of work, he explains. Result: most “hostesses” – paid a little more than 3 euros of the hour – were actually men. “It was comparable with a bench of famished piranhas, neither hello nor no civility, it was direct and raw”. After being itself seen that “its Julie” became “increasingly unpleasant, malicious and odious”, it revealed on line with its customers that it was in fact “a man to make just there inflate their invoice of telephone” and that they were made “well kiss, but not exactly as they would have wished”. The following day, it was returned.
The Minitel also had some rivals in other countries before the surge of Internet. There was Ceefax with the United Kingdom and NAPLPS in the United States, but neither one nor the other was also complete or effective only the Minitel. Sometimes on the American network, it was necessary to wait six minutes to post a simple page. France however never succeeded in exporting the technology of the Minitel. Very interested by this French invention in the Eighties, the United States finally never bought it. Then Internet arrived, in the Nineties. For everyone except for these obstinate of French, the future of information technologies passed by personal computers connected beyond the borders by waiters and search engines giving form to the Web.
Today still, certain French defend the superiority of the Minitel compared to Internet. There exists a Facebook group “for the return to the Minitel”. Certain elderly people like Claudette, 80 years, explain that they will be devastated by the disappearance of their small terminals. “I use it several times per week to audit my accounts, she declares. I have a small table on which my Minitel, my telephone and my responder are posed. Of what of other would need I?”

That made three years that Gérard Neyret campaigns for the maintenance of the Minitel. “One does not receive all these useless information as on Internet, he explains. There is no risk of virus or swindle. It was a remarkable invention”. It does not remain about it less than the last screens of Minitel will die out on June 30th. It will be about one historic moment, a little like the last horse-drawn carriage between Lyon and Paris or the last steam train between Marseilles and Calais. to comment on

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