Adieu, Minitel. Sniff
Reading through this morning’s news bulletin from Riviera Radio, I came across a piece, alongside the articles about the Euro zone and Jérome Kerviel, informing us all that on Saturday 30th June 2012 the famous French Minitel service will be definitively cut after 30 years of service.
While working in IT in the 1990s, I learnt that one of the reasons why France took a while to get on to the bandwagon of the World Wide Web and on-line services was that they had pioneered on-line banking, travel and porn with the Minitel.
Minitel – a stand-alone Televideo terminal – is (soon will be was), as far as I was concerned, a glorified teletext system (probably because of the block graphics). I never caught on with me but the French loved it. I remember seeing it in the house when I went on holiday when I was young, and when I moved to France we had one where I worked (I would definitely not have had one at home).
The French gave the world great technology, like ATM networking and the Minitel, and it impressed me how long it had lasted – probably because of its prevalence and that older people would be more comfortable with it than with the WWW.
It is fascinating to see how far technology has come in the past 30 years.
Faxes have come and gone, as have VHS cassettes (a minute’s silence for Betamax please). We take IDD telephony for granted and we have gone from dial-up modems to ADSL and Fibre. Chunky, exorbitantly expensive cellular phones to today’s smart-phones. Game & Watch, anyone?
I had the privilege of being a Systems Analyst at the end of the 90s, and am pleased to say that we essentially got it right when our team got together to map out the evolution of technology and future needs (I think that the main thing we did not see coming was Social Networks).
Does anybody remember the film War Games?