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Caring for Your PSP

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This chapter is from the book

Let Joel Durham explain the proper care and feeding of your PSP so it gives you many years of loyal service and satisfaction.

It's solid. It's heavy. It's built to last.

Even so, your PSP is not a brick. You can easily turn it into one, however, by failing to treat it with care. It's a little too big to be a paperweight, but it would make a fantastic doorstop, as you'd expect at its high price. If you want a doorstop, go to the hardware store and buy one. If you want your PSP to work as a PSP, treat it with respect.

Things that you use with your PSP also need a little bit of TLC. Those Memory Stick Duos are solid-state, nonvolatile masterworks of flash memory, but they're still delicate. Your Universal Media Discs (UMDs), the sources of delightful movies and games, are valuable and vulnerable. Even the earphones and their little wired remote are subject to destruction, and not merely by vandals with scissors. (True story: A friend of mine works in an office under a draconian supervisor who hates MP3 players and the like. On occasions in which a worker doesn't hear something important because of the earbuds in her ears, the boss will sneak up with a pair of scissors and snip the headphone wire. (I wonder how he would deal with a set of Bluetooth wireless headphones?)

Most Important: Don't Break It

Because you own a PSP, you probably have several other electronic devices: a digital camera, an MP3 player, a notebook PC, a USB can opener, or what have you. You probably already know that such devices need to be treated with care. You don't throw them. You try not to drop them. You don't bury them. You don't use them as bases in pickup games of Wiffle Ball.

Just as those thingies need extra-special care beyond the level of attention you'd bestow upon, say, a Garden Weasel, your PSP has its own issues with abuse. And if you break it through your own failure to respect its vulnerabilities, you'll probably void the warranty, where-upon—lo and behold—there's your attractive and expensive doorstop.

The Obligatory Lists of Dos and Don'ts

That's right: Here come the lists! I think it's more interesting and pleasing to the eye to present sexy, bulleted lists than boring, blocky paragraphs, so here we go.

Don't:

  • ... drop it. That seems like common sense, but I hope this advice will stay with you should you, say, get drunk and decide to impress your friends by juggling expensive stuff.
  • ... get it wet. This isn't as clear-cut as it seems. Most people who douse their electronics do so in ways they didn't intend; obviously, they refrain from hurling a PSP into the Erie Canal, but they absently set a tasty energy drink on the coffee table, spill it, and discover their PSP in a sticky puddle on the table.
  • ... keep the PSP in a moist environment. Humidity isn't good for electronics, and condensation can form on the circuitry inside the PSP.
  • ... leave the PSP in direct sunlight. That can damage the electronic components (aka the guts), shorten the life of the battery, and harm the Memory Stick Duo.
  • ... abuse the UMD door. This door is one of the most fragile parts of the PSP, and if it breaks, there's no good way to fix it except to have someone at an authorized repair shop fix it. That can be expensive.
  • ... get crumbs or excessive amounts of dust on your PSP. Try not to play while eating or just after eating without washing your hands. Little particles can fall into the button switches and gum up the works.

Do:

  • ... be gentle with the controls. Refrain from jamming the buttons with all your might and wrenching the analog controller for all you're worth. The buttons have two states: down and up. When you've pressed a button far enough down for it to register, pressing it harder won't offer any advantage—but will wear down the switch that the button activates.
  • ... store your PSP in a dry area that's above freezing but below 80 degrees F or so.
  • ... charge the PSP battery on a regular basis. There's no need to let it drain completely; it's not a NiCad battery with memory issues.
  • ... clean the PSP on a regular basis (see "Keep Your PSP Clean" later in this chapter).
  • ... avoid static. Don't keep your PSP on a carpeted floor or in front of a tube-type television set. Static electricity can fry components.
  • ... turn off the PSP when you're not using it. Don't leave it on stand-by too long unless you have an unsaved game that you simply have to put down. Turning it off refreshes the memory and clears the various caches, which is good.
  • ... use the wrist strap that came with the PSP. That way, you're less likely to drop it.

Them's the basics. The PSP is a portable device, of course, as its very moniker says. That opens a whole new area of care, so I'll give it its own section.

Safe Traveling with Your PSP

There, that's better. Whether you want to take your PSP for a walk to the park or around the world in a hot-air balloon, all Jules Verne–like, you need to take some precautions to ensure its safe arrival at your destination.

Instead of assaulting you with another list of dos and don'ts, I'm simply going to give you suggestions—very strong suggestions—in a friendly bulleted-list format. Here it is:

  • Use the pouch! Your PSP came with a padded pouch for carrying it about. Whether you pack it in a suitcase or carry it in your pocket, put it in its pouch when you're not using it. You can even roll up the PSP's earphones and remote and then tuck them into the pouch too.
  • Refrain from taking your PSP into hostile environments. By that, I don't mean combat zones (although you should avoid them); I mean environments hostile to electronics. Keep the PSP away from beaches and pools, for example, as moisture, sand, and salt spray can have a negative impact on its functionality. Don't play with it in the steam room. Don't expose it to rain.
  • If you pack it in a bag, be careful. Don't allow it to be crushed beneath other stuff. If you have to pack a PSP in a suitcase, I suggest packing it between layers of soft clothing.
  • If you carry it in your pocket, make sure that it won't fall out. Also, if you carry it in a back pocket, don't forget about it and sit on it.
  • I suggest that you don't play with a PSP over hard surfaces like pavement or ceramic tile, just in case you drop it. Play over grass, carpet, and such. Better still, play sitting down, so that if you do drop your PSP, it lands in your nice soft lap.
  • Although you certainly can go jogging with a PSP, I suggest that you don't. I know, I know—unlike some PDAs and MP3 players, it lacks a hard drive, using solid-state Memory Stick Duos instead. Because the PSP does have quite a few moving parts, however, I don't recommend bouncing it around all that much. Besides, some studies show that a brisk, low-impact walk is actually better for your body than a jog. Just sayin'.
  • Don't forget the charger if you go on a trip. Leaving the battery stone dead for a long time isn't good. Get a carrying bag in which you can keep the PSP, headphones, charger, and some UMDs, and make a habit of storing the charger in there when you're not using it.
  • This may seem like common sense, but don't use your PSP during weddings, funerals, college lectures, and other places where you're supposed to be paying attention. It's rude.
  • Turn off the WLAN switch when you're not networked, either as part of an ad-hoc or an infrastructure network. You'll extend battery life. Also, if by chance other people near you have PSPs and want to play via WLAN, your PSP won't interfere.
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