The Null Device

The story of Minitel, France's idiosyncratic national online service, hailed as a world leader in the 1980s, now seen as embarrassingly dated by some, yet still a source of national pride to many French users.
Just as anti-globalisation campaigner José Bové tapped into a rich French vein of resentment for many things Anglo-Saxon and for lousy American food in particular when he vandalised a McDonald's restaurant last year, so Minitel need not politely defer to the internet. Just yet. Dominique Lamiche of France Télécom says: "We'll always have people who prefer to buy a train ticket on the Minitel because it's fast and one knows how to manage it. You don't need the internet's animated pictures to buy a simple train ticket."

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