The Web on the Sony PSP (PlayStation Portable)

My nephew, Gio, flew in from Virginia with a PSP on hand. He was watching a movie on the gadget’s small yet crisp TFT screen (4.3 inch, 16:9 widescreen at 480 x 272 pixel and 16.77 million colors) via a UMD (Universal Media Disc) video inserted on the drive.

English: A Sony memory stick pro duo. 2GB.
English: A Sony memory stick pro duo. 2GB. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The $250 handheld gaming console also has USB 2.0, an infra-red (IrDA) port, a slot for a Memory Stick PRO Duo (another Sony-proprietary format that looks like a copy of the SD (Secure Digital) card) and, interestingly, IEEE 802.11b or Wi-Fi at 11 Mbps. Note that Bluetooth was not built-in.

Curiously, the device also sports an interface that looks like a copy of Apple’s Mac OS X, sans the dock. Indeed, “Sony loves to copy Apple products to death,” as Steve Jobs (Apple’s CEO) is wont to say.

Although WiFi was built-in, the PSP’s OS lacked a browser. Connectivity was included to, basically, enable the device to have firmware updates. Configuring the unit to hook-up to the wireless network was relatively easy except for the entry of all the information required. You must be a savvy ‘text’-er (aka, SMS) to breeze through any data-entry process on the PSP.

But, the lack of a browser on the PSP is not a deterrent for veteran netheads. Using the game called “Wipeout Pure” (also in UMD format) and the old web server trick of ‘DNS-spoofing,’…yes, you can use the PSP for ‘simple’ web surfing.

Don’t expect web pages to appear in all its glory on the device’s small yet impressive TFT screen. Most of the standards in the ever-changing world of the Web are not yet supported in the browser inside “Wipeout Pure”. These, plus the use of the controls in the PSP to act as your keyboard make web-browsing on the PSP very cumbersome.
Kupitero's Keep main page as seen on the Sony PSP.  Note the 'square' format of the images - CSS is not supported on the browser hidden in the game.
It will not take long for Sony (as well as, hackers) to integrate a built-in browser in the OS via their updates. A small keyboard can truly help as well for easier web access.
But, hey, the PSP was primarily created to be a nifty portable gaming device and not as a notebook or some sort of a ‘web-pad’. Having the capability to sniff-out free WiFi hotspots built-in on the unit makes the PSP an attractive alternative to carrying that bulky laptop!

UPDATE: Yesterday, Aug. 24, 2005, almost two months after this original posting – Sony officially announced the inclusion of a web browser in the OS via a software update.
PSP owners no longer have to purchase ‘Wipeout Pure’ just to surf the Web!

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Starvation In the Midst of Plenty (Life, as my iPod, Sees It)

Any doctor will tell you that, diabetes, as a disease, is characterized by having an unusually high blood glucose level. While many factors cause the high glucose levels in the blood, it is the result of something that prevents the glucose from getting into the various cells of the body, where it’s needed to provide the nutrients that the cells require.

This is why it’s called “starvation in the midst of plenty.” Your body has all the glucose you could ever use, but it can’t get into the cells to go to work.

The same analogy can be used to describe how I view life -as an expatriate in the U.S.- using the iPod as my ‘aid’. Here are some of them:

I’m constantly listening to Antonio Carlos Jobim’s, “Triste” (Sad –Is To Live in Solitude) on my iPod and immediately turns nostalgic. I long for the hand-to-mouth, not-so-loaded-with-material-things yet carefree and happier existence I had back home. Nothing beats the natural design of things.

I’m constantly listening to Astrud Gilberto’s rendition of the Burt Bacharach classic, “Wanting Things” (from the Broadway musical, “Promises, Promises”) on my iPod and immediately turns sad. In spite of the material things I had accumulated in my adopted homeland, they all simply provide temporary enjoyment and do nothing to uplift me spiritually. I guess, the adage “less is more” fits the bill perfectly here.

I’m constantly listening to Antonio Carlos Jobim’s, “Look To The Sky” on my iPod and immediately turns dazed and confused. Dazed because of my utter amazement at its vastness and infiniteness. And confused, because it offers a way of ‘searching’ for any hidden clues that it may offer in my quest for some of the answers to the nagging whats and whys of living.

I’m constantly listening to Gino Vanelli’s, “Where Am I Going” on my iPod, and I’m immediately reminded of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. It narrates the desperation of all our actions while we are living…the ‘nothingness’ of everything we do or had accomplished. Yet, we must consider life as a ‘gift‘ in reverence to a good and all-knowing God.

I’m constantly listening to Bebo (Valdes) and El Cigala’s (aka, Diego Jimenez Salazar) take of the classic song from Argentina, “Vete de Mi” -from the album, “Lagrimas Negras”- on my iPod and immediately turns teary-eyed. I pine for the days when the world was much younger before my eyes and when a casual walk (alone or with friends) along the beach near the town where I grew up, was enough to make me happy.

I’m constantly listening to Jean-Luc Ponty’s, “The Gift of Time” on my iPod and immediately wonder where had all my younger days gone by. Only the memories linger on.

Maybe,  life -fascinating and mystifying as it is -like diabetes, is a ‘disease’ brought upon us so that we may find the cure for the ‘starvation‘ we constantly feel in our hearts, deep within ourselves, as we plod along through its very arduous course.

Now I’m also constantly listening to Sting’s, “Be Still My Beating Heart” on my iPod, and immediately, adrenaline rushes through my blood–to tackle what life has to offer…each and every day…as long as I’m still breathing.