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July 01 Challenge

Volume Number: 17 (2001)
Issue Number: 07
Column Tag: Programmer's Challenge

by Bob Boonstra, Westford, MA

Down-N-Out

George Warner earns two Challenge points for suggesting another interesting board game, this time the solitaire game known as Down-N-Out. The Down-N-Out board is a 10x30 rectangular array of cells, initially populated randomly with 100 cells of each of three colors. The object is to score as many points as possible by removing cells from the board. A cell can be removed if it is adjacent (horizontally or vertically, but not diagonally) with a cell of the same color. When a cell is removed, all cells connected to it by transitive adjacency are removed. That is, all adjacent cells are removed, and all cells adjacent to those cells, etc. The number of points earned for each move is equal to the square of the number of cells removed (e.g., 2 cells = 4 points, 3 cells = 9 points, etc.). There is an obvious advantage to planning moves that maximize the number of connected cells removed simultaneously. After each move, the board is compacted by sliding all cells downward to fill any empty cells, and then by sliding all columns to the center to fill any empty columns. The game continues as long as cells can be removed.

For those of you interested in trying the game, there is a shareware version available at
http://www.peciva.com/software/downout.shtml.

The prototype for the code you should write is:

typedef char CellColor;   /* 0==empty, 1..numColors are valid colors */

void InitDownNOut(
   short boardSizeRows,   /* number of rows in the game */
   short boardSizeCols,   /* number of columns in the game */
   short numColors,         /* number of colors in the game */
   WindowPtr wdw    /* window where results of your moves should be displayed */
);

void HandleUpdateEvent(EventRecord theEvent);

Boolean /* able to play       */ PlayOneDownNOutMove(
   CellColor board[],   /* board[row*boardSizeCols + col] is color of cell at [row][col] */
   long score,                  /* points earned prior to this move */
   short *moveRow,            /* return row of your next move */
   short *moveCol            /* return col of your next move */
);

void TermDownNOut(void);

Each game begins with a call to your InitDownNOut routine, where you are given the dimensions of the game board (boardSizeRows and boardSizeCols), the number of colors in the game (numColors), and a pointer (gameWindow) to a WindowRecord where you must display the game state as it progresses. Finally, you will be given the initial state of the game board, fully populated with equal numbers of each color cell, subject to rounding limitations. InitDownNOut should allocate any dynamic memory needed by your solution, and that memory should be returned at the end of the game when your TermDownNOut routine is called.

Your PlayOneDownNOutMove routine will be called repeatedly, once for each move you make. You will be given your current point score as calculated by the test code and the state of the game board. You should determine the most advantageous move and return it in moveRow and moveCol. You should update the game board, eliminating cells removed by your move and compacting the board vertically and then horizontally. You should calculate the number of cells removed and return it in numberOfCellsRemoved.

The last time we ran a Challenge that involved maintaining a display, contestants asked how the window would be redrawn in response to an update event. This time, I'm asking you to write a routine to do that. Your HandleUpdateEvent routine will be called by the test code whenever an update event is received for your gameWindow.

During the call to InitDownNOut, and after each of your moves, you should display the updated game state in the gameWindow. The details of the display are up to you, as long as the display correctly and completely represents the state of the board.

The winner will be the best scoring entry, as determined by the sum of the point score of each game, minus a penalty of 1% for each millisecond of execution time used for that game. The Challenge prize will be divided between the overall winner and the best scoring entry from a contestant that has not won the Challenge recently.

This will be a native PowerPC Challenge, using the CodeWarrior Pro 6 environment. Solutions may be coded in C or C++. I've deleted Pascal from the list of permissible languages, both because it isn't supported by CW6 (without heroics) and because no one has submitted a Pascal solution in a long time.

Three Months Ago Winner

Congratulations to Ernst Munter (Kanata, Ontario, Canada) for submitting the best scoring solution in the April Crossword II Challenge. This Challenge was inspired by a classroom exercise to construct a 20x20 crossword puzzle using the names of the elements in the periodic table, valuing each word according to the atomic number of the corresponding element, with the objective of maximizing the total value of the puzzle. We generalized the problem by making the word list, word values, and puzzle size parameters of the problem. And to incorporate the usual emphasis on efficiency, we penalized each test case by 1% for each minute of execution time required to generate the puzzle.

The winning solution starts by assigning a strength value to each word in the word list. The strength of a word is a scaled version of the value assigned by the problem input, divided by the length of a word. This heuristic favors shorter words of a given value over longer words of the same value. Then the Board::Solve routine tries to place words until a time limit (set to 15 seconds) expires or there are no more valid moves to explore. The moves are attempted in order of decreasing value, where the value of a move is the assigned value of word being placed, divided by the length of the word minus the number of letters that intersect other words. Again, this gives priority to placement of shorter high value words over longer ones, and to placements that efficiently use the board space by intersecting other words.

I evaluated the four entries received using a set of ten test cases ranging in size from 20x20 to 50x50. Ernst's solution packed 10% more word value into his puzzles than the second place entry by Ron Nepsund, taking significantly more execution time as well. For the original 20x20 problem based on the periodic table, Ernst's entry produced the following crossword, valued at 2470 points:

LAWRENCIUM__XENON_P_
_S__E______B______L_
_T___O_____AMERICIUM
_ACTINIUM__R______T_
_T______E__I___ARGON
SILVER_ERBIUM___H_N_
_N______C__M____E_I_
_E__BISMUTH_POLONIUM
________R__G____I_M_
_F_C____Y__O_R__U___
_E_A_C_____LEADM_U__
_RADIUM__T_D_D_B__R_
_M_M_R___H___O_E__A_
_IRIDIUM_O_TIN_R__N_
_U_U_U___R_____K__I_
_M_M_M_I_I__NOBELIUM
_______R_U_____L__M_
CERIUM_OSMIUM__ZINC_
_______N________U___
HAFNIUM__FRANCIUM___

Ernst would have won by an even wider margin were it not for an ambiguity in the problem statement. The problem specified that each word could only occur once in the puzzle, and that each sequence of letters in the puzzle had to form a word. What I meant to say, however, but didn't, was that each word in the puzzle needed to be distinct. Two of the contestants took advantage of this loophole, for example, to claim credit for the word "tin" embedded in the longer word "actinium". Fortunately for my sense of fairness if nothing else, when I ran the tests both allowing and not allowing the loophole, the scores were such that the ranking of the entries was unchanged. The results as presented reflect the actual wording of the puzzle, and allow a word to be embedded in another word.

As the best-placing entry from someone who has not won a Challenge in the past two years, Ron Nepsund wins a share of this month's Challenge prize. You don't need to defeat the Challenge points leaders to claim a part of the prize, so enter the Challenge and win Developer Depot credits!

The table below lists, for each of the solutions submitted, the number of points earned by each entry, and the total time in seconds. It also lists the code size, data size, and programming language used for each entry. As usual, the number in parentheses after the entrant's name is the total number of Challenge points earned in all Challenges prior to this one.

Name Points Time(secs) Code Size
Ernst Munter(731) 52378 151.4 3940
Ron Nepsund(47) 47489 6.7 44520
Jan Schotsman(7) 44888 32.9 12708
Ken Slezak(26) [LATE] 4927937.4 3160
Name Data Size Lang
Ernst Munter 174 C++
Ron Nepsund 6530 C++
Jan Schotsman 448 C++
Ken Slezak 47 C++

Top Contestants...

Listed here are the Top Contestants for the Programmer's Challenge, including everyone who has accumulated 20 or more 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, the number of wins over the past 24 months, and the total number of career Challenge points.

Rank Name Points(24 mo)
1. Munter, Ernst 304
2. Rieken, Willeke 83
3. Saxton, Tom 76
4. Taylor, Jonathan 56
5. Shearer, Rob 55
6. Wihlborg, Claes 49
7. Maurer, Sebastian 48
Name Wins(24 mo) Total Points
Munter, Ernst 12 751
Rieken, Willeke 3 134
Saxton, Tom 2 185
Taylor, Jonathan 2 56
Shearer, Rob 1 62
Wihlborg, Claes 2 49
Maurer, Sebastian 1 108

...and the Top Contestants Looking for a Recent Win

In order to give some recognition to other participants in the Challenge, we also list the high scores for contestants who have accumulated points without taking first place in a Challenge during the past two years. Listed here are all of those contestants who have accumulated 6 or more points during the past two years.

Rank Name Points Points
(24 mo) Total
8. Boring, Randy 32 142
9. Schotsman, Jan 14 14
10. Sadetsky, Gregory 12 14
11. Nepsund, Ronald 10 57
12. Day, Mark 10 30
13. Jones, Dennis 10 22
14. Downs, Andrew 10 12
15. Duga, Brady 10 10
16. Fazekas, Miklos 10 10
17. Flowers, Sue 10 10
18. Strout, Joe 10 10
19. Nicolle, Ludovic 7 55
20. Hala, Ladislav 7 7
21. Miller, Mike 7 7
22. Widyatama, Yudhi 7 7
23. Heithcock, JG 6 43

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 Ernst's winning CrosswordII solution:

CrosswordII.cp
Copyright © 2001
Ernst Munter, Kanata, ON, Canada


To avoid any significant point penalty (of 1% per minute), processing stops
after 15 seconds.

A private copy of the puzzle is built where each cell is an unsigned character,
with value of 0, c, or 2*c.  An empty cell is 0, an placing a word is done
by adding each of the word’s character into the corresponding cell.  Similarly,
removal of a word is done with subtraction.

*/
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <string.h>
#include <ctype.h>
#include <Events.h>
#include “CrosswordII.h”

typedef unsigned long ulong;
typedef unsigned short ushort;
typedef unsigned char uchar;

static int N=0;

enum {
   kDown   = 0,
   kAcross   = 1,
   kMaxMoves = 5,
   kTicksPerSecond = 60,
   kMaxSeconds   = 15
};

struct MyWord
struct MyWord
// Encapsulation of Words
{
   const Words* word;
   ulong   length;
   ulong    strength;// length-relative value
   bool   used;
   MyWord(){}
   MyWord(const Words* wp) :
      word(wp),
      length(strlen(wp->theWord)),
      strength((0x10000L*wp->value)/(1+length)),
      used(false)
   {}
   const Words* Word() const {return word;}
   const char* Chars() const {return word->theWord;}
   long Value() const {return word->value;}
   int Length() const {return length;}
   bool IsAvailable() const {return !used;} 
   void SetUsed() {used = true;}
   void ClearUsed() {used = false;}
   ulong Strength() const {return strength;}
}; 

static int CmpWord(const void* a,const void* b)
{
   MyWord* ap=(MyWord*)a;
   MyWord* bp=(MyWord*)b;
   return bp->strength - ap->strength;
}

struct MyMove
// A Move is a placement of a word
{
   MyWord* w;
   ulong   value;
   ushort   row;
   ushort   col;
   ushort   delta;
   ushort   size;
   ulong    Value() const {return value;}
   ulong   Points() const {return w->word->value;}
   void    Init(int numIntersects,MyWord* wx,
                              int r,int c,int d,int s)
   {
      w=wx;
      value=(0x10000 * w->word->value) / 
                              (1+w->Length()-numIntersects);
      row=r;
      col=c;
      delta=d;
      size=s;
   }
   void    Clear() {value=0;}
   ulong    IsValid() const {return value;}// != 0
   void Convert(const Words* words,WordPositions* p)
   // Converts this instance of “MyMove” to a “WordPosition” as defined in 
   // “CrosswordII.h”
   {
      p->whichWord=w->word-words;
      p->row=row;
      p->col=col;
      p->orientation=(delta==1)?kAcross:kDown;
   }
   void RemoveWord(char* puzzle)
   {
      char* p=puzzle+row*size+col;
      char* str=w->word->theWord;
      for (int i=0;i<w->Length();i++)
      {
         *p -= *str++;
         p+=delta;
      }
      w->ClearUsed();
   }
   void PlaceWord(char* puzzle)
   {
      char* p=puzzle+row*size+col;
      char* str=w->word->theWord;
      for (int i=0;i<w->Length();i++)
      {
         *p += *str++;
         p+=delta;
      }
      w->SetUsed();
   }
   int IntersectAcross(MyWord* w,int r,int c,
                     char* puzzle,int puzzleSize)
   {
// returns -1(no fit), 0 (fit, no intersects) or n>0 (n intersects with other words)
      
      // insertion point p
      char* p=puzzle+r*puzzleSize+c;
      int len=w->Length();
      
      // cell before the word must be a border or blank
      char* rowStart=puzzle+r*puzzleSize;
      char* cellBefore=p-1;
      if ((cellBefore >= rowStart) && (0 != *cellBefore)) 
         return -1;
         
      // cell after the word must be a border or blank
      char* rowEnd=rowStart+puzzleSize;
      char* cellAfter=p+len;
      if ((cellAfter < rowEnd) && (0 != *cellAfter)) 
         return -1;
         
      // all cells to the side of the word must be
      //      (a) either blank
      //      (b) or part of a crossing word   
      //   we know case b applies only if the cell the current word is
      //   to occupy is already occupied - with a letter equal to str[x]
      
      char* str=w->word->theWord;
      char* puzzleEnd=puzzle+puzzleSize*puzzleSize;
      int numIntersects=0;
      for (int i=0;i<len;i++,str++,p++)
      {
         if (*p == 0)// crossing a blank
         {
            // cell above must be outside border, or blank
            char* cellAbove=p-puzzleSize;
            if ((cellAbove >= puzzle) && (0 != *cellAbove)) 
               return -1;
            // cell below must be outside border, or blank
            char* cellBelow=p+puzzleSize;
            if ((cellBelow < puzzleEnd) && (0 != *cellBelow)) 
               return -1;
         } else if (*p == *str)// crossing a word, matching
         {
            numIntersects++;
         } else   // crossing, but no match
         {
            return -1;
         }
      }
      Init(numIntersects,w,r,c,1,puzzleSize);
      return numIntersects;
   }
   int IntersectDown(MyWord* w,int r,int c,
                        char* puzzle,int puzzleSize)
   {
// returns -1(no fit), 0 (fit, no intersects) or n>0 (n intersects with other words)
            
      // insertion point p
      char* p=puzzle+r*puzzleSize+c;
      int len=w->Length();
      
      // cell before the word must be a border or blank
      char* colStart=puzzle+c;
      char* cellBefore=p-puzzleSize;
      if ((cellBefore >= colStart) && (0 != *cellBefore)) 
         return -1;
         
      // cell after the word must be a border or blank
      char* bottomBorder=puzzle+puzzleSize*puzzleSize;
      char* cellAfter=p+len*puzzleSize;
      if ((cellAfter < bottomBorder) && (0 != *cellAfter)) 
         return -1;
         
      // all cells to the side of the word must be
      //      (a) either blank
      //      (b) or part of a crossing word   
      //   we know case b applies only if the cell the current str would
      //   occupy is already occupied - with a letter equal to str[x]
      
      char* str=w->word->theWord;
      char* puzzleEnd=puzzle+puzzleSize*puzzleSize;
      char* leftEdge=puzzle+r*puzzleSize;
      int numIntersects=0;
      for (int i=0; i<len; 
                  i++,str++,p+=puzzleSize,leftEdge+=puzzleSize)
      {
         if (*p == 0)// crossing a blank
         {
            // cell on the left must be the left border, or blank
            char* cellLeft=p-1;
            if ((cellLeft >= leftEdge) && (0 != *cellLeft)) 
               return -1;
            // cell on right must be on the right edge, or blank
            char* cellRight=p+1;
            char* rightEdge=leftEdge+puzzleSize;
            if ((cellRight < rightEdge) && (0 != *cellRight)) 
               return -1;
         } else if (*p == *str)// crossing a word, matching
         {
            numIntersects++;
         } else   // crossing, but no match
         {
            return -1;
         }
      }
      Init(numIntersects,w,r,c,puzzleSize,puzzleSize);
      return numIntersects;
   }
};

typedef MyMove* MyMovePtr;

inline bool operator > (const MyMove & a,const MyMove & b) 
{
   return a.Value() > b.Value();
}

struct MyMoveArray
struct MyMoveArray
{
   int numMoves;
   int maxMoves;
   MyMove   moves[kMaxMoves];
   MyMoveArray(int max) :
      numMoves(0),
      maxMoves(max)
   {}
   int NumMoves() const {return numMoves;}
   MyMove* Moves() {return moves;} 
   void Insert(MyMove & m)
   {
      if (numMoves==0)
      {
         numMoves=1;
         moves[0]=m;
      } else if (numMoves<maxMoves)
      {
         MyMove* mx=moves+numMoves;
         while ((mx>moves) && (*(mx-1) > m))
         {
            *mx=*(mx-1);
            mx=mx-1;
         }   
         *mx=m;
         numMoves++;
      } else if (m > moves[numMoves-1])
      {
         numMoves—;
         Insert(m);
      }
   }
};

struct Board
struct Board
{
   long   puzzleSize;
   char*    puzzle;
   long   numWords;
   MyWord* myWords;
   long   numPositions;
   WordPositions* bestPositions;
   
   MyMove*      movePool;   //   single pool allocated for movelists
   MyMove*     endMovePool;   
   MyMovePtr*   moveStack;   //   move stack tracks the history of executed moves
   MyMovePtr*   moveStackPointer;
   MyMovePtr*   lastMoveStack;
   
   Board(long pSize,const Words* words,long nWords) :
      puzzleSize(pSize),
      puzzle(new char[(pSize)*(pSize)]),
      numWords(nWords),
      myWords(new MyWord[nWords]),
      numPositions(0),
      bestPositions(new WordPositions[numWords]),
      
      
      movePool(new MyMove[numWords*kMaxMoves]),
      endMovePool(movePool+numWords*kMaxMoves),
      moveStack(new MyMovePtr[numWords]),moveStackPointer(moveStack),
      lastMoveStack(moveStack+numWords-1)
      
   {
      for (long i=0;i<numWords;i++)
         myWords[i]=MyWord(words+i);
      
// sort words by strength
      qsort(myWords,numWords,sizeof(MyWord),CmpWord);

// remove all 0-value words      
      long i=numWords;
      while ((i>0) && (myWords[i-1].Value()<=0))
         i=i-1;
         
      numWords=i; 
   }
   ~Board()
   {
      delete [] bestPositions;
      delete [] myWords;
      delete [] puzzle;
   }
   void Clear() 
   {
      memset(puzzle,0,sizeof(char)*(puzzleSize)*(puzzleSize));
   }
   int Solve(const Words* words,WordPositions* positions);
   
   void SetPosition(const Words* words,MyWord* w,WordPositions* pos,
      int row,int col,int o)
   {
      pos->whichWord=w->Word()-words;
      pos->row=row;
      pos->col=col;
      pos->orientation=o; 
   }
   
   void PushMove(MyMove* mp){
      *moveStackPointer++=mp;
   }
   
   MyMove* PopMove()
   {
      return *—moveStackPointer;
   } 
   
   MyMove* GenerateMoveList(MyMove* mp)
   {
//   Lists all legal moves in a list, starting with a null-move;
//   sorts the moves and returns the highest value move on the list 
//   Each move is given a “value” reflecting its relative merit. 
      if (mp+kMaxMoves >= endMovePool)             
         return 0; // no room for movelist, should not really happen
                 // but if it does, we just have to backtrack   
      MyMove m;
      int i,row,col,maxRow,maxCol,drow,dcol;
         
// create moves
      MyMoveArray ma(kMaxMoves);
      
      MyWord* w=myWords;
      ulong bestStrength=0;
      for (i=0;i<numWords;i++,w++)
      {
         if (!w->IsAvailable()) continue;
         ulong strength=w->Strength();
         if (strength < bestStrength) continue;
         maxCol=maxRow=puzzleSize-w->Length();
//   find every legal position
         drow=0;
         for (row=puzzleSize/2;(row>=0)&&(row<puzzleSize);row+=drow)
         {
            dcol=0;
            for (col=puzzleSize/2;(col>=0) && (col<puzzleSize);col+=dcol)
            {
               if ((col<=maxCol) &&
                  (m.IntersectAcross(w,row,col,puzzle,puzzleSize)>=0))
               { 
                  ma.Insert(m);
                  bestStrength=strength;
               }
               
               if ((row<=maxRow) &&
                  (m.IntersectDown(w,row,col,puzzle,puzzleSize)>=0))
               { 
                  ma.Insert(m); 
                  bestStrength=strength;
               }
               
               if (dcol>=0) dcol=-1-dcol; else dcol=1-dcol;
            }
            if (drow>=0) drow=-1-drow; else drow=1-drow;
         }
      }
      
// put a sentinel 0-move at the start of the movelist
      mp->Clear();
// copy moves from the moves array into the movelist space
      MyMove* mx=ma.Moves();
      for (int i=0;i<ma.NumMoves();i++)
         *(++mp) = *mx++;
      
      return mp;
   }
      
   long Execute(MyMove* mp)
   {
      mp->PlaceWord(puzzle);
      PushMove(mp);
      return mp->Points();   
   }
   
   MyMove* Undo(long & points)
// Undoes the last stacked move, returns this move, or 0 if no move found   
   {
      MyMove* mp=PopMove();
      if (mp==0) return mp;
      mp->RemoveWord(puzzle);
      points -= mp->Points();
      return mp;
   }
   
   long CopyMovesBack(const Words* words,WordPositions* positions)
//    Scans the movestack, converts MyMoves to positions.
//   Returns the number of positions   
   {
      int numMoves=0;
      for (MyMovePtr* index=moveStack+1;index<moveStackPointer;index++)
      {
         MyMove* mp=*index;
         mp->Convert(words,positions+numMoves);
         numMoves++;
      }
      return numMoves;
   }
};

Board::Solve
int Board::Solve(const Words* words,WordPositions* positions)
{
   WordPositions* pos=positions;
   long numPositions=0;
   long bestPoints=0;
   long start=TickCount();
   
   Clear();
   moveStackPointer=moveStack;   
   // Put a sentinel null move at start of move stack      
   PushMove(0);
   MyMove* moveList=movePool;
   long points=0;
         
   MyMove* nextMove=GenerateMoveList(moveList);
   // moveList to nextMove defines a movelist which always starts with a 0-move
   // and is processed in order nextMove, nextMove-1, ... until 0-move is found
   if (!nextMove)
      return 0;
      
   for (;;) 
   {
      while (nextMove && nextMove->IsValid())
      {
         points+=Execute(nextMove);
         if (points > bestPoints)
         {
            bestPoints=points;
            numPositions=CopyMovesBack(words,positions);
         } 
         moveList=1+nextMove;
         long numTicks=TickCount()-start;
         if (numTicks>kMaxSeconds*kTicksPerSecond)
            break;
         nextMove=GenerateMoveList(moveList);
                     
      } // end while
      
      do {
         MyMove* prevMove=Undo(points);
         if (!prevMove)  // stack is completely unwound, exhausted
            break;
               
      // try to use the last move:
         nextMove = prevMove-1;
      } while (!nextMove->IsValid());
            
      moveList=nextMove;
      while ((moveList>=movePool) && (moveList->IsValid()))
         moveList—;
         
      if (moveList<=movePool)
         break;
   }   
   return numPositions;   
}

CrosswordII
short /* numberOfWordPositions */ CrosswordII  (
   short puzzleSize,            /* puzzle has puzzleSize rows and columns */
   const Words words[],      /* words to be used to form the puzzle */
   short numWords,               /* number of words[] available */
   WordPositions positions[]   /* placement of words in puzzle */
) {
   if (numWords <= 0)
      return 0;
      
   Board B(puzzleSize,words,numWords);
   
   long numberOfWordPositions=B.Solve(words,positions);
      
   return numberOfWordPositions;
}


 

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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
f.lux 39.984 - Adjusts the color of your...
f.lux makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. Ever notice how people texting at night have that eerie blue glow? Or wake... Read more
Sketch 46.2 - Design app for UX/UI for i...
Sketch is an innovative and fresh look at vector drawing. Its intentionally minimalist design is based upon a drawing space of unlimited size and layers, free of palettes, panels, menus, windows, and... Read more
Microsoft Office 2016 15.37 - Popular pr...
Microsoft Office 2016 - Unmistakably Office, designed for Mac. The new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote provide the best of both worlds for Mac users - the familiar Office... Read more
Slack 2.7.1 - Collaborative communicatio...
Slack is a collaborative communication app that simplifies real-time messaging, archiving, and search for modern working teams. Version 2.7.1: You're nearly finished signing in when suddenly – bonk... 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 »
Cat Quest Guide - How to become a purrfe...
Cat Quest is an absolutely charming open-world RPG that's taken the gaming world quite by storm. This game about a world populated by furry kitty warriors is actually a full-length RPG with sturdy mechanics and a lovely little story. It's certainly... | Read more »
Silly Walks Guide - How to strut your st...
Silly Walks is an all new adventure game that lives up to its name. It sees you playing as a variety of snack foods as you teeter-totter your way to rescue your friends from the evil blender and his villainous minions. It's all very . . . well... | Read more »
The best mobile point-and-click adventur...
Nostalgia for classic point-and-click adventure games has reached an all-time high in recent years, and the rise of mobile games have provided a perfect platform for this old-school genre. This week we're going to take a look at some of the best... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

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
12-inch MacBooks on sale for $100 off MSRP
Amazon has 2017 12″ Retina MacBooks on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free: 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray MacBook: $1199.99 $100 off MSRP 12″ 1.2GHz Silver MacBook: $1198 $101 off MSRP 12″ 1.2GHz Gold... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Customer Experience (ACE) Leader - A...
…management to deliver on business objectivesTraining partner store staff on Apple products, services, and merchandising guidelinesCoaching partner store staff on Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Poole -...
Job Summary The people here at Apple don't just create products - they create the kind of wonder that's revolutionised entire industries. It's the diversity of those Read more
Business Development Manager, *Apple* iClou...
Job Summary Apple is seeking an entrepreneurial person to help grow the Apple iCloud business, a service that is integral to the Apple customer experience. Read more
Product Metrics Manager - *Apple* Media Pro...
Job Summary Apple is seeking a product manager responsible for overseeing the instrumentation and analysis of usage data, in order to make data driven product Read more
iOS Wallet & *Apple* Pay Engineer - App...
Job Summary The iOS Apple Pay & Wallet team is looking for talented,...now add credit and debit cards to Wallet using Apple Pay. You can use Apple Pay in Read more
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