The PS3 was Designed by Morons

After having played around on my PS3 for many hours over several months, I can confidently say that the Software and Services appear to have been designed by total fucking idiots.

UPDATE: Never finished writing this post from a couple months ago, but upon review it looks just fine to me the way it is. Published.

Quote

Via this article by Fake Steve Jobs (aka Daniel Lyons):

“We all know that there’s no fucking way in the world we should have microwave ovens and refrigerators and TV sets and everything else at the prices we’re paying for them. There’s no way we get all this stuff and everything is done fair and square and everyone gets treated right. No way. And don’t be confused — what we’re talking about here is our way of life. Our standard of living. You want to “fix things in China,” well, it’s gonna cost you. Because everything you own, it’s all done on the backs of millions of poor people whose lives are so awful you can’t even begin to imagine them, people who will do anything to get a life that is a tiny bit better than the shitty one they were born into, people who get exploited and treated like shit and, in the worst of all cases, pay with their lives.”

“You know that, and I know that. Okay? Let’s just be honest here. Just for a fucking minute, let’s all be honest.”

PSP Initial Impressions

Worried that I was being too productive with my free time, I “decided”* to buy a PlayStation Portable today. When it comes to irrational behaviors, spending chunks of money on things I don’t need is one of my favorites. Here are my initial thoughts after playing around with this new toy for half an hour.

Model
Just so you know, Sony has made 3 PSPs thus far and just announced a 4th coming out this fall. I bought the PSP 3000 model, the 3rd and most recent version actually released. The PSP Go has been announced for later in the fall. That forthcoming version will have the most changes, with a smaller but same resolution screen, pop-out controls, and missing the proprietary disk slot. I was initially inspired to look into buying the current model after reading this article at Ars Technica, which points out that most of the hype around the newly announced model focuses on the network services Sony will be offering like downloadable games; all of which will be fully compatible with all the older PSPs too.

Industrial Design
The design of this product really shows the typical “Sony Style”. On a related note, I saw a Sony digital picture frame at Target when I was waiting to buy this, and they actually put their logo in the middle of an otherwise nice, sleek, minimal, black frame. And it was backlit. Just what you want to see while looking at family photos. Anyhow, the PSP is pretty thin and nicely designed. Easily portable and dominated by the huge screen right in the middle. But it’s also covered in buttons; like every edge has a button on every part of it. Seems like they could have simplified that so I wouldn’t press nice buttons when I pick it up.

Software
The basic menus are simple enough to navigate and tastefully designed. In another example of themed Sony visual design, they are stylistically the same as the PS3’s menus essentially. No real complaints until you try to enter text, then it just gets stupid. The text interface for the PSP emulates a cell phone’s T9 style input method. There is a virtual keypad where each button has several letters and the capital versions which you must cycle through to select the one you want. That’s just dumb. Cell phones have the worst possible input method and there is absolutely no reason to pick that as your metaphor when you have a great big widescreen display and aren’t dealing with a physical number pad. Not that other video game systems don’t make this same mistake though. On the Xbox 360 Microsoft has a virtual keyboard on screen, but the letters are arranged alphabetically and not in the QWERTY format that everyone is familiar with. Apparently only Apple and Nintendo are smart enough to figure things like this out. Sony’s decision turns an unavoidable task into an unnecessary exercise in frustration. Nice work dummies.

Downloads
The future of purchasing and downloading games online is already well in place on the PSP, and you can buy movies and music too I think. I’ll probably only get games, but I can try the movie thing out since I got a free code for School of Rock in my bundle. The first demo I grabbed immediately presented me with another bad experience though. Downloads cannot run in the background, so you just have to stare at the progress bar until it is complete whenever you get a demo, movie, new game, etc. I’m used to grabbing content in the background on my iPhone and this will really put a spoiler if the only way to get games in the future is to stop using your system until they finish downloading. That could be a while too with a decent sized game.

On the other hand, I already vastly prefer playing downloaded games, because the UMD disks make terrible loud rubbing noises as they spin up and down when you’re playing them. That can’t go away fast enough, and I’m sure doing away with spinning media will improve battery life too. It would be great if Sony allowed you to download the game to a memory stick for play, even if you had to keep the disk in for copyright proof, similar to what the Xbox 360 allows now. I guess some sort of more formal solution for replacing disks is due in the fall with the new PSP Go release.

Games
So there are some questionable design decisions in the PSP, but overall it is still pretty nice. The gaming capabilities are pretty high and the games look awesome on the great screen, so it’s good at what it needs to do best. I’m happy to have yet another form of entertainment to help me turn my brain to mush and piss away the ever dwindling hours remaining in my life.

  • decided in quotes because it wasn’t actually a rational thought process

Last Words

I just came across this quote of Giuseppe Zangara‘s alleged last words as he was lead to the Electric Chair. Not bad. I’ll have to think of something to have handy if I get the chance to deliver some dramatic last words.

“Get to hell out of here, you son of a bitch [spoken to the attending minister]. I go sit down all by myself. Viva Italia! Goodbye to all poor peoples everywhere! Lousy capitalists! No picture! Capitalists! No one here to take my picture. All capitalists lousy bunch of crooks. Go ahead. Push the button!”

Initial Kindle impressions

Just got my Kindle 2 today (a day early). Please forgive me for skipping the unboxing documentation, but it was nicely packaged in upscale cardboard with the phrase “Once upon a time” printed on every tear-open-tab.

The device is sweet for the reading experience, which should be primary. Turning pages causes a refresh which flashes through a inverted black page first, which is somewhat disruptive but brief.

Everything else seems a little forced in terms of interface choices; it was definitely built first for the reading experience and second for the buying and navigating options. That said, nothing really gets in the way too much. I bought a book lickety-split and could make my way through the menus fairly intuitively right away.

More later maybe.

 

UPDATE (7/21/2009): Left this thing at a restaurant and lost it.

That possibility had honestly never occurred to me up until the moment it happened. I never lose shit. Hmm, well not in a rush to re-buy it yet.

 

UPDATE 2 (4/6/2010): Now I have an iPad. Good enough battery, color, Kindle App and many other readers. Text is way sharper too.

Dan

I had a really great dream about Dan last night. I was conscious enough during the dream to realize I was dreaming, and to know that he is dead, but also quickly reminded myself that it was still real as well as that this was a true communion with Dan’s consciousness, as far as I’m concerned.

I was surprised at myself that the image of him was of a younger Dan from a photo I’ve seen a lot recently, but it didn’t bother me any. We didn’t speak to each other, I just had an exciting feeling to be with him and an exchange of positive emotions and love for life. It was really beautiful. To me this is what it means when we say that a part of someone lives on with you afterwards. Almost literally, their consciousness joins yours.

I still literally think of him every day, and in an exclusively positive way each time. Love you Dan.