Four Candles for Metropole

photo: cafe bar balto

Fourth anniversary café is the Balto in Saint-Germain.

The Other Métro Provides Free Access

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 28. February 2000:- The weather has not changed much from last week: it is still playing its 'one day nice - one day not so nice.' Temperatures have risen a bit more, so on the 'nice' days it is nearly spring-like.

For as long as it lasts, Parisians and visitors are benefitting from this winter mildness. If you read the 'One Year, Two Years Ago' paragraphs at the bottom of this page, you will see that mildness is not uncommon in February.

A bit later on, if you are in Paris you will also probably notice that winter-like weather is not uncommon at Easter - although it will be late this year; on the fourth Sunday in April, a little more than a week before May Day.

Cadeau Metropole!

As we were about to part at Port Royal after a short 'looking for spring' tour of the Quartier Latin on Saturday - 26. February - Allan Pangborn assumed a formal posture to give the following speech:

"On behalf of all the readers of Metropole and virtual and real members of the Café Metropolephoto: street band, st germain Club, on the occasion of Metropole's 4th birthday, we offer you this gift."

I was surprised and touched. I knew this would be an anniversary issue, but wasn't particularly aware that Saturday was the actual day.

Spring in Saint-Germain, means street music for the terrassians at the Deux-Magots.

Metropole has never gotten any of the awards you often see displayed on other Web sites. I don't think the magazine has been nominated for any of these; not by me, not by readers. Around here this is considered just. Awards should only be given for a significant achievement somewhat more than merely being online.

If the turmoil of our times allows, if awards are still being handed out in 2006, Metropole will accept one and put it on a private shelf.

Thank you, all readers and your representative, Allan Pangborn. The two 32 Mo SIMM bars are something that I will really appreciate, and they will be a great benefit to Metropole.

About Your Online Magazine About Paris

Nominally, Metropole Paris first went online on Monday, 26. February 1996. The actual date was Friday, 23. February, but due to a change in Web-servers in July 1996, the date was changed to conform to the Monday issue-date.

All of Metropole remains online. Older issues have not been reformatted, so they look the way they were when they were made. As Metropole begins its 5th year, a rapid check says that it contains about 1950 Web pages.

The last report concerning Metropole's word database indicated that it has over a million references. I do not know how many images are contained in Metropole, but will guess that there are more than 8000.

In January, readers living in 75 countries accessed 1270 different Metropole pages. The magazine changed from a sub-domain to a 'Dot-Com' last September, so it is a bit unclear to me whether accesses to the old sub-domain addresses are being counted - possibly not, because the Web pages involved are on a different server at the Cadillac Ranch.

In other words, I do not how many readers Metropole has - regardless of the computers that may be trying to figure it out. These same machines sent me no numbers at all for December 1999 - was it the mythical 'Y2K' glitch?

'Cyberdeck' Cadeau RATP!

Without much fanfare Paris' transport authority, the RATP, installed four Internet terminals in their Port Royal RER 'B' station last August.

Offering free access and unlimited online time, this 'beta-test' has proved successful and now the RATP plansphoto: cyberdeck, port royal to install the stand-up 'Net centres in other stations. These will be at Denfert-Rochereau, Luxembourg and Châtelet-Les Halles; all on the same RER line 'B.'

On Saturday, Allan Pangborn 'tested' a 'Cyberdeck' at Port Royal. The units are equipped with touch-screens instead of 'mice' and they have French keyboard layouts, so these are two features that take a bit of getting used to.

Allan checks out a 'Cyberdeck' at the Port Royal RER station. He's using his left hand as a mouse.

While we were in the station, we ran into Bénédicte Vidal who was there to interview 'Cyberdeck' users for a tv-radio.com report. During the time Allan was checking his online accounts and catching up on news, Bénédicte and I interviewed each other.

This led to me taking a look at 'tv-radio.com,' which acts like an enabler for radio stations to broadcast online - with TV coming soon. To get the full effect of 'Net radio, you will need to have Apple's QuickTime version 4.1 installed, and a 56 K modem.

Tv-radio.com's software would also seem to offer independent radio producers a means of broadcasting, without using the government- regulated airwaves.

Another feature worth mentioning about the Cyberdecks is their ability to read plastic cards. So equipped, it means that a user could buy tickets to events, just to cite one possibility. The units are also outfitted with cameras, so eventual video communications may be possible.

I thought these might be useful for eyeballing 'beta-testing' users as well.

'Freedom for the Front Page' Booboo

The nickname for this is the 'Expo That Missed Its Deadline.' Last week I wrote that I tried to visit this Ville de Paris' exhibition, but was a week too early.

On checking, I discovered that 'Liberté à la Une' - Freedom for the Front Page' should have started last Monday. So I put this date into last week's 'Scene' column, with the mention that it continues until 15. May.

But the city's info magazine 'Paris Le Journal' didn't come out on time on the 15th of the month - or it didn't get delivered to the 14th arrondissement on time, so it was a week late when I got my copy.

And behold! Now the start date given for this 'Freedom of the Press' exhibition is given asphoto: restaurant smoke bar Tuesday, 29. February - and it is to continue until Sunday, 14. May. With city institutions being closed on Mondays, these dates make sense.

Paris is not a paradise for the smoke-shy. This bar incorporates a warning on its sign.

This exhibition - if it ever gets started - is supposed to involve a history of the freedom of the press, so I will have a certain interest in it because Metropole Paris is in this line of activity. Also, the city plans to open a permanent press museum, to possibly be called 'Cité de la Presse.'

There is some doubt that regularly-published online magazines like Metropole are 'the press.' This year's gigantic CeBIT exhibition in Germany which shows everything new in the line of computing - including the Internet - is refusing to accredit any online reporters.

To be an accredited as a journalist in France, one must prove that their major activity is working for the press - mere diplomas don't count. This 'proof' is usually in the form of salary slips.

Employers don't like these, because the Code de Travail requires that the journalist be treated like any other salaried employee - even if paid 'by the piece.' Salaries also mean that employers must pay their part of the social charges - which adds about 30 percent on top of what the journalist gets.

As far as online reporting goes, the professional status is moot. The last I heard, the commission that attributes official press cards in France, refuses to recognize online reports as a form of journalism.

My personal 'Carte d'Identité des Journalistes Professionnels' expired in 1991. Even if I paid myself a salary plus the employer's social charges, I probably could not get the card renewed - because I am also Metropole's publisher.

Yet it is the publisher - who hires a journalist to do reports - who essentially decides who is and who is not a journalist. This is another sample of French 'logic' as well as being a classic example of Catch-22.

Café Metropole Club's 20th Session

The 20th weekly meeting of the 'Café Metropole Club' came off with more than its usual panache last Thursday. You can read all about it on last week's 'Club 'Report'' page.

Starting this week, last week's 'report' will be re-run in this week's 'Clubphoto: passage d'enfer News' feature, so you won't have to go back to read about it.

From either Raspail or the Rue Campagne-Première, you can shortcut through the Passage d'Enfer.

However, this week's 'Club News' will not be an exact copy last week's 'update' version. At the meetings, club members give 'Ed' tips and other news. Often these can only be included later, for Monday's regular edition.

For example, today's version will have some different or new photos - and the repetitive PR nonsense will be cut back.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 4.09 - 1. March1999 - The Café Metropolephoto: passage d'enfer column was headlined: - 'Strolling for Stories.' 'Au Bistro' had 'Ohhhh - The Winter!' This issue had two features, entitled 'A View of the Musée Fournaise' and 'On the 'Route des Impressionistes." This issue's 'Paris' Scene' had 'Now, the Russians Are Coming.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Skip Hamlet!'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

photo: freud psychoIssue 3.09 - 2. March 1998 - The Café Metropole column was headlined 'The Endless Search for the 'X-Generation,' which I never found. The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'Beware of Fake Taxis and Good Money.' This issue had three features, entitled 'Who Am I? Who Are We? Find Out in Paris,' 'East of Bastille, Work and Play' and 'Photos: February Scenes in Paris.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Eat the Exhibits.'

The Metropole Paris Countdown to 31. December 2000:

Even though readers are not asking for any countdown to the probable beginning of the next century and even more importantly, to the next millennium, this boring countdown continues mindlessly with the 9th issue of 2000 because once something silly like this is started the longer it goes on the more idiotic it gets.

This new countdown will last only 366 days, minus the 58 days already gone. The official reason for doing this is to give the Tour Eiffel a new chance to 'get it right' - and for a leap year it ought to - because so many count-down fans missed shouting 'Zéro' on Friday, 31. December 1999. The 'unofficial' reason will be revealed in due time.

There are about 308 days left to go until the 3rd Millennium.
signature, regards, ric

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