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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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Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keep them up-to-date between systems... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 6.6 - Catalog your disk...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast Finder-like intuitive look and feel Super-fast search algorithm Can compress catalog data for... Read more
Amazon Chime 4.0.5540 - Amazon-based com...
Amazon Chime is a communications service that transforms online meetings with a secure, easy-to-use application that you can trust. Amazon Chime works seamlessly across your devices so that you can... Read more
RapidWeaver 7.3 - Create template-based...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more
Dropbox 20.4.19 - Cloud backup and synch...
Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keep them up-to-date between systems... Read more

Tavern Guardians Guide: How to survive e...
Tavern Guardians is a match-three game that brings some much-needed innovation to what is a tired genre in mobile gaming. Players match objects to attack enemies while healing themselves, forcing players to rethink their approach to the typical... | Read more »
Inkle's next big project is Heaven...
Inkle's latest project could be its most exciting yet, following the widespread success of their past two games, Sorcery! and 80 Days. Their latest title, Heaven's Vault, which was announced at GDC this week, steps away from the gamebook genre,... | Read more »
Last week on Pocket Gamer
If you’re wondering what’s going on in the wider world of portable gaming, our sister site PocketGamer has you covered. Each week we like to check in on the PG team and see what they’ve been preoccupied with. From the latest on the Nintendo Switch... | Read more »
Mudd Masher arrives this week
Atooi Games, the minds behind Totes the Goat and Mutant Mudds, have a new game in the works -- Mudd Masher. The game, a hybrid of the independent studio's first two titles, is expected to launch this week on March 2. [Read more] | Read more »
The best sales on the App Store this wee...
The App Store has quite an exciting lineup of discount games this week that range across a variety of genres. It's a great opportunity to catch up on some of the premium games you may have been holding off on -- and some you can even grab for free... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week
Ah, here we are again at the close of another busy week. Don't rest too easy, though. We had a lot of great new releases in mobile games this week, and now you're going to have to spend all weekend playing them. That shouldn't be too much of a... | Read more »
Rollercoaster Tycoon Touch Guide: How to...
| Read more »
Rabbids Crazy Rush Guide: How to unlock...
The Rabbids are back in a new endless running adventure, Rabbids Crazy Rush. It's more ridiculous cartoon craziness as you help the little furballs gather enough fuel (soda) to get to the moon. Sure, it's a silly idea, but everyone has dreams --... | Read more »
Tavern Guardians (Games)
Tavern Guardians 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Tavern Guardians is a Hack-and-Slash action game played in the style of a match-three. You can experience high pace action... | Read more »
Slay your way to glory in idle RPG Endle...
It’s a golden age for idle games on the mobile market, and those addictive little clickers have a new best friend. South Korean developer Ekkorr released Endless Frontier last year, and players have been idling away the hours in the company of its... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (Apple refurbished...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros (MD101LL/A) available for $829, or $270 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook... Read more
Save $150-$180 with Apple refurbished 13-inch...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air: $... 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
SanDisk Introduces 256GB Storage Expansion Fo...
Western Digital Corporation at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday announced that it has increased the capacity of its line of iOS mobile flash drives with the introduction of its... Read more
FINSiX DART World’s Smallest and Lightest Lap...
Up to 4x smaller and lighter than today’s typical 65W laptop chargers, and with a built-in Smallest and Lightest Laptop Charger, DART allows you to charge all your devices from a single outlet.... Read more
New iPads May Not Arrive Until May or June –...
Digitimes’ Siu Han and Steve Shen say their sources in the iPad upstream supply chain are anticipating disappointing calendar first-quarter 2017 sales. The same sources at upstream suppliers had... Read more
Olay Unveils Skin Advisor App To Help Women B...
Olay celebrated its Mobile World Congress debut with the global launch of Olay Skin Advisor, a new app designed to help women better understand their skin and find the products best-suited to their... Read more
12-inch 1.1GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $1...
B&H has 12″ 1.1GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1149 $150 off MSRP - 12″ 1.1GHz... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac Pros available for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The following... 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 $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (MF839LL/A): $... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple (United...
# Apple Solutions Consultant Job Number: 55676865 Los Angeles, California, United States Posted: Feb. 22, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** As an Apple Read more
Programmer/Editor *Apple* Music Dance - App...
# Programmer/Editor Apple Music Dance Job Number: 55565967 Culver City, California, United States Posted: Feb. 23, 2017 Weekly Hours: **Job Summary** Apple Music Read more
Digital Marketing Specialist - *Apple* iClo...
# Digital Marketing Specialist - Apple iCloud Job Number: 54729233 Culver City, California, United States Posted: Feb. 22, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Read more
Marketing Specialist, iTunes & *Apple*...
# Marketing Specialist, iTunes & Apple Music Job Number: 55704205 Culver City, California, United States Posted: Feb. 23, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Read more
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