Our theme song and episode music is by Breakmaster Cylinder. The New York Times on the death of the Minitel Jean Marc Manach on The Minitel (in French) Squarespace Framebridge [THEME] ALEX GOLDMAN: So PJ, you are not…much younger than me, but younger enough that you come from like a different internet generation than I do. ALEX: When I started using the internet it was like ‘91, ‘92 and it was sort of before the world wide web. PJ: I felt like so lonely and also I was like “yeah, I understand that.” ALEX: Wait, once she said that, did you realize what was happening? PJ: Don’t you also feel like we both had kind of typical experiences early on. When you wanted to use it, you plugged it into the telephone line, meaning you couldn’t use the phone at the same time. Here’s a French newscast from the Minitel launch: NEWSCASTER: Now, we’re going to talk about something that’s relevant to you, or at least, will be relevant to you very soon, in your daily life.
I would dial in to a local bulletin board there was…four phone lines and I would just get hours and hours of busy signals while everyone desperately jockeyed for one of those four phonelines and then I would connect and then my dad would get call waiting and fifteen minutes later I would get bumped off which was unbelievably frustrating. PJ: I have a memory of going into a chat room and talking to some adult woman who…I guess she was flirting with me but I didn’t understand flirting and she was like “hey, do you want to talk in a private chat room? PJ: I realized that I disappointed her in some way but it took me a long time to figure out how and why. Like, mine was lonely and alienated and yours was pop culture, weird stuff? It was unveiled yesterday by the Minister of Telecommunications, it was – the electronic phonebook! You could look up phone numbers and addresses – banking information, the weather, stock prices, things like that.
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