Optimysticism – A Poem By Marc Scapelitte

Besiege the chosen one,
but do not hastily leave,
those who are not labeled,
for it is the fair-weathered coming and going,
of self-minded fanatics,
who add weight to the notion,
that all men are evil unless shaped down,
which hopeful optimists do not hold evident.
Save the extinction of such optimism,
and save the luminous spirit of all who still believe,
that we are all one,
we are all won,
by the grace of the chosen one.


Help With Hanging With Friends!

I decided to follow up my Help With Friends application (used with Words For Friends) with Help With Hanging With Friends.  It has two main options to select from, the Word Builder and the Word Guesser.  The word builder is similar to the word builder in Help With Friends, but it uses the Hanging With Friends dictionary and there is an algorithm that will rate the strength of the word based on:

  • Word Length: In Hanging With Friends, a longer word will reduce the amount of guesses your opponent has to guess the word.  This makes sense, as there are more shorter words than longer and usually when you guess a few letters in a longer word, you can somewhat make out what it is.  However, if you have a longer word that has letters that are not often guessed, you can usually get the opponent to expend all their guesses without getting one correct.
  • Number Of Vowels: Your opponent will automatically get a vowel in the word, but more often than not, a player will try to fill in another vowel, guessing AEIOU until they get at least one hit.  The word builder is designed to display words that take this into account.
  • Probability Of Letter Occurrence: Letters like Q, K, J, Z, and X will boost the strength of the word, while letters like R, S, T, L, N, and E will usually put a word at the bottom of the list.
  • # Of Letter Recurrence: If a letter appears more than once, you are giving the opponent more bang for their buck when they guess.  For example, say you had the word TOOTER.  If they guess T, they will get two blanks filled in.  In addition, if they guess O, they will get another two blanks filled in.  Higher strength words will have unique letters with little or no recurrence of letters.

The word guesser option will allow you to enter the word as you see it in Hanging With Friends, letting the app fill in the blanks.  For example, say you have ???O??.

You would enter this exactly as it is displayed into the app and it will return all the words that match this pattern.  It will also display a frequency chart that lets you know what other letters occur, in order of greatest to least.  For instance, this search brings up:

  • S: 426
  • E: 407
  • R: 368
  • A: 258
  • .
  • .
  • .

This means that out of all the words that match this expression, S occurs 426 times, E occurs 407 times, R occurs 368, A occurs 258 times, and so on.  By this information, I’ll guess S next.  Say S comes up, and now you have S??O?S.

Entering this back into the app, I get a reduced result set of 24 words!  See how it can narrow down quickly?  The new frequency chart is:

  • R: 11
  • E: 9
  • A: 8
  • T: 6
  • .
  • .

Judging by this, I should probably guess R.  If you continue in this fashion, you should guess the word at least 9 out of 10 times.

So there it is.  Give it a try!


Help With Friends!

If you’re a fan of Words With Friends by Zynga, you might like my new Android application. Now, let me add a little disclaimer here.  As a former educator, I was never a fan of a student using a reference as an answer, verbatim.  If they used the reference to gather information and understand the information, I believe they could use that and paraphrase it as much as they wanted.  This app aims to do just that.  In Words With Friends, strategy in tile placement and defensive thinking is just as important as using the longest, highest point words.  This app will come up with all the playable words in Words With Friends, based on the letter tiles you give it.  It will also give you the option to quickly look up the definition of the word.  You can actually expand your vocabulary if you use this option!

Has anybody heard of that Bananagrams game?  I played this game with my nephew, but we changed the rules where you had to use the app to find a word you didn’t know, then use the dictionary option to learn the word.  By the end of the game, we had a bunch of words linked together that we didn’t know before the game.  We went through after the game was over and did a recap of all the definitions.  He learned quite a bit.  Give it a try!


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