Web wash-out;Diary

13th August 1999 at 01:00
BACK TO the Eisteddfod, where the Diary's new-found faith in the Internet (you'll recall it was an excited trawl of our new toy that revealed the TTA's lamentable record) is shattered on learning that a competition for young Welsh speakers to design their own website attracted just one entry.

"The hope was that people would compete worldwide," lamented science committee chairman Emlyn Thomas to the Western Mail. Perhaps the problem was none of the potential entrants could get to grips with their software. For we also learn that some Welsh campaigners want to take on the mighty Bill Gates, complaining that his Microsoft software is unavailable in the ancient language of the valleys. After all, they argue, it's available in far more obscure languages - Icelandic for example (Iceland pop. 250,000).

And, as Emlyn's dashed hopes hint, there are Welsh-speakers the world over. The Eisteddfod was even treated to a performance by two poets just back from a Welsh-speaking community in Patagonia, South America.

Microsoft is apparently already discussing Welsh software with the University of Wales in Bangor - though the people of Wales could be asked to meet part of the cost. The Diary just hopes a version in English follows.

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