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…

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”

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…”

Using a Mac Mini as a Media Centre

For quite a while, I’ve had a Mac Mini hooked up the TV, streaming DVDs and xvids to the TV, and all my music on for streaming to an Airport Express.

The Mini is on 24/7, also acting as a dev web server for nerding, and running ftp and a few other protocols, allowing me to grab an album from wherever, whenever.

As good as Front Row has been, it’s just not… geeky enough for me. The wife uses it without issue, and my son yells when the selector is on a few of the menu options he wants. But I want more geek Continue reading “Using a Mac Mini as a Media Centre”

Life with the NC10 and OSX

After Christmas, I spent two and a half weeks in Spain with my wife’s family. Having done this many a time, and having taken many different laptops with me, I generally know what I need from a laptop to keep me semi-sane.

One of the best laptops I’d taken in the past was the 12″ PowerBook, and believe me, if Apple made an Intel netbook approaching this small footprint form factor, I’d have one. But alas, that’s a different blog post waiting to happen. However, the 15″ MacBook Pro was a pain in the ass. No desk space to keep it on, unwieldly in size (even fearing warping it when bending over with it in a rucksack) and a battery boasting about 2 hrs, it was a little too much. Continue reading “Life with the NC10 and OSX”

Samsung NC10 and OSX

So I’m due to go on holiday again soon, and while the Asus was excellent for my last trips to Spain, the cramped keyboard and small screen made it a bit painful as an only computer.

Looking to upgrade to something with a bigger screen, I started doing my hacker homework and searching for a netbook that’d run OSX pretty well. A lot of googling later, and the Samsung NC10 was a prime candidate. Continue reading “Samsung NC10 and OSX”

Pixelmator says a thousand words

Pixelmator‘s been making in-roads into designers/programmers toolboxes on the mac for a year or so now. You may have read or heard about it on the various Mac news sites, it’s a light-weight image editor, built on Cocoa, passing graphics tasks off to your graphics chip, challenging Photoshop etc.

Some of it’s hype, some of it hyperbole, but what can’t be ignored is that Pixelmator’s a great app that’s turning heads. And it’s $59. No, that’s not a typo.

I grabbed a beta of Pixelmator when it first launched and was mildly impressed. On a recent MacHeist bundle, Pixelmator was one of the apps, to which I thought, bonus, I’ll try it out more.

One to watch, I thought, a feeling echoed by long time friend and graphics man, Mark Coleran. He felt that while Photoshop was such a bohemoth, and with a prohibitive cost as a major entry barrier for casual users or coders needing a solid graphcis app, there was a market area for someone to sneak in, steal a user base and make in-roads, all for about 40quid.

So as a long time Photoshop user and beta tester, where would Pixelmator fit in my workflow? Continue reading “Pixelmator says a thousand words”