Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Mimsy Were the Technocrats: As long as we keep talking about it, it’s technology.

Half of the US will have videotex terminals by 2000

Jerry Stratton, July 25, 2014

A news blurb in the April, 1982, 80 microcomputing:

By 2000 A.D., videotext terminals will cost as little as $50, according to a study by the Institute for the Future, a California research and consulting group.

The concern also predicted 10 percent of the homes in the United States will have terminals by 1990—when the devices will sell for $200—and 40 percent by the end of the century.

According to the computer newspaper Infoworld, figures on videotext compiled at the end of 1981 reveal 42,000 U.S. and Canadian terminals were subscribing to Dow Jones, The Source and CompuServe; 150,000 U.K. terminals were receiving one-way CEEfax and Oracle teletext; and 10,500 terminals were interactive with 500 electronic publishers and 500 users in seven countries over Prestel’s international service.

This was not in the April Fools section, nor is it a simple change in terminology. In 1981, the “videotext terminal” was specifically a dumb terminal used for interacting with subscription services—and there were people who still thought the dumb terminal with network (dial-up, at the time) connectivity would be the mainstream version of the personal computer.

Another confusion is the use of the term “videotext” instead of “videotex”. The June/July 1982 80 micro had an editorial note in response to a reader comment that “It is our editorial policy… to spell videotext with a ‘t’ because, as best as we can tell, that is how the term was original spelled.”

In response to 80-Micro and the TRS-80, 1983-1984: I’m going through some old 80-Micro magazines, and two editorials a year apart caught my eye.

  1. <- Wayne Green’s future