Oh Dear, It's Started!
Well, the axe has fallen. Thursday morning I switched on the television to watch the BBC’s Breakfast programme and - no BBC. Overnight all the channels had been migrated to the new satellite, so I am now suffering the withdrawal symptomms of a keen Pointless fan. We are told that ITV and Channel Four will be migrating on Tuesday, so as from Wednesday the free to air channels that we have enjoyed since arriving here six years ago will be no more. There is a single ray of hope. We have a large dish and it is possible that it can be aligned to the new satellites so that some channels at least can be restored. I have left an SMS with Dirk the Dutch guy who specialises in satellite TV installations and await a response. Mind you, with so many people affected that could be quite a while. Fortunately, I have found a new obsession to fill those empty hours; a website called www.duolingo.com provides free learning of a range of European languages. I was dubious, as they say that not only are there no charges, but no ads either. So, how do they make their money. That turns out to be simple and ingenious. More advanced learners are given complex translation tasks to complete. These documents are sourced from commercial clients who are buying translation services. An algorithm combines all ‘solutions’ to a particular document and from the resulting data is able to produce a high quality version in the target language. I’m ploughing through levels of Spanish at the moment until I get to my current level and can start to move forward again, but I have also started to resurrect a long dead French A-Level, and may follow up later with refiving my German. And Portugal is only just down the road, so to speak, so maybe I’ll give Portuguese a go. Who needs British television!