The PSP Review

Post by Mark

Its been a week now since I got my Sony PSP so, here is a review of my impressions.

The Screen
When we first got the PSP, both me and nat were completely surprised at how cool the screen was. It was stunning, nothing like anything we had seen before. Now, a week later, the screen still does look as good but of-course the shock and awe period is over. The colors and the contrast are really perfect. When one of us is playing the other one can still see the screen. The viewing angle didn’t seem to matter much, wherever the other person sits next to you, they will be able to see the screen. The 2 dead pixels are totally invisible. They are still there but they are so small you can’t see them, only when the screen is completely black you might be able to spot them, depending on how good your eyesight is. The screen is huge, and I am sure some people will manage to break it, and that makes me wonder, how much will a replacement screen cost and can it be replaced?

The Controls
The buttons are all laid out like the PS2 controller. The analog controller isn’t what I thought it would be. I was expecting it to be larger and more like the analog controllers on the ps2 and xbox joy-pads, but the one on the psp is smaller and slides in different directions and doesn’t tilt. Its awkward to use but maybe I could get used to it. Until I do though I am have been using the regular directional pad for 95% of the time. One major problem I have is the Power/Sleep button. Its located to the right of the device and sometimes when I get excited and press the R button on top hard, the whole device moves in my hand and that results in me accidently activating the power switch and putting my PSP to sleep. It hasn’t happened a lot but enough for me to mention it as a problem. Luckily they must have thought about this and there is a HOLD button which stops the PSP from accidently getting turned on or off. The start and select buttons are located under the screen next to the mute and brightness buttons. When the room is dark its hard to find the start button and you cant really feel your way to it since it isn’t extruding from the PSP that much. It would have been a lot cooler if the buttons under the screen had backlighting but then I guess it would be annoying when playing games.

The Handling
How does it feel holding the PSP? It’s not perfect but definitely feels better then holding the GameBoy SP. The gameboy SP was squarish and tiny, it never felt comfortable in my hands. The PSP on the other hand is much wider and so allows me to stretch my fingers completely underneath it. I would have preferred it if the PSP had more rounded edges but I am sure it would have made it look a lot uglier.

The Battery Life
When I first got the PSP I was expecting that I would face battery problems but I haven’t yet. The PSP is like a PDA or a phone, you use it through out the day at different intervals, then at night before you sleep you put it on charge. You can save battery life by dimming the screen a bit, it has 3 brightness settings, low, med and high. When the room is dark I have it on low since the high brightness is blinding, this also helps extend the battery life. You can actually keep it on the low setting all the time since really its not low at all and is very usable. Anyway basically I did not have any battery problems. Incase you will be traveling on a long flight, my advice is get an extra battery for $40. Its as easy as replacing the battery on your walkman.

Load Times
I was concerned with load time. I thought the load times would be a real pain. Well they are not. Since most of us own PS2s or Xbox’s then we are used to load times. But the PSP has one advantage over the PS2 and Xbox, sleep mode. With sleep mode you never have to load a game from start which is when most of the loading time goes. Instead, when you want to stop playing, you just hit the power switch and it puts the PSP to sleep. When you want to play again you hit the power switch again and it instantly comes on and you are back to where you left off. You can go to sleep at any point in the game, even in a middle of a race if you want. Its very practical. Load times from menu to game takes around 10 seconds, depending on the game but you don’t really notice it since we are already used to it from our xboxs and ps2s.

Connectivity
You can mount the PSP as an external hard-drive on your PSP by connecting it via USB. Thats if you have a memory-stick installed. Once you connect the PSP to your computer you can do many things. Mainly though you can copy movies, pictures and music onto the PSP. I got a software for my mac called iPSP, this software allows me to sync my PSP with iPhoto, iTunes and even converts any movie I have on my Mac so that it becomes viewable on the PSP. The biggest advantage of this USB connectivity is that you are now able to backup your game-saves AND most importantly, download other peoples saves from the web onto your PSP. Say for example you don’t have the time, skill or patience to open up all the cars in Need For Speed (cough cough like me cough cough) you can just download a 100% Complete save from the web and then copy it onto your PSP and just like that you now have all the cars and money you could ever dream of. Its all very easy. If you have wifi at home you can connect your PSP to the web to play multiplayer games or to download updates. It was very easy to connect the PSP to the local network and once I did it I was able to click the Download Content button in the game WipeOut Pure and the PSP opened up a web browser and took me to the WipeOut site. They didn’t have any content for me to download but when they will I would be able to get it. Once you are connected to the web there is a button in the main menu which checks and sees if your PSP has the latest software installed, if not, then it would download it for you and install it. In the near future you will be able to play games online against other people but at the moment no online multiplayer games exist.

tony hawk face mapping

The Games
I have WipeOut Fury, Tony Hawk and Need For Speed.

Tony Hawk – With Tony Hawk I was able to map my face onto a skater! I always wanted to do that. Basically what you do is you take your picture (I used my passport photo), and you save it as a 128×128 pixel jpg and you copy it onto your psp. Then in the game there is an option to download face, you click it, find your picture and press ok. Thats it, then you make minor adjustmants like skin tone and stuff and you are done. In the picture above I was trying to get my nose the right proportion. The game in general is basically exactly like the console versions. If you want a full review check out IGN.

WipeOut Pure – Wipeout is a showoff the system graphics game. Everytime I am showing off the PSP to someone I load Wipeout. Its fast, its 3D and its futuristic.

Need For Speed – This is currently the most game I play. Its extremely fast, and the graphics are also cool. Its my pick up and play anywhere game.

Conclusion
The PSP is definitely the coolest portable game system out there. The only competition is the Nintendo DS which pales in comparison. The PSP is not cheap but its not meant for kids either. The PSP is also not just a game system, its a portable entertainment center. Its a movie player, music player, picture viewer, videogame system and maybe in the future an internet browser. The system has a lot of potential and I am person waiting for MAME to be ported to the PSP, that would kick ass. Final score 4.5 out of 5.


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Columbia Space Shuttle Icecream

Post by Mark

columbia icecream

Someone at the office just got me the KDD space shuttle icecream called Columbia (yeah after the space shuttle Columbia that blew up). I hadn’t had it since I was a kid and so it was nice to have it again. I was trying to figure out what it tasted like though and I couldn’t figure it out. So I checked the ingredients and there was something called Boysenberry. That sounded a bit fishy, Boysenberry, Poisonberry… notice the similarities? So I did a quick search and it turns out Boysenberry is an actual fruit, who would have thought!

A boysenberry is a cross among a blackberry, red raspberry and loganberry. It was created by Rudolph Boysen, and first commercially cultivated by Walter Knott.

So now I know what Boysenberry is, I still don’t know how KDD could call an icecream after a Space Shuttle disaster.. [Link]


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Rambo and the Zaeem

Post by Mark

I just witnessed the strangest thing. There is a new pigeon on the ledge outside my window and he seems like a tough guy. The first thing that grabbed my attention was his hairy feet, like really hairy. Didn’t know pigeons good have hair on their feet yet alone this much. So I was was starring at the pigeons feet thinking what name to give him, when suddenly he started chasing this pigeon. They were both running outside and the hairy feet pigeon was trying to peck the other pigeon with his beak. Finally the second pigeon flew away. Hairy pigeon then proceeded to chase another pigeon! This fucker like chased 6 other pigeons off the ledge until he was the only one standing there. THEN, if that wasn’t enough, their were 2 pigeons sleeping below the ledge, the guy jumped them both! In the end he was the only pigeon left. So I decided to give him the name Zaeem which means chief in arabic. Then when everything went quiet, a super pigeon appeared. This other pigeon which I decided to give the name Rambo started chasing Zaeem. He wasn’t able to make Zaeem fly off but he was able to chase him till he ended up at the far end of the ledge. Now every-time Zaeem comes close to the other pigeons near my window, Rambo chases him back to the far end of the ledge. It’s really fun watching all this. Makes you wonder whats going on in their minds. I also decided to call the toeless pigeon Tobby.

Here is a picture of Zaeem with his hairy feet


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Luxury Gas Stations

Post by Mark

In St. Petersburg, Russia they are looking for ways to keep customers at the pump. Phaeton holding announced that it will develop 15 “luxury” gas stations to capture the higher end of the gas market. The new stations will have free internet, sushi bars and women in “flight-attendant style uniforms” to attend to the vehicles. The idea is that customers are willing to pay a higher price for better service and that the gas stations might become the new hot spots. [details]

Why don’t we have luxury gas stations here? Actually, why don’t we just have more normal ones! They are too few and too far apart here.


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Qualitynet Vs Fasttelco – Speed Review

Post by Mark

At the office I am on a 512kb Fasttelco connection. At home I am on a 512kb Qualitynet connection. I ran a bandwidth test at both locations and the following were the results:

Qualitynet Logo
Qualitynet
Communications: 475.4 kilobits per second
Storage: 58 kilobytes per second
1MB file download: 17.6 seconds
Subjective rating: Not Bad

Fasttelco Logo
Fasttelco
Communications 362.5 kilobits per second
Storage: 44.3 kilobytes per second
1MB file download: 23.1 seconds
Subjective rating: Not Bad

In both trials, no one but me was using the connection on the network.

Winner of Round 1: Qualitynet


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DS vs PSP Sales Figures

Post by Mark

The PSP sold 620,000 handheld units and 1.1 million software units in March while the Nintendo DS has sales of only 420,000 to date since the begining of the year. The PSP launched on March 24th that means that Sony sold nearly one PSP per second in the first 8 days of the handheld’s launch. [via]


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More on the BKME Logo

Post by Mark

If you remember last month I posted about the new terrible BKME logo. Well since then I heard that the logo was done by an international agency (hard to believe) and I heard another story that it was designed by Horizon here in Kuwait (more believable). Yesterday I also got an email from someone called Jeeb, this is what he had to say about BKME and the logo:

The sphere isn’t only about a pearl, a BKME personnel indicated to me that two pepole reaching each other are actualy represented inside! I said who in the world would know or see that? By the way when copied, the “pearl” or “human reaching each other” logo goes white! Vanishes..

It also took me 2 days to open an account! Still confused, I received 6 e-mails with 6 user numbers bkmeonline/e-trading, which one to use? Why the guy kept telling “use another username this one is giving an error”? Now, ofcourse, i can’t use any of them, each had a password which i don’t remember now!! Bmke didn’t reply, i have to waite till sunday. Talking about making “life simple” for us!!!

I drew with a red line what “might” be 2 guys, one seems very fat. Also I can understand about the terrible service, when I tried calling them to ask about the logo 2 weeks ago it took me all morning to get a hold of someone..


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Radio One – 102.1Mhz

Post by Mark

I spent all night listening to the British Radio One in my car. Whenever there is a dust storm or humidity in Kuwait my car gets the Radio One signal on 102.1Mhz. I think its broadcasted from UAE or Bahrain. Tonight I was listening to the Ministry of Sound session, some really cool stuff.. for the radio atleast.


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Nine Inch Nails – With Teeth

Post by Mark

what i downloaded

I was adding stuff to my amazon wish list and one of the stuff I added was Nine Inch Nails new album called With Teeth which is coming out next month. Out of curiosity though I decided to check and see if any of the songs were available on P2P networks. Surprisingly they were! So I downloaded a whole bunch and I have to say these new songs are sooo fucking cool. I can’t wait till the new album comes out on CD. I noticed also its more electronic then the previous albums, one song sounds drum n bass while another sounds ambient. Overall though this is gonna be one amazing album. My favorite song is Right Where It Belongs. I have had it in loop for the past 30 minutes. I uploaded a 1 minute teaser so you can hear it. [MP3 Link] If anyone wants to preorder it here is the amazon link.

Lyrics to teaser above:

What if everything around you,
Isn’t quite as it seems?

What if all the world you used to know,
Is an elaborate dream?


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New Jaguar XK – Really Hot

Post by Mark

jag xk

Just found a link with pictures of the new Jaguar XK, it looks reeeaaaallllly fucking cool! Like Aston Martin cool but at a more realistic price. Never liked Jaguars before but if this is the new XK then I might become a Jaguar fan. [Link]


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