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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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Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
Evernote 6.0.1 - Create searchable notes...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more
calibre 2.11 - Complete e-library manage...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital... Read more
Herald 5.0.1 - Notification plugin for M...
Note: Versions 2.1.3 (for OS X 10.7), 3.0.6 (for OS X 10.8), and 4.0.8 (for OS X 10.9) are no longer supported by the developer. Herald is a notification plugin for Mail.app, Apple's Mac OS X email... Read more
Firetask 3.7 - Innovative task managemen...
Firetask uniquely combines the advantages of classical priority-and-due-date-based task management with GTD. Stay focused and on top of your commitments - Firetask's "Today" view shows all relevant... Read more
TechTool Pro 7.0.6 - Hard drive and syst...
TechTool Pro is now 7, and this is the most advanced version of the acclaimed Macintosh troubleshooting utility created in its 20-year history. Micromat has redeveloped TechTool Pro 7 to be fully 64... Read more
PhotoDesk 3.0.1 - Instagram client for p...
PhotoDesk lets you view, like, comment, and download Instagram pictures/videos! (NO Uploads! / Image Posting! Instagram forbids that! AND you *need* an *existing* Instagram account). But you can do... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

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Ubisoft Gives Everyone Two New Ways to E...
Ubisoft Gives Everyone Two New Ways to Earn In-Game Stuff for Far Cry 4 Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 21st, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Golfinity – Tips, Tricks, Strategies, an...
Dig this: Would you like to know what we thought of being an infinite golfer? Check out our Golfinity review! Golfinity offers unlimited ways to test your skills at golf. Here are a few ways to make sure your score doesn’t get too high and your... | Read more »
Dark Hearts, The Sequel to Haunting Meli...
Dark Hearts, The Sequel to Haunting Melissa, is Available Now Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 21st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Meowza! Toyze Brings Talking Tom to Life...
Meowza! | Read more »
Square Enix Announces New Tactical RPG f...
Square Enix Announces New Tactical RPG for Mobile, Heavenstrike Rivals. Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 21st, 2014 [ permalink ] With their epic stories and gorgeous graphics, | Read more »
Quest for Revenge (Games)
Quest for Revenge 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: The great Kingdom of the west has fallen. The gods ignore the prayers of the desperate. A dark warlord has extinguished... | Read more »
Threadz is a New Writing Adventure for Y...
Threadz is a New Writing Adventure for You and Your Friends Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 21st, 2014 [ permalink ] In the tradition of round-robin storytelling, | Read more »
SteelSeries Stratus XL Hardware Review
Made by: SteelSeries Price: $59.99 Hardware/iOS Integration Rating: 4 out of 5 stars Usability Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars Reuse Value Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars Build Quality Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars Overall Rating: 4.31 out of 5 stars | Read more »
ACDSee (Photography)
ACDSee 1.0.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Capture, perfect, and share your photos with ACDSee. The ACDSee iPhone app combines an innovative camera, a powerful photo... | Read more »
ProTube for YouTube (Entertainment)
ProTube for YouTube 2.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Entertainment Price: $1.99, Version: 2.0.2 (iTunes) Description: ProTube is the ultimate, fully featured YouTube app. With it's highly polished design, ProTube offers ad-free... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $400 with Apple refurbished 2014 1...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping... Read more
New 13-inch 1.4GHz MacBook Air on sale for $8...
 Adorama has the 2014 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $899.99 including free shipping plus NY & NJ tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. B&H Photo has the 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook... Read more
Apple Expected to Reverse Nine-Month Tablet S...
Apple and Samsung combined accounted for 62 percent of the nearly 36 million branded tablets shipped in 3Q 2014, according to early vendor shipment share estimates from market intelligence firm ABI... Read more
Stratos: 30 Percent of US Smartphone Owners t...
Stratos, Inc., creator of the Bluetooth Connected Card Platform, has announced results from its 2014 Holiday Mobile Payments Survey. The consumer survey found that nearly one out of three (30 percent... Read more
2014 1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $449, save $...
 B&H Photo has lowered their price on the new 1.4GHz Mac mini to $449.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this new... Read more
Check Apple prices on any device with the iTr...
MacPrices is proud to offer readers a free iOS app (iPhones, iPads, & iPod touch) and Android app (Google Play and Amazon App Store) called iTracx, which allows you to glance at today’s lowest... Read more
64GB iPod touch on sale for $249, save $50
Best Buy has the 64GB iPod touch on sale for $249 on their online store for a limited time. Their price is $50 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for... Read more
15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $17...
 B&H Photo has the 2014 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1799.99 for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. B&H will also include free copies of... Read more
New Logitech AnyAngle Case/Stand Brings Flexi...
Logitec has announced the newest addition to its suite of tablet products — the Logitech AnyAngle. A protective case with an any-angle stand for iPad Air 2 and all iPad mini models, AnyAngle is the... Read more
Notebook PC Shipments Rise Year-Over-Year as...
According to preliminary results from the upcoming DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report, the global notebook PC market grew 10 percent year-over-year in Q3’14 to 49.4... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC)- Retail S...
**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
Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
*Apple* Store Leader Program - College Gradu...
Job Description: Job Summary As an Apple Store Leader Program agent, you can continue your education as you major in the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll Read more
*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
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
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