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Feb 98 Challenge

Volume Number: 14 (1998)
Issue Number: 2
Column Tag: Programmer's Challenge

Programmer's Challenge

by Bob Boonstra, Westford, MA

Image Decoder

This month's Challenge is much easier to state than it will be to implement. Your task this month is to write a decoder for Graphics Interchange Format images. GIF is a data stream-oriented file format used to define the transmission protocol of LZW-encoded bitmap data. Your code will read a file containing a GIF and draw the image in an offscreen graphics world. There are two versions of the GIF specification; this Challenge includes only the earlier and more common GIF87a format, not the GIF89a format. The format description is too long to include here, but you can find the GIF87a specification at: ftp://ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu/misc/file.formats/graphics.formats/gif87a.doc

Other useful information on graphics formats in general is available at: http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/graphics/fileformats-faq/top.html

The prototype for the code you should write is:

#include <QDOffscreen.h>
#include <stdio.h>
GWorldPtr ReadImage(FILE *inputFile);

The inputFile will have been opened for you in binary mode by the calling routine. ReadImage should read and parse the image, create a GWorld with the appropriate color table, draw the image in the GWorld, and return a GWorld pointer to the calling routine. The solution that correctly decodes a variety of images in the least amount of execution time will be the winner.

I thought for some time about the Compuserve / Unisys / LZW patent controverty before selecting this topic for the Challenge. The LZW algorithm used in GIF compression is patented by Unisys, and Unisys requires that any commercial software product that uses this algorithm, including software that reads GIF images, requires a license from Unisys. Freely distributed software does not require a license. Since the Challenge doesn't result in a software product, much less a commercial product, I decided to go ahead with this exploration of decoding efficiency.

This will be a native PowerPC Challenge, using the latest CodeWarrior environment. Solutions must be coded in C, C++, or Pascal. This Challenge was suggested by Peter Lewis, who earns 2 Challenge points for the suggestion.

Three Months Ago Winner

Congratulations to Jeff Mallett (Boulder Creek, CA) for submitting the winning entry to the Pente(tm) Challenge. The objective was to accumulate, in minimum execution time, the most points in a round-robin tournament of the board game Pente(tm). With only three entries, the tournament required only six games for each player to compete against each other player twice, once playing first and once playing second. Both the winning entry and the third-place entry by Randy Boring employed an alpha-beta search technique to find the best move, and both entries were successful in winning most of their games. Jeff's entry, however, was more efficient about pruning the search tree and therefore required significantly less execution time than Randy's entry. Since a point was deducted for each second of execution time, the winning entry lost significantly fewer points for inefficiency. In addition, the scoring algorithm in Jeff's AddStone routine takes advantage of all three methods of scoring points: captures, winning by placing 5 stones in a row, and leaving sequences of 4-in-a-row on the board at the conclusion of a game. His solution earned more points as a result, even though it won the same number of games as Randy's.

The table below lists the number of tournament wins, points earned, cumulative score, code size, data size, and programming language for each entry. The number in parentheses after the entrant's name is the total number of Challenge points earned in all Challenges to date prior to this one.

Name               Wins   Points   Score  Code  Data  Language
Jeff Mallett (74)    3      33     32.03  4872  7923    C
Sebastian Maurer     0      10      9.97  4860  208     C++
Randy Boring (66)    3      23   -374.90  7672  2649    C

Top 20 Contestants

Here are the Top Contestants for the Programmer's Challenge. The numbers below include points awarded over the 24 most recent contests, including points earned by this month's entrants. The scores have been adjusted to correct an error made in assigning points for the Stratego Challenge printed in the November issue.

Rank Name               Points
 1.  Munter, Ernst        200  
 2.  Boring, Randy         73
 3.  Cooper, Greg          61
 4.  Lewis, Peter          59
 5.  Mallett, Jeff         50
 6.  Nicolle, Ludovic      48
 7.  Murphy, ACC           34
 8.  Gregg, Xan            33
 9.  Antoniewicz, Andy     24
10.  Day, Mark             20
11.  Higgins, Charles      20
12.  Larsson, Gustav       20
13.  Studer, Thomas        20
14.  Gundrum, Eric         15
15.  Hart, Alan            14
16.  O'Connor, Turlough    14
17.  Picao, Miguel Cruz    14
18.  Saxton, Tom           12
19.  Cutts, Kevin          11
20.  8-way tie             10

There are three ways to earn points: (1) scoring in the top 5 of any Challenge, (2) being the first person to find a bug in a published winning solution or, (3) being the first person to suggest a Challenge that I use. The points you can win are:

1st place            20 points
2nd place            10 points
3rd place             7 points
4th place             4 points
5th place             2 points
finding bug           2 points
suggesting Challenge  2 points

Here is Jeff's winning solution:

MyPente.c
Copyright © 1997 Jeff Mallett
//
// Do a depth=1 search to sort moves. Then do a higher
// depth alpha-beta search to select the best move.
//
// Plays for score rather than to win. For example,
// doesn't try to win by getting 5 captures since
// there is no score incentive for this. It could be
// retuned to play for a win instead.

#include "Pente.h"

#define SEARCH_DEPTH 4
enum {
 _FRIEND = 0x0001,
 _ENEMY = 0x0002,
 _EMPTY = 0x0004,
 _WALL  = 0x0008
};

#define BORDER    1
#define BORDERS    2
#define INFINITY   32600
#define NA      0
#define MAX_CELLS   (31 + BORDERS) * (31 + BORDERS)

#define ESTIMATE_PLUS 1
#define WIN      2000
#define CAPTURE_SCORE 240
#define VULNERABLE   150

static short CHAIN_SCORE2[3][3] = {  //[color][open]
 { NA, NA, NA },
 { -1, -9, -2 },      // FRIEND
 { 1, 9, 2 }      // ENEMY
};
static short CHAIN_SCORE3[3][3] = {  //[color][open]
 { NA, NA, NA },
 { 3, 16, 40 },      // FRIEND
 { -2,-10,-30 }      // ENEMY
};
static short CHAIN_SCORE4[3][3] = {  //[color][open]
 {  NA, NA, NA },
 { 230, 240, 250 },  // FRIEND
 { -150,-155,-160 }  // ENEMY
};
static short CHAIN_SCORE5[3] = {    //[color]
 NA, WIN, -WIN
};
//                 1  2  3  4
static short BLOCK_SCORE[5] = { NA, 0, 14, 14, 22};
static short THREATS[] = {
 NA, NA,
 25, // 2: tria
 30, // 3: half-open four
 350, // 4: double trias
 370, // 5: tria + half-open four
 450, // 6: tessera or 2 half-open fours
 500, 500, 500, 500, 500, 500, 500, 500, 500, 500
};

static short gPreScore[MAX_CELLS], gEstimates[MAX_CELLS];
static short *gEstimatesStart, *gEstimatesEnd;
static short gBoard[MAX_CELLS], *gBoardStart, *gBoardEnd;
static short *gFirstStone, *gLastStone;
static short *gKillers[SEARCH_DEPTH], gPreviousThreats;
static short gDirections[8], *gDirectionsEnd;
static short gMoveNum, gScore, gStartDepth;
static short gBoardHalfSize, gSideLength, gBoardMax;
static short gCumCapturesFriend, gCumCapturesEnemy;
static short gAdjustment, gSE;

#define ADJUST(a)    ( (a) + gAdjustment )
#define TRANSLATE(x, y) \
 (gSideLength * ADJUST(y) + ADJUST(x))
#define GET_INDEX(p) ((p) - gBoard)
#define GET_X(i)   ( ((i) % gSideLength) - gAdjustment )
#define GET_Y(i)   ( ((i) / gSideLength) - gAdjustment )
#define UPDATE_ENDPOINTS(pSq, a, b) \
 if (pSq < a) a = pSq; \
 if (pSq > b) b = pSq

#define OPPONENT(side) (3 - (side))
#define OCCUPIED(x)   ((x) & (_FRIEND | _ENEMY))
#define EMPTY(x)    ((x) == _EMPTY)

// gChanges -- Array of unsigned longs containing data to
// undo moves
//   list of:
//     <pointer to position> <old position value>
//   terminated by a OL
static unsigned long gChanges[256], *gChangesEnd;
#define PUSH(x)    *(gChangesEnd++) = (x)
#define START_SAVE  PUSH(0L)
#define PUSH_SQ(pSq) \
  { PUSH((long)*(pSq)); PUSH((unsigned long)(pSq)); }
#define POP      *(--gChangesEnd)
#define TOP      *gChangesEnd

static short * ChooseNextMove();
static short AddStone(short alpha, short beta, short *pSq,
        short color, short depth,
        short capturesFriend, short capturesEnemy,
        short *firstStone, short *lastStone);
static long MyFindCaptures(Capture capture[], short *pSq,
        short us, short them);
static Boolean MyFindFive(short *pSq, short color);

InitPente
void InitPente(
 long boardHalfSize  /* e.g., 9 for a 19x19 board */
       /* all coordinates between -boardHalfSize
        and +boardHalfSize */
) {
 short i, j, *pSq;
 
 gBoardHalfSize = boardHalfSize;
 gSideLength = boardHalfSize * 2 + 1 + BORDERS;
 gSE = gSideLength + 1;
 gDirections[0] = -gSE;                // NW
 gDirections[1] = -gSideLength;        // N
 gDirections[2] = -gSideLength + 1;     // NE
 gDirections[3] = -1;                // W
 gDirections[4] = gSE;                // SE
 gDirections[5] = gSideLength;        // S
 gDirections[6] = gSideLength - 1;      // SW
 gDirections[7] = 1;                  // E
 gDirectionsEnd = &gDirections[8];
 
 gBoardMax = gSideLength * gSideLength;
 i = (gSideLength + 1) * BORDER;
 gBoardStart = &gBoard[i];
 gBoardEnd = &gBoard[gBoardMax - i];
 gEstimatesStart = &gEstimates[i];
 gEstimatesEnd = &gEstimates[gBoardMax - i];
 gFirstStone = gBoardEnd;
 gLastStone = gBoardStart;
 
 pSq = gBoard;
 do {
  *pSq = _WALL;
 } while (++pSq != gBoardStart);
 do {
  *pSq = _EMPTY;
 } while (++pSq != gBoardEnd);
 do {
  *pSq = _WALL;
 } while (++pSq < &gBoard[gBoardMax]);
 for (i = BORDER + boardHalfSize * 2 + 1;
    i<gBoardMax-gSideLength; i += gSideLength)
  for (j=0; j<BORDERS; ++j)
   gBoard[i+j] = _WALL;
 gCumCapturesFriend = gCumCapturesEnemy = gMoveNum = 0;
 gAdjustment = gBoardHalfSize + BORDER;
 gStartDepth = SEARCH_DEPTH - 1;
}

Pente
void Pente(
 Point opponentsMove,      /* your opponent moved here */
 Boolean playingFirst,      /* ignore opponentMove */
 Point *yourMove,          /* return your move here */
 Capture claimCaptures[],    /* return captured pairs here */
 long *numCaptures,       /* return # of claimCaptures */
 Boolean *claimVictory     /* return true if you claim
               victory with this move */
) {
 Point move;
 Capture opponentCaptures[8];
 
 short *pSq, *pNewSq, *d;
 short score, bestScore, i;
 short *pBestMove;
 
 *numCaptures = 0;
 *claimVictory = false;
 if (playingFirst) { // *** MOVE 1
  move.h = move.v = 0;
  pSq = &gBoard[TRANSLATE(0, 0)];
  *pSq = _FRIEND;
  UPDATE_ENDPOINTS(pSq, gFirstStone, gLastStone);
  *yourMove = move;
  gMoveNum = 1;
  return;
 }
 
 i = TRANSLATE(opponentsMove.h, opponentsMove.v);
 pSq = &gBoard[i];
 *pSq = _ENEMY;
 UPDATE_ENDPOINTS(pSq, gFirstStone, gLastStone);
 ++gMoveNum;

 if (gMoveNum == 1) { // *** MOVE 2
  move.h = move.v = -2;
  pSq = &gBoard[TRANSLATE(-2, -2)];
  *pSq = _FRIEND;
  UPDATE_ENDPOINTS(pSq, gFirstStone, gLastStone);
  *yourMove = move;
  gMoveNum = 2;
  return;
 }
 
 if (gMoveNum == 2) { // *** MOVE 3
  if (opponentsMove.v < opponentsMove.h) {
   if (opponentsMove.v < -opponentsMove.h) {
    // top triangle
    move.h = 0;
    move.v = 4;
   } else {
    // right triangle
    move.h = -4;
    move.v = 0;
   }
  } else {
   if (opponentsMove.v >= -opponentsMove.h) {
    // bottom triangle
    move.h = 0;
    move.v = -4;
   } else {
    // left triangle
    move.h = 4;
    move.v = 0;
   }
  }
  pSq = &gBoard[TRANSLATE(move.h, move.v)];
  *pSq = _FRIEND;
  UPDATE_ENDPOINTS(pSq, gFirstStone, gLastStone);
  *yourMove = move;
  gMoveNum = 3;
  return;
 }

 gChangesEnd = gChanges;
 gCumCapturesEnemy +=
   MyFindCaptures(opponentCaptures, &gBoard[i],
           _ENEMY, _FRIEND);
 for (pSq = gEstimatesStart; pSq != gEstimatesEnd; ++pSq)
  *pSq = 0;
 for (pSq = gFirstStone; pSq <= gLastStone; ++pSq)
  if (OCCUPIED(*pSq)) {
   d = gDirections;
   do {
    pNewSq = pSq + *d;
    if (EMPTY(*pNewSq)) {
     gEstimates[GET_INDEX(pNewSq)] += ESTIMATE_PLUS;
     pNewSq += *d;
     if (EMPTY(*pNewSq)) {
      gEstimates[GET_INDEX(pNewSq)] += ESTIMATE_PLUS;
     }
    }
   } while (++d != gDirectionsEnd);
  }

 for (pSq = gBoardStart; pSq != gBoardEnd; ++pSq)
  if (gEstimates[GET_INDEX(pSq)]) {
   i = GET_INDEX(pSq);
   gScore = gEstimates[i];
   gPreScore[i] = AddStone(-INFINITY, INFINITY, pSq,
            _FRIEND, 0, gCumCapturesFriend,
            gCumCapturesEnemy, gFirstStone,
            gLastStone);
  }

 for (i=0; i<SEARCH_DEPTH; ++i)
  gKillers[i] = NULL;
 bestScore = -INFINITY;
 pBestMove = NULL;
 pSq = ChooseNextMove();
 while (pSq) {
  i = GET_INDEX(pSq);
  gScore = gEstimates[i];
  score = AddStone(-INFINITY, -bestScore, pSq, _FRIEND,
       gStartDepth, gCumCapturesFriend,
       gCumCapturesEnemy, gFirstStone, gLastStone);
  gEstimates[i] = -1; // searched
  if (score > bestScore) {
   bestScore = score;
   pBestMove = pSq;
  }
  pSq = ChooseNextMove();
 }
  
 if (bestScore == -INFINITY) {
  for (pSq = gBoardStart; pSq != gBoardEnd; ++pSq)
   if (EMPTY(*pSq) && !gEstimates[GET_INDEX(pSq)]) {
    gScore = 0;
    score = AddStone(-INFINITY, -bestScore, pSq, _FRIEND,
                  gStartDepth, gCumCapturesFriend,
                  gCumCapturesEnemy, gFirstStone, gLastStone);
    if (score > bestScore) {
     bestScore = score;
     pBestMove = pSq;
    }
   }
  if (bestScore == -INFINITY) {
   DebugStr("\p no move found - Pente");
   return; //no move
  }
 }
 
 *pBestMove = _FRIEND;
 UPDATE_ENDPOINTS(pBestMove, gFirstStone, gLastStone);
 i = GET_INDEX(pBestMove);
 move.h = GET_X(i);
 move.v = GET_Y(i);
 *yourMove = move;
 ++gMoveNum;
 // find captures
 *numCaptures = MyFindCaptures(claimCaptures, pBestMove,
          _FRIEND, _ENEMY);
 gCumCapturesFriend += *numCaptures;
 if (gCumCapturesFriend >= 5) {
  *claimVictory = true;
 } else {
  *claimVictory = MyFindFive(pBestMove, _FRIEND);
 }
}

TermPente
void TermPente(void) { }

ChooseNextMove
short * ChooseNextMove()
{
 short i, *pSq;
 short *found = NULL;
 short high = -INFINITY;
 for (pSq = gBoardStart; pSq != gBoardEnd; ++pSq) {
  i = GET_INDEX(pSq);
  if (gEstimates[i] > 0 && gPreScore[i] > high) {
   found = pSq;
   high = gPreScore[i];
  }
 }
 return found;
}

AddStone
// Alpha-beta search routine
// returns score of how good it is for color
// alpha and beta apply for the opponent after the move
// is made
// gScore is absolute: + for _FRIEND
short AddStone(short alpha, short beta, short *pSq,
    short color, short depth, short capturesFriend,
    short capturesEnemy, short *firstStone,
    short *lastStone)
{
 register short *pNewSq, *d;
 short x, bestScore, t, *pEnd;
 short open, *killer;
 short threats, blocks, vulnerable;
 short opponent = OPPONENT(color);
 short saveScore = gScore;
  
 START_SAVE;
 threats = blocks = vulnerable = 0;
 d = gDirections;
 do {
  pNewSq = pSq + *d;
  
  if (*pNewSq == color) { // Next to friend
   if (d <= &gDirections[3]) {
    x = 1;
    open = 0;
    for (pNewSq += *d; *pNewSq == color; pNewSq += *d)
     ++x;
    if (EMPTY(*pNewSq))
     open = 1;
    for (pNewSq = pSq + *(d+4); *pNewSq == color;
       pNewSq += *(d+4))
     ++x;
    if (EMPTY(*pNewSq))
     ++open;
   } else {
    t = *(pSq + *(d-4));
    if (t == color)
     continue;
    x = 1;
    open = 0;
    if (EMPTY(t))
     open = 1;
    for (pNewSq += *d; *pNewSq == color; pNewSq += *d)
     ++x;
    if (EMPTY(*pNewSq))
     ++open;
   }
   
   switch (x) {
    case 1:  // 2-in-a-row
     gScore += CHAIN_SCORE2[color][open];
     if (open == 1)
      ++vulnerable;
     break;
    case 2:  // 3-in-a-row
     gScore += CHAIN_SCORE3[color][open];
     if (open == 2)
      threats += 2;        // tria = 2
     break;
    case 3:  // 4-in-a-row
     gScore += CHAIN_SCORE4[color][open];
     threats += open * 3;  // tessera = 6, half-open = 3
     break;
    default:  // 5-in-a-row (or more)
     gScore += CHAIN_SCORE5[color];
     threats = -99;        // game over
     break;
   }
   
  } else if (*pNewSq == opponent) {  // Next to enemy
   x = 1;
   for (pNewSq += *d; *pNewSq == opponent; pNewSq += *d)
    ++x;
    
   if (EMPTY(*pNewSq)) {
    blocks += BLOCK_SCORE[x];
   } else if (x == 2 && *pNewSq == color) {
    t = CAPTURE_SCORE;
    if (color != _FRIEND)
     t = -t;
    gScore += t;
    if (color == _FRIEND) {
     if (++capturesFriend >= 5) {
      threats = -99;  // game over
     }
    } else {  // color == _ENEMY
     if (++capturesEnemy >= 5) {
      threats = -99;  // game over
     }
    }
    if (depth) {
     pNewSq = pSq + *d;
     PUSH_SQ(pNewSq);
     *pNewSq = _EMPTY;
     pNewSq += *d;
     PUSH_SQ(pNewSq);
     *pNewSq = _EMPTY;
    }
   }
  }
 } while (++d != gDirectionsEnd);
  
 if (threats < 0) {
  // Game over
  bestScore = gScore;
  if (color != _FRIEND)
   bestScore = -bestScore;
  goto RESTORE;
 }
   
  // Not forced to make a bad move
 if (color == _FRIEND) {
  if (gScore < saveScore)
   gScore = saveScore;
 } else if (gScore > saveScore)
  gScore = saveScore;
 if (depth) {
  // Add stone
  PUSH_SQ(pSq);
  *pSq = color;
  UPDATE_ENDPOINTS(pSq, firstStone, lastStone);
  --depth; 
  gPreviousThreats = threats;
  bestScore = -INFINITY;
  // Killer move?
  killer = gKillers[depth];
  if (killer && EMPTY(*killer)) {
   saveScore = gScore;
    bestScore = AddStone(-beta, -alpha, killer,
           opponent, depth, capturesFriend,
           capturesEnemy, firstStone, lastStone);
   gScore = saveScore;
   if (bestScore > alpha) {
    if (bestScore >= beta) {
     bestScore = -bestScore;
     goto RESTORE;
    }
    alpha = bestScore;
   }
  }
  
  pEnd = lastStone + gSE;
  if (pEnd >= gBoardEnd)
   pEnd = gBoardEnd - 1;
  pSq = firstStone - gSE;
  if (pSq < gBoardStart)
   pSq = gBoardStart;
  do {
   if (EMPTY(*pSq) && pSq != killer) {
    d = gDirections;
    do {
     pNewSq = pSq + *d;
     if (OCCUPIED(*pNewSq) &&
        (*(pNewSq + *d) == *pNewSq ||
         *(pSq  - *d) == *pNewSq))
      break;
    } while (++d != gDirectionsEnd);
    if (d != gDirectionsEnd) {
     saveScore = gScore;
      t = AddStone(-beta, -alpha, pSq, opponent,
         depth, capturesFriend, capturesEnemy,
         firstStone, lastStone);
     gScore = saveScore;
     if (t > bestScore) {
      bestScore = t;
      if (t > alpha) {
       if (t >= beta) {
        gKillers[depth] = pSq;
        break;
       }
       if (depth >= gStartDepth-1)
        gKillers[depth] = pSq;
       alpha = t;
      }
     }
    }
   }
  } while (++pSq <= pEnd);
  if (bestScore == -INFINITY) {
   ++depth;
   goto TERMINAL;
  }
  bestScore = -bestScore;
  
 } else { // !depth
TERMINAL:
  bestScore = gScore;
  if (color != _FRIEND)
   bestScore = -bestScore;

  // Winning threats
  if (gPreviousThreats >= 5) {
   bestScore -= THREATS[gPreviousThreats];
  } else if (threats >= 5) {
   bestScore += THREATS[threats];
  } else if (gPreviousThreats == 4) {
   bestScore -= THREATS[gPreviousThreats];
  } else if (threats == 4) {
   bestScore += THREATS[threats];
  } else if (gPreviousThreats) {
   bestScore -= THREATS[gPreviousThreats];
  } else if (threats) {
   bestScore += THREATS[threats];
  }
  bestScore += blocks - vulnerable * VULNERABLE;
 }
 
RESTORE: 
 while (POP) {
  pSq = (short *)TOP;
  *pSq = POP;
 }
  
 return bestScore;
}

MyFindCaptures
long MyFindCaptures(Capture capture[], short *pSq,
          short us, short them)
{
 short i, *p1, *p2;
 short myCaptures = 0;
 short *d = gDirections;
 
 do {
  p1 = pSq + *d;
  if (*p1 == them) {
   p2 = p1 + *d;
   if (*p2 == them && *(p2 + *d) == us) {
    *p1 = *p2 = _EMPTY;
    i = GET_INDEX(p1);
    capture[myCaptures].stone1.h = GET_X(i);
    capture[myCaptures].stone1.v = GET_Y(i);
    i = GET_INDEX(p2);
    capture[myCaptures].stone2.h = GET_X(i);
    capture[myCaptures].stone2.v = GET_Y(i);
    ++myCaptures;
   }
  }
 } while (++d != gDirectionsEnd);
 return myCaptures;
}

MyFindFive
Boolean MyFindFive(short *pSq, short color)
{
 short x, *d, *pNewSq, i;
 
 d = gDirections;
 i = 0;
 do {
  x = 1;
  for (pNewSq = pSq + *d; *pNewSq == color; pNewSq += *d)
   ++x;
  for (pNewSq = pSq + *(d+4); *pNewSq == color;
     pNewSq += *(d+4))
   ++x;
  if (x >= 5)
   return true;
  ++d;
 } while (++i < 4);
 return false;
}
 
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Command-C is a revolutionary app which makes easy to share your clipboard between iOS and OS X using your local WiFi network, even if the app is not currently opened. Copy anything (text, pictures,... Read more
Knock 1.1.7 - Unlock your Mac by knockin...
Knock is a faster, safer way to sign in. You keep your iPhone with you all the time. Now you can use it as a password. You never have to open the app -- just knock on your phone twice, even when it's... Read more
Mellel 3.3.6 - Powerful word processor w...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.0.4 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
Freeway Pro 7.0 - Drag-and-drop Web desi...
Freeway Pro lets you build websites with speed and precision... without writing a line of code! With it's user-oriented drag-and-drop interface, Freeway Pro helps you piece together the website of... Read more
Drive Genius 3.2.4 - Powerful system uti...
Drive Genius is an OS X utility designed to provide unsurpassed storage management. Featuring an easy-to-use interface, Drive Genius is packed with powerful tools such as a drive optimizer, a... Read more
Vitamin-R 2.15 - Personal productivity t...
Vitamin-R creates the optimal conditions for your brain to work at its best by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly focused activity alternating with opportunities for... Read more
Toast Titanium 12.0 - The ultimate media...
Toast Titanium goes way beyond the very basic burning in the Mac OS and iLife software, and sets the standard for burning CDs, DVDs, and now Blu-ray discs on the Mac. Create superior sounding audio... Read more

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80 Days Review
80 Days Review By Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: EPIC ADVENTUREUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A fantastic and fascinating re-envisioning of the classic novel by Jules Verne, 80 Days is a delightful... | Read more »
Battleheart Legacy Guide
The world of Battleheart Legacy is fun and deep; full of wizards, warriors, and witches. Here are some tips and tactics to help you get the most enjoyment out of this great game. | Read more »
Puzzle Roo Review
Puzzle Roo Review By Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: PUZZLE-BASED TWISTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A different take on the usual block dropping puzzle game, Puzzle Roo is quite pleasant.   | Read more »
Super Crossfire Re-Release Super Crossfi...
Super Crossfire Re-Release Super Crossfighter Coming Soon, Other Radiangames Titles Go 50% Off Posted by Ellis Spice on July 31st, 2014 [ | Read more »
Hexiled Review
Hexiled Review By Rob Thomas on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: HEX SELLSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad In space, no one can hear you… spell? Hexiled is a neat concept for a word scramble puzzle, but it doesn’t go too... | Read more »
Despicable Me: Minion Rush is One Year O...
Despicable Me: Minion Rush is One Year Old, Gets its Biggest Update Yet Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Plants vs. Zombies 2 Enters the Second H...
Plants vs. Zombies 2 Enters the Second Half of the Dark Ages Posted by Ellis Spice on July 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Why Does It Spin? (Games)
Why Does It Spin? 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: THERE'S ONLY ONE RULE: DON'T TOUCH THE WALLS! Do you think you're able to follow this simple rule even if you would have to... | Read more »
Ice Wings Plus (Games)
Ice Wings Plus 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: THE GREAT ENDLESS RUNNER OF COMBAT JETS IS BACK !! With more than 680.000 downloads in the App Store, Ice Wings: Skies of Steel... | Read more »
Murl the Squirrel (Games)
Murl the Squirrel 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Meet Murl. He is teased by a group of flying squirrels because he can't fly. Determined to show them he's can fly, he meets... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $130 on an iPad mini with Apple re...
The Apple Store has Certified Refurbished 2nd generation iPad minis with Retina Displays available for up to $130 off the cost of new models, starting at $339. Apple’s one-year warranty is included... Read more
iPad Cannibalization Threat “Overblown”
Seeking Alpha’s Kevin Greenhalgh observes that while many commentators think Apple’s forthcoming 5.5-inch panel iPhone 6 will cannibalize iPad sales, in his estimation, these concerns are being... Read more
Primate Labs Releases July 2014 MacBook Pro P...
Primate Labs’ John Poole has posted Geekbench 3 results for most of the new MacBook Pro models that Apple released on Tuesday. Poole observes that overall performance improvements for the new MacBook... Read more
Apple Re-Releases Bugfixed MacBook Air EFI Fi...
Apple has posted a bugfixed version EFI Firmware Update 2.9 a for MacBook Air (Mid 2011) models. The update addresses an issue where systems may take longer to wake from sleep than expected, and... Read more
Save $50 on the 2.5GHz Mac mini, plus free sh...
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more
Save up to $140 on an iPad Air with Apple ref...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Stock tends to come and go with some of these... Read more
$250 price drop on leftover 15-inch Retina Ma...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on 2013 15″ Retina MacBook Pros by $250 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.3GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $2249, $250 off... Read more
More iPad Upgrade Musings – The ‘Book Mystiqu...
Much discussed recently, what with Apple reporting iPad sales shrinkage over two consecutive quarters, is that it had apparently been widely assumed that tablet users would follow a two-year hardware... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $999.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $100 off MSRP. Price is... Read more
Save up to $300 on an iMac with Apple refurbi...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $300 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. These are the best prices on... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Sr. Product Leader, *Apple* Store Apps - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full Read more
Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
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