The PSP hacking and homebrew communities are lively places, and there are weekly advances in the effort to add features and content to our PSPs. Sometimes these advances come even too rapidly for us to keep up with, and we can't imagine tackling a book about PSP hacking: How could you write something that won't be totally outdated a few months after its release? The answer is still not clear to us, but we've finally found a PSP book worth reading. Auri Rahimzadeh's Hacking the PSP
is the best PSP hacking and modification book we've seen so far.
Rahimzadeh's book showed up literally hours after I was finished being disappointed by Dave Prochnow's recent PSP Hacks, Mods and Expansions
. Just as I had given up on PSP books and was about to return to my favorite websites, Hacking the PSP
reminded me that there are some decent tricks and enhancements that can be written down without fear of quickly becoming outdated, and the how-to articles within this book are much, much better.
Many of Rahimzadeh's tutorials focus on introducing users to some key programs well-known to any PSP enthusiasts: Paperless Printer, JPEG Book, PSP Video9 and PSP Shuffle to name a few. There are many of these specific utilities used for converting video or other file types into PSP compatible files. Rahimzadeh mentions some of the key programs PSP users will want, but to find a full library users will still need to visit some of the websites Rahimzadeh links to.
For the most part, Rahimzadeh provides well-illustrated walkthroughs of the basic, essential PSP hacks. The latest information is his explanation of how to downgrade your PSP, but, for example, there is no mention of the recent applications developed to verify the PSP downgrader utility, which help users avoid installing the PSPBrick virus accidentally. There is also no mention, of course, of the very recent developments that have allowed users to run homebrew software on PSPs running firmware above version 1.5.
However, Rahimzadeh does go into some nice explanations of some of the trickier bits of PSP hacking. For example, for users who are sticking with firmware version 1.5, the Wipeout Web Browser hack is necessary-- this allows users to access the PSP's built-in web browser. The hack requires configuring your PSP to work with an specialized DNS server, and that's where the trickiness comes in for some users. Rahimzadeh details pretty clearly how to get this hack working.
Of course, now users can simply install a firmware swapper which allows them to switch between firmware versions, and gives them access to the upgraded web browser built into version 2.0 firmware. And using a Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories hack, users can play some homebrew on firmware versions up to 2.6, which features much better online and media features such as WMA playback and podcast tuning.
These are the ways that any book about PSP hacking is doomed to fail, regardless of how well-done it is. Rahimzadeh's book, Hacking the PSP
, is probably the best instructional text you're going to find in print about getting the most from your PSP. Unfortunately, it is already outdated, and the vast majority of the information contained within is available on free websites like PSP Updates
or PSP Brew
. However, Rahimzadeh has the good sense to include links to these sites in his book, which at least makes it a very nice entry point for PSP owners new to the scene.Update: Auri Rahimzadeh reminds us that his website, http://www.hackingpsp.com/ , features plenty of current info about the PSP hacking and homebrew communities. He's done a good job maintaining the site, and we appreciate his efforts to keep his book a useful resource.