Before Twitter. Before the internet. Even before 24-hour news channels, there was a place you could turn to for (almost) up to the minute breaking news stories.
It was called Ceefax. Plus, it had the added advantage of loading on to your television screen rather quicker than some of its digital "red button" equivalents.
Not any more. At least, not if you live in London, where the analogue TV signal was switched off on Wednesday and Ceefax – born in 1974 and a phonetic take on "see facts" – disappeared with it.
Reports of its complete demise are premature, however. It is still available for a limited time in Tyne Tees and parts of the south-east of England, where the analogue signal will be switched off later this year, and you can also still read it in Northern Ireland, the last UK region to make the digital switch, due on 24 October.
Originally devised as a subtitle service (page 888, as if you didn't know) and transmitted via unused bits of broadcast spectrum, the world's first teletext service provided millions of people with the latest news, sport and weather, along with reviews, quizzes, a children's section and the latest TV and radio listings.
Its demise in the capital on Wednesday prompted an outpouring of nostalgia – and occasional despair – on Twitter, much of it accompanied by the hashtag #ceefaxmemories.
For Matthew Engel, Financial Times columnist and cricket enthusiast, it was the "TV service I miss the most ... the news service of choice for discerning BBC viewers for the past 38 years". Engel will presumably not be invited on BBC News anytime soon.
"Obsolete? Well, maybe," Engel wrote on the BBC News website. "There are a zillion things one can do on the internet that are impossible on Ceefax. It would have certainly struggled to replay yesterday's edition of The Archers or show you a porn film."
But Engel says it had some strengths which were "irreplaceable". It "did the basics very fast ... before the average PC has finished warming up". Plus it was an "instant and BBC-certified timecheck".
People who worked on Ceefax tell Engel it was a "joy to work with" but there was also considerable skill involved in writing for it (as I discovered during a day on its ITV equivalent, Teletext) with each page requiring four paragraphs and a maximum of 100 words.
The Charlatans singer Tim Burgess was less impressed: "So they are switching Ceefax off today for good – the most surprising thing is that it survived this long. Like dial up internet on a ZX81," he tweeted.
Not everyone had it – a Ceefax-enabled TV was something of a luxury when I was growing up. How I envied friends who had real-time football updates on Saturday afternoons – when they still used to play football on Saturday afternoons – and the latest England cricket score.
I still remember my disappointment when I mistook the daytime "pages from Ceefax" – it filled in the gaps between the test card and programmes – for the real thing. After several minutes of fruitlessly punching the TV handset it became apparent that I was remote, but not in control.
It wasn't always the quickest read, especially if the section you were reading had a few dozen pages. "Those tense seven minutes waiting for page 3/19 to come round again to see if my team had scored," remembered David Forsyth on Twitter.
And there were clues to be found on the cricket pages if the scoreboard suddenly stopped ticking over. "If the cricket score didn't change for ages you knew there had been a wicket," tweeted Robert Richman.
After the fond farewells, the inevitable grim(ish) humour. "Did the BBC kill Ceefax because it refused to move to Salford?" asked Mail on Sunday columnist Ian Hyland.
BBC News editor Steve Herrmann was moved to send a "note of reassurance" to Ceefax fans that the BBC's digital text service "provides national, local and international news, plus sport, weather and much else besides". But it's not Ceefax is it?
Freeview managing director Ilse Howling said: "For some people they have found [Ceefax] very useful, but the overriding story of people coming out of analogue and into digital, they love it.
"If you look back 10 years there was a real fear that people would somehow reject it, that there would be refuseniks saying, I'm just not going to have it.
"For someone who is thinking about missing Ceefax and they buy one of the new smart televisions they can give you access to YouTube and a huge amount of data on screen." But it all comes at a cost, of course.
Final word to Zef Narkiewicz who put his CV online in the style of Ceefax. It even includes the original Ceefax music – or something very like it. Now, if I could only find the cricket score ...
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