Flash card Scrabble learning quiz game for PalmOS

Posted by jimblackler on Sep 18, 2007

Two of my hobbies are programming, and trying to improve my Scrabble performance by cramming all the playable short words into my brain. It seems natural that I’d try to combine the two activities.

About five years ago I wrote a program to combine these and my shiny new Palm OS-based Sony Clie. It was a game to test my knowledge of the three letter words. It fires potential three letter word combinations at the player, who has to determine if the words can legally be played, according to the dictionary de jour.Tapping out guesses and trying to get a good run is bizarrely hypnotic. Particularly as the definitions are supplied after each guess. I used it constantly for about a year, whenever I was on the move, banging away at the screen as I stumbled down the street. Hopefully passers by would think I was “texting”, rather than learning Scrabble words which is of course terribly sad. I beamed it on to a few other players at Scrabble meets (PalmOS devices are popular among Scrabble players).

wquiz for PalmOSFive years on my Clie isn’t so shiny any more (in fact it finally died about a year ago after many years fine service). I’m still a Scrabble player, but this time I use a Windows Mobile smart phone for learning on the go. That’s nice because I can use a common .NET library for my dictionary utilities. On that subject, the Scrabble community has changed the official word list to CSW (Collins Scrabble Words) which required every word tool or game to be updated.

So wquiz has become obsolete. Which leads me on to the point of this post. Having given the program to a few people here and there it appears to have developed a miniature but vocal following. One good friend of mine in particular has been politely asking me to update it for him for a while. I declined because I don’t have the Clie any more and I lost the SDK. But when he started offering to pay me I knew he was serious.

Anyway I dusted out the SDK (Metrowerks for PalmOS), fired up the emulator, got the dictionary list out and viola, here is the mighty “wquiz”, 2007 style, for CSW. I’ve linked it here as a .prc file, I think the PalmOS software will install it for you if you open it from your browser. Enjoy.

wquiz for PalmOS .prc file



Nice little program. How easy would it be to work on the four letter words which I have more trouble getting right?


August 1st, 2008 | 8:55 pm

I’m sure you couldn’t care less about wquiz at this point, but this lovely, elegant program has a vexatious little bug. The word “NEW” is in your database as both ‘Real’ and ‘Not Real’. Unfortunately, this means you can’t even just mentally mark it ‘Real’ as you click ‘Not Real’ – you don’t know which “NEW” it is. There are a few other little glitches (.AAH, for example), but this one actually compromises useability, sadly.

I’m not holding out too much hope for a fix :)

As an explanation of my late-in-the-gameness: I am a Scrabble player from the U.S. in the midst of an intensive two-month Collins cramming session for an upcoming Tourney. I also love the Clie and lament the demise of the Palm OS. I am pretty sure the Scrabble community is one of the last little refugia for the palm pilot, as so many continue to use the still-unsurpassed Palm version of SuperMemo to study.

Anyway, cheers for a sweet, little program – shame about the bug. I’ll have to check out Qindar.

April 12th, 2011 | 9:31 pm
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