A simple scoring scheme for Wordle

Everyone loves Wordle! The author, Josh Wardle, has created the first true meme of 2022 and it’s conquered the Internet faster than Q. (OK, that’s hyperbole. Wishful thinking on my part).

I think the appeal is partly because it’s just once a day, and because the interface does your homework for you. The real genius in my opinion was making it possible to share your results on social media, without giving away the day’s solution.

I found myself wondering if I could quantify my performance on Wordle. Right now, the emoji grid you get when you copy and paste your results is very visual and even a little confusing to interpret at first. I realized that there’s a way to condense that information into a single, descriptive score instead. Here’s the formula:

sum ( ( (BLACK* 2) + (YELLOW* 1) + (GREEN* 0) ) * row )

For example, here are my results from today’s wordle:

My score is therefore 8 from row 1, 18 from row 2, and 18 from row 3, giving me a total score of 44.

Note that a perfect score – 5 greens on your first try – is zero. The worst possible score is 210, though actually, it’s lower than that in practice. This is because 6 tries of 5 letters each equals 30 guesses, and there are only 26 letters in the alphabet, so it’s impossible in practice to get 6 rows of black squares.

With the score, you can more easily compare performance over time and with your friends. Even if you and someone else both take the same number of tries, there is a potential difference in efficiency.

I have put the formula into a google sheet here that is read-only but which you can easily copy to your own account and use. Just paste your Wordle score into cell A1. The sheet supports dark mode and light mode, too.

If you like this score idea, please share! Here’s a simple URL that redirects to this blog post that you can share when you share your Wordle score: https://tinyurl.com/wordlescore

Thank you! 🙂

UPDATE: I think I’m over posting my score to Facebook on a daily basis, but I am tracking my scores on Google Drive, because I wanted to see how my calculated score correlates with number of tries. Here’s the data as of 1/27/22:

I’ve only scored below 30 twice and both those times were with 3 guesses. However, there’s a lot of overlap in score for 4 tries and 5 tries. In other words, it’s possible to get a lower score in 5 tries than in 4 tries. I think this captures some of the strategy. For example, if there are two solutions after guess #3, then my score only penalizes you for the incorrect letters in your guess. There may be a similar overlap between 3 tries and 4 tries, but I haven’t scored well enough yet to detect any such patterns. I suppose this is easy enough to determine from the formula, but I don’t want to make the effort.

Meta is augmented reality

There’s a lot of criticism and mockery of Facebook’s rebranding to Meta. The timing, coming so soon after revelations that Facebook was profiting off of disinformation and outrage, is certainly suspect. However, there is a key idea here that is lost in the meta-discussion about Facebook itself – the idea of augmented reality, or AR for short, which if is to be brought to reality, deserves genuine admiration.

I have previously written about how I thought Google Glass was the first real effort at AR, despite many skeptics and its eventual failure. The problem with Google Glass was that it was positioned as an interface to search and take photos, i.e., content acquisition rather than an augmentation of reality:

Note that Google describes Glass as having a primarily voice-directed interface, for initiating search queries, taking a picture, or real-time language transcription. The main function of Google Glass is to record video and take pictures (not content creation, but content acquisition), to facilitate access to information, and most importantly to overlay data onto the visual field, such as maps or translations. It’s the latter that is the “augmentation” of reality part, and is very, very crude.

This was eight years ago, well before smart assistants like Alexa and Google Home were mature, and of course, suffering from Moore’s Law limitations. Natural Language Processing has come a long way since then, with graph processing tools and other incredible advancements in neural networks.

Facebook’s Meta has the advantage of building on that foundation and learning from those pioneering failures. The mistake that I think Meta is making now is that it is distracted by visions of the Metaverse from Snowcrash or The Oasis from Ready Player One (the latter probably being more accurate, as an ultimate escapist repository for all our nostalgia and cultural baggage). You can see those influences in how Mark Zuckerberg himself describes it:

The next platform will be even more immersive — an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.

The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this.

Immersive. You’re IN the experience. In ANOTHER place. This language describes an alternate reality, a virtual reality. It does not describe a meta-reality or an augmented reality.

To be fair, in the same letter, Zuckerberg does allude to augmented reality to stay present in the real world while you interact with the virtual. But the framework here is an Otherworld where you can decide on a use-case basis to what degree you are present. Think of it as an opacity, with 0% being fully in the real world and 100% being fully immersed (using, say Oculus).

The difference between this and truly augmented reality is that there is no “other” world. You are always in the present reality – but there are added layers. I’ve evangelized the truly groundbreaking anime, Dennou Coil, as a visionary example of a truly AR future. One screenshot alone is sufficient to convey what the true potential is.

Screenshot from Dennou Coil

I don’t know if Facebook/Meta will ever be able to be AR, but I do know that succeed or fail, Facebook/Meta will definitely bring us closer.

Check out my earlier posts on Dennou Coil here.

Living through digital history

I graduated from high school in 1991* in the BBS era. The Internet didn’t open up to commercial use until 1992, and didn’t really take off until 1994 when Mosaic was released.

Before email on the internet became a thing, most people used email from one of the Online Providers (mainly Compuserve, AOL, and Prodigy). Email was like an internal direct message on these systems. I don’t remember what year it was, but eventually, gateway services between the Online Providers were established so a Prodigy user could email someone at AOL, etc. Hotmail was the first real internet email that I remember (named because it was HTML-mail), and Microsoft didn’t buy that until 1997, well after I had graduated from college and was already living in Boston at my first job at MIT.

When Mosaic came out, companies started moving away from internal pages at AOL, etc., and started creating their first websites on the Internet. I assume that was a huge loss of revenue for those Online Services and contributed to their downfall. Eventually, the email standards (X400? X something…) improved to where they all upgraded and we had true interoperability, though I don’t recall what year that was, I think it was 1995 (after Mosaic).

When you watch an episode of Friends – keep in mind that historically all of this was happening in the background. Email just wasn’t a thing in the 90s that people used routinely to keep in touch. Arguably we don’t use it today for that either, since social media has supplanted it**.

The bottom line is that I was in college from 1991 to 1995 at the precise moment in time when we went from BBSes and Online Services ruling the world to the dawn of the true Internet era. I don’t think many of my age-peers remember that this history overlapped with ours in this way.

The Wikipedia entry for Online Service Provider is well worth a read, especially if you are in my age cohort. Gen-X FTFW!

*The senior class of 1990 made fun of my HS class by changing our slogan to “We’re the class of 91. We drink no beer and have no fun.” I remember this slogan better than our actual slogan, maybe because it was rather accurate in my case at the time. (actually, our unofficial slogan for ourselves was “from this prison, we will run, we’re the class of ’91” which resonated more with geeky young me). During high school, for me ’87 to ’91, I spent a lot of time dialing in at 14.4K to BBSes.

**much like social media has supplanted blogs, whose history overlaps my grad school years in exactly the same way that the history of email and the web overlaps my college years. I’m old-fashioned enough to have posted this to my blog here. But I’m modern enough to know that all my friends are here on FB and don’t read my blog, which is why I also cross-posted it to Facebook.

Ethereum as universal stock – from wall street to blockchain

I am mining on an EVGA RTX 3070 FTW obtained at MSRP via their step-up program. To date, I’ve averaged about 50 MH/sec on nanopool with essentially no overclocking of any kind.

My intention is to just accumulate ETH as a learning process. I am toying with launching a couple of coins myself to see how the process works and to better understand the ecosystem. I’ve gotten a good idea of how Uniswap works but am still struggling with Pancake.

The analogy to the stock market is the default when most people talk about crypto, and especially in the analyses of the price behavior. Some of this stuff comes from the forex world, like fibonacci retracements. There’s also a cultural influence and cross-pollination from the Reddit crowd at /r/wallstreetbets – where the rallying cry of HODL reigns. There’s an entirely new culture springing up around crypto and it has inherited toolchains from the stock market disruptor scene.

I find myself considering how far the analogy could go. Blockchain is already a public record of transactions – an early proposed use case was as a replacement for the county recorder’s office, as a way to track real estate ownership. Ethereum took that a step further with Decentralized Finance (DeFi) where “smart contracts” are executed directly on the blockchain. In essence, Ethereum added programming to the blockchain concept, creating a computational infrastructure. In all of these evolutionary steps, the stock market analogy reigns supreme, as a benchmark for competition against and innovation beyond. What if the entire idea of stocks itself could be disrupted by a smart blockchain? What if Wall Street could be entirely replaced by the Crypto Grid?

What if the entire idea of stocks itself could be disrupted by a smart blockchain? What if Wall Street could be entirely replaced by the Crypto Grid?

Consider the way a private startup works. The founder solciits money from a bunch of inventors. Those investors each receive a proportional ownership share (equity) of the company, to the amount of money they provide relative to the total investment received by the founder. The founder eventually goes public or sells the company, and in either case each investor receives a payout that is proprtional to their equity stake.

The analogy to Ethereum 2.0 staking is immediately apparent. If you hold a lot of ETH, and you stake some of it, you will receive “interest” payments as income based on that stake.

If the founder instead put out a callf or investors to donate crypto instead of fiat money, then the entire process would work identically. The only difference would be that the donated crypto could be sold to fund the startup (an extra step). However the equity stake of the investors is permanently recorded in the blockchain.

Suppose further that the founder issued their own Ethereum token at a 1:1 ratio to the donated ETH. That token could be capped so that each token represents an actual proportional share, and ownership of the company would then follow those tokens. It would be completely public.

If the founder solicited 100 ETH as investment, and issued 100 tokens to his investors, then those investors could then resell the tokens or fractions thereof as “stock”. The only thing that is unclear is how, legally, those tokens translated legally to ownership. The gap here is between the legal world where business is actually conducted and the crypto world where these constructs reside. Ultimately you need a legal entity to function as a DBA and to open a bank account, take on payroll, pay vendors, etc. However, if the nature of the business is entirely digital – for example, the gig economy on UpWork – then all of these transactions could be purely crypto. The dream of moving away from fiat is possible, and creates a way for people to pay for services and conduct transactions without any footprint in realspace. At least, until the people involved cash out.

H2G2 at Hulu begins production

Yay, I guess. No word yet on cast and crew though.

Though this is certainly an interesting tidbit:

The series is said to have a completely different plot from the 2005 movie and 1981 six-episode television series directed and produced by Alan J. W. Bell.

And yet later on we also find:

The series has reportedly renewed for season 2 as well with no official confirmation yet. It is likely to adopt all the five novels in the series which include, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe,” “Life, the Universe and Everything,” “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish,” and “Mostly Harmless.” 

So honestly who knows?

Guest Post: I’m Moe Lane, and FROZEN DREAMS is my first book!

Let’s start with that, shall we? FROZEN DREAMS is my first novel (also available as an audiobook): it’s a post-apocalyptic urban high fantasy pulp detective novel, complete with wizards, fantasy races, and at least one wisecracking private eye. It’s set in the far-future and remarkably-retro Cin City, capital of the Kingdom of New California – where life may not be cheap, but it ain’t exactly solidly made, either. Now, some might say that all of this is just an excuse for me to make all sorts of pop culture references in a fantasy story – but I couldn’t possibly comment.

The hero of this story is Tom Vargas, a Shamus pledged to Clear the tough Cases, no matter what. And there’s a lot of ‘whats.’ Evil mage ambassadors. Commie demonologists. Ken barbarians. And as many flying monkeys as my editor could force me to put in.

Which was honestly not hard to do.

Continue reading “Guest Post: I’m Moe Lane, and FROZEN DREAMS is my first book!”

The 12 million body problem

Chinese authorities: “this is normal”

I’m aghast at this.

Five Republican US senators have asked Netflix to reconsider its plans to adapt the bestselling Chinese author Liu Cixin’s book The Three-Body Problem, citing Liu’s comments in support of the Chinese government’s treatment of Uighur Muslims.

In a letter to Netflix, the senators said they had “significant concerns with Netflix’s decision to do business with an individual who is parroting dangerous CCP propaganda”. The letter cites Liu’s interview with the New Yorker last year, in which the Chinese novelist was asked about the mass internment of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang.

“Would you rather that they be hacking away at bodies at train stations and schools in terrorist attacks? If anything, the government is helping their economy and trying to lift them out of poverty,” Liu said, adding: “If you were to loosen up the country a bit, the consequences would be terrifying.”

The Guardian, “Netflix faces call to rethink Liu Cixin adaptation after his Uighur comments”

The question of separating the art from the artist doesn’t have an easy answer. Usually, I can – for example, Orson Scott Card’s political views are at odds with mine, but I am still able to enjoy Ender’s Game. However, Dan Simmons went completely overboard back in April 2006 to an unforgivable degree and rendering Hyperion completely unreadable to me. The above, from Liu, is equivalent in my view and arguably worse as he is glibly parroting CCP propaganda and justifying religious and cultural genocide.

I just finished saying that I try to avoid politics on this blog, but the simple fact is that science fiction is about the human condition. When writers of other genres offend me, it doesn’t sting. And at least with Card I can see where he’s coming from (I disagree profoundly, but I get it). Liu and Simmons made it personal.

I don’t begrudge him his Hugo but I sincerely hope that Netflix doesn’t reward Chinese propaganda with a TV deal. If they do, then I will not be watching.

the politics of discontent

The last time I used my “politics” tag was about 3 1/2 years ago and my main point in that post was:

I consider respect to be the first and foremost responsibility of anyone engaging someone else. If you don’t respect someone, then don’t concern yourself with what they do or think or especially, post on the Internet. This is common sense and civility. 


This blog is my geekblog; it’s where I write about stuff I like that makes me happy. Politics is about what makes you mad, it seems, and I have avoided it here. Overall there isn’t that much politics in the otakusphere, and that’s why it’s great.

Unfortunately we are living through a pandemic and a recession and an election and all that on top of the usual bevy of dangerous planet stuff and foreign entanglements and whatnot. So I cant fault some of my otalu brethren for letting some of that hang out a bit.

However there are a couple cases where it’s become… blatant. And I don’t feel a need to point fingers, but today I did remove a link or two from my blogroll because I realized that their owners weren’t just otaku anymore but have decided to also become pundits. And that’s fine – not any of my business how anyone else runs their blog – but it’s not what I’m looking for here, so I’m choosing to filter that out.

I try not to express opinions (at this blog) that might make a reader think, hey, “he’s talking about me!” I think that there is an erosion of civility happening in real time. If someone agrees and their first thought is to assign blame, then they are part of the problem. The correct response is not to find out who to attack but to try and be part of the solution.

Lets talk about geeky stuff. Let’s be otaku, in the otakusphere. I like being happy more than being angry.

The Stars that Bore Us

This is a short story by Jonathan Edelstein. It’s set in the same literary universe as his published works, “First Do No Harm” (Strange Horizons, 2015), “The Starsmith” (Escape Pod, 2016), “Iya-Iya” (Kaleidotrope, 2019) and “The Stranger in the Tower” (Andromeda Spaceways, 2019) . Here’s a brief backgrounder on the Mutanda-verse. I am grateful to Jonathan for sharing this new entry with the public and encourage everyone to read the rest!

Continue reading “The Stars that Bore Us”