Book Review: PSP Hacks

Months after the release of Sony's first handheld, people still found new features built into it they didn't even know were there. Those a little more inclined dug deeper and broke open the world of PSP homebrew. Whether you're playing it safe and using it as intended or breaking it open to find things to play with, PSP Hacks covers everything.

What makes PSP Hacks a little different from the numerous other Hack books from O'Reily. There are numerous "do-it-yourself" mods, including a cheap way to build a hands-free holder using PVC pipes amongst a few other everyday items. They may not look pretty, but they're easy to assemble and use. The clearly laid out instructions make it simple, though a few more picture couldn't hurt.

There are countless internal hacks, and by no means will you'll be able to apply them all. Hate the sound from the standard PSP speaker? Make your own. Think you need a bigger wireless range? You're covered here. These are of course the type of hacks you'll need to be careful with, as a single slip will be enough to render the system useless.

The third type of hacks are the ones most people are familiar with. Emulators, e-books, and even the ability to control other media equipment with the handheld are featured. Some of the sections seem useless (quite a few pages are taken up on how to run UMD movies, and very little of the information isn't included in the basic manual), while others will let you in on features you were unaware of (playing Podcasts).

The only problem with any book in this style is that it's outdated the minute it's released. Most of the text refers to 1.5 firmware the system launched with. However, in the past few weeks, the 2.5 version has been hacked, and most homebrew apps have been reported to be working.

It's something to consider when thinking of spending a somewhat high $30 on the book. There are only a few items here that you might not find elsewhere for free on the internet, and spending $30 to create your own UMD holder doesn't seem smart (given that you can buy one at a store for $5). Still, the typical professional layout makes it easy to flip through and it's likely more convenient than being stuck to a monitor reading instructions.

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