So you wanna play MAME on OSX?

Sadly for us retro fans, playing MAME on later versions of OSX with recent rom sets isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. It’s not difficult, just not “double click an app to play” simple.

For me, to play the latest versions of MAME, I use three things. SDLmame, SDL Libraries, and a front-end app like QMC2.

The SDLmame binary is an up-to-update compiled version of MAME that you can download and drop in any folder. Mine sits in /Applications/Games/<latest SDLmame version> If you’re using a recent Mac, and I mean like back to 2008 or something, you can grab the 64-bit binary, as OSX and Macs have been 64-bit happy for a while.

But the SDLmame alone is not enough. SDL Libraries are the key to making the above binary work, as they provide a layer that handles all the joystick, video and audio at the hardware level. This is just a folder that you install by dragging it into /Library/Frameworks in the root of your drive, so it’s available to all users. You can put it in ~/Library/Frameworks if you so desire. This may interfere with compiling Xcode stuff if you dev, so beware.

With the SDL frameworks you can use pretty much any joystick, so I use my PS3 Mad Catz fight sticks for me and the boy.

And finally, if you’re not a terminal happy cmd-line geek, and I’m not, you’ll need a front-end app. All a front-end app does is allow you to check buttons and select options, which is then written as the config file and variables are passed to the MAME app when launching a game. Personally, I’d go with QMC2 as it’s as nice as it gets, regularly updated, and works cross platform too, so I’ve had it running on Ubuntu just as well.

Download the disk image, install the package. You’ll need to dig around in the config to enable joysticks and tweak a few options if you need, but it’s ready to go off the bat. Select the location of your SDLmame folder, select your roms folder, off you go.

I have found that I need to trash the qmc2 folder in ~/Library/Application Support/ after some updates, so if you do have a problem, bin that and start again.

That’s it really. Not difficult to get set up, and you can stay up-to-date with the latest MAME versions.

Oh, and you’re on your own for roms…

#bigSWIG — megadrive.me — Liverpool 24.01.12

My friend Rob has been kickstarting the Liverpool geek talk scene, with the guys at his place of work, organising and hosting SWIG. It’s grown from a small meeting discussing WordPress at InterconnectIT‘s office, to taking the upstairs at Leaf Tea Shop in Bold Street.

Rob had been on at me for a while to do something at a SWIG event, and upping the ante, he said they were doing a bigSWIG, and would I like to talk about one of my projects, MegaDrive.me. I’d asked Rob a hundred questions about WordPress – which MegaDrive.me is built in – so I did feel obliged to return the favour!

MegaDrive.me was a project I’d started to catalogue Japanese Mega Drive games, write reviews and comments, and learn WordPress on the way. I also stressed something which as an employer I think is very important.

The talk went well, I was up after my mate Dan Donald, and it was great to see loads of familiar faces from the Speak the Web event and Naconf the week before. You can find the slides from the talk on SlideShare.net.

Good things are happening in Liverpool, and it makes me proud to be part of it. Keep it going, Rob!

Up in the cloud

My last WordPress update to 3.2 couldn’t happen on one of our older shared servers, as it was running earlier versions of PHP and MySQL. I forget which was the culprit, but it meant I wasn’t getting the new lovely interface and other enhancements. I also run about 7–8 personal projects and friends sites off our company servers, which while they’re not big hitters or bandwidth guzzlers, I have been known to take the server offline while “trying something out”.

Therefore I decided to look at finally getting my very own hosting. Can you believe it? 15 years of making websites and I’ve never had my own hosting! I know a few friends use WebFaction, Melbourne Server Hosting and RackSpace, but I wasn’t convinced I’d need anything too big, or expensive. I run a few blogs, we keep all media on services like YouTube and Vimeo and average page impressions hover in the 30-100 a day per site, with exceptions for houseofninja.com and speaknspell.co.uk.

Amazon Web Services

With this in mind, and already having an Amazon AWS S3 account, I did a bit of googlin’ about Amazon’s EC2 cloud hosting. We’ve all heard the phrase “cloud computing”, even my mum has, and it is very much the buzz at the moment. In brief, it’s about providing resizable, scalable, cheap on-demand computing. In my case, about letting me set up a server that operates on an “as used” basis, upping it’s processing power when called upon, pumping out bandwidth when hammered, and I only pay for those occasions. Continue reading “Up in the cloud”

Note to future me…

My mate Phil sent me a link to this forum thread, which inspired this post…

My SysErr WP install had been stuck on 2.8.5  for a while, due to a bunch of full dbs and laziness, so finally moved things across and sorted it out. Bringing it kicking and screaming to the WP 3.0.x era wasn’t easy, as I had the Automatic Upgrade problem where an upgrade file starts downloading, but the update screen stalls, giving no further information, and the file stays at 0 bytes. Continue reading “Note to future me…”

A month with an iPad

So maybe it’s over a month, I’ve not kept count. What do I think of it? How have I ended up using it? Pros? Cons? Read on!

My mate Robbo was heading to Las Vegas about a month before the UK launch date of the iPad, and he was toying with the idea of picking one up. “Grab us one, kidda, I’ll sort you out when you’re back.” I says, and he did.

Pretty much everyone’s first question was “What on earth are you gonna use it for?” (except the wife, her’s was more along the lines of cost and current computer count in the house–5), to which I didn’t have a good answer. I have an iPhone and MacBook Pro, but being a nerd, an iPad was a prequisite. Continue reading “A month with an iPad”

HTML5 video. Are we getting ahead of ourselves?

One thing I really like about talking to some of the Opera guys I know, is that they will take the time to consider another viewpoint. Whilst they’re all about the open web, they realise they need to listen to people who are making and creating content for clients, but face real world restrictions like time and budget. I know. Ridiculous…

I run a business (well, Pete does most the business end stuff, but you know what I mean) and all this talk about HTML5 <video> tags has kinda riled me a little bit, because it’s getting so much exposure, and to be honest I think it’s already shot itself in the foot.

Continue reading “HTML5 video. Are we getting ahead of ourselves?”

The problem with Flash as I see it…

There’s an uproar at the moment on the interwebs. You may have heard about it.

The iPad will not support Flash.

Just like the iPhone before it, the Flash plug-in cannot and will not run in the iPad’s browser. Apple say it’s because the Flash plug-in is the single biggest cause of Safari crashes. I can’t say I’d blame them for being pissed. The window to the internet on your default install can be crippled by a third party proprietary plug-in. Not cool.

So, because Apple have a closed platform in the iPhone and iPad they can choose who plays ball.

Continue reading “The problem with Flash as I see it…”

First Wave Intact…

My waveAfter the initial anticipation, and what seemed an age until invites went out, I’m on Google Wave.

I’ve been on it for about a week now, enough time to start forming some opinions on what Google Wave is, what it isn’t, and what it could be.

Firstly, how I got my invite. Basically it was a sliver of opportunistic luck with a dash of cheek. I’d been to a Northern Digitals meet up in Manchester at the beginning of October, and being an early bird, met with a couple of others before the bar opened. Of these, we struck up conversation with Dave Kinsella, beers were bought and a good night was had.

When he got his Wave invites through, and tweeted to ask who wanted an invite and what was it worth, I bluntly reminded him he owed me a beer. Dave was good enough to invite me to Google Wave! Continue reading “First Wave Intact…”