Archive for the ‘Word Games’ Category

Do you eat alone?

I do, and I do it often. It breeds negative impression among friends and colleagues. It will not expedite my ascend to the top of corporate ladder, in fact it will most likely hamper any remaining potential of career growth. I know, but I still eat alone. There are just too many questions in my head, from how to salvage my Go hobby from time-hungry career, how to still achieve my dream to be a programmer to the smaller questions i.e. what to blog about, what should I read etc etc.

Today’s lunch, I ate alone again. I brought along a vocabulary book, and chose to sit at a table across a lady who was alone as well. I like being alone, but not alone alone. Hope that makes sense.

Anyway, she was cracking head doing Sudoku, while enjoying a green-ish drink. A girl doing Sudoku alone at lunch? Fewww.. I was relieved to know that my type of girl does exist. 🙂 I then rightaway drew my book closer within reading range and adjusted my focus accordingly, and she began to fade to the perimeter of my vision.

I do not suffer from jealousy of that guy, who generates laughter from waist-round buddies, or that guy who everyone knows and wants to be with. I do not covet them. I really don’t, so please do not project that I-commiserate-with-your-plight expression when you see me eating alone in a big corporation cafeteria.

That’s not to say I dislike being in company of others. I simply like to have social flexibility, to have a total control and freedom of myself and my activities. Prejudice may be piling against me, and in corporate world, this could be lethal. I dont care, I die a martyr for this nonsensical “personal social freedom” cause if I have to.

Note: Hahaha… seems like a rather extreme post. It is the little voice inside me though. Anyway, as I said, I read a vocabulary book during lunch. Can you guess what words I had learnt?

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What do you do whenever you are waiting for something in the public? Perhaps for departure in the airport, or for train or someone to arrive? Reading a story book is one of the options,but here I want to focus specifically on playing games.

The following is the ranked list of playable games/puzzles while waiting. I am a board game player, so I may be biased but I will give justification on why this or that is best, superior or inferior.

#5 : Mobile phone games

The problem with playing mobile phone games while waiting in the public is that your phone is exposed. This may make you a target for snatch thief. Besides, it consumes battery power, making playing to be limited. But of course the good thing is, you almost always have your mobile phone around. There is no need to bring extra materials.

To be fair, depending on the available software, mobile phone games can actually rank anywhere.

# 4 : Rubik’s cube

Rubik’s cube requires both hands to play, which can be problematic if you are standing in the train with one hand already occupied for balancing. Or in another example, one hand already occupied to hold documents when queueing for Visa application etc. Games that require both hands are not suitable in this case.rubiks_cube_variations-250

Since Rubik’s cube does not make you a snatch thief target, I rank it better than mobile phone games. Of course, another problem is, once you know how to solve it, it’s no longer mentally challenging to play.

On the good side, if you are a proud geek, playing Rubik’s cube in the public can be an excellent ego booster.You will have more chance to get awe from public especially kids compared to other games.

#3 and #2 : Crosswords and Sudoku

sudoku_przykladThe main drawback of these two games is the same as previous, in that they require both hands. Moreover, holding a sharp object like pencil may not be a very good idea in crowded area due to risk of accidentally injuring others or self. I rank this better than Rubik’s cube because these games have many more levels of complexity and are more mentally challenging. british_crossword-250

You will also need to keep two objects for these games, pencil and the book. I find that annoying. But that is actually a good thing, as bringing along a pencil or pen everywhere is a good habit. Crossword game may be better than Sudoku, if you like to talk to strangers. Asking for help for certain parts of the game from person next to you can start a conversation and may earn you a great eternal friend. 🙂

#1 : Tsumego

Tsumego is a life and death part of Go board game which asks the reader to visualise sequence to kill or save a group. It is quite similar to Chess problems i.e. Black to mate in 3.


Playing tsumego while waiting requires only one hand. All you need is to hold the book, look at the problems and visualise sequence. Answers usually available on the next page. Tsumego problems also have many levels of complexity, hence playable for all sorts of people. Playable with one hand and being an excellent and fun mental training game are some of the reasons of why I rank this first.

Well, that’s very quick opinion from me. I played all of the games before, but now I only do tsumego if I have to wait long for something. For those who do not know the rules of tsumego, just look up on the Internet and start learning. It’s very easy! You may start solving your first tsumego after few minutes.

So biased. I know. LOL 🙂

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Thanks to Facebook, I got in contact with Vannitha Balasingam, a Malaysian Scrabbler who is active in local and international tournaments. She directed me to www.isc.ro, a very good Scrabble server for practising. Honestly, I am tired of playing online. I was hoping to play Scrabble in real life instead, or I will never escape this computer prison. But it seems that there is no regular meeting among Scrabblers in KL.

I tried the Internet Scrabble Club (ISC) nonetheless and had considerable fun. At one point I encountered  few super strong players who kept bingo-ing (use all 7 letters) and thus earning extra 50 points, I was in awe, until I realised “this is impossible !”. All the replies were instant.

Uh, must be bots. I got turned off. I HATE PLAYING AGAINST BOTS !

I was Sensemaker. The opponent Niferiti took one second in total to bingo twice with “RETAINER” and “MINNEOLA”.

I am still furious at having awed at machines 😦

I introduce myself as a person who is beginner at Scrabble but had played plenty of word games before. I thought I should be rather strong in Scrabble but I think I had underestimated the game too much. My rating on ISC is really low although I actually resign too fast when I get ahold of too many vowels.

If anyone from Malaysia is interested in Scrabble, have a stop at the Facebook group and Penster website.

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It turned out my presentation was rather good, as evaluated afterwards. So I am not emo today 🙂 Actually since my university years, I keep getting comments that I am natural, when presenting. The keyword is always “natural”, and that is starting to get boring. I should improve my presentation skills to earn comments like “persuasive”, “impactful”, “unique”, “professional” and so on.

Problem is, I cant get enough opportunity to practise and experiment. I once tried opening a presentation by greeting “Good beforenoon to everyone” (it was 11a.m.) and the result was confusion and huh?s from everyone.  And the experiment taught me not to do that again 🙂

Anyway, to avoid getting rusty with programming (as I have with football), I wrote a Java program to scan through list of English words and find anagram pairs. Below are the interesting ones.

  1. antagonist  stagnation
  2. ascertain  sectarian
  3. bacterial  calibrate
  4. coordinate  decoration
  5. courteous  outsource
  6. eroticism  isometric
  7. excitation  intoxicate
  8. prettiness  persistent
  9. satirical  racialist
  10. shattering  straighten
  11. supersonic  percussion

I initially wanted to write article explaining the algorithm, and put it under Article tab above, but the Java program is so embarrassingly unstructured and un-academic. My knowledge and understanding of Object Oriented Programming is only as good as a stool leg trying to play football.

On separate matter, I managed to get sgf2dg open source software to work, to draw go diagrams. Dont suggest me to use Print Screen and convert to JPEG! The quality would be too bad for publishing!

Haha I’m already dreaming of writing a Go book in Malay! The problem is, the output of sgf2dg is a TEX source. I mean ‘plain’ or ‘raw’ TEX source, not LATEX and I’ve been failing to embed this source into LATEX. MikTex simply doesn’t recognize the ‘plain’ TEX commands. How do I go around this? Help !! Should I learn TEX? That is too ma fan. I know it’s superb and many people swear by it, but I am for sure going to swear at it!

If any techie people can help, please advise. Thankies.

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