TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Playing with a Mac and a PSP

Volume Number: 21 (2005)
Issue Number: 9
Column Tag: Programming

Getting Started

Playing with a Mac and a PSP

by Dave Mark

With three kids, and being a bit of a gamer myself, our family inevitably ends up owning most every game system made. There are a number of games I play on the Mac, including WingNuts (my 5-year-old's favorite) and World of Warcraft. Each platform has its favorites, as well. I love the early Crash Bandicoot games, the entire Spyro the Dragon series, Ratchet and Clank, Gauntlet, Metroid and, of course, everything with the word Zelda in it.

I started life with the Atari 2600, made my way through each incarnation of the Nintendo Entertainment System, have the original PlayStation and PlayStation II, and have an Xbox as well.

On the portable side, I've had Game Boys, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS. My latest acquisition is a Sony PSP:

http://www.us.playstation.com/consoles.aspx? id=4

This is, by far, my favorite handheld gaming device. The PSP (PlayStation Portable) has a 4.3 inch TFT LCD display that is just gorgeous. The display is extremely sharp and bright, and is configured as a 16:9 wide screen, just like the newer high-definition TVs.

Why would Sony produce a 16:9 display? Why, for watching movies, of course! Sony Entertainment developed an optical storage disc format called the Universal Media Disc, or UMD. UMDs are single sided, dual layer discs, about 60mm (a bit less than 2.5 inches) in diameter. A UMD holds 1.8Gb, which is .9Gb per layer. Perfect for a two-hour DVD quality movie, or four hours of lower quality video. It might seem unbelievable that you could fit two hours of DVD-quality video on such a tiny disk, but you have to remember that the screen is tiny, only 480 x 272 pixels. Not to worry, though, even with such a small screen, the movies are very watchable. And the sound is fantastic. Not so much with the built-in speakers, but through headphones, mmm-mmm-mmm, tasty!

Moving Data Between Your Mac and the PSP

In addition to games and movies, the PSP can also hold Entourage and Address Book contacts, iTunes music, and your iPhoto photos. Each PSP includes a slot for a Memory Stick (Sony's proprietary memory card) and ships with a 32 Meg stick. You can buy larger sticks but, out of the box, you'll have 32 megs to store all your games data, contacts, music, and photos. Obviously, that's not a lot. Since movies ship on a UMD disk, they don't consume any of your storage space.

Though you can use a memory stick-reader to copy data between your Mac and the PSP, you are more likely to use the built-in USB interface. Since the PSP does not ship with a cable, I dug through my cable drawer and came up with an old Blackberry power supply that consisted of a power brick and a USB cable. I pulled the cable off and, voila, I've got the perfect cable.

I plug in the cable and select USB Connection from the PSP interface. The PSP starts a USB conversation with the Mac over the cable and the PSP's memory stick is mounted as a volume in the Finder. The first thing I did was drag the MEMSTICK.IND file and the PSP folder from the memory stick into a backup folder on my hard drive. After all, this is my son Daniel's PSP and I really don't want to lose all his game data. Um...did I mention that Daniel has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do?

Now that my data is backed up, I can drag a variety of data onto the memory stick. Inside the PSP folder, you'll find MUSIC and PHOTO folders. Drag MP3 files into the MUSIC folder and .jpg files into the PHOTO folder.

Enter PocketMac for PSP

PocketMac for PSP is a neat little utility from the folks at PocketMac:

http://www.pocketmac.com

I'm not a big PocketPC fan (it's just too anti-Mac for me), so I've never really had occasion to use their Mac/PocketPC syncing software. But I am a big PSP fan, so I jumped at the chance to test out their PocketMac for PSP product. In a nutshell, PocketMac for PSP will copy your Entourage or Address Book contacts, your iPhoto photos, or your iTunes music over to the PSP and keep them in sync as things change.

The product downloads as an installer. As you can see from Figure 1, the installer launches both iTunes and iPhoto. You'll see why in a minute.


Figure 1. Installing PocketMac for PSP.

During the installation process, you'll be asked if you want to configure iPhoto and then iTunes to work with PocketMac. Answer Yes to both questions. When the install is complete, you'll find an alias in your applications folder to an app named PocketMac for PSP. For some reason, the original lives in the /Library folder. No matter. Double-click on PocketMac for PSP and enter the appropriate registration info.

The main PocketMac for PSP window will appear. If you've got your PSP connected properly, you'll see the word Connected in blue in the Status field (see Figure 2).


Figure 2. The main PocketMac for PSP window.

Before you move any data around, you'll first want to do a bit of preference-setting. Click on the Preferences icon in the main window. When the PSP Preferences app launches, click on the Contacts tab (see Figure 3).


Figure 3. The Contacts preference pane.

The Contacts tab allows you to include contacts in the synchronization process. If you check the Sync Contacts checkbox, PocketMac PSP will attempt to copy your selected contacts over to the PSP memory stick. You can select to sync contacts from either Entourage or your Address Book. While it is kind of cool to have your contacts on the PSP, note that each contact is converted to a .jpg image, then copied over to the PSP. So searching through your contacts on the PSP is a bit clunky. But it works.

As an example, Figure 4 shows one of my contacts, as viewed in Preview.


Figure 4. Each contact is ported over as a .jpg image.

Next, click on the Music tab in the preferences window (see Figure 5). When PocketMac PSP was installed, a playlist named PocketMac Mobile Tunes (see Figure 6) was created in your master list of playlists. Check the checkbox in this pane if you want all the songs in the PocketMac Mobile Tunes playlist copied over to the PSP. Note that the PSP will not play protected music. You'll have to convert any protected tunes to MP3 before you add them to the PSP playlist.


Figure 5. The Music preference pane.


Figure 6. My iTunes window with the PocketMac Mobile Tunes playlist.

The Photos tab in the preferences window works in a manner similar to the Music tab. Instead of a playlist, the installer creates an album named PocketMac Mobile Photos (see Figure 7). Check the checkbox if you want the photos in that album copied over.


Figure 7. The iPhoto window, showing the PocketMac Mobile Photos album.

Keep the size constraint of your memory stick in mind when you copy photos over to the PocketMac iPhoto album. You'll want to keep the horizontal nature of the screen and its 16:9 aspect ratio in mind, as well. Try shooting for 480 x 272 pixels, as that will fill the screen perfectly with no scaling.

Once your preferences are set to your liking, click on the Save button to save your preference settings, then click on the Synchronize button in the main PocketMac PSP window to start copying over your data.

Until Next Month

I really love the PSP. A terrific combination of a gaming system and a portable video player. I wish Apple would offer an iPod with a similar display, maintain the hard drive, and offer a built-in video player (check out the VLC media player at http://www.videolan.org/vlc/) that plays most everything you throw at it. Imagine using Tivo to record an HDTV version of the Sopranos, then copying the video over to your iPod via FireWire.

To me, this is the last piece of the puzzle for Apple. I'd really love a device like this. Given what we've seen from other manufacturers, it is a matter of time before someone delivers this. I really want my solution to have an Apple logo.


Dave Mark is a long-time Mac developer and author and has written a number of books on Macintosh development. Dave has been writing for MacTech since its birth! Be sure to check out the new Learn C on the Macintosh, Mac OS X Edition at http://www.spiderworks.com.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Four apps to help improve your Super Bow...
Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and whether you’re a Panthers or a Broncos fan you’re no doubt gearing up for it. [Read more] | Read more »
LooperSonic (Music)
LooperSonic 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: LooperSonic is a multi-track audio looper and recorder that will take your loops to the next level. Use it like a loop pedal to... | Read more »
Space Grunts guide - How to survive
Space Grunts is a fast-paced roguelike from popular iOS developer, Orange Pixel. While it taps into many of the typical roguelike sensibilities, you might still find yourself caught out by a few things. We delved further to find you some helpful... | Read more »
Dreii guide - How to play well with othe...
Dreii is a rather stylish and wonderful puzzle game that’s reminiscent of cooperative games like Journey. If that sounds immensely appealing, then you should immediately get cracking and give it a whirl. We can offer you some tips and tricks on... | Read more »
Kill the Plumber World guide - How to ou...
You already know how to hop around like Mario, but do you know how to defeat him? Those are your marching orders in Kill the Plumber, and it's not always as easy as it looks. Here are some tips to get you started. This is not a seasoned platform... | Read more »
Planar Conquest (Games)
Planar Conquest 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $12.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: IMPORTANT: Planar Conquest is compatible only with iPad 3 & newer devices, iPhone 5 & newer. It’s NOT compatible with... | Read more »
We talk to Cheetah Mobile about its plan...
Piano Tiles 2 is a fast-paced rhythm action high score chaser out now on iOS and Android. You have to tap a series of black tiles that appear on the screen in time to the music, being careful not to accidentally hit anywhere else. Do that and it's... | Read more »
Ultimate Briefcase guide - How to dodge...
Ultimate Briefcase is a simple but tricky game that’s highly dependent on how fast you can react. We can still offer you a few tips and tricks on how to survive though. Guess what? That’s exactly what we’re going to do now. Take it easy [Read more... | Read more »
SoundPrism Link Edition (Music)
SoundPrism Link Edition 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ***Introductory price for a the first few days after launch - if you're reading this, get it while it's fresh out of... | Read more »
Pre-register now for hack and slasher An...
Fincon, which won Facebook's Studio to Watch award in 2015, has announced that pre-registration is now open for the massive 3.0 update for its award-winning hack and slasher Angel Stone. Angel Stone is a post-apocalyptic action RPG in which the... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

iPads on sale at Target: $100 off iPad Air 2,...
Target has WiFi iPad Air 2s and iPad mini 4s on sale for up to $100 off MSRP on their online store for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for... Read more
Target offers Apple Watch for $100 off MSRP
Target has Apple Watches on sale for $100 for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-store prices may vary: - Apple... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free... Read more
Macs available for up to $300 off MSRP, $20 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, and... Read more
Watch Super Bowl 50 Live On Your iPad For Fre...
Watch Super Bowl 50 LIVE on the CBS Sports app for iPad and Apple TV. Get the app and then tune in Sunday, February 7, 2016 at 6:30 PM ET to catch every moment of the big game. The CBS Sports app is... Read more
Two-thirds Of All Smart Watches Shipped In 20...
Apple dominated the smart watch market in 2015, accounting for over 12 million units and two-thirds of all shipments according to Canalys market research analysts’ estimates. Samsung returned to... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up...
B&H Photo has 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $180 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 12″ 1.2GHz Gray Retina MacBook: $1499 $100 off MSRP - 12″ 1.2GHz Silver... Read more
12-inch 1.1GHz Gray Retina MacBook on sale fo...
B&H Photo has the 12″ 1.1GHz Gray Retina MacBook on sale for $1199 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model... Read more
Apple now offering full line of Certified Ref...
Apple now has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are... Read more
Free GUI Speedometer – The Ultimate Digital D...
Miami, Florida based RMKapps has announced the official release of GUI Speedometer 1.0, their digital dashboard display developed for iOS devices. GUI Speedometer allows users to track their precise... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Subject Matter Expert - Experis (Uni...
This position is for an Apple Subject Matter Expert to assist in developing the architecture, support and services for integration of Apple devices into the domain. Read more
*Apple* Macintosh OSX - Net2Source Inc. (Uni...
…: * Work Authorization : * Contact Number(Best time to reach you) : Skills : Apple Macintosh OSX Location : New York, New York. Duartion : 6+ Months The associate would Read more
Computer Operations Technician ll - *Apple*...
# Web Announcement** Apple Technical Liaison**The George Mason University, Information Technology Services (ITS), Technology Support Services, Desktop Support Read more
Restaurant Manager - Apple Gilroy Inc./Apple...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
Simply Mac *Apple* Specialist- Service Repa...
Simply Mac is the largest premier retailer of Apple products in the nation. In order to support our growing customer base, we are currently looking for a driven Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.