Sat, Aug 18, 2012 - Page 10 News List

French bid ‘adieu’ to Minitel, the France-Wide Web

This file photo taken in Issy-les-Moulineaux, outside Paris, France in 1979 shows a woman posing next to a Minitel prototype.

Photo: AFP

France recently pulled the plug on the Minitel, a home-grown precursor of the Internet that brought online banking, travel reservations and even sex chats to millions a decade before the World Wide Web.

In a country where resistance to all things “Anglo-Saxon” runs deep, the Minitel evokes both pride at French technological prowess and regret that the country failed to capitalize on the commercial online network, launched in 1982.

By its peak in the late 1990s, some 25 million people in France were using Minitel’s 26,000 services, ranging from checking the weather to buying clothes and booking train tickets.

Originally designed by France Telecom as an online directory to save paper, the Minitel was a drab, box-like terminal with a keyboard that used ordinary telephone lines to transmit information.

But like France’s national pop icon Johnny Hallyday — once dubbed “the greatest rock star no-one has ever heard of” — the Minitel never caught on outside the country.

For the mushroom-colored box, however, this is not the end of the road. Some 90 percent of the terminals will be recycled in southwest France, with their plastic casing turned into car bumpers and metals reclaimed from the electronic components.

(Liberty Times)








1. capitalize on v. phr.

善用 (shan4 yuan4)

例: She capitalized on her knowledge and experience to get a new and better paid job.


2. catch on v. phr.

變得流行 (bian4 de2 liu2 xing2)

例: I wonder if the game will ever catch on with young people?


3. the end of the road n. phr.

窮途末路;到此為止 (qiong2 tu2 mo4 lu4; dao4 ci3 wei2 zhi3)

例: A loss in the primary elections will mean the end of the road for his campaign.



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