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Old 11-03-2006, 11:37 PM   #1
albireo
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Cool PSP + homebrew as a mobile reader?

Hi everyone, i'm new to this forum and recently thinking about buying a ebook reader. Thanks for the posts here so I get to know quite a few options, Nokia 770, Sony reader, ... etc.

When comparing different screen sizes, it occured to me that PSP (sony's playstation portable) can actually be a promising candidate, despite its *official* identity as a gaming device. A few google searches reveal that there's actually a community developing third-party softwares for the (hacked) PSP, among them is the so-called PSPpdf, which is supposedly to handle pdf files. Does anyone here have any experience with this? Any rumor whether the outcome is comparable with the more standard e-reader?
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Old 11-06-2006, 11:29 AM   #2
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albireo, I tried it an early version of psppdf and the outcome wasn't great, but it worked. The PSP screen is fine for reading short e-books, though, if are serious about it, you should consider getting an E Ink device (easier for the eye).
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Old 11-06-2006, 12:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albireo
Hi everyone, i'm new to this forum and recently thinking about buying a ebook reader. Thanks for the posts here so I get to know quite a few options, Nokia 770, Sony reader, ... etc.

When comparing different screen sizes, it occured to me that PSP (sony's playstation portable) can actually be a promising candidate, despite its *official* identity as a gaming device. A few google searches reveal that there's actually a community developing third-party softwares for the (hacked) PSP, among them is the so-called PSPpdf, which is supposedly to handle pdf files. Does anyone here have any experience with this? Any rumor whether the outcome is comparable with the more standard e-reader?
If you thinking of using the PSP to mostly read then avoid it... I've got a PSP and a Illiad, and there is no comparision. The PSP has a great screen for playing games and showing movies, but viewing books is chore. The aspect ratio is completely wrong...

I tried reading pdfs on the PSP by converting pdfs to a set of jpgs and it was troublesome due to constant zoom + pan... And I tried converting chm -> html to read on the PSP's browser. Better, but the screen isn't something you want to stare out like you would a e-ink...

And remember that if you want to run homebrew software you need to downgrade the Os, and this risks bricking the device... If your in the USA then get a Sony Reader, or if you like to live dangerously get an Illiad....

So get the machine that most fits your target use, otherwise you'll be disappointed.
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Old 01-09-2007, 06:11 PM   #4
khayman
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I only registered to answer your question, but I think I`ll stick around cause this seems like a very nice place.

I currently have a Sony PSP and I use it extensively as an ebook reader. I bought it for very cheap (second hand) and I was secretely hoping it would turn out to be a good reader, besides support for games, movies and music.

Much to my (pleasant) surprise, things have turned out quite well. I started out using PSPPdf and later on the browser reading html formatted ebooks, but quickly realized that reading like that is more of a burden than anything else; spent lots of time trying to come up with the perfect font and got really annoyed to see it didn`t save the position when exiting the browser.

Without trying to lengthen the post unnecessarily even more, I found this awesome piece of homebrew called bookr which supports PDF files natively and, even better, TXT files as well. I found reading PDF much more difficult than TXT because the screen is way too small and moving + zooming around to read a single page gets very annoying after a while.

However reading simple TXT is absolutely great, at least by my standards. I use a black background, a very light cream text color and Arial as font (it supports custom fonts too) -- I`ll have to experiment a bit more with fonts, I`m sure I can find something better. Using minimal backlight (which is not only enough, but recommended, it`s a lot easier on the eyes) the battery lasts about 7-8 hours. shortcuts can be customized to your liking, which makes it much easier to flip through pages; while it supports bookmarking, it also remembers the current position in the file when you exit the program and it stores that information separately for each opened file, so you can read more books at once without problems.

Screenshots of bookr can be found here.

Actually gaming is the least I use my PSP for nowadays, it`s mostly reading, listening to podcasts and watching movies. It has to be the best investment I ever made and I wish more PSP users would know about the existence of bookr. I am considering to buy an eInk device, but not now, perhaps in a few years after the technology matures a bit more and reader prices drop significantly. Until then I`ll be perfectly satisfied with my PSP.
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Old 01-09-2007, 06:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khayman
I only registered to answer your question, but I think I`ll stick around cause this seems like a very nice place.
Welcome to MobileRead, khayman! Please do stick around, it is a very nice place.

Excellent first post, BTW.
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:31 PM   #6
night_writer
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Hi All,
Had some of the same problems. I almost gave up until I came across PSP ebook creator. It converts text files to jpeg. What I like is you can ajust the font style and size. I really have trouble reading(cataracts), this has made it possible for me to read books again. I can't afford the pricier readers. With this program you don't have to scroll back and forth to read, just change pages like on the computer.
Hope this helps,
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:38 AM   #7
Polydwarf
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To necro a thread, I was about to write about the process I use to read novels/etc on a psp (This technique is probably not great for technical pdf's). But, since this thread is here, I'll tack it onto the end.

If you want to read PDF's directly, there's bookr... It requires hacked firmware, though, so it may or may not be an option for you.

There's also the pdf converter listed here, that outputs everything as jpegs. That works, but personally, it seems way overkill, and jpegs are pretty big and will eat your memory stick's space.

Here's what I do...

The PSP has a little web browser on it. I have never used it for web surfing, but it does have the ability to browse html files locally. Nifty. The problem, though, is that the browser doesn't do very well if the html file is too large. It seems like the tipping point is that if the html file is 150kB or larger, it tends to start having problems (slow loading/scrolling). Regular novels will be way over this limit.

The magic comes in a little open source utility called pdftohtml (imaginative name, but so it goes).. You can get it at http://pdftohtml.sourceforge.net/ It can take a pdf and convert it either into a single html file, or a framed set of documents (an index, a page that consists of a bunch of page links on the left, and the content on the right). The second mode of operation is the preferred one for large docs on a psp because none of the pages are very big, so the psp won't choke.

A quick set of steps:

1. Get a pdf file that you want to read. If need be, convert whatever you want to pdf using calibre, a pdf printer, or whatever. (I'll use blah.pdf for this example)
2. Drop it in a directory (I'll use c:\books for this example) where you already have the pdftohtml files
3. Open up a command prompt and navigate to the directory

Code:
cd c:\books
4. Run pdftohtml

Code:
pdftohtml.exe -c -i blah.pdf
The -c option tells it to generate the complex doc (the framed out version). The -i tells it to ignore images in the pdf. After it's done running, you'll have a bunch of html files in the directory:

blah.html
blah-1.html
blah-2.html
<etc.. one file per page in the pdf>
blah_ind.html

You can get an idea what it'll look/work like if you open blah.html in your desktop's web browser. You'll see the frame on the left and content on the right. Click a page link on the left, that page will pop in on the right.

5. Now you need to get it onto your PSP. Plug a mini-usb cable into your PSP, and the other end into a USB port on your computer.

6. On your PSP, navigate to the USB Connection item and select it; on mine, it's on the left most menu (where all the settings are), near the top of the list; ymmv. It'll think about it for a few seconds, then you should see your computer finding it.

7. Mount it up however your OS tells you to. It should mount as just some external storage like a usb key or whatever. The directory structure will look something like:

Code:
ISO
MP_ROOT
MUSIC
PICTURE
<etc>
7. Make a directory for your new book next to those (ie, in the root of the memory stick). Copy the html files from the directory on your computer into the newly created directory on your memory stick.

At this point, you can go read your book, but it will kind of suck

I'll outline how you would do so :

1. Disconnect your psp from the computer.
2. Scroll over to the network section, and choose WWW Internet Browser. It'll bring up a blank browser window.
3. Hit Up on the direction arrows; that should bring you into the address bar (If it doesn't, navigate around until you get the address bar flashing). Hit the X button to enter in a URL
4. The URL will be :

Code:
file:/blah/blah.html
5. That should load up your converted book in the browser

Here comes the part that sucks.. If you're like me, you're going to hate typing in different urls all the time into the PSP's address bar. What I did was create a simple html file in the root directory of the psp; I called it book.html.. This file just has some links out to the books I've got on the PSP. I've set up a bookmark in the psp's browser to the book.html file, so I can go straight to the book.html file without having to use the text entry on the keypad, and then click the links in that file to get to the individual books. Here's a sample file:

Code:
<table>
<tr><td><a href="./blah/blah.html">The Blah Wars</a></td></tr>
<tr><td><a href="./blah2/blah2.html">The Blah Strikes Back</a></td></tr>
<tr><td><a href="./blah3/blah3.html">Return of the Blah</a></td></tr>
</table>
It doesn't need to be properly formatted html (ie, no <head>, <html>, etc tags). I just see a page with three links ("The Blah Wars", "The Blah Strikes Back", and "Return of the Blah"). When I put a new book on, I edit the file and add a new line for the new book. When I'm removing a book, I remove the line for that book. That way, my browser bookmark always works to essentially take me to my library. The browser also has a few text sizes/flow patterns to choose from.


Anyways, it seems like a complicated 37 step process, but it's not as hard as it seems and you should get it after the first time or two. Admittedly, it's not as easy as calibre or whatever, but if someone has a psp, but no e-readers, it's an option.

Last edited by Polydwarf; 02-26-2010 at 01:44 AM.
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:50 AM   #8
borji
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Sorry i haven“t introduce myself, but i had to do this:
Polydwarf, it was more than a year ago, but let me say to you that you did a great job, now I can read my pdfs in my own personal style in my PSP!
thanks a lot and excuse my english...
^^
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Old 03-29-2011, 07:40 PM   #9
Cyclops
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the other issue with a psp is battery life! Its pretty woeful compared to a proper reader. My readerwill last two weeks to a month. A psp needs charging daily!
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