Techno - PSP, my new friend

I’ve bought a PSP 3 weeks ago, and it is already occupying a part of my awaken day. There are so many apps (Homebrew) coming out everyday, plus all the emulators, that it’s painfull to even try to count and keep a working updated list from one day to another.

I’ll try though, and by the way, describe what you can do with your PSP. Stuff that wasn’t planned by Sony I guess, which would prefer to sell a quite and peacefull (ie. controlled piece of entertainment). For my own, the fact that you can launch emulators, run homebrew applications, play scripts on it, are major reasons I bought one. I’m waiting for some games to get on the shelves, for sure, like Burnout revenge or Worms, but meanwhile, I’m doing plenty of things with my new friend. Here are some details…

  • Encode your own videos in MP4 format. Well, it’s already embeded into the PSP, but the fact you can create many kind of videos from almost whatever digital video format you wish is amazing (Using PSP Video 9 or Nero recode 2). The magic behing this is portability. You’ll have to reduce the quality and overall file’s weight to play on the psp, anyways. Basically, I watch videos when doing some gym. 45 minutes is a good timing. Colors are vivid and the sound, played in headphones, is enough for me. I’ve seen an UMD movie too (Compressed and retailed for the PSP. Thx to Oleev for lending me Blackhawk down.) and the quality was very high. If it wasn’t s expensive as hell and useless with a living room DVD player, I’ll buy a bunch of UMD movies tomorrow.
  • Play your fav’ audio files of course. There are already homebrew players but for a day to day use, the PSP’s default is doing the job.
  • Read your comics. I’ve plenty of comics in France, but as I moved overseas, I had to leave them. Fortunately, the PSP’s diplay is wide and sharp enough to read comics in relative comfort. Resizing the page to a 560 px width is working pretty well, when displayed by the homebrew Jpeg viewer. It’s quicker and more customizable than the built-in picture viewer. In fact, it’s lacking a slight bit of pixels to be very comfortable, but that’s something.
  • Browse the web. Sooner this evening, while waiting for my new glasses to be finished, I was sipping a beer near a free access point and reading this guy’s blog. In a bar, quietly, beer, blog, Wifi… Cool.
  • Remotely browse the web, from my PC. What a nice port from VNC for PDA! If you know what a VNC is, you get the idea. It’s working fairly well and I get a 5fps when playing a video on my PC (Well, that’s not the purpose of it). VNC man ! It’s almost fluid and bug free at this stage. I love the way technology helps me staying in my couch.
  • Read books. MAny formats are supported. Of course, the amount of books you can carry on a memory stick is amazing.
  • Play with the homebrew FTP server and the infra red file exchanger. Honnestly, I haven’t tryied the last one yet. But I’m eager to use the IR functionnalities. For now, you can capture IR sequences, there’s already an IR keyboard working, etc…
  • Play old school and abandonware games. Neogeo, PC engine, ScummV (Sam&Max, Day of the tentacle…) and Flashback are good exemples. I mostly played Flashback and launched some oldies on my PSP AMiga 500 emulator (Yeah, UAE!). Too bad there’s no keyboard for now…
  • Play homebrew games as well. There’s a pretty good chess game, a Tetris, and many little apps, puzzles, too.
  • Write your own scripts in LUA. Yep, there’s a LUA player for the PSP. I’ve just started from scratch and it’s quite amazing that I’ve already been able to display some text, mixed with contextual infos (Path names etc), custom pictures and background. For today, I’ve stopped trying to play another sound than the one recorded by the guy who just released an exemple of the use of the milkmod lib (Homebrew sound for PSP)… One major feature is missing in that player actually, a built-in USB connection. It’s a pain to exit the player, run the USB, modify a script, debug, launch the player again, and so on… I guess it will be fixed soon.
  • Play regular games too. Sure, it’s even designed for it, dammit! You play alone, or against friends wirelessly. I mostly played Wipeout pure and I’m actually fond of Hot shot Golf. A friend told me that Tony Hawk was excellent and I’m arguing with myself weither or not I’ll buy it next week. I also put my hands for a few minutes on NFS and Twisted metal but I didn’t get the driving feeling at all. That’s personnal, I guess. I love precise driving. The one from Ridge racer is also too “arcade”, from my point of view, even if it’s less bothering than the first two I was talking about. In short, Hot shot golf simply rocks. ;)

Please, note that if you intend to use homebrew applications and play a bit with your psp, you’ll have to keep a v1.5 firmware (Or at least a 1.0 if you were lucky enough to get a early Japanese one). Latest firmwares, like 1.51, 1.52 and 2.0 won’t let you play freely with all the features I’ve been describing. But PSP’s 2.0 has its own appealing features anyway. Sometimes, the latest games won’t be playable neither on a v1.50, and will force you to upgrade. Unfortunately, downgrading is afterwards, impossible. So think twice about it. I’m not promoting anything here, and I just feel fortunate to be able to emulate an Amiga 500 on a handheld device when sitting in a bar (DeluxePaint rules!). The appealing features released in the v2.0 are just not enough for me to upgrade. By the way, I discovered that american people knew few about Commodore and the Amiga, which was a kickass computer 15 years ago. Contemporary of the Atari 520st, but better… Flame wars even occured about this). You could play hundreds of games, do real CG-3d, page setting, video editing, compose music, etc… There was nothing cheap about the Amiga during these times (And even a 2-buttons mouse goddamit). I started being an infographist by doing 3d and page setting on an Amiga in 1991-92. x86 and PC compatible were a joke, and you just could find some expensive Mac IIcx to do the same job.

Note2: I’ve bought an external 3800Ma battery (2 times more the PSP’s battery life. Ideal for a plane trip.), a metal hardcase and a japanese screen protector. I do not regret any of these purchases. The PSP is a nice object, which requires care, specially the screen.

So long, I’ll write some updates, depending on my successes with the LUA language. ;)

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