Thursday, February 28, 2008

How to Print Documents to PDF?

Since you know that it is possible to view JPEG images on the PSP, and that there are already a spattering of e-books in JPEG format available for the PSP , why not make your own e-books out of documents you have on your computer or can download from the Web?

The easiest way to create e-books is to generate a PDF. Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X have different ways of printing your text files directly to PDF, and as PDF is essentially an image format, it is relatively easy to export the different pages of the PDF files into separate JPEG images for viewing on the PSP.

If you're on Windows or Linux, rather than spending all your money on Adobe Acrobat, you can grab a free copy of Open Office (, which, besides being a fully functional and free alternative to Microsoft Office, has the ability to convert files to PDF. But if the document you want to convert isn't an office or text document, you may still be in luck: if you can print it to a PostScript file, you can use the ps2pdf utility from GhostScript ( to create your PDF. To print to a PostScript file, configure a generic PostScript printer that outputs to a file rather than a USB or parallel port.

In order to make the pages of your documents easily readable on your PSP with plenty of zoom, I recommend setting the page settings for your PDF printout to 8 inches by 9 inches with 0.3-inch margins and a nice 12 or 14 point font. I have created a special page setting for my printer in Mac OS X that measures 8 inches by 9 inches with 0.1-inch margins around. In the actual document settings, I choose to give the document 0.3-inch margins. Using Mac OS X's built-in PDF support, I print the document directly to PDF.

How to View the Comics on Your PSP?

Once everything has been copied over, disconnect your PSP from your computer, navigate to Photo Memory Stick, and hit the X button. Select the WEBCOMICS folder that you created and hit the X button to view a list of the comics available. Select one and hit the X button again to open it up.

When you are in the PSP image viewer, make sure that you are set at 100% (hold down the Square button and move the analog stick up and down to zoom in and out), use the analog stick to pan around the image, and use the R trigger to navigate to the next comic or the L trigger to skip back to a previous comic.

Once you do this, it is pretty simple to do again in the future. If you are a coder, consider writing a script of some sort to automate the entire process.

This isn't something that needs to be done on a daily basis, but it is a great way to read the back issues of your favorite web comic when you are away from your PC and nowhere near a wireless access point. It can be a nice relaxing break from an intense Wipeout Pure session.

Also, make sure you check out several of the manga and other comics preformatted for the PSP that are available online.

How to Put the Comics onto Your PSP?

Now that everything is converted, you can copy the images using a PSP file manager such as iPSP ( or PSPWare ( On Mac OS X, PSPware offers tight Apple iLife integration, so using iPhoto 5, you can simply create a PSP keyword and assign that keyword to all the images that you want to transfer to the PSP.

The 32MB Memory Stick Duo card that Sony includes with the PSP is just fine for saved games. But if you want to get into transferring JPEGs, MP3s, and movie clips to your PSP, the small 32MB card is just not going to cut it. If you think you'll be carrying lots of web comics around, a bigger Memory Stick Duo card is well worth the investment.

Connect your PSP via a USB to USB mini cable, and use your PSP file manager software to sync the images over to the PSP.

You could also manually drop the pictures off in the directory /PSP/PHOTOS/WEBCOMICS/ on the Memory Stick if you don't want to use software to manage your PSP.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Convert the Images to JPEG

If you're running anything other than Version 2.0 of the firmware, the PSP's Photo capabilities only extend to JPEG files; there are plenty of web comics in GIF and PNG, so you will need to do a batch conversion into JPEG. If you have a PSP with Version 2.0 of the firmware, then you can skip this step. First, make an empty directory called Cleaned Comics, where your batch image program can deposit the converted images before loading them onto the PSP.

You don't want to resize the web comics, since most of the fonts are designed to be read at a 1-to-1 onscreen aspect ratio. If you are using Mac OS X, we recommend Easy Batch Photo ( as an inexpensive solution to convert all the comics to JPEG. If you already have a copy on hand, or have been looking to invest some real money in the image-editing arena, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or any other major image editor should be able to do a batch conversion on a folder of images with very little difficulty. Another, less expensive solution would be to use the free and open source GIMP ( that is available for Windows, Linux, and many other operating systems, along with the GIMP plug-in, David's Batch Processor (

Make sure to use an image quality compression ratio better than 50%, so that the comics don't become distorted. Also, don't save a thumbnail in your JPEG file, because the PSP doesn't need the thumbnail and may choke on it, and that thumbnail will just take up more space on your precious Memory Stick.

Finding the Images

Once the download has completed, you need to find the directory where all the comic strip images are stored. This may be a simple matter of opening the Images folder inside the site's root folder on your hard drive. However, one of the problems you'll find is that some web comic authors have broken down their comic archives by month and year, so there can be a plethora of folders containing those precious images.

Do a local search for the image file format using your operating system's file search tools. This will generate a list of all the comic strip files in that directory. Now copy the results into a single folder for image processing.

Grab and convert comics off the Web for portable viewing

When Jacob first got his USB link cable, he tried a little experiment to see whether he could use his PlayStation Portable to read web comics (, and it worked out quite well. This tips will help you to do the same.

Downloading the Comics
The first step will be to download a web comic site of your choosing to your local computer.
Use a web site copier such as HTTrack ( on Windows and Linux or SiteSucker ( on Mac OS X.

Download, install, and launch your web site copier. Supply the URL of the web comic that you want to view on your PSP and start the download. Once you type in the URL, press the download button (the one that looks like a downward-pointed arrow) to begin the download.

Make sure you spend some time adjusting the settings of these web site copiers to exclude downloading any forums associated with your target site, since there are no comics there and forums can add up to quite a lot of HTML pages.

We used Diesel Sweeties ( and Cat and Girl ( Download the web comic site of your choice, starting with the archive where all the comics are located.

Downloading all the images and HTML pages on the web site will take a couple of minutes over broadband. While you are doing this, you should seriously consider buying a T-shirt or other fine products from the web comic authors to thank them for providing their comic goodness for your pleasure. We have both Cat and Girl T-shirts and Diesel Sweeties T-shirts, and they rock ever so hard.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Looking for free ebook for your PSP

The list of freely available e-books designed for viewing on the PSP is growing daily. Use Google ( to search for PSP e-books and see if any new titles that haven't been mentioned in this brief sampling appear.

Of course, the best way to find content for your PSP that you will be interested in reading is to make your own. Head on over to The Online Books Page ( or Project Gutenberg
( to grab some books that are freely and legally available in the public domain.

How to read magazine in PSP?

PSP Magazines ( is a site created and maintained by Jason Schuller, who notes on the site's About page: "I was doing this for myself anyway and figured why not share my work." This site consists of various short articles and selections from various magazines. These selections would all appear to be scraped from the online versions of the magazines and then reformatted for viewing on the PSP by Schuller, who then serves them up for download.

There is a rather large selection of magazine snippets available, and the list is updated regularly. There is even a section of independent PSP Magazines listed. All images are set to the default 480 x 272 size of your PSP's screen and are, for the most part, designed for normal viewing without having to hold your PSP on one end.

How to read manga in PSP?

The first PSP "e-books" to emerge online came in the form of Japanese manga comics or graphic novels.

Seven Seas Entertainment's
( has made an entire selection of black and white Manga titles customized for display on the PSP. They are releasing these titles in serialized form, episode by episode. Their current titles include Amazing Agent Luna, Blade for Barter, Last Hope, and No Man's Land. Each episode is freely downloadable from their site in a zipped folder. All you have to do is download the files, unzip them, take the folder containing all of the individual page images, and drop it onto your PSP's Memory Stick in /PSP/PHOTO/. Each picture is 480 x 297 at a resolution of 72dpi (the image has been turned on its side so that it will nicely fill the PSP's screen).

This is larger than the 480 x 272 size of your PSP's screen, so you will have to use the analog stick to move around each page of the comic slightly. Holding the PSP on its end with the directional pad and analog stick beneath the screen will let you view the comic properly, and clicking on the R trigger of the PSP moves you ahead to the next page.

A PSP PAK of full-color Manga comics is also freely available from eigo-Manga English Comics ( So far, there is only one PSP PAK available, and it contains samples from five different manga comics. These images are set to 480 x 311 and turned on their side, so again you will need to hold the PSP on end and use the analog stick to move around on the page.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Photo view in PSP

If, instead of launching a slideshow, you hit X after selecting one of your folders of images (or if you didn't bother with the whole folder aspect in the first place), you will see a list of all the images within that folder. Simply selecting an image and hitting the X button will display it on the PSP. If you hit Triangle instead, an informational menu will pop up with Slideshow, Display, Delete, and Information options (see Figure 3-26), which behave pretty much the same as the similar menu for the image folder.

If you have Version 2.0 of the firmware, you will have additional options, such as Send, which would allow you to transmit the image via infrared to a friend's PSP; and Receive, which lets you receive a transmitted image from a friend's PSP.

When viewing an image, you can hit the Triangle button to bring forth an overlay control panel. This one is slightly different from the Slideshow control panel. The options include View Mode, Display, and Help on the top row, Clear Zoom, Zoom Out, Zoom In, Rotate Left, Rotate Right, Up, Down, Left, and Right on the middle row, and Previous, Next, and Slideshow on the bottom row.

If you have Version 2.0 of the firmware, you will have two additional controls on the top row of the control panel: Send, which allows you to send the image via IR to a friend, and "Set as Wallpaper," which lets you set the current image as the background image (wallpaper) for your PSP.

Most of these controls function the same as their counterparts in the Slideshow control panel, although there are some slight differences. View Mode toggles between Zoom and Normal view. Display shows the information for the file in an overlay across the top of the screen and a small window indicating the level of zoom. The controls on the second row all do what their names imply. The Up, Down, Left, and Right functions won't work if the full image is within view. If you are zoomed in, however, you can use these controls to scan around the image.

On the other hand, the majority of these functions can be accessed more easily by the PSP's controls themselves. It is much more convenient to simply use the Analog Stick to move around the image when you are zoomed in. The L and R triggers move you back and forward through the images, the square button plus the L and R triggers rotates the image left and right, respectively, the X button clears Zoom, and the Square button used in tandem with the analog stick zooms in and out. Refer to the Photo Help screen for a full list of all of these controls.

If you put your PSP to sleep while viewing pictures, you will be returned to the main menu the next time you wake up your PSP.

How to create photo slideshow in PSP?

If you choose Slideshow and hit the X button, each of the pictures in the folder will be displayed in order, for about four seconds each at Normal speed.

If this is too fast or too slow for your tastes, you can change the slideshow speed to Fast or Slow. The slideshow speed is set in the PSP's main settings. Navigate to Settings Photo Settings and hit the X button to bring up Slideshow Speed. Hitting either the X button or the right arrow button on the directional keypad will bring up a menu offering the choices of Fast, Normal, or Slow. Make your selection and hit the X button.

Hitting the Triangle button while the slideshow is running will open up a special slideshow-only control panel as an overlay over the current picture. This menu consists of Slideshow Options, View Mode, Display, and Help on the top row, Previous, Next, Play, Pause, and Stop on the middle row, and Repeat on the bottom row. The middle row, as you can see, consists of basic and rather self-explanatory navigational controls for the slideshow. The Repeat control simply keeps the slideshow going in a continual loop (at least until your battery runs out). The top row of controls needs a bit more explanation.

Selecting Slideshow Options and hitting the X button brings a small informational overlay in the bottom-right corner of the screen. This overlay contains an image of a clock indicating the time the picture file was created, the name of the file, the date it was created, and the time it was created.

Keep in mind that the time and date displayed by the PSP in these informational menus are determined by the time and date that the file was created, rather than the time and date your picture was taken. If you had to convert your pictures into JPEG to be displayed on the PSP, the time and date displayed will correspond with when you made this conversion.

If you select Slideshow Options again, and then again hit the X button, a small preview list of other images in the current slideshow will be displayed at the bottom of the screen, with the one you are currently viewing displayed in the middle. Hitting the X button again while the Slideshow Options control is highlighted will return you back to a regular slideshow, sans all the meta-information. If you don't want to use this control panel, simply hitting the Square button while you are viewing the slideshow will cycle you through these different Slideshow Options.

The View Mode option toggles the slideshow view between Normal (in which the picture is fitted to the screen) and Zoom (in which the picture is made to fill the screen, albeit with some cropping of the image to maintain proportions).

The Display option places an overlay across the top of the screen with the name of the image, the image's number within the slideshow (3/5 would mean that you are viewing the third picture of five), the date the file was created, and the time the file was created.

The Help option displays the Photo Help screen that displays all of the basic controls for navigating photos on the PSP.

How to Navigate Photos on Your PSP?

On your PSP, navigate to the Photo menu, highlight your Memory Stick, and hit the X button. The folders that you placed inside the PHOTO folder of your Memory Stick will show up in a list, sort of like separate photo albums. Each folder will feature a preview image of the first image in the folder and the name of the folder, and will display the number of images contained in that folder.

Once you have the folder you want to view selected, you can either hit the X button again to bring up another list of all the images contained or hit the Triangle button to bring up the menu featuring Slideshow, Delete, and Information.

This menu allows you to view a slideshow, delete the entire folder, or display information about the folder. If you choose Information, the only additional information you will discover is the sizedisplayed in kilobytesof the folder and its contents.

If you have Version 2.0 of the firmware, you will have the additional option to Receive, which lets you receive a transmitted image from a friend's PSP into the currently selected folder.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Choosing image format for PSP

If you are running any version of the firmware other than Version 2.0, keep in mind that all images must be in JPEG format and that the PSP is not capable of displaying particularly large JPEG files. Use an image program like Photoshop to save your images into compressed JPEG format. Most likely, your digital camera came with software capable of handling this basic compression of images.

If you are running Version 2.0 of the firmware, then your PSP can handle JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, and BMP images, and you can also download images directly from the Internet using the PSP's Browser. To do this, select the image, then hit the Triangle button, navigate to the File menu, hit the X button, select Save Image, and hit the X button again. After it finishes downloading, you can immediately navigate to the image and view it on your PSP.

Regardless of which image format you use, you can conserve disk space by scaling your image down so that it's close to the PSP's 480 x 272 pixel screen resolution.

Storing Digital Photos on Your PSP

Using your PSP as a portable photo album is easy if you know how to fill the Memory Stick Duo card with images. If you know the different viewing options and controls on your PSP, you'll be showing off your photos in no time.

One of the PSP's most useful functions is also one of its most simple: the ability to display digital images. The majority of the tips covered in this chapter, and a few from other chapters, hinge on this simple ability. This tips walks you through the basics of managing digital images on your Sony PSP, different ways of getting the images onto the PSP, and navigating the images once they are on your PSP, and points you to some of the more useful ways digital images can be used to add functionality to your PSP.

Put Images in Your PSP
To place images in your PSP, you need to either mount your Memory Stick on your computer using a card reader, or connect your PSP to your computer using a USB mini to USB cable, select Settings >USB Connection from the PSP's Home menu, and hit the X button.

Once the Memory Stick shows up on your computer, you will find a folder called PSP in the card's root directory. Within the PSP folder are four other folders: GAMES, MUSIC, SAVEDATA, and PHOTO. You can simply copy any images that you want to carry around with you on your PSP into the PHOTO directory on the card.

You can also organize the photos on your PSP by grouping them in folders within the PHOTO folder.

Currently, none of the images on my PSP are larger than 250 KB in size, with the majority of the images falling in the 3264 KB range. You can view larger images on the PSP, but the larger the file size, the longer it will take the files to load, and you won't really see much improvement in image quality after a certain point because of the PSP's screen resolution.

PSP is only capable of reading one level deep into the PHOTO folder, so if you have another folder nested inside a folder inside your PHOTO folder, the PSP will either not see it, or it will show it as being corrupt data.

There are also a variety of programs available that automate organizing your pictures and moving them to your PSP. Two of them are iPSP (; $19.99 USD for both OS X and Windows) and PSPWare (; $15 USD for OS X and Windows). Both of these feature abilities beyond simply managing your pictures, and both programs have demo versions, so try before you buy. For example, after clicking on the Photos section of iPSP and choosing a photo album from iPhoto in OS X, iPSP begins automatically converting the images within the album into properly sized JPEGs and importing the images into their own directory within the PHOTO folder on the Memory Stick.

If you own a digital camera that works with a Memory Stick Duo card, then you can simply remove the card from your camera and put it in the PSP to view photos. When you choose Photo Memory Stick and hit the X button on your PSP, these images will appear in a directory called Digital Camera Images.

How to transfer iTunes songs to PSP?

Drag the "Get the Current Song" action from iTunes over to the workflow. This simple action grabs the track currently set to play in iTunes and passes it along to the next action.

Choose Finder in the Application pane of Automator and drag Move Finder Items over to the workflow. Set the To: option to the MUSIC folder located inside the PSP folder on your Memory Stick and leave the Replacing existing files box unchecked.

When you run this complete action, it will prompt you for a text file, which it will then launch in TextEdit and write to an AIFF file on your desktop. Once this file is fully created, iTunes will launch and import the file, converting it to MP3, and then it will pass the track along to the Finder, which will place the file on your Memory Stick. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Automate Audiobook2PSP

This will be a three-part workflow: it will first prompt the user to select a text file; it will then read the text file to AIFF and convert it to MP3; and it will finish by moving the created audiobook to the proper place on your PSP.

Choose a text file
Open Automator and select the Finder from the Applications pane. Drag the "Ask for Finder Items" action and the "Open Finder Items" action into your workflow. In the first action, set "Type:" to Files and "Start at:" to Desktop, then type Choose a text file to convert to MP3: in the "Prompt:" field. Leave the Allow Multiple Selection box unchecked. This part of the workflow will open up a dialog prompting the user to select a text file for conversion to MP3 and then pass that text file along to the next action.

In the second action, set "Open with:" to TextEdit. The text file selected in the first part of the action will open in TextEdit. That's it for the first section of this workflow.

Convert the text file to an MP3
Next, select TextEdit in the Automator Application pane. Drag the "Get Contents of TextEdit…" action into the workflow. This action simply scrapes the text from the front-most page (the page that the first part of this workflow just opened) in TextEdit and passes this text along to the next action.

Next, drag the "Text to Audio File" action over to the workflow. Here you can choose whichever System Voice you prefer; it will default to whatever voice you have set in System Preferences Speech Text to Speech. Whatever name you give the audio file under the Save As: field will be the same name (minus the .aiff) as the final track as it appears on your PSP. I went for the generic audiobook.aiff, but feel free to name your track whatever you like. Set Where: to the Desktop.

Select iTunes in the Application pane of Automator and drag the Import Audio File, Start iTunes Playing, and Pause iTunes actions into the workflow. Make sure you set the Import Audio File action to use MP3 Encoder and check the "Delete source files after encoding" box to neatly remove the audiobook.aiff file that was created on the desktop in the previous step. The next two actions simply ensure that the recently encoded audiobook.mp3 file is the file currently selected in iTunes before going on to the next section of the workflow.

Automate Movies2PSP

Now, the previous Automator workflow was dead-on simple. This one is about the same. This time, open up Automator and choose Spotlight from the Application pane. Drag the Find Finder Items action over to the workflow. Under Where, choose your Movies folder and under Whose, choose "Name" and "Ends With," and enter .MP4 in the field.

Choose Finder in the Application pane and drag the Move Finder Items action to the workflow. Set To: to the 101MNV01 folder inside the MP_ ROOT folder on your Memory Stick and check the Replacing Existing Files box.

That's it. Save as either a workflow or application and make sure you have your PSP connected and mounted before you run it.

Automate Mac OS X File Transfers to PSP

If you're running Mac OS X Tiger, then you can set up Automator to move all your media files onto your PSP.

I spent a little time in Automator (located in the Applications folder) and put together some basic applications to move my files from my Mac to my PSP. I'll walk you through each of them. Each of these can be saved as either an Automator action or a standalone application. Please excuse the cheesy names I've given to these little apps.

PSP Playlist2PSP
The first and easiest of these little apps is built with just a few actions, but you have to set it up first. Open iTunes and create a Playlist called "Transfer to PSP." On your PSP, create a folder inside the Music folder (located inside the PSP folder), and name this folder "from iTunes."

Open up Automator. Choose iTunes from the Application pane and drag the Find iTunes Items action over to the workflow. Under Find, choose Songs and under Whose, choose "Playlist," then "Is" and "Transfer to PSP." Now, choose Finder in the Application pane and drag the Move Finder Items over to the workflow. Under To: set the location to the "from iTunes" folder you created on your PSP and check the Replacing Existing Files box. Figure 3-16 shows the completed workflow.

That's it. Save as either a workflow or application. Make sure that your PSP is connected and mounted and that the songs in the "Transfer to PSP" playlist are in PSP-compatible formats before you run it.

Further Improvement for Text to Speech

Mac users can create an AppleScript droplet that takes any .txt file that you drop onto it, and uses do shell script to run the appropriate say command, then grab the resulting file, import it into iTunes, convert it to MP3, and move the resulting file to the Music folder on your PSP. Such a script is beyond my novice AppleScripting skills.

Of course, if you have Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, you could easily do this with an Automator action.

Since LAME and text2wave are both command-line tools, it's easy to automate this process on Linux. For example, you can make your MP3 with one command line:

text2wave input.txt | lame - output.mp3

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Converting Your Speech File

Now all you have to do is take the resulting AIFF or WAV file and drop it into iTunes, then select the file and choose Advanced>Convert Selection to MP3 to let iTunes convert the file to an MP3.

Make sure that under Importing in iTunes' Preferences, you have the encoder set to MP3 Encoder. Since this is a very basic audio track, you may want to play around with the settings of the encoder to create a smaller file, making more space for other files on your Memory Stick.

If you don't have iTunes, then you can use a free program such as LAME ( or Audacity (, which uses LAME under the hood to perform the conversions) to convert the file to MP3.

After converting the file, select the freshly converted version of the file and select File >Show Song File to display the MP3 in the Finder. Simply drag the file over to your PSP's mounted Memory Stick and drop it into /PSP/MUSIC/, so that you can listen to it on the PSP.

PSP Text to Speech using Mac OS

Launch your Terminal (located in /Applications/Utilities/). Now, assuming the text file that you want to convert is called text.txt and is located on your Desktop, at the command line, type the following:

sayf ~/Desktop/text.txto ~/Desktop/text.aiff

This string will read the text.txt file on your Desktop to a new AIFF file on your Desktop called text.aiff, using the default System voice settings you have defined in the "Text to Speech" section of your Speech control panel (System>Preferences >Speech Text to Speech).

Unfortunately, when I say that the say command will read your text file to an AIFF file, I'm being literal. You won't hear it, but the process will happen in real time. If you are converting a long piece of text to audio, be ready to leave your computer running and do something else for a good half hour or more.

PSP Text to Speech using Linux

The open source Festival ( includes an application called text2wave, which reads in a text file and outputs a .wav file. You may be able to find Festival in your Linux distribution's package repository, so check there before installing from the source.

Once you've got the .wav file out of text2wav, you can convert it and drop it into /PSP/MUSIC/ on your Memory Stick. By default, text2wave will read from standard input and dump its .wav to standard output. You can create a file with a command such as
text2wave input.txt -ooutput.wav.

You can change text2wave's settings by evaling a valid festival command. For example, to change the voice to voice_kal_diphone, you'd do this:

text2wave input.txt -o output.wav -eval "(voice_kal_diphone)"