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     iPhoto to PS3
    Filed under: — David @ 6:43 pm

    The PlayStation 3 has some cool photo slideshow features, and of course pictures look great in HD, so I’ve been trying to transfer my pictures from iPhoto to the PS3. Once again I document my adventures in trying to get something to work.

    The first thing I tried was iPhoto’s Burn command. But when I put the resulting CD into my PS3, I found all sorts of data files, thumbnails, and originals. Obviously this is meant to back up one’s library rather than transfer it to another platform.

    My next guess: the Export command. I exported everything as JPEG, at its original resolution. That way all my Camera Raw images should come out right. But no. The PS3 found a significant percentage of images unreadable, for no apparent reason. Some of them were shot within minutes of other pictures that came through fine. That combined with the explicit JPEG export made this a very mysterious failure.

    By this point I was tired of burning coasters, so I got myself a new USB drive. I figure I’ll be doing this transfer thing now and then, so it should be worth upgrading from the 16MB model I’ve been carrying around for a couple of years. And of course there was the usual shock of going from years-old technology to the modern-day stuff. I had picked up the 16MB thing as an impulse buy at CompUSA for somewhere around $15. Now I’ve got a 4GB Kingston DataTraveler from Amazon for $40… and of course it’s smaller.

    It didn’t work as smoothly, though. When I tried exporting directly to it from iPhoto, it got stuck on the first picture. The Finder also froze when I tried to unmount it. I restarted, and tried copying a couple of test files onto it, and it seemed to work. I began the export again, but this time to the desktop. That, at least, is a process I should only have to do once. But when the export was done, and I tried copying the first picture over, it froze again. Boy, restarting is fun when you can’t even get the Finder to quit.

    For my third try, I opened up Disk Utility to reformat the thing. I left it in DOS format since I’m not sure what the PS3 can read. That took a minute, and at first I was afraid that was just going to freeze too. But it seemed to succeed… as did the first picture. So I dragged the rest over, and the progress bar was finally moving forward.

    The final phase: getting the stuff onto the PS3. Now, you would think at this point that at least the file copying part would be no problem. But life is quirkier than that. I plugged it in, and selected it in the pictures menu, and it said “There are no images.” I got similar results for movies and music (though the lack of music was expected). This was disappointing.

    I hit the triangle button and went to the info screen for the USB drive. This displayed a screen with counters for images and size (in MBs) that quickly counted upwards as it scanned the drive. Why did it see images here and not before?

    The menu that got me to the info screen also had a command called Display All. Lo and behold, it caused all the images to be displayed just as I had expected them to before. Why this step was necessary, I can’t guess, but there you are. Soon everything was copied and I was watching that cool “pictures falling on a desk” slideshow, complete with the previously unreadable pictures.

    I was a little worried by the fact that the exported pictures had the current date as their modification date, which would have messed up the PS3’s chronological slideshow. But happily the PS3 is quite capable of reading the embedded EXIF data put there by iPhoto. Whew.

     Simulating the Window menu
    Filed under: — David @ 2:24 pm

    I’m dealing with a bug that happens when the user switches windows using the Window menu, but not when clicking on a window. I’m following proper form by writing a test before the fixing work begins, which means I have to figure out how to simulate selecting a window from the Window menu.

    Warning: technical Mac Carbon programming stuff to follow.

    The first idea: Construct a command event that claims it’s coming from the Window menu item in question.

    In other words, make an HICommand with the MenuRef of the Window menu and the window item’s index, and the command ID if any (it looks like a pointer, so it could be the WindowRef). Then send that in a kEventCommandProcess event to the menu’s event target. No dice.

    For some reason, when I ran the test the Window menu almost never even had the windows listed in it, so I couldn’t get the menu item I wanted to simulate. And whether that part worked or not, my command event wasn’t getting handled.

    The second idea: Send a kHICommandSelectWindow command event to the window, pretending to be from the menu.

    This is the event that gets sent to a window when it’s being activated, either by a click, the Window menu, or the Dock menu. It’s also why you can’t leave a breakpoint at the beginning of your kEventCommandProcess handler, or else you’ll be back in the debugger as soon as your app’s first window activates.

    Anyway, that didn’t work either. I don’t know if it’s because I still couldn’t get the menu item index for the command source, but the command event was still going unhandled.

    The third idea: Simulate the Dock menu.

    When I searched the Carbon-dev mailing list for posts on this topic, I saw someone mention that, for whatever reason, when you activate a window by selecting it from the Dock menu, the kHICommandSelectWindow event comes through claiming to be from the window itself.

    So I switched it around and plugged in the target WindowRef instead of the menu. This one finally worked. Whew.

    The odd thing was that in the real-life case, the attributes field of the HICommandExtended structure is 12, which means that in addition to kHICommandFromWindow there is another undocumented bit being set. Maybe it’s the “from Dock” bit. Fortunately, it’s not needed for this to work.

     Annoyance
    Filed under: — David @ 8:43 am

    The PlayStation 3 has been listed among PC World’s top 20 most annoying tech products, and I disagree with pretty much all of their reasons.

    “…buggy wireless…”
    It has worked flawlessly for me. Entering the password was a bit tricky, because it hadn’t occurred to me at that point to plug in a keyboard, but since I got it connected there have been no problems.

    “…slow and cumbersome firmware updates (requiring a USB cable).”
    I have updated twice: once during the initial setup, and once since. I didn’t consider them all that cumbersome, at least not compared with updating Mac OS X or Windows. You do have to have the controller connected rather than using it wirelessly for certain parts of the process, but why is that a big deal?

    “…the PS3 doesn’t upscale the [DVD]’s native 480p resolution to high-definition.”
    It looks perfectly fine to me, better than the S-Video output of my old disc player which is noticeably more pixellated.

    “And the PS3 still has the distinction of being the only Blu-ray player that does not output movies at 720p.”
    Huh? My TV is 720p, and everything looks great.

    “Worse, problems with high-definition copy protection (HDCP) caused some PS3 titles to blink on and off on some TV sets.”
    In the linked article, “some” means “Westinghouse”, and the fix was a firmware update on the TVs, not the PS3.

    “The most annoying thing about the PS3? Its $599 list price.”
    For a multimedia wireless Internet set-top box with HD console games and a DVD/Blu-ray player, I feel I got my money’s worth.

    On a related note, I was amused by reactions to Sony’s recent announcement that they’re dropping the 20GB PS3. Now, on the one hand, they claim it was because those weren’t selling as well, but as I noted before, one Target employee I talked to said they only ever received two 20GB PS3s while at the time they still had two or three of the 60s in stock. But what amused me more was the user comments to the news articles on various sites: it was just another excuse for a PS3/XBox/Wii flame war. Talk about annoying.


    This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

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