...Continued from page 1

The second step, was to arrange for somebody else to be liable for the telephone bills. Some bills were run up on employer accounts and others were done from apartments rented under phoney names.

One 'operator' had 20 Minitels connected for 17 straight hours on his employer's account, and this returned him 600,000 francs worth of travellers' cheques.

Normally, Minitel terminals will automatically shut down, but a software hack was introduced to the system so they would stay connected.

Police were quoted as saying it was, "Fraud on a colossal scale." The thing to remember is that the Minitel-server combine has been around for a couple of decades and tens of millions of French users have a lot of confidence in it.

Only 30 Days Until...

The summer sales are an important factor in Brigitte's plan to visit Paris. Quite rightly she wrote to the 'Internet Reporter for Paris' to ask when they will be, and the lame answer was 'dunno.'

In fact I did look at the calendar which tells me that school holidays for summer start in all of France's three zones on Monday, 3. July this year. Logic therefore suggested that summer sales would start in Paris after everybody has safely bought their necessities at the full prices.

This off-the-frayed-cuff response was not good enough for Brigitte, so she phoned Printemps. The department store told her they are starting their summer sales this year on Tuesday, 27. June. If this is Printemps' date, you can be pretty sure it will be everybody else's' too.

This made me look at the calendar again. Sure enough, Tuesday, 27. June is when I leave the continent for my little holiday - wearing last summer's tattered rags. This will put me three years behind when 2001 rolls around.

Spanish Football Sports News

Readers who picked up on the Spanish football fan activity in the Quartier Latin, mentioned in this week's Café column, deserve results. Real Madrid thumped Valencia 3-0 in a game where Real dominated - according to Café Metropole Club member Jason Hraynyk - who saw the match 'live' on TV which he was watching in case any hockey games were on.

Multi-Continental Web Life:

Vedettes, Choo-choos and Montmartre

In October of 1997 John McCulloch wrote to Metropole about his pal Emile, who founded the Vedettes du Pont-Neuf. Now the 'Vedettes' have their own Web site and it may be worth a look.

After hanging out in the casinos of Las Vegas for a very long time, John is now snooping around in Death Valley and the Amargosa Desert and digging up their abandoned Railroads.

Recently he was contacted by the Montmartre photography association, so you may also be able to find some of John's photos on its Web site too.

Learn Spanish In Spain

Don Quixote, Spain's largest language school, is running a writing competition which involves prize scholarships, accommodations and a bit of cash. Every six months, the three best essays in Spanish or English will be selected by vote via the Web. Candidates need to explain why learning Spanish is a good idea and why they should win the scholarship. Voters can win prizes too. On top of it, Don Quixote wishes all participants 'Buena Suerte!'

Get Rich Quick - By Chance

I am not the best Web surfer so I have no idea if all the 'get-rick-quick' schemes I am offered via email-spam ever pay off for anybody - the spammers or the spammed.

I am also a terrible gambler and even worse at betting, so I restrict my losses to the Loto. In 30 yearsphoto: cafe pierrot this has not paid off handsomely - so I now let the Loto's computers pick my 'winning' numbers on the theory that maybe I can win something else with the time I save.

It had to come sooner of later, but now the online-lottery is here - and there are rumors that three other sites are close to launch.

These people must have won the Loto already.

This is not an endorsement for this activity because personal experience has shown that it wastes time and money; especially money. This is only worth a look if you have plenty of both to vaporize.

Culture for the Masses

Worth a look is supposed to be the 'transdisiplinary' cultural Web site called '@xé Libre which features the plastic as well as the performing arts, including the festivals - which are major factor in the summertime entertainment landscape of France and Europe.

Paris' Peace Wall, Still

This leaves the URL for Paris' Peace Wall which is still on the Champ de Mars. This 'Mur Pour la Paix' - which is a Dot-Com and not a Dot-Org - continues to survive. Peace lives on! You can also learn how to read the word 'peace' in 31 languages, including Spanish.

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