Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

WordNerd for web

Monday, January 8th, 2018

Word Nerd, Supernifty’s crossword solver, is now available as a web application.

Try it out at Word Nerd. No installation required. Available on both desktop and mobile.

On first visit, a substantial download is required (approximately 30Mb), but with browser caching, subsequent visits are fast to start up.

As with the installable version of Word Nerd, the web version enables three main functions:

  • Find words matching a pattern: e.g. find all words matching “m..k.y”
  • Find anagrams of a word: e.g. find all anagrams of “read”
  • Find words contained in a word’s definition: e.g. find all words that contain “carbon dioxide” in its definition.

You can easily use Word Nerd to solve crosswords, or simply as a searchable offline dictionary.

Find matching words

Find anagrams

The web app is a little slower than the installed version of Word Nerd (particularly the definition search) but still quite usable for those final pesky crossword clues.

This is the first release of the software so may have a few rough edges. Any problems, please raise an issue over at

If you’re interested in the implementation, the source code is available at

Try it out!

Estimating the value of Pi with Archimedes

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

Estimating Pi
Archimedes lived from 282 BC to 212 BC. He made many contributions to mathematics, engineering, physics, and astronomy.

He invented an interesting method of estimating Pi. He noticed that you can calculate a lower and upper bound for the ratio between the radius squared, and the area of a circle, which can estimate the value of Pi.

By drawing a square inside a circle and calculating its area, you can calculate a lower bound for what the area must be.

In this case, the square can be seen as four right angled triangles with length equal to the radius. Each triangle has an area of r * r / 2, which gives us a total area of 2r2.

Similarly, by drawing a square containing the circle, it has sides of length 2r, so has an area of 4r2. This gives us an upper bound for the area of the circle.

So, from these two calculations we know that the area lies between 2r2 and 4r2 – hence Pi lies between 2 and 4.

Doesn’t seem like a very accurate prediction. However, Archimedes realised that by using this same technique with polygons with more sides, he could get a more accurate estimate.

With a 10-sided polygon, the range becomes 0.31, a margin of error of 10%. With 100 sides, the estimate is accurate to two decimal places.

If you’re interested in the code that does the calculation, it’s available at GitHub.

Top 500 songs of all time by Magic 1278

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Magic recently completed their listener survey for the top 500 songs of all time, and Supernifty has put together a web page for exploring the countdown.

Most popular artists of all time

There were big changes from the last survey of 2012, with over 200 new entries in the list. There has been a shift in the radio station’s playlist since the last survey, and this was reflected in the results. Songs from the 70s and Neil Diamond were big winners.

In fact, a 70s song stole the crown as the best song of all time. Can you guess what it is? Check out the top 500 songs of all time.

  • Oldest best song of all time: Unforgettable by Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole
  • Newest best song of all time: Mascara by John Stephan

Check out this year’s results, and compare it to the results of previous surveys in 2012, 2010 and 2008.

Book Review – Confessions of a Public Speaker

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Confessions of a Public Speaker provides a glimpse into the world of public speaker Scott Berkun.

This relatively short book consists of a series of amusing public speaking related anecdotes – typically some unpleasant event personally experienced by Scott – followed by some advice on how to prevent said unpleasant experience from happening to you.

The book was interesting and a little addictive – I always wanted to turn the page to see what sticky situation Scott would be in next. The book also contained a range of practical public speaking tips.

I particularly enjoyed the final chapter – a compilation of public speaking stories sent in by other speakers – some of the stories were seriously hilarious.

Even if you’re not a professional public speaker, it still makes for a quick, light-hearted read. Everyone has to speak publicly occasionally and this book contains plenty of useful advice.

Note: This book was provided by O’Reilly Media as part of their blogger review program.

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program