Sunday, October 12, 2008

Maybe getting French isn't so bad.

Sorry for the posts being so sporadic, life has been a changing. New job, personal dramas and now I am in NYC for some Car Free bliss. The news this week is that the French have been on a tear, cleaning up on the Nobel prize front (so have the Japanese). The French get a bad rap here in the U.S. but there are some things we can learn from them. Now, I'm not talking Nobel quality stuff, but something more pedestrian and that's the Phone Book. In France, they have had a system called Minitel that has all be replaced the phone book, it seems quaint now with the internet except for the fact that a few days ago while I was doing some email from home, I heard a huge thud outside more door, and low and behold it's my annual paperweight of a phone book. Now I never even look at a phone book anymore, or rarely mostly to find a taxi (ever try to find a local taxi phone number on the internet, it's hard makes no sense) So we have millions of trees being wasted for something where a viable alternative exists.

Question, why is it in the U.S. that the yellow pages not been replaced. The obvious gut answer is economics since it is still a revenue source for the Phone Companies. Not sure that is true. Maybe habit. Someday I would like to see a reasonable alternative to the paper phone book. You can distribute black and white terminals running lynx or some text browser and do ok.

So the French are again the top of the intellectual heap (for this time) maybe it started because they got rid of phone books.


At 12:02 PM , Anonymous james said...

Nice site - I and many other bloggers are constantly annoyed at getting this litter and heaps of trash at our doorsteps - sometimes several times a year. I realize some people do still want the phone book - but it should be strictly opt it.

I don't want it, and I don't use it - and for companies to deliver it - and use MY circulation number as an advertising figure (after I just throw it away) is ridiculous

Check out my latest article - and some older ones linked at the bottom

also Minnesota blogger Ed Kohler has written some posts -and gone back and forth with YP industry lobbyist Ken Clark

For us folks I agree - its just plain wasteful

At 4:28 PM , Blogger kenc said...

Once again James has misinformed you. In the French system the MINTEL eliminated the WHITE PAGES, not the Yellow Pages.

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