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

Sketch 44.1 - Design app for UX/UI for i...
Sketch is an innovative and fresh look at vector drawing. Its intentionally minimalist design is based upon a drawing space of unlimited size and layers, free of palettes, panels, menus, windows, and... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.260 - Customize Multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
Chromium 59.0.3071.115 - Fast and stable...
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 59.0.3071.115: This update has no Flash plug... Read more
SyncTwoFolders 2.2.3 - Syncs two user-sp...
SyncTwoFolders simply synchronizes two folders. It supports synchronization across mounted network drives and it is a possibility to run a simulation showing in a log what will be done. Please visit... Read more
Myriad 4.1 - $79.00
Myriad is, simply put, one of the best audio batch processors. Totally redesigned, it looks beautiful and delivers incredible performance. Let Myriad do the heavy lifting while you get back to doing... Read more
Suitcase Fusion 7 18.2.4 - Font manageme...
Suitcase Fusion 7 is the creative professional's font manager. Every professional font manager should deliver the basics: spectacular previews, powerful search tools, and efficient font organization... Read more
SoftRAID 5.6.1 - High-quality RAID manag...
SoftRAID allows you to create and manage disk arrays to increase performance and reliability. SoftRAID allows the user to create and manage RAID 4 and 5 volumes, RAID 1+0, and RAID 1 (Mirror) and... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.25 - Customize Multi-T...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
Google Chrome 59.0.3071.115 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more
Google Chrome 59.0.3071.115 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Ravenscroft 275 Piano (Music)
Ravenscroft 275 Piano 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $35.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Experience the splendor of a Ravenscroft Grand with the most realistic sounding piano ever created for iOS. Launch... | Read more »
This War of Mine gets a new ending and m...
This War of Mine just got a big new update, featuring free DLC that adds a new ending to the game, among other exciting changes. The update is celebrating the game's two-year release anniversary. Apart from the new ending, which will be quite... | Read more »
Summon eight new heroes in Fire Emblem H...
Nintendo keeps coming at us with Fire Emblem Heroes updates, and it doesn't look like that trend is stopping anytime soon. The folks behind the game have just announced the new War of the Clerics Voting Gauntlet, expected to start next Tuesday. [... | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
iOS publishers are pulling out all the stops this week -- there's a huge number of seriously great games at discounted prices this week. Let's not waste any time and get right down to business. [Read more] | Read more »
The House of da Vinci (Games)
The House of da Vinci 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Enter The House of Da Vinci, a new must-try 3D puzzle adventure game. Solve mechanical puzzles, discover hidden... | Read more »
Solve the disappearance of history’s gre...
Blue Brain Games invites you to indulge in an immersive hands-on 3D puzzle adventure in similar vein to The Room series, with its debut release The House of Da Vinci. Set during the historic period of the Italian Renaissance (when Leonardo himself... | Read more »
Age of Rivals (Games)
Age of Rivals 3.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 3.3 (iTunes) Description: Deep civilization-building strategy in a fast-paced card game! | Read more »
Panthera Frontier (Games)
Panthera Frontier 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Angry Birds Evolution beginner's gu...
Angry Birds changes things up a fair bit in its latest iteration, Angry Birds Evolution. The familiar sling-shot physics mechanics are still there, but the game now features team-based gameplay, RPG elements, and a new top-down view. With all of... | Read more »
Sega Forever is for the retro game fans
Sega is launching a new retro games service titled Sega Forever, in a move that's sure to delight games enthusiasts with a bit of nostalgia. Sega's releasing five classic games for free. The titles include Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star II,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple Releases iOS 11 Public Beta; How To Get...
The official release of Apple’s latest mobile operating system iOS 11 is vaguely slated for the fall, but as of June 26, ordinary users can download an iOS 11 public beta. To download the iOS 11... Read more
Extend Life of MacBook Pro Retina 2.0TB With...
MacSales.com/Other World Computing has announced availability of the new OWC 2.0TB Aura Pro Solid State Drive for mid-2012 to early 2013 Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display. One of the fastest... Read more
BBEdit SummerFest 2017 Discount Ends Friday,...
You can get 20% off BBEdit for a limited time in Bare Bones Software’s http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/Specials/SummerFest.html?mc_cid=f2101ca260&mc_eid=[UNIQID]SummerFest 2017 sale and... Read more
Use Apple’s Education discount to save up to...
Purchase a new Mac using Apple’s Education discount, and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free: - 15″ 2... Read more
Clearance 27-inch 3.3GHz 5K iMac available fo...
Amazon clearance 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMacs (MK482LL/A) available for $1799.90 including free shipping. Their price is $500 off original MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any... Read more
13-inch 1.8GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for...
B&H Photo has the updated 2017 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB MacBook Air (MQD42LL/A) in stock and on sale for $1129 including free shipping plus NY & NJ tax only. Their price is $70 off MSRP. Read more
27-inch 3.4GHz iMac on sale for $1699, save $...
B&H Photo has the new 2017 27″ 3.4GHz iMac (MNE92LL/A) in stock and on sale for $1699 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
21-inch 2.3GHz iMac on sale for $1049, save $...
B&H Photo has the new 2017 21″ 2.3GHz iMac (MMQA2LL/A) in stock and on sale for $1049 including free shipping plus NY & NJ tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP. Read more
ABBYY TextGrabber 6 for iOS Implements Instan...
ABBYY has announced the release of TextGrabber 6.0.0, an important feature update to the company’s productivity app developed for iOS and Android devices. TextGrabber 6.0 now offers Real-Time... Read more
vPhone, First Smartphone That Can’t Be Lost,...
Austin, Texas based Hypori has introduced the vPhone, a virtual smartphone that affords every business user the benefits of separate work and personal phones, conveniently delivered on a single... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* News Product Marketing Mgr., Publish...
…organizational consensus on strategy and vision for publisher tools, authoring, and Apple News Format.Carries this strategy and vision across the organization to Read more
*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
Security Data Analyst - *Apple* Information...
…data sources need to be collected to allow Information Security to better protect Apple employees and customers from a wide range of threats.Act as the subject matter Read more
Lead *Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple I...
…integrity, and trust.Success Metrics/Key Performance Indicators:Quantitative* Year over Year growth in Apple Product and Beyond the Box sales in the assigned Point of Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant till v%u00E5r...
…ethics, integrity, and trust.Success Metrics/Key Performance Indicators:QuantitativeYear over Year growth in Apple Product and Beyond the Box sales in the assigned Point Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.