Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Read offline RSS 2.0 or later in PSP

You have two basic options under the Version 2.0 firmware for viewing your RSS feeds when you are offline. The first option is to follow the methods discussed in "Create Your Own PSP E-Books" to load your RSS feeds in either Bloglines or some other RSS feed-reading program and then print them out to PDF. You must then convert the PDF you have printed into JPEG files for viewing through the PSP's photo-viewing capabilities. This takes a bit of work and wouldn't be the easiest feat to accomplish before rushing out the door to catch the train.

A much easier option, which will also take up a lot less space on your Memory Stick than all those images would, would be to access your Bloglines account from your computer's web browser. After you have logged into your account, click each group or one overall group of your feeds to display all the posts on one page. Once the page fully loads, right-click in the side panel where all those stories appear. A contextual menu should pop up, giving you an option similar to either Save or Save As…. The wording of this will vary depending upon your system.

I choose Save Frame As… and saved the page as source. You will need to save either as source, HTML, or a .txt file, depending upon the options you are offered. If you can save the file directly to text, do so; if not, you will then have to take another step to convert it to text. Take the file and open it up in your computer's web browser; it will appear with all the text intact, although some of the formatting will most likely be off a bit. Choose Edit Select All, and then select Edit Copy. Open up your text editor of choice, select Edit Paste, and save the file as a plain text file. Name it feeds.txt.

Take the feeds.txt file that you have created and place it in the root directory of your PSP's Memory Stick.

Now, when you are out and about without an open WiFi access point, you can view this feeds file by launching your web browser (if you have a home page configured, you may need to have the WLAN switch turned on for it to launch, and you'll need to cancel out of any attempts to conntect to an access point), hitting the Triangle button, entering file:/feeds.txt into the address bar of the PSP's browser, and hitting Enter to launch the file within the browser. It's not a pretty feed-reading solution, but it is very functional.

You could do the same thing with a local HTML file that you saved to the root directory of your PSP, but since Bloglines loads images along with its feeds, if you don't strip the HTML from the page by taking the extra step of resaving it as plain text, the PSP Browser won't properly load the page because it will keep attempting to connect to the access point to grab the images pointed to in the HTML.

However, some browsers give you the option to save the images along with the HTML file. For example, Firefox creates a directory that holds these if you choose the "Web Page, complete" option when you save the page (if your web page is named myblogs.html, you'll need to copy the myblogs_files subdirectory over to your PSP, along with myblogs.html).

Now, just like with the Bloglines Mobile page, make sure you make a bookmark to this feeds.txt file. You could even set this page as your home page in the PSP browser, so that every time you launch the PSP Browser, it will go directly to this file. With a little work, it won't be that difficult to set up a regular system through which you can update this file with the latest feeds before heading out the door.

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