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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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BusyContacts is a contact manager for OS X that makes creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient. It brings to contact management the same power, flexibility, and sharing... Read more
BusyCal 3.1.4 - Powerful calendar app wi...
BusyCal is an award-winning desktop calendar that combines personal productivity features for individuals with powerful calendar sharing capabilities for families and workgroups. Its unique features... Read more
Duplicate Annihilator 5.8.3 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator detects... Read more
MarsEdit 3.7.10 - Quick and convenient b...
MarsEdit is a blog editor for OS X that makes editing your blog like writing email, with spell-checking, drafts, multiple windows, and even AppleScript support. It works with with most blog services... Read more
WALTR 2 2.0.9 - $39.95
WALTR 2 helps you wirelessly drag-and-drop any music, ringtones, videos, PDF, and ePub files onto your iPhone, iPad, or iPod without iTunes. It is the second major version of Softorino's critically-... Read more
Paperless 2.3.9 - $49.95
Paperless is a digital documents manager. Remember when everyone talked about how we would soon be a paperless society? Now it seems like we use paper more than ever. Let's face it - we need and we... Read more
Adobe After Effects CC 2017 14.1 - Creat...
After Effects CC 2017 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous After Effects customer). The new, more connected After Effects CC... Read more

Super Mario Run dashes onto Android in M...
Super Mario Run was one of the biggest mobile launches in 2016 before it was met with a lukewarm response by many. While the game itself plays a treat, it's pretty hard to swallow the steep price for the full game. With that said, Android users... | Read more »
WarFriends Beginner's Guide: How to...
Chillingo's new game, WarFriends, is finally available world wide, and so far it's a refreshing change from common mobile game trends. The game's a mix of tower defense, third person shooter, and collectible card game. There's a lot to unpack here... | Read more »
Super Gridland (Entertainment)
Super Gridland 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Entertainment Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Match. Build. Survive. "exquisitely tuned" - Rock Paper Shotgun No in-app purches, and no ads! | Read more »
Red's Kingdom (Games)
Red's Kingdom 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Mad King Mac has kidnapped your father and stolen your golden nut! Solve puzzles and battle goons as you explore and battle your... | Read more »
Turbo League Guide: How to tame the cont...
| Read more »
Fire Emblem: Heroes coming to Google Pla...
Nintendo gave us our first look at Fire Emblem: Heroes, the upcoming mobile Fire Emblem game the company hinted at last year. Revealed at the Fire Emblem Direct event held today, the game will condense the series' tactical RPG combat into bite-... | Read more »
ReSlice (Music)
ReSlice 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Audio Slice Machine Slice your audio samples with ReSlice and create flexible musical atoms which can be triggered by MIDI notes or... | Read more »
Stickman Surfer rides in with the tide t...
Stickson is back and this time he's taken up yet another extreme sport - surfing. Stickman Surfer is out this Thursday on both iOS and Android, so if you've been following the other Stickman adventures, you might be interested in picking this one... | Read more »
Z-Exemplar (Games)
Z-Exemplar 1.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.4 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
5 dastardly difficult roguelikes like th...
Edmund McMillen's popular roguelike creation The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth has finally crawled onto mobile devices. It's a grotesque dual-stick shooter that tosses you into an endless, procedurally generated basement as you, the pitiable Isaac,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Twelve South Releases RelaxedLeather Cases fo...
Inspired by the laid-back luxury of burnished leather boots and crafted in rich tones of taupe, herb and marsala, RelaxedLeather cases deliver smart, easy protection for the iPhone 7. Each genuine... Read more
Week’s Best Deal: New 2016 13-inch 2.0GHz Mac...
Amazon has the new 2016 13″ 2.0GHz non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale for a limited time for $225 off MSRP including free shipping: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro, Space Gray (MLL42LL/A): $1274.99 $225 off... Read more
Back in stock: Apple refurbished Mac minis fr...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
Apple Ranked ‘Most Intimate Brand’
The top ranked ‘”intimate” brands continued to outperform the S&P and Fortune 500 indices in revenue and profit over the past 10 years, according to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2017 Report, the largest... Read more
B-Eng introduces SSD Health Check for Mac OS
Fehraltorf, Switzerland based independant Swiss company- B-Eng has announced the release and immediate availability of SSD Health Check 1.0, the company’s new hard drive utility for Mac OS X. As the... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free: -... Read more
4-core 3.7GHz Mac Pro on sale for $2290, save...
Guitar Center has the 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro (MD253LL/A) on sale for $2289.97 including free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Their price is a $710 savings over standard MSRP for... Read more
128GB Apple iPad Air 2, refurbished, availabl...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 128GB iPad Air 2s WiFis available for $419 including free shipping. That’s an $80 savings over standard MSRP for this model. A standard Apple one-year warranty is... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2015 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina Apple MacBook Pro on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (MF839LL/A): $... Read more
Laptop Market – Flight To Quality? – The ‘Boo...
Preliminary quarterly PC shipments data released by Gartner Inc. last week reveal an interesting disparity between sales performance of major name PC vendors as opposed to that of less well-known... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* & PC Desktop Support Technician...
Apple & PC Desktop Support Technician job in Manhattan, NY Introduction: We have immediate job openings for several Desktop Support Technicians with one of our most Read more
Senior Workstation Administrator - *Apple*...
…with extraordinary HR. QualificationsJOB SUMMARY/OVERVIEWThe Senior Workstation Administrator - Apple supports the mission of TriNet by providing advanced level Read more
Intermediate *Apple* macOS Systems Integrat...
**Position Summary:** SC3 is actively seeking an Intermediate Apple macOS systems integration administrator that will be responsible for providing Apple Mac Read more
*Apple* & PC Desktop Support Technician...
Apple & PC Desktop Support Technician job in Los Angeles, CA Introduction: We have immediate job openings for several Desktop Support Technicians with one of our Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
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