Thursday, September 23, 2004

Cee U Next Thirty

Particularly proud of that headline. Faintly disgusting, but all in aid of Ceefax, which, as the Beeb notes, is celebrating thirty years' of glorious digitised service. Ceefax (think closed captioning, only souped up, and super-useful) was, like France's Minitel, one of those low-tech, slightly embarrassing, highly utilitarian information services that prove that the internet was a good idea before the technology came along to popularise it.

The Beeb's article suggested that it is an unwholesome addiction of the middle-aged (John Major, inter alia). But we suggest that it also has the potential to provide some much-needed stimulation in otherwise barren areas.

Gringcorp did not grow up with Ceefax, since we were raised in a liberal household that frowned upon spending more than about 150 pounds on a telly. We got into it when visiting our grandmother, who had precious little in the way of entertainment other than a ginormous telly. Now that all TVs have Ceefax, it has made it to our parents, and very grateful for it at Christmas we are too.

The non publicly-funded version, Teletext, which transmits alongside the commercial channels, has to support itself through hawking holidays and "premium" chatlines. Much less fun.


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