Saturday, April 02, 2005

PSP Image viewing .. Possible Bug

Viewing comics on the PSP, each page is the correct width and the length about 2x the screen size. When viewing I have to scroll up from the middle where the image viewing autocenters, and then down, then go to next page when done. All this is fine and good, but as you move around the page, it goes from blurry to clear (only decompressing the area you are viewing, annoying, but liveable).

Now for the possible bug. After viewing 20 plus pages in a row, it stops becoming clear, if you back all the way out, and go back into the image you might get another page or two. Only way I can seem to correct is go completely out of images, go to another section and then finally go back into images. Know this will be a problem for others, especially people viewing oversize camera images. At a guess would say it is a problem with the buffer not unloading for some reason. With the amount of memory on the PSP it should be able to one, buffer more of the image, and two, the buffer needs to be cleared automatically.

This could be a major issue for viewing pictures in sequence. I really hope it is something that could be fit with a firmware update, or possibly one of the main reasons I purchased the device will be invalidated.

Here's to hoping a firmware update fixes it.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Comics on the Sony PSP

One of the things I really wanted to be able to do is view comics, and various scanned images collections on the Sony PSP. While the machine does not come with any kind of comic viewer, it does come with a built in ability to view images.

I recently scanned in one of my favorite graphic novels, in anticipation with the release of the movie version. One, because I wanted to be able to compare the original to the movie version, two because I wanted to see if it would be possible to transfer this graphic novel to the Sony PSP.

Since it could not be transferred in the ZIP file I had it in for viewing with CDisplay, I first created a directory on my PC, then unzipped the original images to the directory. I then copied these over to the Sony PSP.

The pictures were oversize for the screen, which the Sony PSP handled, to review the pages you use the Analog stick to move a block around a thumbnail, of the larger image, that pops up when you move the Analog stick, an interesting way of doing it.

First problem was that you have to scroll all around the image, which was fine for image quality but bad for the readying experience. The PSP also does not appear to buffer the image at all and goes from blurry to clear as you view the move the focus to a new area.

Also since the PSP views pictures in the order of creation, the pages did not work out in the proper order. Very. Frustrating. The solution, partially, was which has a Link for the download of PSPhoto, a very straight forward batch conversion utility, that takes all the files you drop on them, converts them to the proper width (480 pixels), leaving the height alone, it also appeared to set the file creation date/time to match the order of, either how they are ordered, when you drop them on, or it is intelligent enough to order them by the name order.

Either way when I got done I had the files, in .jpg format, the proper width, and the proper order. Simply create a directory under the PSP, Photo directory on the memory stick, copy all the files to it and then use the built in viewer to, well, view them.

For example Sony PSP – Photos – City (then all the individual files under City).

Note: Use the Triangle button to bring up image, which has navigation, help view mode etc., then “O” button to hide them again. Cycle through the pics with the top of unit L and R buttons.

Only lack of perfection is that the Sony PSP viewer seems to orient on the center of the picture, meaning you have to use the analog stick to move the view to top of page each page. Also would be nice if you had a page up and page down function, on the arrow keypads would be nice.

Other than that it is not a perfect solution, but it works. The perfect solution, would be a program, ala Cdisplay, that would view the pictures better on the PSP side.

As a program, PSPhoto needs more options under user control. It took some playing around and trust in the programmer to just drop files on it and go. It was also very impressive when I figured out that I could drop a compressed collection of images on it (a zipped file) and it would auto process the file and pictures, then save them to a directory named after the file. Very impressive. All in all though, it is a program that I recommend heartily picking it up.

PSP Experience

Recently purchased a PSP. First impressions - Wow.

I bought it for a number of reasons, partly impulse, partly for gaming, but in a large part to the immense lifestyle potential for the device.

If the developers and community hit a few keys features it will elevate the PSP from a game play device with some basic multi-media features to an essential tool for improving, extending your lifestyle.

Many things they are doing on cell phones, which is getting harder and harder do to their small size to do effectively is multimedia capabilities like pictures, video and music, but the devices are so small that most of these features are unsatisfying.

Enter the PSP, which has a gorgeous large screen, excellent video playback, clear crisp picture display and clear mp3 playing.

Ahh, but the potential. I an excited, by the sheer possibilities that are inherent in the platform. I am sure that software will be available soon that will extend the media capabilities beyond pictures, music and video.

The true beauty of the device will be the introduction of media viewers that will allow users to surf the net, read e-books, view .PDF documents, read comic books and graphic novels (CDisplay), and many other things I can't even envision.

But the ability to view graphic rich documents on a portable device (hopefully with a slick one click transfer interface and super simple navigation) will extend its usability to new heights. Portable reference device, portable ebook reader, portable spread sheet viewer....any type of data should be easily viewable by content viewer interfaces either added to the device bios, or via "game" UMD document readers looking at data on the Duo Pro card.

Imagine a powerful, graphical ebook reader app, playing mp3's in the background and the hyperlinks in the ebook, taking the user, via a local WI-FI access point to a website with more information...the promise of the ultra portables PC on a device priced for everyone.

Beyond that I am sure that someone will produce a powerful, PDA "game" like UMD that will provide most or all the functionality currently offered on the Palm and PocketPC platform...

For graphics, a paint, picture editing program on UMD editing your pictures stored on the memory card.

My personal 1st favorite for porting to the Sony PSP is a version of Cdisplay, the popular comic viewing application, partnered with a program that will preprocess the picture files in their compressed form, optimize them for the Sony PSP and then reprocess them. Then simply move to the PSP memory card, load the Sony PSP version of Cdisplay and all your collections are available to view. (If Marvel/DC were tech savvy they would subsidize this and produce low cost comics for download and viewing on Sony PSP.) I currently use Cdisply to view old notebooks, that I have scanned viewable without having to carry around dozens of notebooks, as well as some favorite comics from my collection that I have scanned in. To this point they are not portable, but with some work and patience I am sure that a formal means of doing this will be forthcoming. (currently you have to resize and save, being careful of save time as that is how the Sony PSP organizes it)

The 2nd program, I would love to see ported to the PSP is the excellent e-book reader, Ubook. I use this program daily on my Axim PocketPC. I carry about 5 or 6 books with me at all times, as well as various reference documents, again an invaluable tool for viewing documents.

The third and most universal viewer I would like to see ported, is an Adobe Acrobat reader. The business applications of this are huge, as well as the ability to convert almost any document to a .pdf that would be viewable on the gorgeous Sony PSP screen.

Just some thoughts to get everyone dreaming for what it the Sony PSP will be capable of once everyone starts realizing the unique potential of this portable device.
The features that make it a superior gaming machine: robust processor; excellent screen; connectivity; varied storage options. Also make it something that potentially could be integrated into many more areas of the owner’s life, beyond games and basic media, to the information and documents that we interact with everyday.