Posts Tagged ‘telecom’

Adieu, Minitel

June 29, 2012

Adieu, Minitel
On June 30th, its 30th birthday, France Télécom is hanging up on the Minitel videotexting system, whose monitors have been a fixture in French homes, offices, and post offices since 1982. The “France-Wide  Web” text-over-phoneline system replaced phone directories, displayed online news and information, and allowed electronic bill payments and other transactions (even virtual sex). Cellphone MSM texting and e-commerce on the Web now serve many of the same functions. Still, there is some mélancolie as the French say “Adieu Minitel, ami fidèle.”


Faxing: Big In Japan

June 10, 2012

Faxing: Big In Japan

59 percent of Japanese homes have fax machines.

“One reason is that computers, at the outset, never worked well for the Japanese. The country’s language — a mix of three syllabaries, with thousands of complex ‘kanji’ ideograms — bedeviled early-age word-processing software. Until the early 1990s, Japanese was nearly impossible to type. Even today, particularly for older Japanese people, it’s easier to write a letter by hand than with a standard keyboard. Japan also relies on seals, called ‘hanko,’ that are required for most official documents.”

“The government’s long-standing monopoly on phone lines kept high-speed digital Internet rates relatively high — particularly compared with South Korea, where the government promoted cheap broadband use.”

 — From “In Japan, fax machines remain important because of language and culture,” by Chico Harlan, Washington Post


“The Idea for the Fax Machine Has Been Around for 170 Years,” Matt Soniak, Mental Flosss


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Image (“Faxing Wishes for the Star Festival, after Toshikata”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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