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.

 
AAPL
$102.50
Apple Inc.
+0.25
MSFT
$45.43
Microsoft Corpora
+0.55
GOOG
$571.60
Google Inc.
+2.40

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

VueScan 9.4.41 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Cloud 3.0.0 - File sharing from your men...
Cloud is simple file sharing for the Mac. Drag a file from your Mac to the CloudApp icon in the menubar and we take care of the rest. A link to the file will automatically be copied to your clipboard... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.1.2 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
SlingPlayer Plugin 3.3.20.505 - Browser...
SlingPlayer is the screen interface software that works hand-in-hand with the hardware inside the Slingbox to make your TV viewing experience just like that at home. It features an array of... Read more
Get Lyrical 3.8 - Auto-magically adds ly...
Get Lyrical auto-magically add lyrics to songs in iTunes. You can choose either a selection of tracks, or the current track. Or turn on "Active Tagging" to get lyrics for songs as you play them.... Read more
Viber 4.2.2 - Send messages and make cal...
Viber lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country! Viber syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile device,... Read more
Cocktail 7.6 - General maintenance and o...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
LaunchBar 6.1 - Powerful file/URL/email...
LaunchBar is an award-winning productivity utility that offers an amazingly intuitive and efficient way to search and access any kind of information stored on your computer or on the Web. It provides... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
BBEdit 10.5.12 - Powerful text and HTML...
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

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Rhonna Designs Magic (Photography)
Rhonna Designs Magic 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Want to sprinkle *magic* on your photos? With RD Magic, you can add colors, filters, light leaks, bokeh, edges,... | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: August 25-29, 2014
Shiny Happy App Reviews   | Read more »
Qube Kingdom – Tips, Tricks, Strategies,...
Qube Kingdom is a tower defense game from DeNA. You rally your troops – magicians, archers, knights, barbarians, and others – and fight against an evil menace looking to dominate your kingdom of tiny squares. Planning a war isn’t easy, so here are a... | Read more »
Qube Kingdom Review
Qube Kingdom Review By Nadia Oxford on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: KIND OF A SQUARE KINGDOMUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Qube Kingdom has cute visuals, but it’s a pretty basic tower defense game at heart.   | Read more »
Fire in the Hole Review
Fire in the Hole Review By Rob Thomas on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: WALK THE PLANKUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Seafoam’s Fire in the Hole looks like a bright, 8-bit throwback, but there’s not enough booty to... | Read more »
Alien Creeps TD is Now Available Worldwi...
Alien Creeps TD is Now Available Worldwide Posted by Ellis Spice on August 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Dodo Master Review
Dodo Master Review By Jordan Minor on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: NEST EGGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Dodo Master is tough but fair, and that’s what makes it a joy to play.   | Read more »
Motorsport Manager Review
Motorsport Manager Review By Lee Hamlet on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: MARVELOUS MANAGEMENTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Despite its depth and sense of tactical freedom, Motorsport Manager is one of the most... | Read more »
Motorsport Manager – Beginner Tips, Tric...
The world of Motorsport management can be an unforgiving and merciless one, so to help with some of the stress that comes with running a successful race team, here are a few hints and tips to leave your opponents in the dust. | Read more »
CalPal Update Brings the App to 2.0, Add...
CalPal Update Brings the App to 2.0, Adds Lots of New Stuff Posted by Ellis Spice on August 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

The Rise of Phablets
Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group, a businesses and technology consulting firm focused solely on the financial services industry, has released an infographic depicting the convergence of... Read more
Eddy – Cloud Music Player for iPhone/iPad Fre...
Ukraine based CapableBits announces the release of Eddy, its tiny, but smart and powerful cloud music player for iPhone and iPad that allows users to stream or download music directly from cloud... Read more
A&D Medical Launches Its WellnessConnecte...
For consumers and the healthcare providers and loved ones who care for them, A&D Medical, a leader in connected health and biometric measurement devices and services, has launched its... Read more
Anand Lal Shimpi Retires From AnandTech
Anand Lal Shimpi, whose AnandTech Website is famous for its meticulously detailed and thoroughgoing reviews and analysis, is packing it in. Lal Shimpi, who founded the tech site at age 14 in 1997,... Read more
2.5GHz Mac mini, Apple refurbished, in stock...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2.5GHz Mac minis available for $509, $90 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, and shipping is free. Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999,...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Labor Day Weekend MacBook Pro sale; 15-inch m...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $125 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels Desktop... Read more
Labor Day Weekend iPad mini sale; $50 to $100...
Best Buy has the iPad mini with Retina Display (WiFi models) on sale for $50 off MSRP on their online store for Labor Day Weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pick up. Price is for... Read more
13-inch 1.4GHz MacBook Air on sale for $899,...
Adorama has the new 2014 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $899.99 including free shipping plus NY & NJ tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
It’s Official: Apple Issues Invitations To Se...
Apple has issued one of its characteristically cryptic press invitations for a special event to be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in hometown Cupertino on Sept. 9, 2014 at 10:00 am... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.