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Jul 98 Prog Challenge

Volume Number: 14 (1998)
Issue Number: 7
Column Tag: Programmer's Challenge

Jul 97 Programmer's Challenge

by Bob Boonstra, Westford, MA

Going Up?

Welcome to the Programmer's Challenge Skyscraper. Your Challenge this month is to assume control of our skyscraper's elevators and efficiently move a dedicated crew of simulated employees up and down the building.

The prototype for the code you should write is:

#if defined(__cplusplus)
extern "C" {
#endif

#define kMaxFloors 500
#define kMaxElevators 100
#define kElevatorCapacity 16

typedef enum {         /* commanded action for elevator car */
  kGoingUp=1,          /* send car up one floor */
  kGoingDown,          /* send car down one floor */
  kStoppedGoingUp,     /* stop car at an intermediate floor, car going up */
  kStoppedGoingDown,   /* stop car at an intermediate floor, car going down */
  kStoppedIdle         /* stop car, car in idle state */
} CarAction;

typedef struct CarState {
  long atFloor;        /* current location of car */
  long goingToFloor[kMaxFloors];
    /* goingToFloor[i] is the number of passengers in the car is going to floor [i] */
 } CarState;

typedef Boolean (*AdvanceTimeProc) (
                      /* return value of TRUE means Elevator should exit */
  CarAction action[kMaxElevators],  /* direction you move each elevator */
  CarState newState[kMaxElevators],  /* returns new state of each elevator */
  Boolean stopsAtFloor[kMaxFloors],
     /* stopsAtFloor[i]==TRUE means elevator stops at floor i */
  Boolean callGoingUp[kMaxFloors], 
     /* callGoingUp[i]==TRUE means a passenger on floor i wants to go up */
  Boolean callGoingDown[kMaxFloors]
     /* callGoingDown[i]==TRUE means a passenger on floor i wants to go down */
);

void Elevator(
  long numFloors,     /* number of floors in our building, < kMaxFloors */
  long numElevators,  /* number of elevators in our building, <
                         kMaxElevators */
  AdvanceTimeProc AdvanceTime  /* callback to get new state */
);
#if defined(__cplusplus)
}
#endif

Your Elevator routine will be called with the number of floors (numFloors) in our simulated skyscraper, the number of elevators (numElevators) at your command, and a callback routine (AdvanceTime). You should repeatedly call AdvanceTime, commanding an action and a set of constraints (stopsAtFloor) for each elevator car and receiving back the newState of each car. AdvanceTime will also provide an indicator of whether any prospective passengers on floor i have called an elevator to take them higher (callGoingUp[i]) or lower (callGoingDown[i]).

The newState returned by AdvanceTime provides the location of each car and the number of occupants. atFloor is the floor at which the car is now located. Our elevator passengers are extraordinarily cooperative -- on entering, they all indicate their destination by pressing the button corresponding to their floor, whether or not that floor has already been selected, allowing AdvanceTime to give you an accurate count of the passengers going to floor i (goingToFloor[i]). Our passengers are also extraordinarily swift --they exit and enter in such an orderly fashion that the passenger exchange takes place in one time step.

Each call to AdvanceTime will move all the elevators one floor in the direction you indicate. If you stop the car by setting action to kStoppedGoingUp, kStoppedGoingDown, or kStoppedIdle, passengers headed for the current floor will exit and new passengers, up to kElevatorCapacity, will enter. Almost always, passengers headed to higher (or lower) floors will only enter elevators that are kStoppedGoingUp (kStoppedGoingDown) or kStoppedIdle, but occasionally someone will be confused and enter an elevator headed in the wrong direction.

You are free to run your elevators anyway you see fit, except that a car declared to be kGoingUp (or kGoingDown) needs to continue going up (or down) until all passengers headed in that direction have exited. You can designate elevators to be express elevators by setting stopsAtFloor[i] to be FALSE for floors where this elevator does not stop. Passengers will only enter cars that will stop at their intended destination. You can change the stopsAtFloor values at any time, but you need to be careful not to strand passengers -- you can command the car to stop at any time, but the door will only open at floor i if stopsAtFloor[i] is TRUE.

The objective of this Challenge is to deliver passengers to their destinations as expeditiously as possible. You incur a cost of one point for each passenger for each time step from the time s/he presses the call button until the time s/he exits the elevator. You also incur one point for each 10 milliseconds of execution time, including the time spent by AdvanceTime. Stranding a passenger inside an elevator or not responding to an elevator call button results in disqualification of your solution. The solution that incurs the fewest points wins the Challenge. There are no storage constraints for this Challenge, except that it must execute on my 96MB 8500/200.

The Challenge will simulate a normal workday in our simulated skyscraper. People arrive at the beginning of the day either by entering the parking garage at floor 0 or by walking into the main entrance at floor 1. They work in approximately equal numbers on floors 2 through numFloors-1. During the day, they move about the building as necessary. Somewhere in the middle of the day, most of them take a lunch break, either at the cafeteria on floor 2 or by leaving the building. Nearly everyone leaves the building at the end of the day. However, as advanced as our elevators are, they don't have a clock, so you'll have to establish your strategy without knowing the time of day.

This will be a native PowerPC Challenge, using the latest CodeWarrior environment. Solutions may be coded in C, C++, or Pascal. Ernst Munter wins two Challenge points for suggesting this problem, way back in November, 1996.

Three Months Ago Winner

Congratulations to Sebastian Maurer for submitting the winning entry to the April Mancala Challenge. Sebastian won a round-robin tournament whose object was to efficiently capture the most stones in a variant of the ancient game of Mancala. In our variant of the game, the number of bowls ranged from 8 to 32, instead of the traditional 14, and players were allowed to move in either the clockwise or counter-clockwise directions. Congratulations also to JG Heithcock, whose solution actually captured more stones than Sebastian's did, but used better than 50% more execution time to do so. Both of the top solutions used an alpha-beta minmax technique to identify the best move, but Sebastian's heuristic for pruning the tree, combined with the time penalty of one stone per 100ms of execution time, gave him the higher overall score. Sebastian gained a little extra efficiency by partitioning his code into two parallel versions, one for playing first and another for playing second.

Twelve people submitted Mancala solutions, and eleven of those solutions participated in the tournament. (One solution occasionally made illegal moves, so it was eliminated to avoid unevenly affecting the scores of the other players.) The tournament consisted of seven test cases, with board sizes of 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, and 32 bowls. Each solution played against each other solution twice in each test case, once playing first, and once playing second. The top solutions all used some variant of the minmax algorithm, while the lower ranking solutions used simpler heuristics, like always favoring moves that dropped the last stone into their mancala.

The table below lists the results of the tournament, with the solutions ranked in order of total points earned. It lists total execution time for the tournament, the total number of stones captured, the solution rank if execution time had been ignored, total points earned, as well as code size, data size, and programming language used. As usual, 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.

NameTime (secs)Cum StonesRank (stones)Cum PointsCode SizeData SizeLang
Sebastian Maurer (10)54.1614764214222.403488136C
JG Heithcock85.3714897114043.26178448C++
Ken Krugler97.4514627313652.464288308C++
Randy Boring (73)59.9014055413456.028048824C
Eric Kenninga21.1013399513187.9914584894C++
Willeke Rieken (47)3.6311667611630.7440888C++
Simon Jensen-Fellows0.3311512711508.6833646147C, Res
Dennis Jones (10)2.7610383910355.412556125C++
Eric Hangstefer (9)0.05102521010251.543724124C
Ernst Munter (362)104.7611178810130.42791613C++
Josh Cooley0.279446119443.29222864C
K. H.0.00Errors120.003772104C++

Top Contestants

Here are the Top Contestants for the Programmer's Challenge, including everyone who has accumulated more than 10 points during the past two years. The numbers below include points awarded over the 24 most recent contests, including points earned by this month's entrants.

  1. Munter, Ernst 210 points
  2. Boring, Randy 70 points
  3. Cooper, Greg 61 points
  4. Mallett, Jeff 50 points
  5. Rieken, Willeke 47 points
  6. Nicolle, Ludovic 34 points
  7. Lewis, Peter 31 points
  8. Maurer, Sebastian 30 points
  9. Gregg, Xan 24 points
  10. Murphy, ACC 24 points
  11. Hart, Alan 21 points
  12. Antoniewicz, Andy 20 points
  13. Day, Mark 20 points
  14. Higgins, Charles 20 points
  15. Hostetter, Mat 20 points
  16. Studer, Thomas 20 points

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 Sebastian's winning solution to the Mancala Challenge:

Mancala.C
Copyright 1998, Sebastian M. Maurer

#include <stdio.h>
#include "Mancala.h"

enum { kDefault, kPlayAgain, kGameOver };
typedef long StateOfGame;

// There are two versions of almost every routine
// so we don't have to decide at run time
// which side to play on. It speeds things up a
// little bit
// AlphaBeta1 and AlphaBeta2 are the recursive searchers
// for each of the two players. They return the value of
// best move (returned in *chosenBowl, *chosenDirection).
// For a description of Minimax and Alphabeta searches,
// see Peter Norvig's
// "Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming"

#define kMaxSignedLong    0x7FFFFFFF

Prototypes
long AlphaBeta1(
  long depth,
  long board[],
  long *boardStorage,
  const long boardSize,
  long *chosenBowl,
  long *chosenDirection,
  long lowerBound,
  /* any big negative number to enter recursion */
  long upperBound      
  /* any big positive number to enter recursion */
);

long AlphaBeta2(
  long depth,
  long board[],
  long *boardStorage,
  const long boardSize,
  long *chosenBowl,
  long *chosenDirection,
  long lowerBound,
  long upperBound
);

// DropStones -- play the move
// Return true if we get to play again

Boolean DropStones1(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
);

Boolean DropStones2(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
);

// SideEmpty returns true if the side is empty
// (and the game is over)

Boolean FirstSideEmpty(
  long board[],
  const long halfBoardSize
);

Boolean SecondSideEmpty(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize
);
// Moves all the remaining stones
// to the appropriate Mancala

void RemainingToMancala(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  const Boolean playerOne
);

// DoMove Drops the stones, checks if the game
// is over (if so, cleans up the board), and
// returns kGameOver, kPlayAgain, or kDefault
StateOfGame DoMove1(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
);

StateOfGame DoMove2(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
);

// Called only once from
// within Mancala
Boolean ClaimingVictory(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  const Boolean playerOne
);

Mancala
Boolean Mancala(        /* return true if claiming victory */
  long board[]          /* on entry, board[i] is number of stones in bowl i */
                      /* on exit, board reflects the results of your move */
  const long boardSize,  /* number of bowls in the board, including mancalas */
  void *privStorage,    /* pointer to 1MB of storage for your use */
  const Boolean newGame,  /* true for your first move of a game */
  const Boolean playerOne,  /* true when you are the first player */
  long *bowlPlayed,        /* return the number of the bowl you played from */
  long *directionPlayed    /* return 1 if you played counter-clockwise, */
                        /* return -1 if you played clockwise */
)
{
#pragma unused(newGame)
  // Q&D way to decide how far to search
  // so that we don't lose too much time
  long depth;
  switch (boardSize)
  {
    case 8: depth = 10; break;
    case 10: depth = 8; break;
    case 12:
    case 14: depth = 6; break;
    case 16: 
    case 18: depth = 5; break;
    case 20: 
    case 22: 
    case 24: 
    case 26: depth = 4; break;
    case 28: 
    case 30: 
    case 32: depth = 3; break;
    default: depth = 1; break;
  }

  // Start recursion and play move
  if (playerOne) {
    AlphaBeta1(depth, board, (long*)privStorage,
      boardSize, bowlPlayed, directionPlayed,
      -kMaxSignedLong, kMaxSignedLong);
    DropStones1(board, boardSize,
      *bowlPlayed, *directionPlayed);
  }
  else
  {
    AlphaBeta2(depth, board, (long*)privStorage,
      boardSize, bowlPlayed, directionPlayed,
      -kMaxSignedLong, kMaxSignedLong);
    DropStones2(board, boardSize,
      *bowlPlayed, *directionPlayed);
  }
  
  // Correct to proper convention
  *directionPlayed = - (*directionPlayed);
  return ClaimingVictory(board, boardSize, playerOne);
}

AlphaBeta1
long AlphaBeta1(
  long depth,
  long board[],
  long *boardStorage,
  const long boardSize,
  long *chosenBowl,
  long *chosenDirection,
  long lowerBound,
  long upperBound
)
{
  long myMancala, hisMancala, firstBowl, halfBoardSize;
  long bowl, dir, value, bestBowl, bestDir;
  long *workingBoard;
  
  halfBoardSize = boardSize / 2;
  workingBoard = boardStorage + depth * boardSize;
  myMancala = 0;
  hisMancala = halfBoardSize;
  firstBowl = 1;
  
  for (bowl = firstBowl; bowl < hisMancala; bowl++)
    if (board[bowl] > 0)
    {
      StateOfGame result;
      long i;

      dir = -1;

      // The following trick speeds the whole program
      // up by about 1 percent... take it or leave it
      for (i = 0; i < halfBoardSize; i++)
        ((double*)workingBoard)[i] =
          ((double*)board)[i];
        
      result = DoMove1(workingBoard, boardSize,
                bowl, dir);
      if ((depth == 0) || (result == kGameOver))
        value = workingBoard[myMancala] -
              workingBoard[hisMancala];
      else
      {
        if (result == kPlayAgain)
          value = AlphaBeta1(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                lowerBound, upperBound);
        else
          value = - AlphaBeta2(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                - upperBound, - lowerBound);
      }

      if (value > lowerBound)
      {
        bestBowl = bowl;
        bestDir = dir;
        lowerBound = value;
        
        if (lowerBound >= upperBound)
          break;
      }

      dir = 1;

      for (i = 0; i < halfBoardSize; i++)
        ((double*)workingBoard)[i] =
          ((double*)board)[i];
        
      result = DoMove1(workingBoard, boardSize, bowl, dir);
      if ((depth == 0) || (result == kGameOver))
        value = workingBoard[myMancala] -                   workingBoard[hisMancala];
      else
      {
        if (result == kPlayAgain)
          value = AlphaBeta1(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                lowerBound, upperBound);
        else
          value = - AlphaBeta2(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                - upperBound, - lowerBound);
      }

      if (value > lowerBound)
      {
        bestBowl = bowl;
        bestDir = dir;
        lowerBound = value;
        
        if (lowerBound >= upperBound)
          break;
      }
      
    }
  
  *chosenBowl = bestBowl;
  *chosenDirection = bestDir;
  return lowerBound;
}

AlphaBeta2
long AlphaBeta2(
  long depth,
  long board[],
  long *boardStorage,
  const long boardSize,
  long *chosenBowl,
  long *chosenDirection,
  long lowerBound,
  long upperBound
)
{
  long myMancala, hisMancala, firstBowl, halfBoardSize;
  long bowl, dir, value, bestBowl, bestDir;
  long *workingBoard;
  
  halfBoardSize = boardSize / 2;

  workingBoard = boardStorage + depth * boardSize;
  myMancala = halfBoardSize;
  hisMancala = 0;
  firstBowl = myMancala + 1;
  for (bowl = firstBowl; bowl < boardSize; bowl++)
    if (board[bowl] > 0)
    {
      long i, result;

      dir = -1;

      for (i = 0; i < halfBoardSize; i++)
        ((double*)workingBoard)[i] =
          ((double*)board)[i];
      
      result = DoMove2(workingBoard, boardSize,
                bowl, dir);
    if ((depth == 0) || (result == kGameOver))
        value = workingBoard[myMancala] -
              workingBoard[hisMancala];
      else
      {
        if (result == kPlayAgain)
          value = AlphaBeta2(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                lowerBound, upperBound);
        else
          value = - AlphaBeta1(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                - upperBound, - lowerBound);
      }
      if (value > lowerBound)
      {
        bestBowl = bowl;
        bestDir = dir;
        lowerBound = value;
        if (lowerBound >= upperBound)
          break;
      }
      
      dir = 1;
      
      for (i = 0; i < halfBoardSize; i++)
        ((double*)workingBoard)[i] =
          ((double*)board)[i];

      result = DoMove2(workingBoard, boardSize,
                bowl, dir);
      if ((depth == 0) || (result == kGameOver))
        value = workingBoard[myMancala] -
              workingBoard[hisMancala];
      else
      {
        if (result == kPlayAgain)
          value = AlphaBeta2(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                lowerBound, upperBound);
        else
          value = - AlphaBeta1(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                - upperBound, - lowerBound);
      }

      if (value > lowerBound)
      {
        bestBowl = bowl;
        bestDir = dir;
        lowerBound = value;
        if (lowerBound >= upperBound)
          break;
      }

    }
  
  *chosenBowl = bestBowl;
  *chosenDirection = bestDir;
  return lowerBound;
}

DropStones1
/***
Boolean DropStones()
Drops stones, return true if we get to play again
***/

inline Boolean DropStones1(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
)
{
  long myMancala, hisMancala, firstBowl, lastBowl;
  long stonesInHand, nextBowl;

  myMancala = 0;
  hisMancala = boardSize / 2;
  firstBowl = 1;
  lastBowl = hisMancala - 1;

  stonesInHand = board[bowlPlayed];
  board[bowlPlayed] = 0;
  nextBowl = bowlPlayed;
  /* Drop stones */
  while (stonesInHand > 0) {
    nextBowl += directionPlayed;
    
    if (nextBowl == hisMancala)
      nextBowl += directionPlayed;
    else
    {
      if (nextBowl < 0)
        nextBowl = boardSize - 1;
      else
        if (nextBowl == boardSize)
          nextBowl = 0;
    }
    board[nextBowl] += 1;
    stonesInHand -= 1;
  }
  
  /* Perform capture */
  if ((board[nextBowl] == 1) &&
    (nextBowl >= firstBowl) &&
    (nextBowl <= lastBowl))
  {
    board[nextBowl] = 0;
    board[myMancala] += 
      (1 + board[boardSize - nextBowl]);
    board[boardSize - nextBowl] = 0;
  }
  
  /* Return true if get to play again */
  return (nextBowl == myMancala);
}

DropStones2
inline Boolean DropStones2(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
)
{
  long myMancala, firstBowl, lastBowl;
  long stonesInHand, nextBowl;

  myMancala = boardSize / 2;
  firstBowl = myMancala + 1;
  lastBowl = boardSize - 1;

  stonesInHand = board[bowlPlayed];
  board[bowlPlayed] = 0;
  nextBowl = bowlPlayed;
  /* Drop stones */
  while (stonesInHand > 0) {
    nextBowl += directionPlayed;
    
    if (nextBowl <= 0)
      nextBowl = boardSize - 1;
    else
      if (nextBowl == boardSize)
        nextBowl = 1;
    board[nextBowl] += 1;
    stonesInHand -= 1;
  }
  
  /* Perform capture */
  if ((board[nextBowl] == 1) &&
    (nextBowl >= firstBowl) &&
    (nextBowl <= lastBowl))
  {
    board[nextBowl] = 0;
    board[myMancala] +=
      (1 + board[boardSize - nextBowl]);
    board[boardSize - nextBowl] = 0;
  }
  
  /* Return true if get to play again */
  return (nextBowl == myMancala);
}

FirstSideEmpty
/*
Boolean FirstSideEmpty()
Checks to see if first side has no stones left in it
*/
inline Boolean FirstSideEmpty(
  long board[],
  const long halfBoardSize
) 
{
  long bowl;
  for(bowl = halfBoardSize - 1; bowl > 0; bowl--)
    if (board[bowl] != 0)
      return false;
  return true;
}


SecondSideEmpty
/*
Boolean SecondSideEmpty()
Checks to see if first side has no stones left in it
*/
inline Boolean SecondSideEmpty(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize
) 
{
  long bowl;
  long halfBoardSize = boardSize / 2;
  for(bowl = boardSize - 1; bowl > halfBoardSize; bowl--)
    if (board[bowl] != 0)
      return false;
  return true;
}

RemainingToMancala
/*
void RemainingToMancala()
Moves remaining stones on specified side into Mancala
*/
inline void RemainingToMancala(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  const Boolean playerOne
)
{
  long mancala, firstBowl, lastBowl, bowl;

  if (playerOne) {
    mancala = 0;
    firstBowl = 1;
    lastBowl = boardSize / 2 - 1;
  } else {
    mancala = boardSize / 2;
    firstBowl = boardSize / 2 + 1;
    lastBowl = boardSize - 1;
  }  
  
  for(bowl = firstBowl; bowl <= lastBowl; bowl++)
  {
    board[mancala] += board[bowl];
    board[bowl] = 0;
  }
}


DoMove1
/***
StateOfGame DoMove()
Drops the specified stones and cleans up the board 
if the game is over.
***/

inline StateOfGame DoMove1(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
)
{
  Boolean getToPlayAgain;

  getToPlayAgain = DropStones1(board, boardSize,
            bowlPlayed, directionPlayed);

  if (FirstSideEmpty(board, boardSize / 2)) {
    RemainingToMancala(board, boardSize, false);
    return kGameOver;
  }
  
  if (SecondSideEmpty(board, boardSize)) {
    RemainingToMancala(board, boardSize, true);
    return kGameOver;
  }
  
  if (getToPlayAgain)
    return kPlayAgain;
  else
    return kDefault;
}

DoMove2
inline StateOfGame DoMove2(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
)
{
  Boolean getToPlayAgain;
  
  getToPlayAgain = DropStones2(board, boardSize,
            bowlPlayed, directionPlayed);

  if (FirstSideEmpty(board, boardSize / 2)) {
    RemainingToMancala(board, boardSize, false);
    return kGameOver;
  }
  
  if (SecondSideEmpty(board, boardSize)) {
    RemainingToMancala(board, boardSize, true);
    return kGameOver;
  }
  
  if (getToPlayAgain)
    return kPlayAgain;
  else
    return kDefault;
}

ClaimingVictory
/* Boolean ClaimingVictory()
  Only called before returning from Mancala
  Does not clean up the board
*/
Boolean ClaimingVictory(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  const Boolean playerOne
)
{
  long bowl;
  long sum = 0;
  long halfBoardSize = boardSize / 2;
  
  if (FirstSideEmpty(board, halfBoardSize))
  {
    for (bowl = halfBoardSize + 1;
        bowl < boardSize; bowl++)
      sum += board[bowl];
    if (playerOne)
      return board[0] > (sum + board[halfBoardSize]);
    else
      return board[0] < (sum + board[halfBoardSize]);
  }
  if (SecondSideEmpty(board, boardSize))
  {
    for (bowl = 1; bowl < halfBoardSize; bowl++)
      sum += board[bowl];
    if (playerOne)
      return (board[0] + sum) > board[halfBoardSize];
    else
      return (board[0] + sum) < board[halfBoardSize];
  }
  return false;
}
 
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LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
Freeway Pro 7.0 - Drag-and-drop Web desi...
Freeway Pro lets you build websites with speed and precision... without writing a line of code! With it's user-oriented drag-and-drop interface, Freeway Pro helps you piece together the website of... Read more
Drive Genius 3.2.4 - Powerful system uti...
Drive Genius is an OS X utility designed to provide unsurpassed storage management. Featuring an easy-to-use interface, Drive Genius is packed with powerful tools such as a drive optimizer, a... Read more
Vitamin-R 2.15 - Personal productivity t...
Vitamin-R creates the optimal conditions for your brain to work at its best by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly focused activity alternating with opportunities for... Read more
Toast Titanium 12.0 - The ultimate media...
Toast Titanium goes way beyond the very basic burning in the Mac OS and iLife software, and sets the standard for burning CDs, DVDs, and now Blu-ray discs on the Mac. Create superior sounding audio... Read more
OS X Yosemite Wallpaper 1.0 - Desktop im...
OS X Yosemite Wallpaper is the gorgeous new background image for Apple's upcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite. This wallpaper is available for all screen resolutions with a source file that measures 5,418... Read more
Acorn 4.4 - Bitmap image editor. (Demo)
Acorn is a new image editor built with one goal in mind - simplicity. Fast, easy, and fluid, Acorn provides the options you'll need without any overhead. Acorn feels right, and won't drain your bank... Read more
Bartender 1.2.20 - Organize your menu ba...
Bartender lets you organize your menu bar apps. Features: Lets you tidy your menu bar apps how you want. See your menu bar apps when you want. Hide the apps you need to run, but do not need to... Read more

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Murl the Squirrel (Games)
Murl the Squirrel 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Meet Murl. He is teased by a group of flying squirrels because he can't fly. Determined to show them he's can fly, he meets... | Read more »
Celleste (Games)
Celleste 0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 0.1 (iTunes) Description: Lots of cute action with amazing 3D graphics and a new type of gameplay! Take control over the forces of the universe to help a group... | Read more »
Super Heavy Sword (Games)
Super Heavy Sword 0.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 0.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Get Ready to Get HEAVY! Monster Robot Studios presents SUPER Heavy Sword! The sequel to the smash hit HEAVY sword which... | Read more »
Angels In The Sky (Games)
Angels In The Sky 1.00 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.00 (iTunes) Description: - This game is only for the iPhone 5s. please do not use the iPad, iPhone 5 or earlier devices.- Just touch or holding... | Read more »
80 Days (Games)
80 Days 1.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.2 (iTunes) Description: 1872, with a steampunk twist. Phileas Fogg has wagered he can circumnavigate the world in just eighty days. Choose your own route... | Read more »
Micromon (Games)
Micromon 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: 130+ Animated Monsters to Catch & Battle! No waiting, play at your own pace! Embark on an epic monster capture RPG like none... | Read more »
Empire Manager (Games)
Empire Manager 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Become ruler of an empire. Manage your economy, develop technology, hire an army and conquer the world in this addictive turn-... | Read more »
Empire Manager HD (Games)
Empire Manager HD 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Become ruler of an empire. Manage your economy, develop technology, hire an army and conquer the world in this addictive... | Read more »
Star Admiral Review
Star Admiral Review By Rob Thomas on July 30th, 2014 Our Rating: :: ADMIRABLE ADMIRALSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad While this new digital CCG may feel a bit familiar, Star Admiral offers a sci-fi twist and galaxy’s... | Read more »
Zap! Pow! Become a Badass Wizard in Phan...
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Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

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

Jobs Board

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