"Après 30 ans d’existence, le Minitel s’apprête à tirer sa révérence. Les plus jeunes ne verront même pas de quoi il est question, mais ceux qui étaient au collège ou au lycée dans les années 90 s’en rappelleront peut-être pour avoir recherché dessus leurs résultats aux examens du brevet ou du bac. Le Minitel, ou l’ancêtre d’internet ! Invention 100 % française, le 1er réseau dans l’histoire des télécommunications à permettre la “connexion de terminaux permettant la visualisation de données informatiques” disparaîtra le 30 Juin 2012, et avec lui la machine à l’origine du fameux “36-15″. Définitivement la fin d’une époque.
After 30 years of existence, the Minitel is preparing to take its final bow. The youngest will not even see what it is about, but those who were in college or high school in the 90s will remember perhaps have looked over their test scores. The Minitel, or the ancestor of the Internet ! 100% French invention, the first network in the history of telecommunications to allow ”terminal connection to visualization of computer data” will draw his bow on June 30, 2012, and with it the machine behind the famous “36 - 15 “. Definitely the end of an era."
(Vincent Laserson, 31 May 2012, De Jeunes Gens Modernes)
"The cyberSM project was an attempt to create a real time, visual, auditory, and tactile communication in the world of cyberspace. In the first cyberSM experiment, the user began to experience what others have only talked about for years: live, tactile communication through a computer environment. The CyberSM project expanded upon text based virtual environments, such as Minitel, MUDs, or most BBSs. It also takes the next logical step toward true telepresence by employing 3D graphics, live audio, and direct physical stimulation to allow participants to physically 'touch' each other over distances.The cyberSM project allows the establishment of trans_gender appearances, identities and entities by letting the participants choose their own visual appearance from a large databank of digitized human bodies. Once chosen, the participents send the image of their virtual self to the others on the network. The body thus becomes a visual fantasy.Central to the cyberSM project is the ability to transmit physical stimuli from one participant to the other. This is made possible through the use of stimulator suits connected over international telephone lines, which allow the users to remotely stimulate one-another's bodies. Not only does this physical element of communication allow the CyberSM project to more closely model inter-human communication, it creates a new form of interaction. Throughout the cyberSM connection, participants have a physical dialogue, but they remain anonymous the whole time."
"There now are 7 million 'Minitels' in France. They provide access to one in every five French households -- and to any French post office patron and to workers in most French offices -- to over 26,000 on-line services, ranging from computer dating and home banking and shopping to government services and library catalogs. The original 'Minitel' was a little plastic TTY terminal with a slide-out keyboard, connected to a normal telephone line using a special 'V23 bis' standard. These little 'boxes', as they still are called, were distributed for free with normal telephone service by the government-owned France Telecom, beginning in 1982. Since then other hardware models have developed, now including sophisticated desktop computer versions and even a laptop. Free, and freely-copiable, Minitel terminal emulation software also has been distributed globally by France Telecom for years now, so that to the established plant of 7 million 'Minitels' actually have been added several million additional access points. Commercial providers also have added to the total with enhanced emulation programs."
Jack Kessler (1995). "Is There Digital Life Outside of the "US ASCII" Internet? A Challenge or Convergence?" D-Lib Magazine, December 1995