What's New -  January, 2014


January 6, 2014: We visited our son and family in Alabama for Christmas and spent some time playing games including Scrabble.  I'm a fairly smart guy, but most males, including me,  are genetically handicapped when it comes to language skills and the girls (wife and granddaughter) beat my son  and me soundly.  Their Scrabble set includes a large book with all valid words and a 3 minute timer.  We used most of our 3 minute turns frantically trying to verify that potential words were actually in the book.  That led to today's  Scrabble Search helper program.  Given a set of available letters and information about where they might connect to words on the board, the program will list legal words to choose from.   As the author, I claim the right to use it during games with family and to extend usage to other males in the game.  Now if the girls will only agree  J.

January 12, 2014: 

We're back to the Mensa Page-A-Day calendar this year and the problems are much more program-worthy than  last year's puzzle calendar.  Here's a Matchstick Puzzle from the January 2 page requiring you to "burn" segments of matches on a grid in such a way that the number of burned segments in each column and row matches given target values.  The program makes it easier than pencil and paper  to burn and "unburn" match segments to solve the puzzle.
January 15, 2014:  It didn't take long for a user to find a scaling bug in the MatchStick Puzzle for screen resolutions that don't match mine.   It is always  a problem when the program draws things (like match sticks) directly on the screen, especially when that fact slips the programmer's mind.   I believe I have it fixed for most screens with today's posting.  If not, let me know.    

January 27, 2014: A change at our host site prevented DFF site updates and taken me several days to recover site formatting.  If you run across format errors or missing or erroneous links, please drop me a line using the feedback link.