PSP Go Price Drop

I guess I should have waited (about two weeks after launch) for the 20% price drop at Fry's...

PSP Go downfall

God of War: Chains of Olympus
At Target: $13.99
From the PSP Store: $19.99

Target version is unusable with PSP Go (UMD format).

If there are hopes for the PSP Go to ever be a (limited) success, Sony is going to need to include a UMD and a digital download for EVERY retail game they sell...


BlackRa1n Jailbreak for iPhone 3.1.2!

imageFinally- a Jailbreak for the iPhone 3GS: BlackRa1n Tutorial

This does not allow for unlocking the carrier on the phone- this allows the iPhone to install applications from other sources (such as Cydia, Rock or Icy).

Very easy to do:

This version is Windows only. Your iPhone should be updated to 3.1.2 and connected to the latest iTunes.

Download the BlackRa1n.com app (click on the Windows logo). Run the app and click the ‘Make it Rain’ button.

Blackra1n does its work and reboots. After the reboot there is a new ‘blackra1n’ app on your phone. Click it to install Cydia/Rock/Ice.

Cydia and WinterBoard- Here I come!


PSP Go Gutty-Works

Rumor is that the new PSP Go is ‘hack proof’.

I was looking over my PSP Go and noticed that the screws to open the back of the unit are easily accessible #0 Phillips head bits. Removing them allows removal of the back panel, revealing the new LIP1412 battery:IMG_0227

I found it a bit odd that the ‘warranty void’ sticker covers the battery solder points. Not wanting to immediately void my warranty, I flipped the battery over for a better look:


The PSP Go has the same three connector configuration (+/T/-) as the earlier models- the ones that can be put into service mode via a Pandora’s Battery. In the earlier PSP versions I believe the third wire is what transfers the information to the unit to put it into service mode?

I highly doubt that Sony would have its support centers de-solder a battery and attach another battery to put the PGP Go into service mode- so there must be some other method that they will use to de-brick PSP GOs that are victim of bad firmware updates.

On the M3 end of the PSP Go motherboard (model TA-091) there are two copper contacts that seem out of place- but then I also noticed that there are matching contacts on the inside of the PSP Go case:


Is this a ‘case opened’ switch? or are these contacts used for testing/charging the unit at the factory? I booted the PGP Go with the back cover off (and the two contacts open) and everything appears to play normally.

There also appears to be a red & white checkerboard sticker on the back of the board that may be a water damage indicator:


One other thing that seemed odd was a clear ‘window’ beneath the battery. This window is located where it will always be covered by the PSP screen:


Sliding the screen open reveals its apparent use: the ribbon cable behind the screen uses this cavity when the screen is opened and the clear plastic is just a divider between the cable and the battery compartment:


Opening the PSP Go raised a few questions for me:

  • How would Sony’s official support centers enable service mode for a PGP Go that had a bad firmware flash?
  • Why is the ‘warranty void’ sticker over the battery terminals- which connects to a battery that will need eventually be replaced as it has a finite number of charge cycles?
  • Why are there contacts on the board that link to connectors on the back of the case?

Photoshop Mobile and Photoshop.com

Today Adobe announced Photoshop Mobile (PS Mobile) for the iPhone.  This is a free app that allows for editing of new camera images or images from the camera roll in the iPhone:

IMG_0220 PS Mobile has four options groups of editing options:

  • Crop/Rotate/Flip
  • Exposure/Saturation/Tint/Black & White
  • Sketch/Soft Focus
  • Effects: Vibrant, Pop, Border, Vignette Blur, Warm Vintage, Rainbow, White Glow, Soft Black & White

Pulling up an options allows for further detail of the change.  For example, if I select ‘exposure’, it switches to a screen where I can swipe my finger across the screen to change the levels between –64 and +64- accompanied with a live change view.

Other options across the bottom of the screen allow for cancel, undo, redo and save.  The save options allows to save on the iPhone (as a new file- not replacing the original) or upload photoshop.com (more on this later).

Overall, the software is very responsive (at least on an iPhone 3GS) and actually a little fun to use.  It is a great app to take a picture, convert it to B&W and save it for email/MMS to a friend.

One issue I immediately discovered is when I save a modified image, it creates as new copy- and it is missing almost all of the original EXIF data:

Original EXIF Data
EXIF Data After PS Mobile

Hopefully this is an oversight in the initial build and will be corrected in future releases.

Abobe seems to be taking a foothold in the online photo sharing game; PS Mobile allows for uploading to the ‘photoshop.com photo sharing site’.  The site is a flash based web site that can accept uploads and perform basic editing of the photos- as well as allow for emailing, linking and downloading the photos.  The editing features on the site are more diverse than the PS Mobile app- adding red-eye removal, distort and sharpen options- to name but a few.

Photoshop.com allows for customized site names (I am using http://broo2.photoshop.com) and provides 2GB of free storage.  If you need more, it will cost a bit:

2GB Free
20GB $20/Yr
40GB $50/Yr
100GB $100/Yr
250GB $250/Yr
500GB $500/Yr

The site also allows linking to Facebook, Flickr, PhotoBucket and Picassa for editing of photos contained in each.  The editing saves the changed photo back to the originating site- also as a copy, leaving the original intact. 

The website does not seem to retain the login information for the sites mentioned above; if I close my browser, I must re-authenticate for Flickr/Facebook/etc.

I have not verified if the website strips the EXIF data.

Google Chrome & Extensions

Google Chrome has come a long way since it’s initial release on September 2nd, 2008.  From v1.0 about a year ago, the current the public ‘beta’ release is v3.0.195.24 (with the latest developer release up to v4.0.221.6)

Recent Developer builds have the ability to utilize browser extensions (after modifying the Chrome shortcut to enable these).  Users of FireFox will be familiar with extensions; add-ins that allow added functionality/options/flashy lights to the browser experience.

There is already at least one list of popular extensions for Google Chrome- even thought these extensions will only work with the developer release.  Two of my currnet favorite extension for Google Chrome are XMarks (a bookmark sync program) and AdSweep (an advertisement blocker).

Google Chrome is rapidly becoming my browser of choice…



Popcorn Hour C200

I purchased a Popcorn Hour A100 earlier this year and I cannot say enough good things about this device; when I found this item I stopped trying to build Media Center PCs as I finally found a device that could play every file codec I could thrown at it (save for the xBox Media Center on a classic xBox- which did not have the CPU to handle HD media).

Recently Popcorn Hour announced the new C200.  This is the third generation ‘Network Media Tank’ device from them and it sports a new Sigma Designs SMP8643 chipset (vs. the SMP8635 in the A100), more Memory (512MB RAM/256MB Flash vs. 256MB RAM/32MB Flash), a GB Network Interface, and support for DVD/Blu-Ray decoding (and Dolby True HD, DTS HD audio formats).


C200 Front; LCD panel on left, 3.5” HD bay on right (HD bay removed for BD-ROM installation).


C200 Back; RF remote antenna on left; 60mm fan vent, three antenna holes (for 802.11n MiMo antennas) and a barrage of I/O interfaces: HDMI, IR, SPDIF, TosLink, USBx2, RJ45, S-Video, Component, Composite, L/R Audio

There are already a few reviews up along with specifications for the C200 and a a detailed Wiki FAQ.  The unit is now rack sized (most likely to accommodate an optional BD-ROM drive) and uses a RF remote (optional IR dongle is available to allow use of other all-in-one remotes). 

To use the Blu-Ray functionality, some form of persistent storage must be installed to accommodate the BD Live storage- either HD or USB drive (2GB or larger)

Popcorn Hour thoughtfully put up a few videos detailing the inner workings of the C200:



The videos can be slow and a bit boring at times- but if you let them buffer up you can skip around to find interesting things- such as the 2.5” HD mount and the BD-ROM mounting. There are several other videos that detail use of the C200.

A little research finds more info for the system board; there is an internal USB port (for use with a USB memory stick), a mini-PCI slot (for adding an 802.11n wireless card), and two 3-pin fan headers:


The system is fanless and dead silent- until you add a HD or DVD-ROM.  Since I am adding a 2.5” HD, I will probably go ahead and install a 60x60mm fan to keep the drive cool (along with a fan speed control).

Unfortunately, the ordering/shipping scenario is the bad part of the deal- no chance for near-instant gratification here.  If I order a unit today (Oct 4), the next scheduled ship date is October 28th.  The units will ship from China to the Popcorn Hour in California, and then they will be shipped out state-side from there.  (The normal wait time is usually 2 weeks, but there is a notice of the ‘Golden Week’ holiday in China that will be affecting this batch of shipments); I will probably wait until closer to the end of October to order…

While wandering around Fry’s earlier this afternoon, I cam upon a Lite-On BD-ROM that was marked down to $62- which is five bucks cheaper than even NewEgg’s pricing:


I really have no use for this drive at the moment, but it was a deal I couldn’t pass up (knowing that I will be purchasing one in about a month anyway).  Perhaps I will download Slysoft’s AnyDVD HD and try my hand at archiving a few of my Blu-Ray discs for fun…


Fuel Cell Phone Charger?

Haven't seen this one before...

Good idea, but a little expensive.


PSP Go! Fun! (sic)

I picked up a PSP Go this morning.  It is smaller and has Bluetooth so I think it may be a good replacement for my PSP 2000 (albeit Sony wants me to repurchase any games I currently have on UMD- at list price!).  Very soon after opening the box I began to have some doubts on the usefulness of the device…

1st problem:

  • The battery is non-removable and had about a 20% charge when I turned it on.
  • To install games, they need to be downloaded from the PSP Store. 
  • To access the PSP Store (from the PSP Go! device), the system needs to be on firmware 6.1. 
  • The system shipped with firmware v5.x 
  • To update the firmware, the system battery needs to be at least 70%
  • I had to plug the device in for a few hours before I can use it…

The ‘battery status’ option also appears to be absent from the system menu…

2nd problem:

The PSP ships with a code for Rock Band Unplugged.   This can be entered directly into the PSP Go! (after updating the firmware so I can login to the PSP Store) or via PC.  The ‘keyboard’ of the PSP Go! (and the PSP) is a nightmare to attempt to use, so I opted for the PC install.

  • When I open the Playstation Store, I am directed to install the PSP Media Go software
  • Once this is downloaded (80MB) I click the ‘Account Management’ icon in the upper to the game store- and I am directed back to a Playstation Store login page- in my web browser. 
  • Logging in puts me at the Account/Transaction Management page where I can also ‘Redeem PlayStation Network Card’.
  • I enter the code and I am prompted me to download an ‘xpd’ file with the PlayStation Network Downloader. 
  • When I attempt to comply, I am informed that the PlayStation Network Downloader needs to be updated and it directs me to download an updated PlayStation Network Downloader. 
  • I download the updated downloader and restart the process
  • I am now told that the PSP needs to be connected to the PC…
  • I went back to the PSP Go and logged into the store; under the Downloads I see that I now have Rock Band Unplugged as a download. 
  • I start the download direct to the PSP Go- the download will take 45min on a 3mbps DSL connection. 
  • During this download, the PSP is unusable for anything else as the only option to leave the download screen is ‘Cancel’.


Back to the PSP Media Go software, it appears the the other work inside of the software (i.e. not redirecting me out to a web page)- but account management cannot be handled the same way?

The alternative to downloading the games via the PSP Go! appears to be downloading them via the Media Go software (or web page)- but this requires the PSP to be connected to the PC.  This still takes 45 minutes to download.

image3rd Problem:

Not only did Sony slap me with the proprietary M2 Memory Stick format, they made a proprietary cable to replace the mini-USB that was on the old PSP. 

These cables cost $15 and are required for both USB connectivity and for PSP Go! (non-removable) battery charging. 

A ‘dock’ for the PSP Go is $30- and it requires the USB cable and a charging cable to be purchased separately (oddly, the PSP1000/2000/3000 adaptor can be used for this)- or to use the included USB cable/charging adaptor solution. 

If I wanted to purchase an additional charging adaptor, it is sold separate from the USB cable- so for a PSP Go! dock set for the office, I am looking at $60: $30 for the dock, $15 for a USB cable and $15 for a power adaptor.  (It would be generous of Sony to include a small bottle of lubricant with these purchases)


  • The PSP/PSP Go! is completely useless while downloading software
  • The purchasing process is the least ‘friendly’ experience I have ever had purchasing anything online
  • Accessories are very overpriced and incompatible with everything else in the world.
  • The game downloads take an amazingly long time- so if you wanted to quickly purchase a game for a trip, it will take at least an hour to purchase & download
  • The ‘7 Wonders’ game on sale for $5.99 at Fry’s is going for $9.99 in the PlayStation Store (and there are dozens of similar examples).
  • No resell/trade-in value for digital downloaded games

My thoughts:

Sony really didn’t care about what the consumer wanted with this version of the PSP; this is all about making the PSP ‘hack proof’ and recovering money that was ‘lost’ to piracy.  Hence the inhospitable purchase/download system and the proprietary hardware/cables/storage.  The only addition to this unit is a Bluetooth module- which should have been in the original PSP.

This PSP Go! is a bastardized hybrid between a portable gaming console and the Mylo2- and the price is about $100 too much.  Paying $20 for a game with no media that can be traded with friends/resold to GameStop and then waiting an hour to play will not be acceptable for most people.  (now for $5, this may be bearable).

Here’s a word to Sony: you aren’t losing most of your sales to piracy- but to overpriced crappy games that people cannot justify the price to purchase (and hence, they will pirate them to see if they are playable).

The PSP Go! is un-hackable (just like the PSP 3000 and Blu-Ray)- but it will eventually be hacked.   Once it is hacked and ISO images of my current UMDs can be played on the PSP Go!, it will then be a usable device- but in its current iteration it is and overpriced rebuild of a 5 year old device that Sony is using as a beta test console for their equally overpriced ‘online store’.