3.00 FYI France: Enewsletter and archive

by Jack Kessler, kessler@well.sf.ca.us

Sep 15, 1995 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on September 15, 1995. This particular issue originally was distributed in two parts, as indicated below.
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Versions of the following have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France enewsletter, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Enewsletter subscriptions may be obtained via email request to: kessler@well.sf.ca.us .

Here this file is one of a number made available -- hopefully attractively, all in one place, and relevant to libraries and online digital information work in France and Europe -- as part of FYI France (sm)(tm), an online service to which anyone can subscribe for 12 months by postal mailing a check for US $45 -- $35 until January 1, 1997 -- payable to Jack Kessler, to PO Box 460668, San Francisco, California, USA 94146 (site licenses also are available): please write your email address on the front of your check. Please email suggestions for improvements to me at kessler@well.sf.ca.us .

From: Jack Kessler 
Subject: France on the Internet -- telnet minitel.fr (15 Sep 95)

FYI France: France on the Internet -- telnet minitel.fr 

I would like to recommend to anyone interested in either France or the
Internet that they try: telnet minitel.fr , or  http://www.minitel.fr.

The French Minitel now offers -- to 20 million users -- 25,000 online
services, including online library catalogs, telephone directories,
political action groups, hotel and rental and home - buying services,
services for French trout fishing and mountaineering and pen - pal
clubs, and acres of retail selling. On the Minitel you can find and
reserve a book at the Bibliothe`que municipale de Lyon, argue about
poetry with the folks at Lisie`re, buy a chemise at Trois Suisses, and
shop for a lyce'e for your teenagers (or let them do it).

And now Minitel connects to the Internet.

>From any Internet account, using a Minitel account which you can obtain
from  telnet minitel.fr , you simply use telnet to get to all of the
above. Without a Minitel account you still can telnet in and try out a
free trial search service (option 8).

Some interesting 1994 Minitel statistics: to add to the worries of
those Internauts who still are trying to digest the magnitudes
mentioned above (20 million users and 25,000 online services sounds
perilously - close to our previously - assumed - to - be - the - most -
gargantuan Internet, doesn't it?) --

	6.5 million Minitel terminals

These are dedicated terminals, which you get in France with your
telephone. They are supplied by France Te'le'com and come in a variety
of models, ranging from plain little tty boxes, available at nominal
rates, to more expensive computers and even a laptop.

	600,000 personal computers using emulation software

This seems to be a suspect figure: my own guess is that it is many
times larger. The software has been distributed for free for several
years now, as "freely copiable"; so many hard disks not counted in the
above figure now have it, perhaps dialing in several - pcs - to - a -
single - Minitel - account, as has been the case with the Internet.

     	Traffic: number of hours:      110 million

        Traffic: number of calls:    1,913 million
     	Phone book: number of calls:   784 million

French phone book use is a subtotal here: the French phone book, being
called by telephone users in France, constitutes about 40% of total
Minitel calls -- something less than that in total connect hours, phone
book calls tending to be shorter than others. This still leaves a
respectable non - phone book total of 1,129 million calls in 1994.

	Total sales:       6.6 billion francs (exVAT) = $1.29 billion

This is a large industry. Any reliable figures yet on the dollar -
volume of Internet business? Any way of calculating same, in fact?
$1.29 billion makes Minitel a fair - sized service in anyone's economy.

	Provider payments: 3.1 billion francs (exVAT) = $ .61 billion

Some part of this total is what you get from the phone company in
France if you mount your own service on the Minitel. Some of it then
goes to your own overhead -- connection wholesalers, service bureaus,
and so on -- but Minitel service provision is becoming an increasingly
- lucrative profession, as newsgroup and "Forum" service provision is
becoming on the Internet.

The Minitel maintains a free multi - lingual services guide online, MGS
/ Minitel Guide des Services, which currently reports the details on
19,223 online services, among which now are the following:

some of the online library and other catalogs --

  | 1 |3617 BIBENSPTT             
      |Catalogue des ouvrages du reseau
      |documentaire de l'ENSPTT.
  | 2 |3617 BIUP                  
      |Bibliotheque Inter-Universitaire
      |de Pharmacie : catalogue, prts.
  | 3 |3615 BPI                   
      |Catalogue et infos de la Biblio-
      |theque Publique de Beaubourg.
  | 4 |3615 CHINEINFO             
      |Infos economiques, politiques et
      |culturelles sur la Chine.
  | 5 |3614 MEDVIL                
      |Catalogue de la Mediatheque de
      |la Villette (acces restreint).

  [etc.]

and some of the online commercial book services --

  | 1 |3615 123LIVRE              
      |Livre-Livre : catalogue et com-
      |mande de livres,disques,videos.
  | 2 |3615 1LIBRAIRIE            
      |Alir : recherche et commande de
      |livres. Idem 3615 ALIR.
  | 3 |3615 ALAPAGE               
      |Livre-Livre : catalogue et com-
      |mande de livres,disques,videos.
  | 4 |3615 ALCYONE               
      |Catalogue et commande de livres,
      |disques et objets esoteriques.
  | 5 |3615 ALIR                  
      |Alir : recherche et commande de
      |livres. Questions/reponses.

  [etc.]
      

A bug? and a question -- the project is "en cours":

I cannot get the "F7" or "page down" functions, which correspond to
"suite" on the standard Minitel, to work on my laptop: F1 and F2 work,
but the others don't. Much also is missed for lack of the color and
alpha - numeric graphics of Minitel, in a vt100 telnet session: these
are supplied via an emulator, available from France Te'le'com, which I
will get and test for its easy operation in Windows95 (has anyone done
this? I'd like very much to hear if you have) and report on later.

One general observation:

Some time ago, echoing the thoughts of many others, I suggested here
that the technologies of Minitel and the Internet would be merging. The
report made here bears witness to this trend. There still are great
underlying differences between the giant Internet and the at - least -
as - gargantuan Minitel. But, increasingly, these differences are
becoming transparent to the user. If I can telnet to the Minitel from
the middle of my daily email session on the WELL...

What this portends for the technology, and for networked information
generally, could be even more enormous than its component parts
hitherto have been: global villages which now span the Atlantic,
increased international information - sharing and general prosperity
and happiness -- also vastly increased net security problems, multi -
lingual information overload (imagine that! and you thought it was bad
just in English!), multi - cultural pornography possibilities, and a
propensity to overload routers which suddenly has doubled, and all this
before MicrosoftNet really has gotten started.

But it still is neat at last to be able to flip -- quickly and easily,
cutting and pasting in Windows95 on my laptop -- from my morning email
to the Bibliothe`que municipale de Lyon online catalog, and back again.

XXX

XXX


FYI France (sm)(tm) e - newsletter        ISSN 1071 - 5916

      *
      |           FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic newsletter,
      |           published since 1992 as a small - scale, personal,
      |           experiment, in the creation of large - scale
      |           "information overload", by Jack Kessler. Any material
     / \          written by me which appears in FYI France may be
    -----         copied and used by anyone for any good purpose, so
   //   \\        long as, a) they give me credit and show my e - mail
  ---------       address and, b) it isn't going to make them money: if
 //       \\      if it is going to make them money, they must get my
                  permission in advance, and share some of the money
which they get with me. Use of material written by others requires their
permission. FYI France archives are at  http://infolib.berkeley.edu
(search for FYIFrance), or via gopher to  infolib.berkeley.edu 72
(path: 3. Electronic Journals (Library-Oriented)/ 6. FYIFrance/ , or
http://www.univ-rennes1.fr/LISTES/biblio-fr@univ-rennes1.fr/ (BIBLIO-FR
econference archive), or via telnet to  a.cni.org , login  brsuser
(PACS / PACS-L econference archive), or at  http://www.fyifrance.com .
Suggestions, reactions, criticisms, praise, and poison - pen letters       
all will be gratefully received at  kessler@well.sf.ca.us .

        Copyright 1992- by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved.    

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Last update: January 12, 1997.