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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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Dash is an API documentation browser and code snippet manager. Dash helps you store snippets of code, as well as instantly search and browse documentation for almost any API you might use (for a full... Read more
Microsoft OneNote 16.9 - Free digital no...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that's too important to forget. Whether you're at... Read more
DEVONthink Pro 2.9.17 - Knowledge base,...
Save 10% with our exclusive coupon code: MACUPDATE10 DEVONthink Pro is your essential assistant for today's world, where almost everything is digital. From shopping receipts to important research... Read more
OmniGraffle 7.6 - Create diagrams, flow...
OmniGraffle helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use Graffle to... Read more
iFinance 4.3.7 - Comprehensively manage...
iFinance allows you to keep track of your income and spending -- from your lunchbreak coffee to your new car -- in the most convenient and fastest way. Clearly arranged transaction lists of all your... Read more
Opera 50.0.2762.58 - High-performance We...
Opera is a fast and secure browser trusted by millions of users. With the intuitive interface, Speed Dial and visual bookmarks for organizing favorite sites, news feature with fresh, relevant content... Read more
Microsoft Office 2016 16.9 - Popular pro...
Microsoft Office 2016 - Unmistakably Office, designed for Mac. The new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote provide the best of both worlds for Mac users - the familiar Office... Read more

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Around the Empire: What have you missed...
Around this time every week we're going to have a look at the comings and goings on the other sites in Steel Media's pocket-gaming empire. We'll round up the very best content you might have missed, so you're always going to be up to date with the... | Read more »
Everything about Hero Academy 2: Part 4...
In this part of our Hero Academy 2 guide, we're going to have a look at some of the tactics you're going to need to learn if you want to rise up the ranks. We're going to start off slow, then get more advanced in the next section. [Read more] | Read more »
All the best games on sale for iPhone an...
Another week has flown by. Sometimes it feels like the only truly unstoppable thing is time. Time will make dust of us all. But before it does, we should probably play as many awesome mobile videogames as we can. Am I right, or am I right? [Read... | Read more »
The 7 best games that came out for iPhon...
Well, it's that time of the week. You know what I mean. You know exactly what I mean. It's the time of the week when we take a look at the best games that have landed on the App Store over the past seven days. And there are some real doozies here... | Read more »
Popular MMO Strategy game Lords Mobile i...
Delve into the crowded halls of the Play Store and you’ll find mobile fantasy strategy MMOs-a-plenty. One that’s kicking off the new year in style however is IGG’s Lords Mobile, which has beaten out the fierce competition to receive Google Play’s... | Read more »
Blocky Racing is a funky and fresh new k...
Blocky Racing has zoomed onto the App Store and Google Play this week, bringing with it plenty of classic kart racing shenanigans that will take you straight back to your childhood. If you’ve found yourself hooked on games like Mario Kart or Crash... | Read more »
Cytus II (Games)
Cytus II 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: "Cytus II" is a music rhythm game created by Rayark Games. It's our fourth rhythm game title, following the footsteps of three... | Read more »
JYDGE (Games)
JYDGE 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Build your JYDGE. Enter Edenbyrg. Get out alive. JYDGE is a lawful but awful roguehate top-down shooter where you get to build your... | Read more »
Tako Bubble guide - Tips and Tricks to S...
Tako Bubble is a pretty simple and fun puzzler, but the game can get downright devious with its puzzle design. If you insist on not paying for the game and want to manage your lives appropriately, check out these tips so you can avoid getting... | Read more »
Everything about Hero Academy 2 - The co...
It's fair to say we've spent a good deal of time on Hero Academy 2. So much so, that we think we're probably in a really good place to give you some advice about how to get the most out of the game. And in this guide, that's exactly what you're... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Deals on clearance 15″ Apple MacBook Pros wit...
B&H Photo has clearance 2016 15″ MacBook Pros available for up to $800 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: – 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro... Read more
Apple restocked Certified Refurbished 13″ Mac...
Apple has restocked a full line of Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ MacBook Airs starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: – 13″ 1.8GHz/8GB/128GB... Read more
How to find the lowest prices on 2017 Apple M...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ 2017 MacBook Pros available for $200 to $420 off the cost of new models. Apple’s refurbished prices are the lowest available for each model from any... Read more
The lowest prices anywhere on Apple 12″ MacBo...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 12″ Retina MacBooks available for $200-$240 off the cost of new models. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
Apple now offering a full line of Certified R...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished 2017 10″ and 12″ iPad Pros for $100-$190 off MSRP, depending on the model. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: –... Read more
27″ iMacs on sale for $100-$130 off MSRP, pay...
B&H Photo has 27″ iMacs on sale for $100-$130 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 27″ 3.8GHz iMac (MNED2LL/A): $2199 $100 off MSRP – 27″ 3.... Read more
2.8GHz Mac mini on sale for $899, $100 off MS...
B&H Photo has the 2.8GHz Mac mini (model number MGEQ2LL/A) on sale for $899 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Apple offers Certified Refurbished iPad minis...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 128GB iPad minis available today for $339 including free shipping. Apple’s standard one-year warranty is included. Their price is $60 off MSRP. Read more
Amazon offers 13″ 256GB MacBook Air for $1049...
Amazon has the 13″ 1.8GHz/256B #Apple #MacBook Air on sale today for $150 off MSRP including free shipping: – 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB MacBook Air (MQD42LL/A): $1049.99, $150 off MSRP Read more
9.7-inch 2017 WiFi iPads on sale starting at...
B&H Photo has 9.7″ 2017 WiFi #Apple #iPads on sale for $30 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free, and pay sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 32GB iPad WiFi: $299, $30 off – 128GB iPad WiFi... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Data Center Site Selection and Strat...
# Apple Data Center Site Selection and Strategy Research Analyst Job Number: 83708609 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: 18-Jan-2018 Weekly Hours: Read more
Security Engineering Coordinator, *Apple* R...
# Security Engineering Coordinator, Apple Retail Job Number: 113237456 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: 18-Jan-2018 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Read more
Firmware Engineer - *Apple* Accessories - A...
# Firmware Engineer - Apple Accessories Job Number: 113422485 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: 18-Jan-2018 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
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