My latest postings elsewhere on the Internet…
Notable Mentions / Contributions
- (Video) Forrester Wave
My latest postings elsewhere on the Internet…
1. Cord cutting step 1 – Replace DirectTV with streaming service(s) – As one of millions who decided to ditch cable and/or satellite TV providers, our move to YouTube TV (w/ local channels, 6 accounts and unlimited DVR) was one of the best decisions of the year. While a plethora of options exist for your replacement, be prepared for the shyster-y tactics of the behemoth providers to keep you hooked on their overpriced offerings.
2. Cord cutting step 2 – Replace landline with VoIP – A major benefit of converting our landline number to Google Voice (using ObiTalk) was NO MORE SPAM CALLS! We retained our home number of almost 20 years and now have phones (along with 911 service) in almost every room of the house. As a bonus, our voicemail is always transcribed into an email, and our “landline” can now send/receive texts.
3. Cord cutting step 3 – Replace security system with Nest – While I shouldn’t be documenting this on the Internet, the Nest experience (Secure w/ Hello) is well worth the extra $$. The camera and alarm combo is quite useful for deliveries and visitors, and the built-in cellular option with battery backup allows operation even if the power and/or Internet are out.
4. Hanging pictures with ease – The hands-down easiest way to hang something on the wall is with the Beehive picture hangers (available via Amazon). Two tiny screws attach the hanging bracket, and leveling is accomplished by making tiny adjustments of the picture frame. Long gone are the days of tape measures, stud finders and sheet rock anchors as hanging becomes a hassle-free 5 minute task.
5. Curtailing identity theft – Over the past few years, we’ve had our credit card number hijacked more than a dozen times along with a falsified tax return filed in our name. With a few simple tweaks, we’ve minimized our risk and the associated headaches.
a. Have you been hacked? Look yourself up and fix your identity on the dark web.
b. Freeze your credit report at all three credit bureaus. Yes, you can temporarily unfreeze it as needed, and no, it won’t affect your credit score.
c. Get a separate travel credit card. Use it exclusively when out of the country (or w/ small vendors in the states). First, you’ll have a backup while traveling, and second, there’s no need to re-establish all of those recurring charges on your main card, if/when your travel card gets jacked.
My latest postings elsewhere on the Internet from the second half of 2018…
As previously promised, here’s sample of my latest postings elsewhere on the Internet during the first half of 2018.
First and foremost, following these techniques is an acknowledgement that WWF is not a word game; it’s a strategy game. If you want to play for laid-back fun, skip this part, but if having a higher score than your opponent is what drives your enjoyment, keep reading.
Gain awareness of what is often referred to as ‘time’ in chess, which means using various techniques at different phases of the game. Continuing with the chess analogies, there’s an opening, middle and end game, and having this sense of time will allow a player to mentally jump from game to game with minimal brain power used for context switching.
Side note: I recently mentioned to a friend that I was still playing WWF, and he was surprised the game was still in vogue. At the time of this writing, there are 60-65 million games happening at any point in time, which makes it still amazingly popular.
Over the past year or so, I spent more time writing in various forums, and I wanted to find a way to capture these musings in a common place. First, some family and friends have asked to see some of these articles, and second, I wanted to be able to reference this material in a common way. Consequently, I created this follow-up post to provide links to some of last year’s material and plan to make periodic summary posts to capture future writings (possibly quarterly).
|Consonant Only (no Y)||BRR||BRRR||CRWTH||CRWTHS||CWM||CWMS|
Words with Friends (WWF) is an exceptional game, allowing just about any age to play, and while a good vocabulary will help any player, there’s much more to the game than just words. After playing for a couple years and encountering a wide variety of skill levels, I began to look for some tips on improving my game. What seemed to be missing is a process allowing any player to slowly build from a beginner level and/or improve their game from an intermediate level. This WWF series of blog entries intends to do exactly that. Admittedly, this set of suggestions isn’t likely to advance your average to 450 per game, but 400+ isn’t out of the question. On the other hand, the information is setup in a way to allow a more casual player to improve in a stepwise manner, picking up new tips after mastering others.
Before jumping into the deeper content, it seems appropriate to address other semi-controversial points which often arise when discussing WWF: (a) the differences between Scrabble (the board game) and WWF, (b) expert levels of play, and (c) the use of outside help. While admitting some personal bias, I’ll briefly address each of these topics so readers can determine whether our value systems are in alignment and the suggestions worthy of continued reading.
It seems hard to debate playing either game will help the vast majority of people improve in both games; however, these really are quite different games. The most notable difference is a player’s ability in WWF to try and fail without penalty, and hardcore Scrabble players often scoff at WWF because of this. On the other hand, Scrabble players are not typically playing 5-20 games simultaneously, yet they have the luxury of continuous brain power directed towards one game in one setting. Playing multiple WWF games and maximizing context switching is one of the key goals of the strategies listed in this blog. By the way, while players often have a couple of weeks to make one WWF play before being auto-forfeited, a reasonable protocol amongst players appears to be one play (or more) per board every 24 hours, which means a player should decrease play duration or number of games to strike a reasonable balance.
A keen eye will notice these strategies suggest the potential to elevate a WWF player to an “advanced” level. For those wanting to become real experts, you’ll need to start practicing what the pro Scrabble players do: memorize the entire word list (~170,000 words), analyze previous games, work with a game coach, etc. But, who has the time for all of that nonsense?! As in chess, which I’ll reference often, naturals at WWF are those with above average pattern matching and discipline, and these strategies attempt to improve your WWF skills in a steady, progressive manner regardless of your inherent natural abilities.
It seems opinions vary widely on this topic, ranging from what constitutes outside help to whether outside help actually aids against an experienced player. In my opinion, using outside help is real downer, and doing so only strengthens your opponent’s skill set while the cheater gets really good at using a word finder! (OK, I said it.) We all know how easy it is to Google a word or use one of the many WWF cheat sites and/or apps, but the game’s best outcomes are a friendly result of you versus your opponent. BTW, there are few ways to determine if someone is flagrantly using outside help, but assuming your opponent is honest is the wisest route due to a lot of sharp players with a sizeable word set. Sufficed to say, avoiding cheaters provides a much more enjoyable playing experience, but you should know the really good players are regularly scoring 400-450+ per game, so don’t be too quick to accuse!
Having built this compilation of strategies and tactics over the course of several months, I decided to publish even though the entire series was not fleshed out; however, providing content earlier and receiving feedback sooner is a much better approach in almost all situations. (hat tip for my Agile friends) In other words, once the skeleton series is published, improvements will be made to the existing entries without notice.