A Few Notes on the PlayStation Portable

As you may have read, I got one for Xmas, and haven't thought about writing it up until now.

It's running the 2.60 firmware, because about the only things I'd be interested in running besides the browser, Lumines and Namco Museum Battle are a VNC client and MAME or ScummVM - and I would probably have zero patience for hunting down and setting up either of the last two.

  • Of course, the first thing I did was install PSPWare.
  • I then played around with the PSP's RSS feature (which is pretty crappy and useless, IMHO - especially if you use newspipe and my web front-end),
  • tried to unearth more details on LocationFree (alas, nobody has yet bothered to develop the equivalent of a DAAP server for the PSP using the LocationFree protocol),
  • encoded a couple of videos,
  • grimaced at the resolution limitations imposed by Sony for user content
  • and swapped them for a couple of maps and diagrams (the image viewer is pretty good).

Which I guess is most people's experience (unless you're into the shadier side of things, of course).

Mac users are strongly advised to shell out for PSPWare - it is simple, neat and effective, and even though it needs some way to resize images when it grabs them from iPhoto, like all excellent Mac applications it does its thing well - and in a polished and unobtrusive manner.

As to the PSP itself, the hardware feels sturdy, and the two games I have are terrific. You will notice that I favor arcade and puzzles (they're best for short breaks and my rather random free time pattern), and I will be picking up a few more - but likely not many.

You see, the killer app for me is the browser and my newspipe front-end. Since I designed the UI to be as simple as possible (and to be the same for just about any device), it makes reading RSS and Atom feeds on the PSP an absolute breeze.

It's the way I read news over breakfast, and it's been something like a week since I used the PSP for anything but getting my news fix.

Mind you, the browser isn't perfect - at all. It has trouble with missing tags, absolutely no support for rich media, and a rather boring font. But it's pretty damn good for paging through RSS items one at a time (even for following the odd link to decently formatted sites).

I bet we'll be seeing quite a few PSP-optimized aggregators from now on, with simple and easy to use interfaces (which reminds me, the only gripe I have is that it's impossible to use the browser one-handed, since you need to use both sets of buttons to move and click the cursor).

So, all in all, it's a plus - around 7 out of 10 if you don't care about the browser (which I do). It has pretty stingy and inflexible storage (even considering I got the Giga Pack), pretty much sucks as a media player (getting MP3 on it is pointless, and despite the great screen, the resolution you can get your own video media on it is too unappealing), but the mileage I'm getting from the browser more than makes up for it.

It's not a 770, but it's on sale here, and Lumines is addictive. Hmmm...

Update: Speaking of the 770, Celso has published a screenshot and a binary of the notes application he's doing (remember my wishes for Maemo apps?). The background is a resized version of the D*I*Y Planner/Hipster PDA templates I sent him, and a perfect example of how we should be using PDAs these days...