Sat Dec 28th, 2019 at 10:28:45 PM EST
I have been reading this book by Julien Mailland and Kevin Driscoll about France's Minitel system, which is universally unknown to Americans. Europeans will know that it was a system with basic terminals installed in homes and kiosks and businesses that allowed digital communication and services comparable to what we now know as the Internet. It was operational from 1983 to 2007, peaking in 1993.
The book gives a high level overview of the technical architecture, but not much in the way of details. The focus is on the social aspects of the system: how it was used and the impact on society as a result.
Also there is quite a bit of discussion about the implications of having a centrally managed and government regulated communication platform as compared to the Internet's decentralized and lightly regulated setup. One wonders whether the Internet's freedom will be its downfall: a serious breach of a national banking system or voting system or infrastructure system may induce a government clampdown on the current free-for-all.
The book is one of a series of "platform studies" from The MIT Press. I would rate it as a 7/10 because of the missing technical detail.