back to article Bulb smart meters in England wake up from comas miraculously speaking fluent Welsh

Smart meters in England are suddenly switching to Welsh language displays, much to the confusion of owners. Several people report that the meters, made by energy provider Bulb, are spontaneously opting for Welsh instead of English, sometimes after freezing and being restarted. This would be unhelpful even for many residents of …

  1. Chazmon

    Ydych chi wedi ceisio ei ddiffodd unwaith eto?

    1. Craig 2

      Ok... so I copied that into Google Translate because I don't understand Welsh and it suggested you had misspelt `ddiffodd`. Who's right?

      It would be a bit harsh pointing out typos since it all looks like it was typed by someone with Parkinsons....

      Niche languages just need to disappear. They are just a form of tribalism and the world would be a better place with fewer languages.

      Bracing for the wrath of all the Welsh commentards ;)

      1. ibmalone Silver badge

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXMey9IT7hk

      2. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: ...languages...need to disappear...the world...better place with fewer languages.

        Who controls language controls thought eh?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ...languages...need to disappear...the world...better place with fewer languages.

          As witnessed by the constant creep forward of deeming previous innocous terms as "inappropriate" "offensive" and "indirect hate speech"

          Along with attempts to police the behaviour of consenting adults, the obsession that the whole world should be "child safe" (it shouldn't and for good reason)

          1. Robert Moore
            Big Brother

            Re: ...languages...need to disappear...the world...better place with fewer languages.

            And that is Double Plus ungood.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I wouldn't of put it quite like that and I'm being an anonymous coward. But I agree, sorry to say but the Welsh language is pointless and not used anywhere else so why do you force it on your nation? I guess its a part of your history so you want it to live on. Not trying to offend am genuinely curious to know why keeping a essential dead language alive is so important to the Welsh? I'm sure I've read elsewhere that some Welsh people feel the same, but I could be wrong.

        1. Prof Yaffle

          Maybe you'd be on more firm ground if your command of English were better, but perhaps your concept of a "dead language" needs to be revised. Languages are as much about culture, world view, texture and thought processes as they are communication: speak another language and you realise that other people simply don't think the way you do, have different ways of seeing everything from colours to the weather, categorise emotions differently.

          You should consider that before you presume your world view is in any way superior to your neighbours'.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            You should consider that before you presume your world view is in any way superior to your neighbours'.

            I consider the world view of a monolingual person to be far inferior to that of anyone who speaks more than one language. And no, it doesn't require complete fluency, just being able to get by in a second or third language and regularly using it is sufficient.

            1. The Nazz Silver badge

              Top tip

              Never take on a Pole at scrabble in their own language.

              I once took a MENSA test, in Polish, and couldn't even achieve the Idiot ranking.

              Dovidzenia!

              1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                Re: Top tip

                Thanks for the tip, I have one for you as well. Unless it is your mother tongue, you don't wish to take me on at scrabble in Dutch or German.

            2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Unhappy

              "the world view of a monolingual person..far inferior to that of anyone who speaks

              more than one language. "

              Boris Johnson speaks 3.

              I speak one.

              I know whose world view is the more inferior.

              1. Martin-73 Silver badge

                Re: "the world view of a monolingual person..far inferior to that of anyone who speaks

                Yes but one of those is probably Latin...

                Not that there's anything wrong with knowing Latin, I know a little myself, but it's mainly useful for spotting things like the origins of words, not actually conversing.

                Although a language that pretty much died 1000 years ago is likely to be handy for chatting to Jacob Rees-Mogg...

        2. MJI Silver badge

          English native speaker here.

          Proper English as well, but grew up about 30 miles from the Welsh border.

          I used to think "What is the point?"

          And there are a few.

          They are

          Indentity - gives them something else in common apart from the national Rugby team.#

          Privacy - to be truthfull about that annoying Brummie family.*

          History - lots there.

          Geography - all the place names, learn a small number of Celtic words and many Scottish, Welsh and Cornish place names make sense.

          # My joint number 2 with Scotland, I like to see them win against other teams except England. Home Nations Rule!

          * Whenever I have visited mid Wales they keep mentioning annoying Brummies.

          I know about 10 or so Celtic words just for place name reasons. Many hours of fun with an Ordnance Survey map.

          1. AMBxx Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: English native speaker here.

            I was forced to learn Welsh at school. To this day I can't believe the time I wasted on an unwanted language.

            Great for singing that's about it. If people feel so strongly about the culture of a language, they can learn it in their own time.

            1. MJI Silver badge

              Re: English native speaker here.

              I have thoughts about rare and dead languages, one example Latin.

              I reckon 1 term to 1 year would be useful, learning to speak in it, no use at all, learning where many modern words come from very useful.

              1. Tom 7 Silver badge

                Re: English native speaker here.

                If you can get an A'level in Latin you can get into Oxbridge to do classics even though you cant open a door that says 'PULL' on it and then go on to lie your way to the top of the political heirarchy here. Doesn't sound useless.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: English native speaker here.

                  ... though you might understand what "exit" means, why a bus is called a bus (shortened from the original omnibus), etc, etc. And if you want to get to the top of the political hierachy its PPE you need to do.

                  1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                    Re: English native speaker here.

                    why a bus is called a bus (shortened from the original omnibus)

                    Don't forget the intermediate stage of 'autobus', when the first omnibusses with internal combustion engines got on the market.

              2. CountCadaver

                Re: English native speaker here.

                I just wish Drs would stop using it in notes etc, its not smart and its not clever, particularly not when your writing something disparaging and forgetting the wonders of google translate or the ability to get cheap translations done....

                Write in blooming English and English only in medical notes in the UK

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: English native speaker here.

                  My father was a GP back in the days when drug companies showered GPs with freebies At one point one company were giving out lots of coloured stickers that GPs could use as "code" in notes to describe patients in a way they wouldn't be able to decode ... so if you go to the doctor and see that he's affixed a "chequered flag" to your note then it doesn't mean you've been diagnosed as a potential F1 driver ... you've been considered to be a suicide risk!

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: English native speaker here.

                    my misses used to work for pifzer and one of the drugs she used to sell was Viagra. The post-it notes they did were the shape and colour of the pill

                2. eionmac

                  Re: English native speaker here.

                  About 80% of my daughters school children do not speak English. Their mother's need medical notes in THEIR native language. especially on prescriptions.

                  1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                    Re: English native speaker here.

                    Here it is over 90%. On the other hand, English is not (yet) the standard language here. And despite my children going to a school with a very mixed population, over 95% of the children speaks Dutch at a very reasonable level, especially after attending school for more than half a year.

              3. JJKing Silver badge

                Re: English native speaker here.

                I have thoughts about rare and dead languages, one example Latin.

                Without Latin you would have trouble understanding the gist of that excellent Wilfred Owen poem, Dulce et decorum est and the last but most important futile line in it.

                Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

              4. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: English native speaker here.

                The advantage of Latin being a dead language from a long time ago is that almost all the texts in Latin are "high class written language" and there's no distraction from how colloquial speech abuses that language. So it teaches how languages are meant to work + it also teaches a level of rigour sentence construction, syntax, etc that I think (I did Latin to O level) transfers into other subjects ... computer language syntax etc were to me something that followed from that as did the rigor in setting out proofs in logic etc. Also, as a male with two sons (who sadly, in my mind, went to state schools with no possibility of latin) there's another plus in that lots of the text's to use are "boy friendly" language learning... Caeser invading France, Aeneas having adventures throughout the Mediteranean, and for the teenage years ... Catullus!

                1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                  Re: English native speaker here.

                  AMEN to that, the same goes for classical Greek with the additional advantage of an extra alphabet, which helps with a lot of other foreign languages using different alphabets.

          2. Muscleguy Silver badge

            Re: English native speaker here.

            If you are into drinking Scotch Malt Whisky and mildly curious about things you can pick up a rough Gaelic phrase list from the names. It can work with beer as well. Harviestoun brewery of Alloa has a porter* it calls Old Engine Oil. They mature some of it in whisky casks and then it's called Ola Dubh which is kind of a bilingual pun but just means black or dark beer.

            *I think it's a stout but either way it's damned nice as are all their beers.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: English native speaker here.

            >Privacy - to be truthful about that annoying Brummie family.*

            Be careful when being smug Taffs, my cousin's wife speaks fluent Welsh which was handy when there were two welsh speakers being rather rude about my cousin and his wife while queuing for the airport check-in. My cousin is a rather big chap and let's just say they won't be repeating their mistake.

            Want privacy, then use quantum cryptography.

            1. MJI Silver badge

              Re: English native speaker here.

              The Welsh I have spoken to mainly have issues with Brummies, other English they find fine. Come from a Rugby town, even better.

          4. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge
            Angel

            Re: English native speaker here.

            When I was a kid, I used to go on holiday with my parents and stay in a little village on the Lleyn peninsula. One day we were in the local shop, and one of the locals was yakking away in Welsh to the shopkeeper. I don't know what they were saying, but my mother suddenly gave them a mouthful in Welsh, much to their surprise. I later asked Mum what that was all about, and she said that they were being rude about "Saesneg" (foreigners) overrunning the country and blocking the roads with their cars. Apparently, my mother had been stationed at a nearby NAAFI Rest and Rehabilitation facility during the war, had been billeted on a local farm, and had learnt Welsh in order to integrate better with those same locals.

            1. MJI Silver badge

              Re: English native speaker here.

              I suppose I have been more in South Wales recently, was in Snowdonia I met native speaker about 30 years ago.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: English native speaker here.

                My sister went to a (private) school in North Wales and got into the North Wales Schools Orchestra where she discovered in the first rehearsal (when the conductor started to give instructions) that she was the only non-Welsh speaker in the orchestra.

            2. desht

              Re: English native speaker here.

              "Saesneg" is specifically "English", rather than "foreign". Obviously from the same root ("saxon") as the Scots Gaelic or Irish "sasanach".

              1. Gonzo_the_Geek

                Re: English native speaker here.

                Doesn't the Scotch "sasenach" mean something like outlander rather than specifically English? I've met lowland Scots who have been referred to by their more northerly compatriots as Sasenachs.

        3. davenewman

          Quantas linguas fala o senhor?

          Combien des langues parlez-vous?

          Wie viel spache spechen-sie?

          Anaenda kiswahili?

          U kapav koz kreol?

          ...

        4. Oddlegs

          I have to agree that the Welsh language is pointless. There will always be enthusiasts who will want to learn it and that's absolutely their right but how much money is spent on having all road signs be multilingual and all government documents be available in Welsh? You can even demand your electricity bill in Welsh if your supplier's over a certain size. It would make sense if there were some Welsh speakers who couldn't also understand English but otherwise it's simply a vanity exercise by the Welsh assembly partly funded from central UK coffers

          1. CountCadaver

            Quebec takes it even further and demands everything is solely in Quebecois and then kicks up merry heck if the rest of Canada fails to erect bi-lingual signs and hence is often a point of friction i.e. they only use quebecois and refuse to put english anywhere to "protect their language" but everyone else has to play by the rules and have both languages.

            I've also heard similar terms aired about those from Quebec that get mentioned regarding the French in the UK........and most of them aren't compliments.....

            1. NeilPost Bronze badge

              Yet the Quebecois hate the real French more than American’s or British. Wrong sort of French.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Once read an article from the Canafian "French Language Academy" complaining the the Academie Francaise refused to accept that in Canada they allowed accents on capital letters and how whenever they sent disucssion documents to Paris they would come back with school teadher style markups on all the "spelling mistakes" where they'd accented capitals!

            2. DiViDeD Silver badge

              Quebec is not the only one

              Toronto has a thriving and intolerant Welsh community. I worked with a chap from Toronto who decided that, while he was working in Wales, he might as well visit that part of his family who decided not to leave for foreign shores a couple of hundred years ago, but to stay in Cardiganshire. He spent the entire time berating them for their poor welsh language skills and their unforgivable use of english and welsh colloquialisms in everyday conversation.

              This is similar to the behaviour of the Welsh activists in Wales - especially the ones who learned Welsh as some sort of life affirming exercise (I also worked with a guy called Keith Henderson who, within a year of learning Welsh, changed his name to Cith Ap Henri and thereafter refused to speak in English except under protest). They see the Welsh language as an ideology, rather than a method of communication, and are as vehemently critical of "normal" Welsh speakers as they are about the "Saesneg".

              Hence the months long debate rsulting in an "official" Welsh term for the Space Shuttle coming out as "Moon Swallow", while everyday Welsh speakers simply called it "Y Shuttle"

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Newsflash, you don't get to decide what the Welsh spend their money on.

            Don't make out it's a handout - we pay our taxes - we also fund all the government services in London. Do you think the English wouldn't want NI, Scotland, or Wales if we weren't a net benefit to you?

            Whilst we're at it, stop spening public money on all the English orientated vanity projects, such as overpriced fixes to the "palace" of westminister, HS2, fictional garden bridges over the thames. ETC.

            By your logic, the museums in London, St Georges day celebrations, etc.should stop being funded... As should all the other wasteful English "culture" spending that goes on (mainly in south east england)

            Also, why should our license money be wasted on the jingoistic proms?

        5. NeilPost Bronze badge

          It’s largely the same with Scottish and Welsh Gaelic.... being pursued by people with agenda’s. The not hiring any Primary teachers in Ireland unless that can speak Gaelic is stupid beyond belief.

          https://www.teachaway.com/teach-ireland

          It’s also one of the dunderhead self-harming things on Sinn Fein’s shit-list blocking the resumption of the Stormont Assembly... over and above they will not sit their 7 MP’s in Westminster which would largely nullify May’s dodgy deal with the DUP and could have passed some Brexit blocking legislation which is far more beneficial then an artificial reintroduction of a dying language in NI.

        6. Trigonoceps occipitalis

          " ... the Welsh language is pointless and not used anywhere else ... "

          Welsh is spoken in Patagonia.

          1. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re Welsh is spoken in Patagonia.

            ... and in Toronto, and some parts of Breton France, in fact pretty much anywhere but Wales itself these days.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "" ... the Welsh language is pointless and not used anywhere else ... "

            Welsh is spoken in Patagonia."

            Which reminds me: my wife works with a Welsh-speaking chap who has reported that when speaking Welsh, he can achieve mutual comprehension with Basque speakers.

            And anyhow, how is any language pointless if it works as a means of communication? The more the merrier, I reckon. Just imagine how boring the world would be if we all spoke the same language - and which one would that be?

            1. Suricou Raven

              If you're looking for a viable global language, Chinese or English are good options just because they have such vast number of speakers already. Chinese is ahead, but not by much. Third place is Hindustani, which is *way* behind. I'd go for English - not primarily because i speak it myself, but because the only alternative with comparable numbers of existing speakers is Chinese, a language which is infamously difficult to learn as a second language. English is no cakewalk easier, but it's a lot easier than Chinese.

              I'm not sure if everyone speaking the same language would mean fewer wars, or more.

        7. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Can you hear the dull thumping of my head against the wall?

          "curious to know why keeping a essential dead language alive is so important to the Welsh?"

          Welsh is alive and well, being used daily by an awful lot of Welsh people. If you actually visited Wales - it's very obvious in the the bits near me - you'd notice the fact. It's a living language, alive and kicking, and it'll give anyone a kicking to stay that way.

          And I'm all in favour of that, even though my Welsh vocabulary doesn't go much further than "diolch".

          Surely a better question would be why is it that a niche language from a small and rather obscure island off the NW coast of Europe has ended up being the language that so many people think is the only proper one in the whole world?

          I've read the (jocular) argument that we English spread all over the globe and hence exported our language everywhere simply because we had to get away from our dreadful weather. That can't be the whole story, if only because Wales (and Ireland for that matter) are both a good deal soggier. And what about Iceland, eh?

          [Yes I know Welsh weather is often fabulous. Just don't tell everyone. Those Llŷn Peninsula beaches - oh, stunning on a fine day, and too many of them are already too often too cluttered for my liking]

      4. NATTtrash
        Trollface

        Niche languages just need to disappear.

        I agree. I never understood why Americans can not spell their words properly...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I agree. I never understood why Americans can not spell their words properly..."

          or properly pronounce correctly spelled words ... e.g. its AnTarctica not Anarctica (there's a T there) or WimbleDon and not WimbleTon (where did that T come from) and don't even try to conisder the abomination fo the Ameircan Jaguar!

          1. steviebuk Silver badge

            Or Vehicle not realising the H is silent. It's not Ve-HERE-cle as they say (although not all Americans say it wrong)

            1. CustardGannet
              Mushroom

              Or - as I heard George Dubya Bush say twice in one speech - "nukula weapons".

              Very worrying when the man (assuming he is a man, and not a lizard) in charge of the world's largest arsenal of said weapons can't pronounce them properly.

      5. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
        Coat

        Quite agree, let's get rid of the niche languages.

        So which mainstream language are we going for, Chinese or Spanish?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Taiwanese or Mandarin Chinese?

          Which Spanish? Castilian or Latin American (or even Catalan).

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Catalan isn't Spanish or even closely related to it, it is more closely related to Occitan.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Utter nonsense. Catalan and Aragonese are mutually comprehensible. These languages are closer to Italian and the Italian dialects than they are to Occitan.

              Ironically, Occitan was a major language in the region in the Middle Ages – Dante considered writing the Comedia in Occitan before settling on Florentine Italian.

              1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                But Aragonese isn't mutually comprehensible with Spanish either.

                And yes, Occitan was such a major language a region of France is still named after it (Languedoc).

        2. ibmalone Silver badge
        3. CountCadaver

          Euskaran......

          (otherwise known as the Basque language)

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basque_language#Grammar

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Chinese is more precise in many ways, so probably Mandarin. Plus there are probably more Mandarin speakers in influential parts of the world than Spanish speakers...

          Or we could just do things the way we do now. Trying to reduce the world to one language is a bit like an idiotic government cleansing the gene pool so far as to eliminate all diversity and cause the population to die of inbreeding -- it's intellectual suicide to put things mildly.

        5. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Cinese or Spanish?

          I's go for Dutch (Flemish?).

          I love the way, as a native English speaker, you can almost, but not quite understand what a netherlander is saying.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Cinese or Spanish?

            But Dutch isn't a language, it is a secret code foreigners aren's supposed to learn ;)

      6. Suricou Raven

        Agreed. The world needs diversity, but not to the point of balkanisation. Language barriers lead to separated communities that have little contact with or sympathy for each other. Niche languages should be throughly documented for academic reasons, but not preserved as living languages.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          The world needs diversity, but not to the point of balkanisation.

          That's only going to happen if you stick to one language and don't bother to learn any others, in your own little insular parochial way.

          You can then go abroad and speak your own language LOUDLY and SLOWLY and Johnny Foreigner had better well learn English, eh?

          I don't think it's thr Welsh speakers that are the problem here...

          1. CountCadaver

            I agree, shame that so many though still class Scots as gutter talk, akin to yokel english, when in fact its a separate language akin to the difference between Spanish and Portugese.

            Still remember being told off and work crossed out in red pen at primary school (in Scotland in the late 80s early 90s) if I wrote anything in Scots.......which makes me averse to my own language even today. :/

            1. JJKing Silver badge

              CountCadaver, that is just sad. Reminds me of the boy in my Primary School class who used to get bashed on the hand with the yard (3 foot) ruler by the Sisters of Lack of Mercy for writing left handed in the 60s. Sometime the witch would turn the ruler 90° and hit him with it edge on.

              Don't give up on your language or you may come to regret it in your twilight years.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            re.

            sadly, technology's come to the rescue of those who can't be fucked but speak LOUDLY and SLOWLY. For a tenner they can buy a bluetooth mini-set that will translate what they want to convey in a "funny" language, and I've seen it work.

            p.s. actually, this has been the last nail in the coffin in my long-term efforts to convince my kids to learn at least one language over the school curriculum. Sure, they're bilingual anyway, and sure, after 6 years of French at primary they would be able to ask the time in French (MAYBE), but they could so easily learn another language well. But - no reason, cause see, you speak here, and it comes out in a foreign tongue, now leave me alone old man, I've got much more pressing issues of instagram update to sort out :/

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "The world needs diversity, but not to the point of balkanisation."

          An interesting choice of phrase. Look up the origin of "balkanisation".

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Niche languages should be throughly documented for academic reasons, but not preserved as living languages."

          Uhuh. So which agency is going to be given the task of identifying what languages class as "niche" languages, and then exterminating them?

          And what method would be used? I mean, some people are very attached to their culture, and might not want to give up on speaking their own language while they're alive. What's it to be? Deporting speakers of officially classified "niche" languages, spreading them across the globe so they have to learn official "non-niche" languages? Or some other rather bloodier method?

      7. MJI Silver badge

        Luckily

        Every Welsh person I have met is also fluent in a very widely spoken language as well.

        It is their culture so why not?

        Except bilingual signs can be confusing.

        It is interesting that some words are shared with other older British languages.

        Porth - Bay, common in Wales and Cornwall

        Aber - mouth of, whole west coast of Wales and also Aberdeen

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Luckily

          It is their culture so why not?

          Depends. So smart meters aren't really part of Welsh culture, and ideally wouldn't be part of English or Scottish either. Some of the culture was dreamt up by the Victorians to flog stuff to tourists, and there's plenty of cultural appropriation. So nicking perfectly fine English words and turning them into Welsh. Unlike the English language, which just tends to take a word and see where it drifts.

          It is interesting that some words are shared with other older British languages.

          Yup.. All part of the UK's rich history of repeated invasions, assimilations and linguistic drift that often followed population drift in dodging said invaders. So Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Latin, Dutch, Scandanavian influences etc. For me, it's interesting hearing how languages evolve, ie someone speaking a foreign language then dropping a few recognisable words. Personally I'm not keen on languages that create local alternatives to words, but then I guess it's part of trying to preserve those languages.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Luckily

            I have avoided smart meters as I think they should be called slightly thick meters.

            The turning English to Welsh though, any examples? Victorian era, same?

            I think I have only met one native Welsh speaker and it was an old person many years ago English was second language to them.

            Welsh my age tended to not actually know much Welsh as it was after common use and before the relaunch.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Luckily

              The turning English to Welsh though, any examples? Victorian era, same?

              On language, I guess one example would be English 'computer', in Welsh 'fhtagn'. Or basically any Welsh word for any 20th Century invention that might have been better handled with a loan-word. Or there's St Mary's by the Pool, aka Llanfair PG. Given it's 'full' name to promote tourism. Or work for sign-writers. Or there's the classic 'Welsh Hat', where no pre-19th century examples appear to exist as textiles, or images.

              1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                Re: Luckily

                fhtagn

                Beth ar y ddaear?

                Computer = cyfrifiadur

                That's one of the less contrived ones to be honest, and Welsh (as she is spoken anyway) uses a heck of a lot of loan words, but only where the flow of the sentence works.

                "Popty ping" ("ping oven") is one of the classic examples of quite a good neologism in Welsh that isn't actually used (much) in practice. Around here people tend just to say "meicrowêf", or "meicrodon" if they're trying.

                One that I wish would catch on is "cofbin" (memory pen /pin). It trips off the tongue, but doesn't seem to have been taken up.

                M.

                1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

                  Re: Luckily

                  "Popty ping" ("ping oven") is one of the classic examples of quite a good neologism in Welsh that isn't actually used (much) in practice.

                  Of course,"popty ping" is a made up joke. It's not real.

                  Just like whilst "pysgodyn" is Welsh for "fish", "pysgodyn wibli wobli” is *not* Welsh for "jelly fish."

                  1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                    Re: Luckily

                    "popty ping" is a made up joke

                    Depends what you mean by joke. I (for my sins) used to have Hywel Gwynfryn on quite a lot in the early 1990s and he had a regular strand looking for "Welsh" words or phrases to prevent the use of too many loan words. I think it was initiated by Popty Ping, which I think came out of a sketch on a comedy show somewhere (but could just as likely be very wrong). My point is that HG wasn't usually trying to be funny when he was taking suggestions for these words, but it's difficult to dictate language in this way, as the Académie Française has found out. This is probably a good indicator of Welsh being a living language, in a way that Kernowek probably isn't at the moment, what with them only just having fought some quite heated internicine wars.

                    Then again, Welsh has its share of daftness too - English-only friends will never tire of laughing about llaeth / llefrith, losin / fferins / da-da, bachgen / crwt / hogyn, merch / crot / hogan and particularly about nawr / rwan which - if I'm honest - does seem a bit bloody-minded on some joker's part. How can we have so many dialects in a nation this small?

                    M.

              2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

                Re: Luckily

                "On language, I guess one example would be English 'computer', in Welsh 'fhtagn'. Or basically any Welsh word for any 20th Century invention that might have been better handled with a loan-word. "

                Not sure if you were joking, or if you don't realise that you've just confused Welsh for one of H.P. Lovecrafts fictional languages...

                Computer is "cyfrifiadur", which is itself derived from the much older Welsh word for "compute".

                There are many uses of loan words (with the appropiate spelling changes -- otherwise it would not be Welsh) - the "20th century inventions" which aren't represented by loan word are generally ones like "compute", and microwave "meicrodon" (meicro - micro / don - wave) which are derived from older established words.

                1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                  Re: Luckily

                  Computer is "cyfrifiadur", which is itself derived from the much older Welsh word for "compute".

                  Is it coincidence that I see something resembling "cipher" (Dutch "cijfer", German "Ziffer") in there? Or does that signify a deeper root?

                  1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

                    Re: Luckily

                    I'm not clever enough to be able to answer that.

                    Note that it's pronounced "cuff" not "sife"

                    Still, google shows it shares a root with these, which have meanings that maybe cipher originated from too? "

                    cyfrif m (plural cyfrifon)

                    account, record, statement

                    (banking) account

                    count, reckoning

                    Verb[edit]

                    cyfrif (first-person singular present cyfrifaf)

                    to count, to reckon

                    to calculate, to compute

                    to matter, to be of worth

                    to ascribe, to attribute

                    Conjugation[edit]

                    show ▼Conjugation (literary)

                    show ▼Conjugation (colloquial)

                    Derived terms[edit]

                    amcangyfrif (“estimate; to estimate”)

                    cyfrifeg (“accountancy”)

                    cyfrifiad (“calculation; census”)

                    cyfrifiadur (“computer”)

                    cyfrifiannell (“calculator”)

                    cyfrifiant (“computation”)

                    cyfriflen (“bank statement”)

                    cyfriflyfr (“ledger”)

                    cyfrifo (“to calculate”)

                    cyfrifol (“accountable, responsible”)

                    cyfrifwr (“teller”)

                    cyfrifydd (“accountant”)

                    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                      Re: Luckily

                      "cuff" not "sife"

                      No, "kuhv". "f" in Welsh is equivalent to English "v" ("ff" = English "f"). Correct on the hard "c" sound, but I'd write it as k to make it obvious, and I write "u" as "uh" because my midlander in-laws will usually pronounce such a "u" as "oo", which makes for an interesting comparison; most English people would say "buhs" (as in omnibus carrying passengers on the road), but up there they say "boos" which, coincidentally is pretty much the same way that the Welsh word "bws" (meaning "bus") is pronounced :-)

                      Cyfrifiadur - kuh-vriv-ya-dihr

                      But it's really difficult to write Welsh phonetically for the consumption of an English monoglot.

                      M.

          2. CountCadaver

            Re: Luckily

            Asda's self service tills have the option for Welsh (even in Scotland) but no option for Scots Gaelic (which is legally recognised in Scotland) when I queried that with ASDA they just gave some mealy mouthed answer about it.....

          3. JJKing Silver badge

            Re: Luckily

            So smart meters aren't really part of Welsh culture,

            Sounds more like a software issue than a language or cultural problem; huh?

          4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Luckily

            "Personally I'm not keen on languages that create local alternatives to words, but then I guess it's part of trying to preserve those languages."

            Yes, English is a constantly evolving language and is happy to adopt new words, wherever they may come from, when appropriate. Those languages which refuse to evolve will become ever more archaic until they become all but useless. In the worlds of science and technology, new words are being created on a regular basis, usually from Greek or Latin roots, so not actually "english" as such, yet some other languages try their damnedest to translate them into something more acceptable by their standards (I'm think French in particular here). Likewise, some of those new words come from non-English source, and the English language usually just adopts them as-is.

            1. Zebranky

              Re: Luckily

              I prefer the quote from James Nicoll relating to the English Language 'adopting new words...

              "The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Luckily

            "Personally I'm not keen on languages that create local alternatives to words"

            What, you mean the way English created its local version of Fernsehapparat using a fragment of a dead foreign language and came up with "television"? I know, it's awful. At least the Germans used proper German for the new invention.

            It's appalling, isn't it, when new ideas mean that new language needs creating.

        2. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Luckily

          Kernow is coming back slowly - around 2000 speakers in Cornwall now. One thing about a local language is it can be very useful in entertainment situations. When all the brexiters come down here for holidays as they cant afford (or cant get visas) to leave these festered isles the serving staff and lifeguards will be able to communicate privately about which ones are more of a pain than the others and should be avoided as much as possible. Being able to feign a lack of English will allow them to have their full shouty holiday experience.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Luckily

            "Kernow is coming back slowly - around 2000 speakers in Cornwall now."

            That's less than the population of the Isles of Scilly. Only another 553,000 or so to be "re-educated" then.

          2. Nick Kew Silver badge

            Re: Luckily

            Careful with that. Kernewek may be a minority language, but it has some close cousins (not least Welsh). Friend of mine had a good laugh at some Bretons who had assumed their language conferred privacy until he spoke Cornish. Though it seems to defeat Google Translate, which detected it as "scots gaelic".

            Lots of stories like that around more-or-less any minority language :)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Luckily

              Sounds similar to a story my sister told of when she went to visit a friend who was in France for their "year abroad" while studing french at University. They were eating at a cafe when it became evident that a couple of men at a nearby table were taking an interest in the two young English women and they clearly assumed that no-one from England understood any foreign languages so they talked at length about my sister and friend whille she gave my sister a running update on how the men's converstation was developing. Evenutally my sister and friend finished meal and as they were leaving one of the men leant over and in his best english asked "are you here on 'oliday here for long" to get the reply, in fluent frenc, "no., I've been studying at the Univeristy for 6 months and we've been quite amused by your conversation" - cue 2 very red faces.

          3. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge
            Megaphone

            Re: Luckily

            I had a native of Cornwall working for me at one time. He was staunchly, to the point of arrogance, partisan, and used to swear volubly in Kernow. He had a Kernow flag draped on the notice board behind his desk, and claimed that English was his "second language", even though he was employed as a Technical Writer (in and English company!)

            1. MJI Silver badge

              Re: Luckily

              I have a large number of Cornish relations, none of them speak Cornish.

      8. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Niche languages just need to disappear

        I can maybe understand the downvotes to this sentiment.

        Coming from N.I. the whole 'native language' issue was politically charged, but politicians are the last people to give a dying language a needed marketing boost.

        Mostly as when they attempted to speak it the results were unpleasant*

        * I'm not in any way even familiar with Irish, but even someone unfamiliar with either english or irish could tell after a few sentences, given the information that 'agus' means 'and' with it occurring far more often than is usual from someone at all coherent.

      9. DougS Silver badge

        Who defines a "niche" language?

        You?

        If fewer languages is better isn't one language the best of all?

        Quick, everyone quit speaking English and use Mandarin instead. That's what we're going to settle on (since it is the most spoken language in the world) thanks to Craig 2's brilliant insight!

        Think of all the time smart meter vendors would save having to program in only one language instead of the dozens it must support today! We could sell it as a boost to economic growth, so it is patriotic for all those gun-toting rednecks in the US south to learn Mandarin.

        1. Robert Moore
          Joke

          Re: Who defines a "niche" language?

          Quick, everyone quit speaking English and use Mandarin instead. That's what we're going to settle on (since it is the most spoken language in the world) thanks to Craig 2's brilliant insight!

          Think of all the time smart meter vendors would save having to program in only one language instead of the dozens it must support today! We could sell it as a boost to economic growth, so it is patriotic for all those gun-toting rednecks in the US south to learn Mandarin.

          It would be worth it to hear deep south Americans speaking Mandarin with their accent. :)

          1. Ghostman
            FAIL

            Re: Who defines a "niche" language?

            All you have to do is come to central Georgia. Mandarin has taught here for years. Some of us even speak conversational Korean.

            Oh yeah, that's a fail on your part.

        2. Nick Kew Silver badge

          Re: Who defines a "niche" language?

          Bah. 我太老了,不能學普通話

      10. ibmalone Silver badge

        It'd also be a better place if we all lived on huel. For certain values of "better".

      11. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Apocalypse!

        Niche languages still remain somewhat refreshing oases of variety in the desert of English language-framed thought patterns.

        However, the Internet - and especially social media - has accelerated the march of the global cultural imperialism, and my big worry is that the associated desertification has already put many languages and their associated mindsets on the endangered list - very likely to become extinct in the next 50 years.

        Eventually, there will be no native speakers - only Google Translate and its successors will be left, to try and translate the old texts - but the subtle concepts and idioms will be lost in the Great Flattening into the three or five languages left in the world.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Apocalypse!

          Eventually, there will be no native speakers - only Google Translate and its successors will be left, to try and translate the old texts - but the subtle concepts and idioms will be lost in the Great Flattening into the three or five languages left in the world.

          Or we'll create new, probably hybrid languages. Something that intrigues me is the data rate of various languages, so the speed by which we can communicate concepts in various languages. English sounds 'slow' compared to some other languages, but I've no idea if that's really true.

      12. JJKing Silver badge
        Happy

        Niche languages just need to disappear.

        I am an English speaking commentard from way, way down under and I totally disagree with your comment. Unfortunately I am unable to speak a second language much to my regret and believe more people speaking a 2nd languages, or more, would be of greater benefit to this world than less languages.

        I do however support you having your opinion even if it is wrong.

      13. TRT Silver badge

        Niche languages...

        Are no problem for the cunning linguist.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Niche languages...

          Do you and everyone else want a mass-debate?

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Niche languages...

            Not necessarily... I'd settled for a course in English cliterature.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ydych chi wedi ceisio ei ddiffodd unwaith eto? Obviously English...

      but typed on an Apple Macbook's butterfly keyboard.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: Ydych chi wedi ceisio ei ddiffodd unwaith eto? Obviously English...

        Now the Z, J & X keys on your Mac's keyboard have broken, you're forced to type in Welsh?

    3. Totally not a Cylon
      WTF?

      We should all use Japanese.

      It's much more concise only about 50 sounds unlike English's 100,000

      and

      もう一度電源を切ろうとしましたか

    4. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

      Beth ydych chi'n meddwl rydych chi'n ei wneud, Dave?

  2. spold Bronze badge

    Password required

    You have to enter the admin password as well.. .if it helps the default is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

    (With apologies to the residents of said village).

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Password required

      Warning: This is a weak password as it

      o Contains a dictionary word

      o Does not contain numbers or symbol characters

      o Only the first letter of the word is capitalised

      Nevermind that the only people capable of spelling this correctly are people who copy / paste, and residents of the aforementioned village.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Password required

        I used to be able to spell it, got fed up of people boasting they could spell other longish words and this station is longer than the lot.

      2. spold Bronze badge

        Re: Password required

        You are of course quite right - but don't you find that so many IoT type device manufacturers have weak default passwords? Just another sad example. Perhaps add some other villages as well or add "IL!k3th3pub1n" as a prefix, but that could also be improved.

      3. baud

        Re: Password required

        > people who copy / paste

        are likely to be using a password manager, so are more security-conscious, by default

    2. DougS Silver badge

      I'm a Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch denier

      If people can claim the Moon landings are fake, I can claim Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is not a real place. Just because someone can produce links to websites with pictures of a place claiming to be Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch or people who claim to have been there doesn't mean anything. The same is the true about the Moon landings. Its all a Welsh conspiracy!

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: I'm a Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch denier

        Who needs the moon when you are on your third mission to Jupiter?

        And what's up with the reset instructions? "Wedi anfon yr"? = "After sending the"

        Sa' i'n mynd i dadlau'r pwynt am ieithoedd lleiafrifol. Be' ddigwyddod i Esperanto?

        M.

      2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: I'm a Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch denier

        The really funny thing is that people from Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch get quite upset if you show them a longer, existing place name:

        กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบูรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์

        Transliteration:

        Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit

        Local abbreviation: กรุงเทพฯ

        Colloquially and internationally known as: Bangkok

  3. Pink Duck
    Facepalm

    Gen2 much like Gen1

    Had Bulb-issued Gen2 smart meters plus IHD installed in mid-March, still not a single stat sent back via cellular to the account usage page. Nearing a month on since getting the emails (yes, two) about daily meter readings change, though did get the IHD in Welsh update. It really is quite stunning how a simple bit of JSON post-back isn't working through centralised DCC to the 'supplier'.

    1. iamdm
      Facepalm

      Re: Gen2 much like Gen1

      had mine installed in march. I'm now honoured to be part of the lucky 15% who's meter doesn't even show any readings, let alone dial home to provide any to Bulb.

      I've even tried turning it off and on again, as per their advice!

      1. Alan Ferris

        Re: Gen2 much like Gen1

        You're turning it off wrongly.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Gen2 much like Gen1

          You're turning it off wrongly.

          I am prepared and willing to bet he is turning it on correctly (which happens to be "not").

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You're turning it off wrongly

          I thought the English use the bayonette, non?

          ...

          why, why not funny, eh?

    2. CountCadaver

      Re: Gen2 much like Gen1

      I just told my supplier I didn't want one due to the data slurp, the ability for remote power off etc etc and should they try to install one they would discover it wouldn't get a mobile signal due to a very specific blackspot outside my front door......they retracted the offer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gen2 much like Gen1

        The "cunning plan" now seems to be "here's all out cheap tarrifs - which one do you want .... choose any so long as you agree to have a smart meter fitted in the next 3 months .... oh; you don't want a smart meter, well, we do have a stardard rate that doesn't need one but it is a bit expensive"

        1. eionmac

          Re: Gen2 much like Gen1

          My wife considered the extra piracy price acceptable as a) no signal for their chosen mobile supplier at our house. b) Our garage is a Faraday cage (steel in concrete) c) We need written bills[*] to ensure our next of kin after we pop our clogs will know what the situation is.

          [*] All utilities are by written bill.

    3. Robert Forsyth

      Re: Gen2 much like Gen1

      Someone said Capita run the smart meter to base communications, Bulb and Scottish Power are waiting for them to fix it.

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Smart Phoey

    Everything is supposed to be 'smart' these days yet we keep hearing about stupid failures it this sort at very basic level. Are people so dumb that this acceptable?

    That was a rhetorical question - you don't actually need to answer.

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Smart Phoey

      It's simple enough: Too much technology, too few technologists.

      Between the shortage of people who actually know how to create good, reliable software, and the surfeit of people too stupid to understand its limitations, you get to the tipping point where everybody will experience some glitch or other on an almost daily basis, while the people in charge keep insisting that everything is OK, and it's time to automate the next thing.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Smart Phoey

        "and the surfeit of people too stupid to understand its limitations"

        Especially managers.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Smart Phoey

        TBF to the engineers here designing these things must be choking on their own vomit having to design something so antediluvian as they are specced. I spoke to our supplier - they kept ringing to see if I wanted one - and it is of almost zero use to the customer and given we dont get a 'bespoke wireless' signal where the current meter is its of no use to them either. But they really really wanted to install it anyway. I guess that's so they dont have to install one that might work for me for 30 years or something.

        1. Daedalus Silver badge

          Re: Smart Phoey

          That's another thing: the working lifetime. Lots of tech stuff goes end-of-life in 5 years or so, support drops off, and there is nothing to say how the thing worked in the first place.

          On the other hand, plenty of really old stuff is still in use, unsupported and glitchy, because replacing it would cost too much. In some cases, the regulations around a new product are so restrictive, especially in the medical field, that it's cheaper to limp along with old stuff trying to stay below the regulators' radar. Case in point: I sit above a basement containing some medical analyzers that we support and have done for a decade or two. And yes, they use that vanishing species, the 3.5 inch (90 mm) diskette.

          1. CountCadaver

            Re: Smart Phoey

            Tesco are back stocking compact cassettes, so floppies might be back soon enough, start a hipster movement and soon the topiary bearded sheep will be fighting over them soon enough....

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Smart Phoey

            "3.5 inch (90 mm) diskette."

            If your going to do it do it properly and get 8" floppies

            1. eionmac

              Re: Smart Phoey

              Why miss out the 5and a 1/2 discs, Our printer uses these.

        2. CountCadaver

          Re: Smart Phoey

          The estimated savings are down below £11 a year now and likely will rapidly become an estimated extra COST of £50-£150 a year soon enough if not per quarter....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Smart Phoey

      It's a bit like the push for more tech in the NHS, everyone wants to throw money at it. but as someone working with tech in the NHS, I'd rather we replaced older stuff we had and spend the rest on actual patient care.

      Too much tech is a bad thing as is over-reliance on it (which the NHS is rapidly moving towards).

    3. Esme

      Re: Smart Phoey

      Dydw i ddim yn gadael i'r crap hwnnw yn fy nhŷ!

  5. oomwat
    Mushroom

    "unhelpful even for many residents of Wales"

    Is your real name Boris by any chance?

    Unfounded comments like this are both unhelpful and hurtful to the very large numbers of Welsh speakers both in Wales and around the world.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "unhelpful even for many residents of Wales"

      "Unfounded comments like this are both unhelpful and hurtful to the very large numbers of Welsh speakers both in Wales and around the world."

      The law states Welsh and English languages are treated on the basis of equality in Wales, so speaking Welsh or in English, can be nether hurtful or unhelpful, either way, (just to clear this up, though will probably open a can of worms).

      For fake outrage, please head to DM that way ->

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "unhelpful even for many residents of Wales"

        Huh? What sort of argument is that?

        There are also laws on equality of race and sex.

        By your logic, that means that racist and sexist comments can be neither hurtful or unhelpful either.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "unhelpful even for many residents of Wales"

      Um. According to the 2011 census, the percentage of people, in Wales, who can read Welsh is just under 15%.

      I'd say that 85% of the remaining population would thereby quite correctly count as "many".

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: "unhelpful even for many residents of Wales"

        A more interesting statistic would be the number unable to speak English. Somewhere around 0%, so why bother with all the cost of translating everything?

    3. ratfox Silver badge

      Re: "unhelpful even for many residents of Wales"

      For small values of very large.

  6. Sureo

    default language

    I had a radio once that when the battery ran down, forgot the settings and defaulted to Chinese. To change it you had to navigate through 3 levels of menus, which may explain why I don't own it anymore. I would have appreciated Welsh.

    1. NATTtrash
      Trollface

      Re: default language

      Do they make radios in Wales?

      If they do, I would love the one that defaults to Sir Tom belting...

      #My, my, my... Delilah

      <tee-dee-lee-dee-lee-dee-lee>

      1. mhoulden

        Re: default language

        They don't make many, but it's not unusual.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: default language

          3 menus in Chinese? Torture! Must have been programmed by a daughter of darkness.

      2. Ken Shabby Bronze badge

        Re: default language

        I saw the smart bulb on the night that I passed by her window

        <dumb-dumb-dumb dumb-dumb-dumb>

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: default language

      Never mind radio ... I once had Wordpress switch all its controls to Turkish on me. Not easy to navigate out of when you don't understand the menus, help, etc.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am a happy Bulbster, but they can shove their smart meters ...

    i fyny eu hasesiadau

    1. TWB

      Re: Am a happy Bulbster, but they can shove their smart meters ...

      'i fyny eu hasesiadau'

      That's what Google translate says English to Welsh - interestingly it comes out as 'up their assessments' - Welsh to English.

      Any Welsh scholars out there able to shed any light? - not important, just curious.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Any Welsh scholars out there able to shed any light?

        Not a scholar, but one who know how utterly shit Google is (AI - don't make me fucking laugh).

        I'm guessing the PP wanted to say "arses" - but Google's US-ian origins nipped that in the bud.

        The closest you can get is "asyn" - meaning "ass" as in "donkey".

        So I'm guessing the pp was saying "... up their arses ..." but the closest you can get is :

        i fyny eu asyn

        1. Paul Martin

          Re: Any Welsh scholars out there able to shed any light?

          I think you'll find the answer in this article.

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Bulb already limits smart meter installations to areas where it has enough engineers "

    Welsh speaking engineers?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    monthly readings not appearing on accounts

    The great con, estimate at higher rate then put it back on at lower rate and credit at lower rate. Extra points when they do it every month so it takes a mathematician a couple of hours to work it out especially when the gas conversion rate changes every month.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: monthly readings not appearing on accounts

      I used to play that game too. When a price rise was in the offing I gave them a reading just about believably higher than the real one.

      These tales of woe of Dim Meters are the main reason I still don't have one. Different language today, London's entire electricity consumption tomorrow. No thanks.

      AC just in case.

      1. joeW Silver badge

        Re: monthly readings not appearing on accounts

        Before I managed to bite, kick and drag myself into an IT career, I used to work in the call center for a large electricity provider. A few things to note about that trick you mention:

        1 - a lot of people did it

        2 - we, the front-line phone drones, knew very well what you were doing

        3 - we really didn't give two fucks if you went for a believable number of units or not :)

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: monthly readings not appearing on accounts

          How many calls did you get when the new annual assessments went out and everyones monthly payments went up bu at least £10. I have to phone up every year and get them to "look into it" and then get the monthly DD reduced back down to something more realistic, ie a figure which, every year, turns out to be almost exactly correct, as opposed to their original estimate which would have had me paying up to £200 extra.

      2. Halfmad Silver badge

        Re: monthly readings not appearing on accounts

        I also don't have one, never seen the benefit from a consumer perspective - it's all the utility companies who benefit and the smart meter installers.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: monthly readings not appearing on accounts

          Now if I could get one that would poll MY house power control unit with the price my electricity is going to change to in a second or so I could turn on the immersion and or storage heaters when its cheaper than using other sources they could be on to something.

          1. Nick Kew Silver badge

            Re: monthly readings not appearing on accounts

            I think that's intended for the future. Dynamic supply&demand-driven pricing - a smart update of what's now Economy 7. I'll be happy to program the dishwasher to request the cheapest slot overnight.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: monthly readings not appearing on accounts

              Just hope that your dryer doesn't switch on in the middle of the night and either wake you or burn you to death.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: monthly readings not appearing on accounts

        I remember when VAT was added to gas and electricy and it was to be phased in in two steps 7.5% in the first year and the full (at that time) 15% in the second. There was a wheeze then where people were giving a completely bogus over-estimated reading and pay up front before VAT came in so that they didn;t need to pay anythig else for a couple of years when they were effectively getting 7.5% interest on their "investment" which was a bit better thatn could be obtained from a savings account at the time.... and the utility companies were quite happy with this as they could also get interest on the over payments. Of course, didn't work out as expected as during the first year policy changed and VAT on gas and electricity was to be scrapped ... though, of course, the EU stepped in and said that as VAT is under their supervision that because the UK had introduced VAT on gas/electricity we weren't allowed to remove it and the most we could do was reduce it to the minimum allowed rate of 5% (same issue applies to the "tampon tax" - UK treasury isn't allowed to remove the VAT from female sanitary products due to EU law)

    2. Colin Bull 1
      Coat

      Re: monthly readings not appearing on accounts

      They probably include a VAT element in your bill, but as it is an estimate they do not pay any VAT to HMRC. If HMRC had any clue, they would stop this fraud.

  10. Simon Harris Silver badge
    Joke

    TITSUP

    Total Inability To Say Useful Phrases (unless you're Welsh).

  11. Dr. G. Freeman

    I'm not allowed to speak Welsh,

    one mispronunciation and you get a Lovecraftian horror, who won't leave the break room, even if you ask nicely.

    Don't know how this connects to smart meters, another unspeakably evil thing that drives me mad looking at it

    1. whitepines Silver badge
      Joke

      A tentacled monstrosity that *is* a smart meter? Partly fused to the wall and messing with the break room toaster oven?

  12. NightFox

    "Several people report that the meters, made by energy provider Bulb..."

    Are you sure they make the meters? I've not heard of any energy supplier making its own meters, but always happy to be enlightened.

  13. Electronics'R'Us
    Alien

    Lack of imagination

    They could at least have used Klingon or perhaps Vulcan

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Lack of imagination

      They could at least have used Klingon or perhaps Vulcan

      Better still; Vogon.

      And as poetry as a bonus...

  14. Huw D Silver badge

    Smart meter or dim meter?

    I'll take dim smart meters. Yes, there's a Welsh joke in there.

    1. Killing Time
  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Putting a preference or requirement that a job applicant speaks Welsh is an effective way of giving preferential treatment to people educated in the Welsh school system without being prosecuted for racial discrimination.

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Being Welsh is not a race.

      Though I do remember someone at the DTI in Wales remarking that Japanese investment in Wales was high because the Japanese and Welsh are so culturally similar. Wales is a rather poor country, it has some of the disadvantages of Japan (lots of hilly bits which are picturesque but difficult to live in), but the combination of Welsh workers and Japanese management is rather successful.

      I don't blame the Welsh for wanting a degree of separation from the English, and I'm English. The odd thing is that they voted Leave, which will impoverish them further.

      As for languages, I get by in three, I can make myself understood in two more, it amazes me that the English see being monolingual as a virtue.

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge
        Headmaster

        the English see being monolingual as a virtue

        Please take your monstrous prejudices elsewhere. Even when they're prejudices against your own people, there are others among us who find it offensive to be characterised like that. Now if instead you'd commented on those who live abroad without bothering to learn the local language (I've met a few, but not many), I'd be with you.

        (Damn, wish I could say that to the flagbearers of some other modern prejudices. Like the BBC's casual but all-pervasive prejudices about the male of the species.)

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "The odd thing is that they voted Leave, which will impoverish them further."

        That vote did seem to cause people to stop thinking fro some reason. Prior to the vote, farmers being interviewed invariably moaned about CAP and red tape and wanted and end to all that so voted leave. Now, whenever they are being interviews, they seem to be in a panic over what the future might hold for them.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "it amazes me that the English see being monolingual as a virtue."

        Being an island, there has, historically, been very little incentive or need to know more than one language for the average person. Even back in the 70's, studying French at school, I had absolutely no opportunity to practice it outside of school lessons and so never bothered much with it. Our primary school was quite progressive and we did French their whereas most never got to learn a foreign language until secondary school. I even passed spoken and written French exams and could probably have managed a halting conversation with a French speaker back then, but after 40 years of never needing to speak it, I doubt I could cope at all now. I'm not proud of that, but neither am I ashamed.

        I do, however, speak BASIC, ASM86, Pascal, C, BASH, Python and vaguely remember some smatterings of Fortran and Cobol, although again, I don't really use them all that much. I can write short notes, maybe a nice 1 ro two page letter, but I doubt I could manage a novel :-)

      4. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge
        Happy

        I speak four languages (well, three and a half, really) English, my native tongue, German, which I learnt at school and when living for a short time in Germany, French, which I learnt when my employers were taken over by a French conglomerate, and Serbo-Croat, of which I picked up a few words and phrases whilst holidaying in Yugoslavia, before it disintegrated. I am now retired and living two miles east of the Welsh border, and although I am interested and intrigued, I don't think that, at my age, there is much point in taking proper lessons in Welsh, I'll just let some of it rub off on me when tootling around the villages and visiting the Great Little Trains of Wales (which is why I decided to settle here, anyway).

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Japanese and Welsh are so culturally similar."

        short and play rugby?

        1. eionmac

          Big tall Japanese private school boys (6 ft plus) play rugby in Yokohama, I watched them from my window, not to many 'wee ones' in Japanese rugby, their opponents are mostly from Polynesia where sumo type stature is assumed.

      6. eionmac

        Welsh in Japan is in some cases usual.

        I sold engineering equipment in Japan. (1970~ 2005) Quite a lot of Japanese engineers after 10 years in Wales speak and write Welsh. Many stayed in Wales so their kids could finish schooling Wales as they would have very bad experience reintegrating into Japanese school system. There was even a Japan Freemason's meeting club. (They had come across Freemasonry in Wales)

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      without being prosecuted for racial discrimination

      Not really. In essence it's no different than asking that the applicant for the job of Head of Music at a secondary school can show a facility with the manipulation of at least one musical instrument, probably by waving a bit of paper from the ABRSM or Trinity Guildhall.

      Or, you know, that applicants for programming jobs can actually fire up an IDE without directions written in crayon. Certain jobs have specific requirements.

      Other jobs it's an interesting "nice to have". Working in (effectively) the tourism industry, applications for public-facing jobs at my place of employment have Welsh as a preference. We probably meet more Welsh-speakers day-to-day than any one other language except English and even if it weren't for the requirement that the public sector must offer the option of communicating in Welsh, it would be simple courtesy to do so.

      M.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The sooner we manage to locate the Babel fish the better.

    1. Ghostman

      Did you lose yours?

  17. EatsRootsAndLeaves
    Pint

    Tough, sinewy men

    How is it no one has posted this as yet?

    Blackadder: Have you ever been to Wales, Baldrick?

    Baldrick: No - but I've often thought I'd like to.

    Blackadder: Well, don't. It's a ghastly place. Huge gangs of tough, sinewy men roam the valleys, terrifying people with their close-harmony singing. You need half a pint of phlegm in your throat just to pronounce the place names! Never ask for directions in Wales, Baldrick; you'll be washing spit out of your hair for a fortnight.

    - Blackadder the Third

    Apparently the rumours of a fifth season are just that, rumours.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tough, sinewy men

      For a more cultural Welsh reference. In "A Man for All Seasons" Thomas Cromwell bribes Thomas More's secretary, Rich, to give evidence against him. After doing so at the trial Rich walks past More who asks "Rich, what is that chain around your neck" and gets the reply "Lord Chancellor Cromwell has seen it fit to appoint me as High Steward of Wales" and More responds with "It is said 'what benefits a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his soul' ....but, my dear Rich, to lose it only for Wales"

  18. Dragon of Luck

    monoglot English speakers' arrogance, a wistle in the darkening wood

    Of the world's several thousand living languages, less than 300 are official national languages. I happen to speak five of the Western European ones fluently. The correct two German versions of the English sentence "How many languages do you speak?" are: "Wieviele Sprachen sprechen Sie?" (polite style used in adressing persons unkown to the speaker) and "Wieviele Sprachen sprichst Du?" (intimate style used in adressing persons the speaker knows well).

    Apart from this small lingual correction, I must say that while reading the previous comments I just can't stop laughing about that big mass of mentally incredibly blinkered monoglot English speakers who are unaware their own language is mainly a mixture of old German, old French and Latin, so keen are they to see every "small" language dead respectively choose to call all "small" languages obsolete, superfluous or useless.

    Whenever I'm confronted with their cruel wishes and aggressive blabber I call myself lucky to be neither English nor Briton - and no US American either, for that matter. These English speakers reveal a bottomless pit comprising a total lack of culture - in particular historical knowledge, general education and morals, because they have no respect for other peoples' cultures and languages. Evidently, the education of the said English speakers is so rudimentary that they do not even know why there are "big" and "small" languages today.

    From here on, apologies for cross-posting to all people enjoying the world's cultural and lingual variety as I do.

    Today's global lingual situation of "big" and "small" languages is exclusively due to circa six millennia of constant war-mongering, imperialism and colonialism. In all of these arts of horror, English speakers have excelled for the most recent near-millennium. Actually, apart from the ancient Romans, English speakers have proven the worst lingual pest this planet has witnessed to date and that second pest is still around, since just the English speaking leadership has changed to the US – not by chance the most aggressive by far of all former English colonies; the sole good news here is that the US empire will fall sooner or later as all empires do.

    But the damage done in the meantime is vast, and England was its insitigator: During nine centuries, hundreds of millions of individuals, whole peoples included, were murdered for England's greed for ever more power and ever more wealth. Wherever English-led troops went with English-led administrators and christian missionaries in their wake, they tried to actively destroy other cultures, brutally punishing the oppressed for further practice of their indigenous languages, traditions, customs and religious rites - all of which the ever so polite English kept branding as "primitive" while they were actually just unintelligible to the vast majority of the culturally deficient monoglot robbers. On four continents, English-led militia of the "glorious" British Empire whipped people after people into submission, annexing all their countries, riches and natural resources as well as forcing the victims into speaking the abhorred English language. Eventually, in each annexed country a thin layer of indigenous people developed who were culturally and morally corrupted via forced English speaking education that made them greedy for social re-ascent in the occupation's context. As for cultural acceptance of any non-English individual by the English, that hope has remained a vain one, as shows a recent example i.e. the Tory's Windrush scandal, just one of the many outlets of London's ongoing "hostile environment" policy. The England-centred Tory whiteskins will always remain racists and their aggressive policy continues to hit thousands of coloured people while not even other whiteskins are safe from this particular Tory brand of racism, because the very same policy will post-Brexit target "other whites" from EU countries just because they are who they are, i.e. not British. But who exactly is "British", and what exactly is this "Britain"? Is it a nice "United Kingdom" some other peoples chose to join in good faith, for better or for worse until death do us part? Nope, naturally. The seeming political marriage was one literally made at gun-point and by corruption of part of the oppressed population. That country's core identity has always remained exclusively the English one, and the country's official name is a daily lingual insult to all non-English Britons of celtic or other ethnic origin.

    Let's stay with the celtic example of Cymru. Normannic England's military onlslaughts against Cymru, begun soon after 1066, were just the starting shot of the horrific English offensive war-mongering. Assaulting and torturing celts is an extremely long-standing English practice. From day one of their wars against the celtic peoples, the English have demonstrated nothing but extreme arrogance and cynicism towards the victims: The word "welsh" means "stranger". Meaning: the strange invaders not only robbed and annexed Cymru but by adding insult to injury declared the celts strangers and renamed Cymru to "Wales", i.e. strangers' land - a fat lingual insult still active today in each and every official and inofficial English language text and speech. Equally, the English have had the gall of calling ever since 1283 the heir to the English throne "Prince of Wales", and as that wasn't enough, the English crown subsequently started to destroy even the country's cultural entity by incorporating it into England, eradicating cymric law and the official use of Cymraeg via the notorious series of laws called "Act of Union" and implemented in 1535-1542. Even that was not enough; the English have kept ridiculing Cymru's people, language and culture e.g. via the notorious Blue Book published by Anglican English church officials in 1847 that called the whole cymric people "lazy" and "stupid". The industrialisation of Cymru enforced since the 17th century by rich Englishmen privately owning most of Cymru's territory caused further huge lingual and cultural inroads and thus more and more cultural disposession, primarily in the South Wales Coalfield where today very few Cymraeg speakers are left.

    But the good news is that this celtic people and Cymraeg are still alive after all these centuries of English aggression. As one of the most ancient languages spoken to date, Cymraeg is a firstrate cultural asset of global relevance. It will survive if the people of Cymru want it to live, and so will their country if they have the political will to take it back from the English robbers. Cymru am byth, y Ddraig Goch ddyry cychwyn! Once the people of Cymru take their land back to govern it themselves, Cymru will have a future both as a culture and nation of its own while English-led Britain will surely die somestage after the Brexit – and good riddance.

    1. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: monoglot English speakers' arrogance, a wistle in the darkening wood

      Not all English people.

    2. Roopee
      Thumb Down

      Re: monoglot English speakers' arrogance, a wistle in the darkening wood

      Down voted for wasting my time having to scroll past it. There's a time and a place for posting an essay, El Reg's comments are not it.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: monoglot English speakers' arrogance, a wistle in the darkening wood

        TL;DR

        Let's stay with the celtic example of Cymru. Normannic England's military onlslaughts against Cymru, begun soon after 1066, were just the starting shot of the horrific English offensive war-mongering.

        So France's fault. Bloody Gauls!

    3. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: monoglot English speakers' arrogance, a wistle in the darkening wood

      The word "welsh" means "stranger". Meaning: the strange invaders not only robbed and annexed Cymru but by adding insult to injury declared the celts strangers and renamed Cymru to "Wales", i.e. strangers' land

      You missed the point that the word "Cymru", used for the country and the word "Cymry", used for the people have a meaning similar to "brotherhood", thus a large chunk of British people went from being "brothers" to being "strangers".

      this celtic people and Cymraeg are still alive after all these centuries of English aggression

      And you missed a brilliant opportunity here to mention one of the iconic anthems of recent years (if a bit over-played if I'm honest), i.e. Dafydd Iwan's Yma o Hyd (words)YT video.

      M.

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