Words With Friends now on Facebook

I’ve just heard that Words With Friends is now available on Facebook.  I’ve played it on my iPhone before, but I’m now going to check out the new version.  It’s at http://apps.facebook.com/wordswithfriends/

Remember, Scrabble Helper works beautifully with Words With Friends, just select the ‘Words With Friends’ option under ‘Choose your dictionary’.

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Scrabble Strategy ebook!

Scrabble Strategy bookHi guys,

I’ve got some news I’m really excited about!

For the last 4 months I’ve been working with Todd Kreisman – author, stand-up comedian, and most importantly brilliant Scrabble player to create an amazing book on Scrabble Strategy.

Todd took an incredible journey for us, playing ten games of Scrabble with players of increasing ability, until he was playing the very best players on the internet.

And he wrote down every single move he made, every word he played, and exactly what he was thinking when he made that move, and why he did it.

It’s like being inside his head as he plays!

And he complements all this with the very best advice on Scrabble strategy out there.

I hope you’ll be as excited as me when you see the book.  Head over to the ebook page for more details.

And I’ve got a special offer for all my blog readers to celebrate the Summer holidays: just enter SUMMERHOLIDAY in the coupon box when you checkout to get 10% off!  But be quick, the voucher is only valid until 7th August!

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New Word List Pages

I’ve just added a few pages to the site for people wanting to improve their Scrabble, Lexulous or Words With Friends knowledge.

These are a set of Scrabble Word Lists that are useful for revising/preparing for a game.  Such things as all the 2 letter words, all the words that use Q without a U, all the words that use more than one of the ‘high score’ letters, that sort of thing.

Either click the Word Lists tab above, or follow this link: Scrabble Word Lists.

Are there any other lists you’d like to see?  Let me know!

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Improvement for iPad / iPhone / iPod users

Scrabble Helper user Mark recently suggested an improvement to allow him to use Scrabble Helper on his iPad.

The problem is that Apple products ‘auto correct’ whatever you type in (which can have annoying yet hilarious consequences – as seen on the excellent website damnyouautocorrect.com).

Obviously that’s not so good when you’re trying to enter a random assortment of letters from your Scrabble rack as it tries to make sense of it and ‘correct’ your mistyping.

After a bit of research I’ve found out how to get Scrabble Helper to tell iPads, iPhones and iPods not to auto correct the letters as you input them.

So hopefully Mark can can back to enjoying Scrabble Helper from the comfort of his iPad 🙂

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Sorry about the slow site, but improvements are on the way!

Well, it only feels like yesterday when I bought a new web server to cope with all the new Scrabble Helper users.

In fact it was 3 months ago, and yet we’re still getting new users every day.  I guess you’re all telling your friends!  But it does mean the site grinds to a halt during the most popular hours.

So to fix this I’ve bought an even bigger server.  It’s got 4 times as much memory and at least 4 times as much processing power.  The change should make everything go much smoother and cope with everyone who joins – well, at least for another few months 😉

I’m dedicated to making sure everyone who wants to use Scrabble Helper can do so, and so as fast as you can recruit new users I’ll throw more hardware at the site to make everyone happy!

The change is happening tomorrow (Fri 13 May – I’m glad I’m not superstitious!) and will take about 2 hours.  So the site will be unavailable while that happens.

We start the move at 1pm UK time (that’s 12 noon UTC, 5am Pacific Daylight Time, 8am Eastern Daylight Time).

See you on the new server 🙂

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Apologies and a new setting

I had to take Scrabble Helper down for maintenance earlier today to do an upgrade to the server.  It was only supposed to be offline for about 5 minutes, but you know the way computers are, and unforeseen problems turned 5 minutes into more like half an hour.  Sorry about that.

But to balance that with some good news, following a request from user Kristen, I’ve put a new setting in the ‘Options’ screen.  This allows you to choose whether or not the displayed words are clickable to get a definition.

If you haven’t found it yet, you can get to the Options screen by clicking on the tab at the bottom right of the main window.  It has a few settings to customise the results to the way you like them.

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We’re on a new webserver

This morning I got my hosting company to move Scrabble Helper to a new webserver.

The new server has twice as much memory, so should be able to handle twice as many simultaneous visitors before grinding to a halt 🙂

Everything seems to be working ok, but I’ll be monitoring it over the next week to check there are no problems.

If you do find the site is still slow, or has any issues, please let me know.  My hosting company has even bigger servers that I could upgrade to if we find this one isn’t up to the job.

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New webserver on the way

We’ve had a lot of new users join Scrabble Helper since the Christmas holidays (welcome everyone!)

However this has made the site a little slow during peak periods.

To try to fix this I’ve just bought a new webserver from my hosting company, that will hopefully be twice as fast as the old one.

This means Scrabble Helper will be unavailable for a short period while we move over to the new server tomorrow (Friday 4 February).  It should take less than 30 minutes to do the move, and I’ve scheduled it for the time when fewest people use the site, namely between 9am and 11am GMT (that’s 4am-6am EST, 1am-3am PST).

You don’t need to update your bookmarks or anything, just visit the site as usual and we’ll be back just the same, but hopefully faster.

I hope everything will be working smoothly after the move, but I’ll be on hand to fix any problems as they arise.

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Save your preferences

After the recent updates to Scrabble Helper I had some feedback that a few of you preferred the old way of displaying the words.

To try to keep everyone happy I’ve added a new ‘Options’ tab (on the right below the main window) where you can set your preferences.

This allows you to customise the order of the words in the list and how many are displayed as a summary before you click ‘show more’ to see the rest.  You can even set it to show all words immediately if you prefer.

This saves the options on your computer (in a cookie), so if you access Scrabble Helper from more than one computer you’ll have to change them on each computer.

Hope this meets with your approval!

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Site Improvements

I recently asked all the members on the mailing list what they thought of the website, and how it could be improved.

(For those of you not on the mailing list it’s not too late to tell me what you think by taking the survey.  You can also join the mailing list if you like.)

I’ve taken on board all the comments, and I’ve just made a whole load of improvements.

These are the changes I’ve just made:

  • Completely re-written the site to speed it up, as it gets very slow when a lot of people are using it.
  • Made it remember which dictionary you use.
  • Added dictionaries and scoring for Lexulous and Words With Friends.
  • Words are now in score order (highest first).
  • Fixed the problem when blank tiles were included in the score.
  • You can now click on a word to see the definition at wikitionary.org (note that it doesn’t have definitions for some of the more obscure words in the Scrabble dictionary though!)
  • You can now enter up to 10 letters in your rack (to cope with Scrabble variants that allow more tiles).
  • When you search for words attached to another word, it also lists ‘standalone’ words on the same screen.
  • To reduce the clutter, only the best 15 words are now displayed (but you can click on ‘show more’ to see the full list).

I’ve still got loads of other changes I’d like to make, but they’re a lot harder, so may take a little longer!

I hope you like the improvements 🙂

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