Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Heart PSP

Yes, I actually managed to tear myself away from the PSP to go back on the laptop - I've been playing with the settings and trying to get the encoding figured out and I think I've done a pretty darn good job. Aside from the podcasts that I've converted to fit the PSP, (some podcasts run at 640x480 to accommodate the Apple TV, but PSP max resolution is 480x272, but actually even smaller if you wanna get technical.) I can now fit an hour and a half movie in about 800 MB, so that's four movies on my 4 Gig card. 4 Movies! And it looks fantabulous. I watched Deadwood at work and it was no different than watching it on TV, except portable. The resolution is clear, the colors are nice, and there's no stutter despite reading from the card.

Been playing mostly Chili Con Carnage, a third person shooter with plenty of stereotypes and irresponsible gameplay. The main character goes on a revenge spree when his father is killed on his birthday (present was a box of kittens) when a combine harvester runs him over. And then it's just crazy from then on. It's run and gun with points for style, loads of fun, even though the loading time to get to the game is actually longer than each individual level.

But I am more than happy that I got the PSP instead of the iPod touch, mostly because it's better all around. I love touch screen as much as the next geek, but there's still something to be said about buttons. I can rewind, delete, manage the data instinctively without wondering what to touch, which is good. Think keyboard versus touch screen input. It's cool and fancy, but mechanical memorization still beats pokey pokey.


I don't know what the kids have been taking, but they're constantly on a crazy high. And when they're not, they're either very emotional or just whiny. But I found out that there's a direct correlation between how I treat the kids and how tired I am. We did the simply math of when I wake up at 4:30 in the morning, and when I get home at 4:15 in the afternoon, I've already been up for about 12 hours. And then to have these two kids who are excited to see their Dad and want to punch him in the groin and jump on his eyeballs, it gets to be a little overwhelming. Sometimes I come home and hide in the other room so that I could snack on something without them wanting some. No, I'm not a bastard, I don't mind sharing, but after I snack, I can still eat dinner. Kids are different.

But the kids are a lot of fun when the parents don't take themselves too seriously. For example, I was wearing my Nintendo DS shirt and there's a line graphic of a DS on the back of the shirt, so they like to poke my back and pretend they're playing a game. And their favorite game, unfortunately, is still shaking their little moneymakers and saying, "My butt, my butt..." Of course, I laugh because it's so amazingly silly and wrong.


Anyway, I'm out of thoughts. Getting to be bedtime anyway.

Bored at Work

By the way, it's boxes of instruction manual, a tape machine, and a counter for the number of units shipped. Yes, I was there for 10 hours and we shipped 13. It was a slow day.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Eloped with PSP

I thought about this long and hard last night, about really wanting a PSP and also about how everyone had the Black PSP, and then I decided to hell with it, I was just going to get the bundle today. I've read about the Piano Black PSP being a bit of a fingerprint magnet, and also from the photos I can't really tell if the Black PSP looks like a cool weapon or just a void. So I thought about the White, which was okay if not a bit glaring, and then I realized that the Daxter Bundle was actually Silver, which you can see, is a pretty nice color in itself. It's not just matte or glossy black, and though my iPod and iBook are white, I'm certainly glad it's not the friggin' birth control Star Wars one (I'm a big geek! Look at me!). All and all, I was pretty hyped about bringing the PSP home.

Impressions? It's perfect for me. In fact, I've played with the browser, the photo viewer, the videos on the memory card, and the music from the memory card more than the games itself. The video encoding is a bit fussy, so much so that most of the crap that I encoded in preparation for the PSP doesn't actually work. I think I have to encode it with Ffmpeg or something like that. Anyway, after some experimentation, I think I've found a setting that works just fine. The upside is that the video playback is nice. Smooth, high-quality (as high as you encode it), and nice bright crisp colors and contrast. Reading from the memory card is no problem. The photo viewer is a bit soft, but probably has to do with the resolution of my photos being too high than the viewer itself. The browser is tweaky, certainly doable in desperate times but it's as reliable as Netscape was in 1991. The music player is pretty slick, with some visualization that's slightly off but quite pretty.

But c'mon, the PSP is about the games, right? Although I haven't spent quality time with the games, from what I did play is pretty damn impressive. It is PS2 type graphics, and even a little crisper than that. The environments are nice, the colors are vast, and playing through a little bit of Vice City I just got nostalgic. Newer music (I got Vice City because of the licensed music, Liberty City has generic music), and I would just love to drive around and explore Vice City all over again. The loading time does take a bit of time, but I imagine it's to ensure that the gameplay is preloaded or something. I'm happy to sacrifice loading time for more in depth gameplay. The DS is fun, but a lot of times I feel like it either doesn't go deep enough, or it's too casual of a gaming experience. I'll let you know more as I play more.

I've read a lot about people complaining about the PSP, that it isn't as fun as the DS, that it doesn't have a lot of good games as the DS, and I have to say that it really depends on what kind of bloke or gal you are. For me, I'm more than a casual gamer/computer user, so I know how to utilize the different facets of the PSP, such as movies, music, and the Wi-fi, so it's a great little system for me. For the casual gamer who doesn't rip or encode videos, it's virtually a game machine, and yeah, it's probably not worth it. For the hard core gamer, the gaming is not going to be as immersive as your home console, and you'd probably be more into the hacking and the homebrewing - something that I'll stay out of. I read the reviews of the games and look at the screens before I buy, so there's going to be a handful of games that I know that I'll enjoy.

Anyway, those are the first impressions. I'm sure there's more to come.


I've been more relaxed the last few days - I think I'm glad that I didn't work Friday, or maybe something just clicked in me and I relaxed a bit more. I had more fun with the kids this weekend, just feeling more in control and thus being able to handle the kids better. We goofed around a bunch, and had a lot of fun shaking our butts and chasing each other. It felt good to have fun with the kids, because there's just been too many days of feeling like I'm a man on an island. I think being able to see my wife and be myself on Friday really boosted my spirits.

Well, more to do, and I gotta work early.