new release of Crosswords for PalmOS,
version 4.1.4, is now shipping. This release includes bug fixes as well as
the following major new features. It shipped on January 21, 2006.
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Click here to download.
Features new to Crosswords 4.1
- Faster on ARM Palms
- Until a couple of years ago, all Palm devices ran on 68K
processors from Motorola, and so all Palm apps had to be compiled for
this processor. More recent devices (those running OS 5.0 and later)
can be based on much faster ARM processors, but for backwards
compatibility PalmSource makes it possible for apps written for the
68K to run, and in fact it remains a bit tricky to write "native" ARM
apps -- apps that are built to run on ARM directly.
- 68K apps run much more slowly than native ARM apps, and so
Crosswords 4.1 adds the ability to run native. It is about 10
times faster, a difference that's particularly obvious when the
hint or robot features are in use.
- Since Crosswords must still be able to run on older 68K Palms, the
68K part remains. The fact that there are essentially two apps in the
.prc file makes it much bigger -- 240K instead of the 100K 68K-only
Crosswords requires. Right now there are three builds to choose
from -- 68K only, ARM only, and both.
- New dictionary format
- In order to support the BYOD website
for building custom Crosswords dictionaries
I had to change the form these
dictionaries take on Palm. Crosswords 4.1 cannot open old-format dictionaries, but can convert them to the new format,
and will offer to do so every time it is launched. You can decline the offer, and Crosswords 4.1 will still run
as long as it can find at least one new-format dictionary on your device.
- New-format dictionaries, including
converted old-format ones, will be invisible to versions of Crosswords prior to 4.1.
- New DAWGShow
- There's now a new version of the Crosswords dictionary browser DAWGShow that can read the new dictionary format. Get it
here. Read about it
- Support for high-res screens
- The original Palms had 160x160 screens, but most newer models have
320x320 or even larger displays. Crosswords 4.1 begins to take
advantage of this by drawing thinner lines and with crisper-looking
fonts. In fact, there is no longer any need for a scrollbar on
high-res devices: you can see the entire 15x15 board and your tray at
the same time.
- Picking tiles face up
- If you check the "Allow pick tiles" checkbox in the Preferences dialog
then each time Crosswords assigns tiles to your tray you'll get a chance to pick them from this dialog.
- (To prevent cheating using this feature I've made it impossible to turn it off once a game starts.)
- This feature has been requested by folks who want to use Crosswords to solve newspaper
wordgame puzzles and to re-create board layouts for study.
- Restricting hint searches
- If you check the "Local hints" checkbox in the Preferences
dialog then you'll be able to use the "Limited hint" item on the "Move"
menu and you'll be able to draw hint-limiting rectangles on the board.
- The "Limited hint" item brings up the dialog at right. The hint feature will only
produce possible moves that use that numbers of tiles you specify.
- To draw the hint-limited rectangle, use the stylus to draw a rectangle from one of
the upper corners to the opposite lower corner. (Drawing in an upwards direction clears the rectangle.)
The hint feature will then only produce possible moves where all of the tiles placed fall within
that rectangle. In the image at right, the rectangle is being used to restrict moves to the same
row in which the first move was placed.
- This feature has been requested by folks who want to practice strategy. Sometimes, for example,
you know that your best move probably lies in a certain region in order to block your opponent, and you
don't want to wade through hundreds of moves all over the board when there are only a few you
need to see.
- Remaining tiles dialog
- The "Remaining tiles" dialog displays a list of tiles left in
play in a format favored by tournament Scrabble™ players: one
letter per tile. Thus if there are five A tiles left, you
will see A.A.A.A.A in the dialog.