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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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Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 77.0.3865.75: A list of changes is available... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 7.5.5 - Catalog your di...
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
Alfred 4.0.4 - Quick launcher for apps a...
Alfred is an award-winning productivity application for OS X. Alfred saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more productive with hotkeys, keywords, and file actions at... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 10.45 - File, pho...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more
iFinance 4.5.11 - Comprehensively manage...
iFinance allows you to keep track of your income and spending -- from your lunchbreak coffee to your new car -- in the most convenient and fastest way. Clearly arranged transaction lists of all your... Read more
OmniGraffle Pro 7.11.3 - Create diagrams...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more
BBEdit 12.6.7 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more

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Five Nights at Freddy's AR: Special...
Five Nights at Freddy's AR: Special Delivery is a terrifying new nightmare from developer Illumix. Last week, FNAF fans were sent into a frenzy by a short teaser for what we now know to be Special Delivery. Those in the comments were quick to... | Read more »
Rush Rally 3's new live events are...
Last week, Rush Rally 3 got updated with live events, and it’s one of the best things to happen to racing games on mobile. Prior to this update, the game already had multiplayer, but live events are more convenient in the sense that it’s somewhat... | Read more »
Why your free-to-play racer sucks
It’s been this way for a while now, but playing Hot Wheels Infinite Loop really highlights a big issue with free-to-play mobile racing games: They suck. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying going for realism, cart racing, or arcade nonsense, they’re... | Read more »
Steam Link Spotlight - The Banner Saga 3
Steam Link Spotlight is a new feature where we take a look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry talked about Terry Cavanaugh’s incredible Dicey Dungeons. Read about how it’s a great mobile experience... | Read more »
PSA: GRIS has some issues
You may or may not have seen that Devolver Digital just released GRIS on the App Store, but we wanted to do a quick public service announcement to say that you might not want to hop on buying it just yet. The puzzle platformer has come to small... | Read more »
Explore the world around you in new matc...
Got a hankering for a fresh-feeling Match-3 puzzle game that offers a unique twist? You might find exactly what you’re looking for with What a Wonderful World, a new spin on the classic mobile genre which merges entertaining puzzles with global... | Read more »
Combo Quest (Games)
Combo Quest 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Combo Quest is an epic, time tap role-playing adventure. In this unique masterpiece, you are a knight on a heroic quest to retrieve... | Read more »
Hero Emblems (Games)
Hero Emblems 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** 25% OFF for a limited time to celebrate the release ** ** Note for iPhone 6 user: If it doesn't run fullscreen on your device... | Read more »
Puzzle Blitz (Games)
Puzzle Blitz 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Puzzle Blitz is a frantic puzzle solving race against the clock! Solve as many puzzles as you can, before time runs out! You have... | Read more »
Sky Patrol (Games)
Sky Patrol 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: 'Strategic Twist On The Classic Shooter Genre' - Indie Game Mag... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save $150-$250 on 10.2″ WiFi + Cellular iPads...
Verizon is offering $150-$250 discounts on Apple’s new 10.2″ WiFi + Cellular iPad with service. Buy the iPad itself and save $150. Save $250 on the purchase of an iPad along with an iPhone. The fine... Read more
Apple continues to offer 13″ 2.3GHz Dual-Core...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ 2.3GHz Dual-Core non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros available starting at $1019. An standard Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, outer cases are new... Read more
Apple restocks 2018 MacBook Airs, Certified R...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished 2018 13″ MacBook Airs starting at only $849. Each MacBook features a new outer case, comes with a standard Apple one-year warranty, and is shipped free. The... Read more
Sunday Sale! 2019 27″ 5K 6-Core iMacs for $20...
B&H Photo has the new 2019 27″ 5K 6-Core iMacs on stock today and on sale for up to $250 off Apple’s MSRP. Overnight shipping is free to many locations in the US. These are the same iMacs sold by... Read more
Weekend Sale! 2019 13″ MacBook Airs for $200...
Amazon has new 2019 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for $200 off Apple’s MSRP, with prices starting at $899, each including free shipping. Be sure to select Amazon as the seller during checkout, rather than... Read more
2019 15″ MacBook Pros now on sale for $350-$4...
B&H Photo has Apple’s 2019 15″ 6-Core and 8-Core MacBook Pros on sale today for $350-$400 off MSRP, starting at $2049, with free overnight shipping available to many addresses in the US: – 2019... Read more
Buy one Apple Watch Series 5 at Verizon, get...
Buy one Apple Watch Series 5 at Verizon, and get a second Watch for 50% off. Plus save $10 on your first month of service. The fine print: “Buy Apple Watch, get another up to 50% off on us. Plus $10... Read more
Sprint offers 64GB iPhone 11 for free to new...
Sprint will include the 64GB iPhone 11 for free for new customers with an eligible trade-in in of the iPhone 7 or newer through September 19, 2019. The fine print: “iPhone 11 64GB $0/mo. iPhone 11... Read more
Verizon offers new iPhone 11 models for up to...
Verizon is offering Apple’s new iPhone 11 models for $500 off MSRP to new customers with an eligible trade-in (see list below). Discount is applied via monthly bill credits over 24 months. Verizon is... Read more
AT&T offers free $300 reward card + free...
AT&T Wireless will include a second free 64GB iPhone 11 with the purchase of one eligible iPhone at full price. They will also include a free $300 rewards card. The fine print: “Buy an elig.... Read more

Jobs Board

Student Employment (Blue *Apple* Cafe) Spri...
Student Employment (Blue Apple Cafe) Spring 2019 Penn State University Campus/Location: Penn State Brandywine Campus City: Media, PA Date Announced: 12/20/2018 Date Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**732359BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Location Number:** 000171-Winchester Road-Store **Job Description:** Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**732324BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Location Number:** 000013-Fargo-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**732455BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Location Number:** 000449-Auburn Hills-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Read more
*Apple* Mobility Pro - Best Buy (United Stat...
**732490BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobility Pro **Job Category:** Store Associates **Location Number:** 000449-Auburn Hills-Store **Job Description:** At Best Buy, Read more
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