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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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SyncTwoFolders simply synchronizes two folders. It supports synchronization across mounted network drives and it is a possibility to run a simulation showing in a log what will be done. Please visit... Read more
Hopper Disassembler 4.2.13- - Binary dis...
Hopper Disassembler is a binary disassembler, decompiler, and debugger for 32- and 64-bit executables. It will let you disassemble any binary you want, and provide you all the information about its... Read more
iFFmpeg 6.4.3 - Convert multimedia files...
iFFmpeg is a comprehensive media tool to convert movie, audio and media files between formats. The FFmpeg command line instructions can be very hard to master/understand, so iFFmpeg does all the hard... Read more
Firefox 55.0.2 - Fast, safe Web browser.
Firefox offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals and casual... Read more
FileZilla 3.27.1 - Fast and reliable FTP...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface. Version 3.27.1: Fixed Vulnerabilities: Change client... Read more
Merlin Project 4.2.7 - $289.00
Merlin Project is the leading professional project management software for OS X. If you plan complex projects on your Mac, you won’t get far with a simple list of tasks. Good planning raises... Read more
Dashlane 4.8.4 - Password manager and se...
Dashlane is an award-winning service that revolutionizes the online experience by replacing the drudgery of everyday transactional processes with convenient, automated simplicity - in other words,... Read more

War Wings beginner's guide - how to...
War Wings is the newest project from well-established game maker Miniclip. It's a World War II aerial dogfighting game with loads of different airplane models to unlock and battle. The game offers plenty of single player and multiplayer action. We... | Read more »
How to win every 2v2 battle in Clash Roy...
2v2 is coming back to Clash Royale in a big way. Although it's only been available for temporary periods of time, 2v2 has seen a hugely positive fan response, with players clamoring for more team-based gameplay. Soon we'll get yet another taste of... | Read more »
Roll to Win with Game of Dice’s new upda...
Joycity’s hit Game of Dice gets a big new update this week, introducing new maps, mechanics, and even costumes. The update sets players loose on an exciting new map, The Cursed Tower, that allows folks to use special Runes mid-match. If you feel... | Read more »
Bottom of the 9th (Games)
Bottom of the 9th 1.0.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Play the most exciting moment of baseball in this fast-paced dice and card game! | Read more »
The best apps for viewing the solar ecli...
If you somehow missed the news, many parts of the United States will be witness to a total solar eclipse on August 21 for the first time in over 90 years. It'll be possible to see the eclipse in at least some capacity throughout the continental U... | Read more »
The 5 best mobile survival games
Games like ARK: Survival Evolved and Conan Exiles have taken the world of gaming by storm. The market is now flooded with hardcore survival games that send players off into the game's world with nothing but maybe the clothes on their back. Never... | Read more »
Portal Walk (Games)
Portal Walk 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Portal Walk is adventure and relaxing platform game about Eugene. Eugene stuck between worlds and trying to find way back home.... | Read more »
Technobabylon (Games)
Technobabylon 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: City of Newton, 2087. Genetic engineering is the norm, the addictive Trance has replaced almost any need for human interaction,... | Read more »
5 reasons why 2v2 is the best mode in Cl...
Supercell has been teasing fans with 2v2 windows that allow players to team up for limited periods of time. The Summer of 2v2 was just this past July, but players are already clamoring for more of that sweet, sweet team-based action. The fans have... | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
It seems like the week's only just started, and yet here we are with a huge pile of discounted games to sort through. There are some real doozies on sale this week. We're talking some truly stellar titles. Let's take a look at four of the best... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 2.3GHz MacBook Pros on sale for $100...
Amazon has the new 2017 13″ 2.3GHz MacBook Pros on sale today for $100 off MSRP, each including free shipping: – 13″ 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook Pro (MPXQ2LL/A): $1199.99 $100 off MSRP – 13″ 2.... Read more
New iOS 11 Productivity Features Welcome But...
The iOS community is in late summer holding mode awaiting the September arrival of the iPhone 8 and iOS 11. iOS 11 public betas have been available for months — number six was released this week —... Read more
Samsung Electronics Launches New Portable SSD...
Samsung Electronics America, Inc. has announced the launch of Samsung Portable SSD T5 – its newest portable solid state drive (PSSD) that raises the bar for the performance of external memory... Read more
TrendForce Reports YoY Gain of 3.6% for 2Q17...
Market research firm TrendForce reports that the global notebook shipments for this second quarter registered a sequential quarterly increase of 5.7% and a year-on-year increase of 3.6%, totaling 39.... Read more
Sale! 10-inch iPad Pros for $50 off MSRP, no...
B&H Photo has 10.5″ iPad Pros in stock today and on sale for $50 off MSRP. Each iPad includes free shipping, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 10.5″ 64GB iPad Pro: $599, save $... Read more
Sale! 2017 13-inch Silver 2.3GHz MacBook Pro...
Amazon has new 2017 13″ 2.3GHz/128GB Silver MacBook Pro on sale today for $100 off MSRP including free shipping. Their price is the lowest available for this model from any reseller: – 13″ 2.3GHz/... Read more
WaterField Unveils Collaboratively-Designed,...
In collaboration with customers and seasoned travelers, San Francisco maker WaterField Designs set out to create the preeminent carry-on system to improve the experience of frequent fliers. The... Read more
Miya Notes Mac-Client for Google Keep (Launch...
MacPlus Software has announced te launch of Miya Notes for Google Keep 1.0, a powerful Mac-client for Google Keep. Millions of people use Google Keep on their phones and online, but a convenient Mac... Read more
Apple refurbished iMacs available starting at...
Apple has previous-generation Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available starting at $849. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are... Read more
2017 13-inch MacBook Airs on sale for $100 of...
B&H Photo new 2017 13″ MacBook Airs on sale today for $100 off MSRP, starting at $899: – 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MQD32LL/A): $899, $100 off MSRP – 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB MacBook Air (MQD42LL/A... Read more

Jobs Board

Development Operations and Site Reliability E...
Development Operations and Site Reliability Engineer, Apple Payment Gateway Job Number: 57572631 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jul. 27, 2017 Read more
Frameworks Engineering Manager, *Apple* Wat...
Frameworks Engineering Manager, Apple Watch Job Number: 41632321 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jun. 15, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Summary Read more
Program Manager, *Apple* Pay Business Opera...
…Manager to deliver and sustain a seamless user and support experience for Apple Pay Cash, the upcoming person-to-person payments feature in iMessage. On the Business Read more
Sr. Software Engineer, Core Services, *Apple...
…You will be part of the server team that powers various features within the Apple client applications - iTunes, App Store, iBooks, Podcast, Apple Music etc. You Read more
Hardware Design Validation Engineer - *Apple...
Job Summary The Apple Watch team is looking for a Hardware Design Validation Engineer. This person will be part of the Apple Watch hardware team with Read more
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