Friday, July 4, 2008

Control iTunes from Your PSPControl iTunes from Your PSP

If you are on a Mac, you can use your PSP as a remote control for iTunes.

If you're running Mac OS X, you can easily use your PSP as a remote control for iTunes via a program called PatioTunes (; $15 USD). Unfortunately, no similar package was available for Windows at the time of this writing.

Originally, I wanted this hack to be a full-fledged remote control, using the PSP's IR port to control my home entertainment system. Unfortunately, so far, this hack has proved to be a bit beyond my abilities. Phillip Torrone has also been working on an IR remote solution for the PSP, and if either of us ever figure it out, we'll post the results on the book's web site.

Download, install, and launch PatioTunes. The program will launch and tell you where you need to point the browser on your PSP. If you're on a PSP running Version 2.0, this will work like a charm. If you're using "Find Yourself a PSP Web Browser" on another version of the firmware, you'll need to make sure that you've created your own portal so that you can redirect the browser to a local address on your local area network.

If you launch PatioTunes' Preferences, you can set the refresh rate for the PatioTunes' interface in your PSP's browser. You can also adjust the port over which the connection occurs, in case there are any conflicting ports or special restrictions on your network.

Launch the browser of your choice on your PSP and navigate to the URL that PatioTunes provided for you. If you are on Version 2.0 firmware, then I recommend that you add a quick bookmark to the PatioTunes main page. There are three tabs in the upper-right corner of the page: Playlists, Artists, and Search. Playlists lists all the different playlists in your iTunes Music Library, but no songs will appear until you actually select a playlist and then click the little gray arrow icon to the right of the drop-down menu. The Artist menu displays all the songs by the currently playing artist.

The Search menu lets you search through your iTunes Music Library, either by song title, artist, album, or a combination of the three. One nice feature is that after you conduct a search, it is added to a temporary playlist called "PatioTunes Search."

There are minimal controls at the bottom of each page, featuring previous track, next track, and play/pause. You can also use PatioTunes to remotely create a playlist or increase the volume in iTunes.

This is a great little application that you can really make shine by either connecting your computer to your entertainment system, or by using AirPort Express and AirTunes to stream music playing from your iTunes Music Library to your stereo. All it's lacking, and a feature that I'd like to see in the next version, is an album artwork feature that would display the album cover associated with the currently playing track.

Now you can stroll around your house, browsing the Web on your PSP, and switch over to PatioTunes whenever you want to change the currently playing track. Have fun!

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