When I dominate at Scrabble or Words With Friends, inevitably someone will champion my vocabulary or knowledge of big words. My vocabulary has nothing to do with it. Words With Friends is a board game, and the key is the board. A word like ‘Ox’ in the right spot is infinitely more powerful than more complicated words without any bonuses or modifiers. Thus, in the early going of the game – be mindful of what letters you’re using and where you’re using them. For example, if you’re going first in a match and can’t make it to the first double-letter score, it’s okay to ‘punt’ and play a simple word using common letters, saving your best letters and combos for a more advantageous board position. As a soft rule, you shouldn’t be playing any letters worth more than 3 points unless you’re going to get bonus points on the board somehow, unless you’re desperate.
This is just about my favorite trick in Words With Friends. If you have an S, try to use it for two purposes. First, to extend one of your words to its plural tense in order to gain a double or triple word score, or, even better, use it to pluralize one of your opponent’s words, and build a new word with it. If the word you’re building off of has quality letters in it, you get those points, plus the points for your new word, which is obvious. What may not be obvious is that this tactic can also cut into any major gains your opponent received from double word or triple letter scores, as you are getting all the ‘base’ points for your opponent’s word and then gaining points of your own, turning their epic play into just another word.
When you first load up New World and create a new character, you’ll be thrust into the story and thrown into one of several different starting areas. The first few hours of the game’s main questline are tied to this area, which means you will probably want to have the same starter area as your friends if you plan on playing with them. Unfortunately, you don’t get a chance to decide where to start — and, most of the time, you’re probably going to end up somewhere different than your friends. You don’t have to blindly restart and hope for the best to change your starter zone, though. Instead, you can actually stop just after completing the first part of the quest — right after finishing the tutorial opening. Then, run to any of the other marked starting areas to complete the quest. Just make sure you don’t accept the second part of that first quest. If you accidentally start the second part of the quest, you’ll need to restart and do it all over again to change your starter zone.
A lot of PS5 games, like Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War, support local multi-player gaming as well. However, you need two controllers to do that. Now, the new DualSense controller is quite expensive, and most of you must already have an old DualShock 4 controller lying around, right? Well, you can easily switch to the PS4 version of a game and play locally using the DualShock 4 controller. How? Read on.
The new Control Center in PlayStation 5 is pretty useful. And, you can further tailor it to your particular needs by customizing it. All you need to do is launch the Control Center by pressing the PS button on your controller. Once you’ve done that, press the ‘Options’ button on your controller to get to the customize screen option. Here you can pick and choose the items you want to see on the Control Center.
If you've got a mixture of smart-home devices, chances are, there may be a few that aren't officially supported by Alexa. But you may not be out of luck. First, double-check that there isn't an Alexa Skill for that smart device. It there isn't, check the online connection sites Yonomi and IFTTT to see if your devices are supported. If so, get to know Yonomi or IFTTT, as they can greatly expand the usefulness of Alexa, allowing you to tie several actions to a single voice command, export your Alexa to-do or shopping list to Apple Reminders or Todoist and much more. Here are some Alexa IFTTT recipes to get you started.
Primarily, I use Alexa for controlling my smart home using my voice. It's far more convenient than digging through my phone to open one or two applications just to control the lights. The second most convenient use of Alexa for me is quick calculations or conversions, especially while cooking or making coffee. You can convert currencies or measurements and even do mathematic equations. Just say, "Alexa, 15 times 32" or "Alexa, 10 dollars to pounds."
Speaking of which, everything you say to Alexa is recorded and uploaded to Amazon's servers. If you don't like the idea of hundreds of voice recordings of things you've said to your speaker floating around in the cloud, there are two ways to get rid of all those old recordings. Just know that even after purging all the recordings, a new one will be added every time you speak to Alexa.
If you ever miss one of Alexa's responses or need her to repeat something, just ask. Say, "Alexa, can you repeat that?" or, "Alexa, can you say that again?" She will repeat what she just said as many times as you need. You can also look up recent responses in the Home tab of the Alexa app, as well as listen to the recordings of the things you've said to Alexa.
Whether you have someone in your house by the name Alexa or you're tired of Amazon's commercials waking your speaker, changing the device's wake word is often the best course of action. Unfortunately, you can't set your own wake word (yet), but you can choose between Alexa, Amazon, Computer or Echo. To select one of the three alternate wake words, open the Alexa app or alexa.amazon.com, open Settings, choose your Echo device, click Wake Word, choose one of the four options from the dropdown menu and click Save.