The reason why I’ve not been blogging: I got a Sony PSP. I got mine from Target where used a 10% off coupon, and I got it there so that I could exchange it until I got a perfect unit. Yes, for some poor reason, Sony’s PSP has beautiful screens that are prone to dead pixels, pits in the LCD glass, or even particles under the glass that you can’t rub off. I had to go through six units until I found a better one, much thanks the patience of Target staff members!
Not wanting to end up with another
black white elephant, I’ve been trying to figure out what else I could do with it besides playing expensive games or storing video, photos and music. So far no one’s been able to crack the PSP signature encryption which prevents running of homebrew applications, but in the mean time, there are several other things you can do with your PSP, particularly if you have a Mac.
Taking the cue from Kottke’s “50 Fun Things To Do With Your iPod“, here’s my “10 Cool Things To Do With Your Sony PSP”:
- Syncing Videos, Photos, Music
By far the best Mac application for this is PSPWare ($15). Not only does it sync your music, movies and photos, but it backs up your game saves too. It handles video particularly well as PSPWare supports every common movie format (MOV, MPG, AVI, WMV, VOB) so you can easily prepare your DVD library for watching on your PSP’s 16:9 wide aspect ratio screen. Highly recommended above other competing syncing and video encoding tools, including iPSP ($20).
- Reading Text files
PSPBook is an open source software program for Mac OS X that allows you to convert text documents into JPEG images so that it is readable on the Sony PSP handheld gaming system. So far I’ve used this to convert a GameFAQ walkthrough for Metal Gear Ac!d so I can check it anytime I get stuck in a level.
- Reading Comics
eigoManga.com features 60 pages of full-color original manga available for Sony PSP. Check out the stories featured in PSP PAK Issue 1! Seven Seas Entertainment has released free downloadable manga specifically converted for viewing on the PSP. Thing is, Seven Seas only released the first chapters for their four flagships titles: Amazing Agent Luna, Blade for Barter, Last Hope and No Man’s Land. Each preview consists of 30 to 40 pages of the story. PSPcmx.com is another great source for PSP-optimized comic books and manga by premier independent publishers. Finally, 8BitJoystick has a wonderful visual tutorial which explains “How to Read Web Comics on a PlayStation Portable” via a Mac or PC.
- Reading Magazines
How about a downloadable PSP magazine that you can read from your PSP’s screen? Check out PSPOMAG for a high quality widescreen publication on PSP gaming. Here is the direct download page for the first two issues. Another gaming magazine to check out is Gamers Heaven magazine which features original gaming articles across gaming consoles. For a more general selection of magazines, see pspmagazines.com where the author shares all kinds of PSP-formatted magazines for download, including sexy content from MAXIM, FHM, Stuff, IGN.com, Gamespot.com, Sports Illustrated plus some PSP formatted movie trailers.
- Bringing Porn Anywhere
The Babe’o'matic Portable Gallery features non-nude photos of popular models and movie stars just for your PSP. For a more traditional source of PSP porn, check out “Playboy Station Portable” by playboy.com. For the lazy ones, check here for a direct download without the need for registration.
- Replacing your TV
Forget your TV! Besides the Sony Connect site, you can now get PSP formatted videos from the following places:
- AtomFilms has a section with downloadable PSP movies, but some require a memory stick larger than the standard 32meg one. Lengths range from 7 to 16 minutes. Three of the titles currently available are, In God We Trust, Football, and Rockfish.
- Heavy made a decent library of hours of entertaining animation and live-action video shorts available for free download on the PSP.
- Music network Fuse offers PSP owners downloadable content such as the countdown show “Daily Download” and music showcase “Steven’s Untitled Rock Show.”
- 29PSP Video Guide offers a daily download of video media, including music videos and movie trailers.
- GameSpot’s PSP Resource Center features gaming video reviews formatted for your PSP.
- Ghetto Music Boombox
Turn it into an MP3 boombox and let everyone know you own the hottest toy in the neighborhood. Just add this PSP Stereo Amplifier. It might not be the loudest speakers around, but it’s portable and looks pretty mean.
- Playing Multiplayer Games via the Internet
Can’t meet up with friends to play multiplayer PSP games with? How about playing games with other PSP owners via the Internet. XLink Kai is a global gaming network that brings together XBox, Playstation 2, Gamecube and PSP users, in one integrated community. It is software running on your PC, Macintosh or even your Linux router that allows you to play system-link enabled games online for free. Here’s a quick Mac to PSP Guide to setting it up. I finally had fun playing with real human players in Wipeout Pure!
- Surf the Internet
The PSP comes with built-in 802.11b wifi capability that lets you to play games with other PSP users nearby. It also connects to the Internet though you can’t do much since there’s no built-in e-mail program or Web browser. However, the game “Wipeout Pure” contains a basic Web browser. It’s only there to access a single page containing game updates. Here’s a trick to surf the Internet (more or less… you need to be close to a Wi-Fi hotspot for this to work:
1. On the PSP, go to Network Settings.
2. Select Infrastructure mode. Create a new connection and give it a name.
3. Enter the name, or SSID, of the Wi-Fi hotspot and the password if necessary.
4. Select the Custom address setting. You can usually leave IP Address Setting to Automatic.
5. For DNS Setting, select Manual. Enter the Primary DNS 184.108.40.206. This points to a computer set up by Jonathan Terleski, a student at Carnegie Mellon. It replaces the Sony page with a page that has links to Google, Yahoo and other useful sites.
6. Set it not to use a proxy.
7. Save the network settings. Make sure the Wi-Fi switch on the left side of the PSP is on.
8. Fire up “Wipeout Pure.” Go to the Downloads section and select the connection you just created. That should take you online, unless traffic is overwhelming the portal page. If it doesn’t work immediately, try a few hours later. Not all pages will work in the browser, but hey: you have a PSP and you’re online.
- Scanning for WiFi networks
Your Sony PSP can scan for wireless networks and provide you with a decent wireless report. From the PSP Home button, you can go into Network Settings, then select Infrastructure, make a New Connection, then go through the settings until you get to WLAN Settings. This is where you simply select Encryption None or WEP, depending on which kind of wireless you’d like to find, then hit Scan. You’ll get SSID, Encryption type, and Signal Strength. Pretty nifty stuff using your PSP as a portable WiFi scanner if you’re deciding if it’s worth taking your laptop out.
- Explosive PSP Grenade (Okay here’s a stupid trick!)
The PSP battery lasts about 4-5hrs, but under constant gameplay, you’d get about 2.5hrs or so. The Pelican Power Brick let you extend your playtime at half the cost of buying a second PSP battery. However, you can make yourself an explosive PSP if you use this Pelican Power Brick in an inappropriate manner, just as what happened to this guy on his birthday.
Clearly there’s more PSP trick out there, including listening to podcasts and tracking videoblogs. I’d love it if you could add your ideas in the comments and I’ll include good ones as an update to this article.