Category Technology

The ultimate Sony PSP Go

Sony released the original PSP back in 2005. It was promoted as a portable PS2 but although it was impressively powerful for the time, as was standard practice back then, Sony was talking bollocks and in reality its power lay somewhere between that and a PS1.

Its games came on a Universal Media Disc or UMD. This was a 1.8GB disc encased in a plastic housing that was designed to protect the media from scratches.

UMDs were chosen over cartridges because of their capacity and, more importantly, their cost-per-GB. To compare, cartridges for Nintendo’s DS ranged between 8 and 512MB in capacity – with most games using either 64MB or 128MB.

In truth though, the format sucked. The PSP’s drives were painfully slow, clunky and overly fragile for a console that was meant to be portable. And thanks to the mechanical aspect of the drive, it also impacted on the battery performance of the console.

Sony released two more iterations of this design which improved the performance and specification of the console, but they were all hamstrung by the UMD drive.

In 2009, Sony released the PSP Go. This model removed the UMD drive and the idea was that users would get their games from the online store instead. The removal of the drive meant that the console could be much smaller and lighter than all the other iterations, with better battery life.

Where Sony gave with one hand though, it took away with the other. The memory format was changed from the Pro Duo of the earlier models to another proprietary format called M2, which was much smaller – about the same size as Micro SD. This decision would be significant for the model’s future.

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Why Nintendo sucks at hardware

In general, I’m a fan of Nintendo: their hardware possesses a playfulness that is absent in their competitors and their games are almost always polished to within an inch of their life.

But Nintendo does seem to make a lot of really stupid mistakes with their hardware: mistakes that often make me wonder what their product designers – not to mention QA teams – are smoking sometimes.

I’m not talking about cosmetic preferences here – purple consoles aren’t to everyone’s taste but that doesn’t constitute a design flaw...

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The ultimate Sega Dreamcast

Having recently secured a dedicated games room after moving house, I’ve been slowly working my way through each retro console and making it the best that it can be before adding it to my custom-made TV cabinet. First on the list was the Sega Dreamcast.

The first thing to do was replace the optical drive (inherently one of the parts most prone to failure on retro hardware) with a USB GD-ROM. This board physically replaces the drive with a USB port allowing the user to run their games from USB stick. Games load faster, the console is more reliable (and a lot quieter!), and depending on the size of the USB stick, the owner need never get up from the sofa again when switching games!

When researching this component I come across a fair amount of negative feedback on “Mnemo”, the guy who ...

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Switching from Windows to Mac OS

A Little Background

I’ve been using Windows since 1998 when my father purchased a laptop for me for my college studies which ran Windows 95. I learned a lot on that little machine and as the years went by I progressed through Windows 98, Windows 98SE, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 7. I skipped Vista because – as we all know – it was terrible.

Fast forward to 2011 when I first started working at the BBC. The first thing I noticed in the office was that most people were using Macs – and not just designers, but management, support staff and developers as well...

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Drives not showing under “This PC” on Windows 10

Due to Windows 8 being possibly the worst operating system that has ever existed, when Windows 10 was released I decided that I would play with it for a while before taking the plunge and migrating from Windows 7. I purchased a brand new drive for the occasion which would allow me to keep my existing Windows 7 installation safe, just in case.

A few days into using Windows 10 (with all the privacy-shattering junk disabled), I decided that I liked it enough (or in some cases, didn’t dislike it too much) to stick with it, given that Windows 7’s support will cease in the not-too-distant future. So I re-connected my Windows 7 drive in order to migrate some application data...

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Toshiba Satellite 320CDT

Back in 1998 when I was 16, my father bought me my first Windows computer – a Toshiba Satellite 320CDT laptop from PC World in Chester. It had a 233mhz Pentium MMX CPU, 32MB of RAM and a 4GB HDD with Windows 95 installed.

Although new to Windows, it didn’t take long for me to realise that Windows 95 left a lot to be desired. I upgraded to Windows 98SE at the earliest opportunity and boosted the RAM with an additional 64MB taking it to 96MB in total. For the next few years I used that little laptop extensively and I learned a lot from it.

Tired of BSODs I eventually upgraded again to Windows 2000 which offered a much more stable environment at the notable expense of speed and responsiveness...

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Interview with Ezra Dreisbach of Lobotomy Software

Back in the mid-late ’90s, Sega’s 32-bit Saturn was in the process of losing ground to Sony’s PlayStation, mostly due to a series of stupid decisions from Sega themselves. From hurriedly throwing together a machine that was incredibly difficult to program to asking for £400 for it on release (equivalent to between £600 and £707 today), Sega seemed pretty determined to make the Saturn an unattractive proposition for both developers and consumers alike.

As a result of being both difficult to program and the subject of a much smaller user-base, the Saturn was often the recipient of low quality, rushed games that looked (and sometimes played) terribly compared to PlayStation equivalents...

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iPhone 4G fools Engadget

Yesterday I was reading through my RSS feeds, catching up with the world’s news and this one about the iPhone 4G on Engadget caught my eye.

Engadget had some (slightly blurry) images of what was supposed to be the latest version of Apple’s best-selling iPhone, reportedly found left behind at a bar in a 3G case. The whole article was written in a sceptical tone and an update at the bottom confirmed that the phone was indeed a fake. The update linked to a Twitter page that seemed to be home to several independent sources claiming the phone was a cheap Chinese knock-off.

The tone of the update was pretty bullish because they had apparently been offered time with the phone for $10,000, but had decided not to proceed because they suspected it wasn’t a genuine item...

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