Monthly Archives: September 2015

Fun with Speaky

Speaky
It had to happen! Duolingo has the cute green owl, the Welsh version is hoping to have Dewi-lingo, a cute red dragon (you didn’t see that coming, did you?) and now I’ve come across Speaky. Is it a bird? Is it penguin? Who knows? But Speaky is the character that represents a language exchange website that lets you find language ‘buddies’ for free and start practising your languages.

I thought I’d sign up today and have a look around to see what it offered.

I created my login and was asked to select the language/s I was learning and the language/s I spoke as a native speaker. As an aspiring Polyglot I chose Spanish, French, German and Esperanto as the former, and English and Welsh as the latter. You never know – I might find someone learning and wanting to practise Welsh!

Within 10 seconds a message popped up – “Hola” – and it was someone in Costa Rica happy to help me practise my Spanish. I didn’t expect that so quickly, but we chatted away using written Spanish for a few minutes, before I needed to think about other things such as cooking dinner and signed off again.

Next time I’ll make sure I have a bit more time available and explore some of the other options, like the voice chat. It seems the ‘live chat’ is still in Beta, but the interface is very user-friendly and it certainly seems like a great option for improving conversational ability in another language without the expense of actually going there.

Definitely worth a try!

Waiting for Infinity

Not Yet - Keep Waiting

On 6 August, Ofcom, the independent authority for the UK communications industry, announced that Wales is ahead of Scotland and Northern Ireland when it comes to superfast fibre broadband rollout.

The report states that 79% of premises can now receive fibre broadband (up to 30 Mbps). As my current download speed is 7.07 Mbps on a good day, that would be wonderful! Though it’s better than the alternative standard BT Broadband I was offered as a consolation.

A look at the top ten countries for internet speed around the world shows South Korea at number one with an average of 22.2 Mbps, so anything approaching 30 Mbps sounds fairly good in comparison (as long as you ignore some UK companies who offer packages of 50Mb, 100Mb and even 152Mb!)

The Superfast Cymru vision calls for “all homes and businesses across Wales [to] have access to fast fibre broadband” and aims to supply this capability to 96% of premises by 2016. A look at the rollout map shows that Llandysul is definitely in the “Superfast Cymru Intervention Area” which is good news, and some areas of the town have been given fibre capability.
Llandysul Exchange Sept 14, 2015

 

But 64% of us are still waiting for our cabinet to be converted with no indication of when that will be. The Superfast Cymru website lets you enter landline and postcode details to keep an eye on progress, but this is what I get when I enter my landline number:Check landline number

 

And when I enter my postcode … above not below as the message says:

Postcode Checker

 

An online chat with an advisor from BT confirmed that not only do I not have fibre capability to my property yet, they can’t tell me when it’s likely, and I really don’t like the sound of 2019 as mentioned in the chat log below:BT Conversation

A total of 45,887 Welsh premises, however, have been identified as being “not in scope” to receive this provision and they will fall under the Superfast Cymru Infill Project to supply them with an alternative means to achieve fast speed internet connection. This project will take three years to complete and Phase One is yet to begin. Is that part of the plan to be completed by 2019?

The Ofcom report also looked at the situation with mobile phone coverage, given that increasing numbers of people are using their smartphone for internet access. This is especially popular where 4G services are available, but Wales has the lowest 4G coverage of any of the devolved nations.

In west Wales, ANY consistent coverage would be welcome. While urban areas boast close to 95% 4G connectivity, it is not uncommon for visitors to the west to find they have NO mobile phone signal – not 4G, not 3G, NOTHING! This is a huge disadvantage for businesses in the area and makes a joke of the Welsh government’s desire to see Wales as a digital nation.

If Wales is to go ahead as a modern country we need to ensure that people can stay living in rural areas, running their businesses online and competing in a digital world. We need to keep people living and working in small towns, provide exciting opportunities for young graduates to return to their communities, and boost the economic situation of rural Wales but we can’t do it with a broadband service that is slow and unreliable and a mobile phone service that’s a joke.

Sioe Amaethyddol Llandysul

Pa liw yn gwneud y sedd tractor gorau?

Pa liw yn gwneud y sedd tractor gorau?

Pan ddihunais i’r bore ‘ma roedd yr awyr yn llwyd gyda glaw mân a thipyn o wynt oer. O na, meddyliais i, dim heddiw, dim dydd y Sioe Amaethyddol Llandysul! Ond diwrnod sych oedd rhagolygon y tywydd, ac ar ôl cwpl o oriau, diwrnod sych gawson ni!

Dw i ddim yn gwybod yn union ym mha flwyddyn dechreuodd y sioe, ond ffeindiais i un hysbyseb ar lein ar gyfer y drydedd sioe ar ddeg a oedd yn digwydd yn 1937, felly mae’n debyg bod rhyw fath o sioe wedi bod yn digwydd ers 1924 o leiaf! Yn y sioe honno doedd dim defaid neu wartheg, neu hyd yn oed ceffylau, ond cŵn ac ieir! Mae sioe heddiw yn dal i gael categorïau ar gyfer cŵn, ond yn anffodus dim ieir. Dw i’n dwlu ar ieir, felly mae hynny bach yn siomedig, ond dw i wrth fy modd i weld yr anifeiliaid eraill.

Ceffyl Gwedd

Ceffyl Gwedd

Wrth gwrs, nid sioe amaethyddol fyddai fe fod heb gystadleuaeth o gynhyrchion a sgiliau pobl leol. Blodau, ffrwythau, crefftau, teisennau, gwin – pob peth gall rhywun gwneud, mae categori arbennig ar gyfer nhw.

Dyw llysiau ddim yn tyfu fel 'na yn fy ngardd i!

Dyw llysiau ddim yn tyfu fel ‘na yn fy ngardd i!

 

Dw i ddim yn gwybod sut mae pobl yn tyfu llysiau fel yn y llun ‘ma, ond dw i’n hapus nad ydw i wedi ceisio cystadlu gyda beth dyfais i yn yr ardd!

Rhywbeth i anelu at ar gyfer flwyddyn nesaf!

 

 

Bisgedi wedi'u addurno

Bisgedi wedi’u haddurno

 

A pheidiwch ag anghofio’r plant!

Mae llawer o gyfleoedd iddyn nhw fod yn greadigol hefyd, fel bisgedi wedi’u haddurno ac anifeiliaid wedi gwneud o lysiau.

 

 

 

Heno, ar ôl y holl gystadleaeth wedi gorffen a phopeth wedi clirio o’r babell fawr, bydd y gerddoriaeth yn dechrau.

Pum mlynedd ar hugain mae Bryn Fôn wedi dod i ganu yn y sioe a bydd e yma eto eleni. Es i’r llynedd ac roedd e’n wych! Fe wnes i ddawnsio fel peth gwyllt, ond eleni croesi bysedd bydda i’n gallu clywed y gerddoriaeth o’r tŷ. Gyda gwesteion yn aros trwy AirBnB bydd rhaid i fi aros gartref, ond dw i’n gwybod bydd pawb yn mwynhau dros ben unwaith eto. Ymlaen i’r chwarter canrif nesaf!

The refugee crisis

As the newspapers lurch from vilifying refugees and wanting to pull up the drawbridge one week to sensationalist, heartrending emotional wailing the next, where do we stand as human beings? What are we supposed to think? And more importantly, what can we do?

Because from where I sit, nothing doesn’t seem to be an option.

I was encouraged by Leanne Wood’s call for Wales to have its own quota of Syrian refugees, but it’s frustrating to think that it has to come through Westminster. David Cameron has to be convinced first.

Iceland, with its population of 330,000, has seen 12,000 people pledge to open their homes to Syrian refugees and provide them with safe haven. We have 3 million people in Wales, nearly 10 times as many! How many could we take in?

At the same time as we see this crisis of people needing somewhere safe to start to pick up the pieces of their lives, we have reports of chapels and churches closing across Wales. Everywhere you go, you see empty buildings, often two or three in the same town. They are left to fall into disrepair, become a target for vandals, and symbolise a loss of what was once a hub in the community.

What if they could become a hub once more, a hub of compassion and nurturing – a safe haven for refugee families to get back on their feet?

What would it take for a community to come together, donate time and materials, and work on renovating an old building like a chapel, turning it into basic accommodation to provide shelter for a family in need?

Could we see a Wales where every community opens its arms to a refugee family and surrounds them with warmth and emotional support as they begin their journey back to normality?

Would it be that hard?

Ffracsiynau yn Gymraeg

FfracsiynauDw i wedi sôn yn barod am y ffaith fy mod yn gweithio trwy llyfr “Welsh Rules” er mwyn fy atgoffa am bethau bach nad ydw i’n defnyddio’n aml iawn yn Gymraeg. Heddiw des i o hyd ffracsiynau.

Dw i’n gwybod am ‘hanner’ (yn bwysig iawn mewn tafarnau, wrth gwrs) a ‘chwarter’ ond beth am y gweddill?

Yn yr ymarfer roedd rhaid i fi ysgrifennu mewn geiriau ffracsiynau fel 3 7/9 a 8 5/6. Sylweddolais i fod dim clem gyda fi! Felly, amser i ofyn i Gareth King – Modern Welsh, A Comprehensive Grammar.

Ar ôl beth ddwedodd Gareth, yr atebion i’r cwestiynau uchod yw:

  • tri a saith nawfed
  • wyth a phump chweched (neu phum chweched ar ôl pob tebyg)

Ond ar ôl Heini Gruffudd, yr atebion yw

  • tri a saith rhan o naw
  • wyth a phum rhan o chwech

Felly, fy nghwestiwn i yw – ydyn nhw ill dau yn iawn?

Beth mae’r plant yn dysgu yn ysgolion Cymraeg y dyddiau hyn?