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

Smultron 10.0.2 - Easy-to-use, powerful...
Smultron 10 is an elegant and powerful text editor that is easy to use. You can use Smultron 10 to create or edit any text document. Everything from a web page, a note or a script to any single piece... Read more
Capto 1.2.5 - $29.99
Capto (was Voila) is an easy-to-use app that takes capturing, recording, video and image editing to the next level. With an intelligent file manager and quick sharing options, Capto is perfect for... Read more
Cocktail 11.0.1 - General maintenance an...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for macOS 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
Sketch 47.1 - 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
Slack 2.8.2 - Collaborative communicatio...
Slack is a collaborative communication app that simplifies real-time messaging, archiving, and search for modern working teams. Version 2.8.2: A small release containing nothing but another Electron... Read more
Path Finder 7.6.1 - Powerful, award-winn...
Path Finder makes you a master of file management. Take full control over your file system. Save your time: compare and synchronize folders, view hidden files, use Dual Pane and full keyboard... Read more
Sketch 47.1 - 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
Cocktail 11.0.1 - General maintenance an...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for macOS 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
Path Finder 7.6.1 - Powerful, award-winn...
Path Finder makes you a master of file management. Take full control over your file system. Save your time: compare and synchronize folders, view hidden files, use Dual Pane and full keyboard... Read more
Slack 2.8.2 - Collaborative communicatio...
Slack is a collaborative communication app that simplifies real-time messaging, archiving, and search for modern working teams. Version 2.8.2: A small release containing nothing but another Electron... Read more

Dune! guide - how to toe the line and ge...
Publisher Voodoo is at it again with an all new high score chaser -- Dune! In this fast-paced arcade game, you have to propel yourself along sand dunes, gaining enough momentum to jump above the line to score points, while making sure you have... | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
Happy Tuesday, dear readers. Your favorite part of the week as officially arrived. It's time to take a look at the best deals in games. Things are admittedly a bit sparse, but there are a few diamonds in the rough to see you through if you're... | Read more »
Be the last person standing in Legacy of...
Yoozoo Games’ popular action MMO Legacy of Discord is getting a huge new update to celebrate its first anniversary. Perhaps the biggest change is the addition of an exciting survival mode titled Last Guardian. This new survival mode will pit you... | Read more »
Home Street guide - how to make friends...
From the creators of Food Street comes Home Street, a new simulation game that tasks you with building a social network and designing a beautiful home. It's a bit like The Sims, but you won't have to worry about the daily chores involved (feeding,... | Read more »
Color Ballz guide - how to bounce to the...
Color Ballz is an addictive new arcade title from Ketchapp Studios. It takes old school mechanics from games like Brickles and puts a fun twist on it. Your job? To catch balls with a paddle and send them back into a chute to be carried back to... | Read more »
Q&A: A-33 Studio explains why Combat...
When it comes to mobile FPS, it’s often tricky to get the fundamentals right on a platform lacking a physical controller, large display and hefty RAM. With Combat Squad: Project Wednesday, A-33 Studio bravely took on the challenge of making a... | Read more »
Taichi Panda 3: Dragon Hunter guide - ti...
Taichi Panda 3: Dragon Hunter launched this week to players all over the world. It's a beautiful mobile MMORPG that blends elements of Eastern and Western fantasy. It reminds us of a mix between World of Warcraft and Jade Empire. MMO's can have a... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week -...
Phew. It has been a week, but now it's time to relax, put your feet up, and enjoy some brand new mobile games. It was a bit of slow week, but there's still plenty of new titles to add to your collection. Here are four of our favorites. [Read... | Read more »
Yoink - Improved Drag and Drop (Product...
Yoink - Improved Drag and Drop 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Productivity Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Yoink for iPad and iPhone lets you easily and quickly store items you drag, copy or share, for later use... | Read more »
Cottage Garden (Games)
Cottage Garden 1.11 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.11 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $120 off M...
B&H Photo has 2017 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $120 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: – 13-inch 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook... Read more
15″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $200 off M...
B&H Photo has 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MPTR2LL/A): $2249, $150... Read more
Roundup of Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs,...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2017 21″ and 27″ iMacs available starting at $1019 and ranging up to $350 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free... Read more
Sale! 27″ 3.8GHz 5K iMac for $2098, save $201...
Amazon has the 27″ 3.8GHz 5K iMac (MNED2LL/A) on sale today for $2098 including free shipping. Their price is $201 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model (Apple’s $1949... Read more
Sale! 10″ Apple WiFi iPad Pros for up to $100...
B&H Photo has 10.5″ WiFi iPad Pros in stock today and on sale for $50-$100 off MSRP. Each iPad includes free shipping, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 10.5″ 64GB iPad Pro: $... Read more
Apple iMacs on sale for up to $130 off MSRP w...
B&H Photo has 21-inch and 27-inch iMacs in stock and on sale for up to $130 off MSRP including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 27″ 3.8GHz iMac (MNED2LL/A): $2179 $... Read more
2017 3.5GHz 6-Core Mac Pro on sale for $2799,...
B&H Photo has the 2017 3.5GHz 6-Core Mac Pro (MD878LL/A) on sale today for $2799 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only . Their price is $200 off MSRP. Read more
12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray MacBook on sale for $11...
Amazon has the 2017 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free: 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray MacBook: $1199.99 $100 off MSRP Read more
Bare Bones Software Releases macOS High Sierr...
Bare Bones Software has announced the release and immediate availability of BBEdit 12.0, a significant upgrade to its professional strength text and code editor. BBEdit 12 introduces a new foundation... Read more
Yale Announces Availability of Apple HomeKit-...
Yale Locks & Hardware has announced that Apple HomeKit support for its Assure Lock family is available this month. The new Yale iM1 Network Module, which provides support for the Apple Home app... Read more

Jobs Board

Fraud Analyst, *Apple* Advertising Platform...
Job Summary Apple Ad Platforms has an opportunity to redefine advertising on mobile devices. Apple reaches hundreds of millions of iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad Read more
*Apple* Information Security - Security Data...
Job Summary This role is responsible for helping to strengthen Apple 's information security posture through the identification and curation of security event data. Read more
Lead *Apple* Solution Consultant - Apple In...
…develop a team of diverse partner employees focusing on excellence to deliver the Apple story. Even when you're not present, you will maintain a consistent influence Read more
watchOS Frameworks Engineering Manager, *App...
Job Summary Join the team that is shaping the future of software development for Apple Watch! Apple is looking for an exceptional software engineering leader to Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.