Archive for the ‘games’ category

Crossword Puzzles

July 15, 2013

So you think you might want to try your hand at doing crossword puzzles? Seem overwhelming?  I have been doing crossword puzzles for many years now. Here’s my handy dandy guide to doing crossword puzzles.

  1. Start on Monday. Many crossword puzzle providers start easy on Monday and then work up in difficulty as the week goes on. I usually can do the NY Times Monday puzzle in about 5 minutes. The Saturday puzzle usually takes me 30 minutes or longer. Sunday puzzles generally take me around 45 minutes or so.
  2. Use a pencil with an eraser if you use the printed puzzles. Don’t be afraid to enter a clue. Try it and see if it agrees with the corresponding across or down clues.
  3. If you like to solve online, use the program “AcrossLite”. It’s available for Windows and Mac. There are also several apps for smart phones and tablets. I use an app from Standalone Software on my iPad.
  4. Daily puzzles are (in the U.S.) a 15×15 grid. Sunday puzzles are a 21×21 grid. The grid is (almost always) symmetrical along the SW to NE axis.
  5. Puzzles with a large amounts of open space are always harder.
  6. Here is a link to some good tips on crossword clues.

Finally, here are a few articles or books on word puzzles worth looking at:

  1. Article about Will Shortz (NY Times puzzle editor)
  2. Book by Eugene Maleska called “Pleasure in Words” [no longer in print] You’ll either have to buy used or go to the public library. Maleska is the former NY Times puzzle editor.
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More Apps

December 26, 2012

Time to talk about some more iPhone and iPad apps. These are apps that I tend to use a lot and in no particular order. I will try to include a pointer to the app on the iTunes store and/or developer web site,

Genius Scan

Genius Scan utilizes the rear facing camera as a scanner. This is primarily an iPhone app, but it runs on any iPad with a rear facing camera. The app takes a picture using the camera, then it allows you to de-skew the image so that it is square. Here’s a couple of screen shots to explain what I mean.

Once you save the image as either color, b/w or greyscale, you can title, add tags, etc. Then you can either save to dropbox or email the document. There is a basic version (free) and a plus version ($2.99).

Waze

Waze is a GPS Mapping app. What makes Waze different from other mapping apps is that it free. Waze uses the network connection to update the Waze servers with information about traffic, road obstructions and police presence. It will suggests alternate routes when traffic is bogged down on your priority route. You can report accidents, slow downs and speed traps. You can optionally have those reports appear on Twitter and/or Facebook.

To use this app safely in a car, you will need to get some sort of windshield mount and a 12v power connector. You can find this stuff online at Amazon and other online etailers.

Here’s the iTunes link

Now for fun stuff. Let’s talk about games. Here are few of the games that I use to amuse myself when I’m bored and tired of reading.

Crosswords

Okay, I admit it. I’m a crossword puzzle junkie. The crossword puzzle app is called “Crosswords“. The Crosswords app automatically downloads passwords every day. You can choose which puzzles to download. If you have a subscription to crossword puzzle providers (like the NY Times puzzle) you can enter the username and password to download those puzzles.

You can also sync puzzles between IOS devices. You can start a puzzle on your iPad and finish it on your iPhone.

Word Warp

Word Warp is a word jumble game. Each round you are given six letters that you must unscramble into words. If you get any of the six letter words, you get to continue to the next round. Simple but amusing. Each round lasts 2 minutes. There is a free version with ads and a paid version without ads.

That’s enough for now. More post to come on apps.

 

Joe