HOW-TO: Get RSS feeds on your PSP


This how-to serves a few functions: to piggy-back off the excellent work already done by roto to sniff out and untether the browser feature inside the PlayStation Portable's Wipeout Pure game, to serve as a step-by-step graphical walk-through for PSP owners who are unfamiliar with dabbling in the ways of DNS settings, and to provide another portal DNS server option for PSP users who don't have need or desire to set up their own DNS. Our portal includes a handy link to the Bloglines web-based RSS reader service, to add in some RSS reading functionality to the PSP.

What you'll need for this how-to:
  • Sony PlayStation Portable
  • Wipeout Pure PSP game
  • A free Bloglines account. We won't go over setting up this account — just head over to Bloglines if you don't have an account already; it's self-explanatory.

Let's go!

Fire up your PSP and head on down to Settings, all the way to the left in the main menu. Go all the way down and select Network settings area:

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Select Infrastructure mode:

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Choose "New Connection" to, um, set up a new connection:

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Give a name to your connection. You can store up to 10 different network connections on the PSP, so as other portals spring up and/or if you set up your own, you can store them all and point to whichever one you fancy, plus keep your regular network settings stored. If one portal is down, you can head on over to another (share the bandwidth, share the love). We'll call ours, cryptically, "Engadget portal":

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Hit Enter to save the name for this connection, then press the right arrow button to continue. You'll be prompted for your local network's SSID. If you know the name of your network you can enter it, but in most cases you can just have the PSP scan for available networks and select the correct SSID. We'll scan:

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We have two wireless networks in our vicinity, and the PSP finds them both. Being of sound mind, we choose the one with the strongest signal strength, hit X to select it, then the right arrow button to continue.

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Here's where we'll make the all-important DNS setting change that unchains the poor Wipeout Pure browser from endlessly phoning home to In the Address Settings window, choose Custom.

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First you'll see the "IP Address Setting" pane — this can remain set on the default choice: Automatic. Hit the right arrow button to move to the "DNS Setting" pane. Here you'll select Manual:

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Hit X to select and modify the Primary DNS server address. The address of our portal server is — make your changes in each of the four IP segments by using the up and down arrow keys to scroll through the list of numbers. You can leave Secondary DNS as is. Hit X to save the settings when you're done. Big thanks to Hackaday editor Jason Striegel for setting up the DNS proxy!

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Hit the right arrow key again and you'll see the "Proxy Server" settings pane, which can stay set on the default choice, "Do Not Use." Hit the right arrow to continue. You'll see a summary of the settings you chose under the "Setting List" header. Press the right arrow button again, then press X to save these settings. When the save is completed, you'll have the option to test the connection. Go ahead and give yourself some piece of mind and do this.

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Following a successful connection test, the Network Settings pane will spit back your settings. The PSP has automagically detected the settings you didn't fill in from your wireless router, which doles out IP address via DHCP like Hare Krishnas hand out pamphlets at airports, except much more useful. You'll see the "Succeeded" flag next to "Internet Connection" and ye shall do the dance of joy. Still dancing? We'll wait.

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Finished there, hotfoot? Hit the O key to back out of the Network Settings menu subtree and back out into the main plaza of the main menu. Throw in the Wipeout Pure game, stored on that bastion of standards — the UMD disc. Fire it up.

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From the main menu, scroll down to the Download option and select it. Once you do, you'll be prompted to select which of your saved network connections you want to use to connect. Select whatever you've named our portal and hit X:

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You should see something approximating the view below (sans the Gmail link, which we tried to get going but the browser definitely balked at trying to enter a secure site). Ultimately, as other folks experimenting with this have mentioned, we found the browser to be a bit wonky. Sometimes connections were solid and relatively fast, whereas other times we could have written a short novella in the time it took to load even a simple page (luckily we had the good sense to spare the world from our literary onslaught). One persistent error consistently cropped up, which was that all elements of the page would seem to load except the background color, which would remain black, black, none more black, making plain text impossible to read. We don't know why. Has anyone else seen this? Still, links left unstyled show up despite this wonky rendering, so the portal should remain usable regardless. The text box at the bottom of the page will take a standard URL as input so you can go anywhere from here. Below this (off the screen) is a textbox that will perform a Google search on whatever text you enter there.

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Hie on down to the Bloglines link by using the down key to traverse the links (you'll see them highlight as you walk through them). Select it with the X key.

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Hit the down arrow again to bring focus to the "Email:" login text box. When you hit X, the PSP keyboard entry API will open, allowing you to enter data into the text box. Enter your bloglines email login, then hit Enter. Hit the down key to select the password textbox; enter your password using the keyboard entry again and hit Enter. Arrow down to the Log In button and hit X to activate the button.

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This will log you into the Bloglines mobile site, which is specially formatted for portable devices. It suits the PSP screen rather well. You'll see your list of feeds displayed; just use the up and down arrow keys to scroll through the list, and the X key to select whicever feed you'd like to view.

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The feed you selected should load in the PSP browser; pretty simple! Just use the arrow keys to scroll up and down and read your feed. At the top of the page is a handy set of navigation links; use the "Subscriptions" link to hike back out to your main list of feeds.

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To get back out to the portal home to access other links and/or use the URL bar to input any destination of your choice, just hit the  "Start" button on the PSP. You'll get a prompt to Continue, Goto Home Page, or Quit. Quit will exit the Wipeout Pure game (funny that we're still technically inside a game, no?), and Goto Home Page will take you back to the Engadget portal. Should our portal ever be bandwidth throttled, you can set up other portals as network connections for redundancy when you need it.

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Given the wonkiness of this method, we're not recommending anyone run their small business off their PSP browser connection or anything. Your mileage may vary — but it does expand the possibilities of the device, and can be useful as an extra portable newsreader or Flickr client. In a perfect world we wouldn't have to jump through these hoops just to squeeze out a bit of functionality that's already present but locked down in the device, but we don't have to tell you that, do we?


: There's a way to vastly improve the performance of the PSP browser over what we saw above, which is simply to turn off the WLAN Power Save setting that ships On by default. Go to Settings > Power Save Settings and switch the WLAN Power Save to Off. You'll ideally want to have your PSP plugged in the AC power for surfing sessions because this will eat the battery up much faster without the Power Save On, but we're actually browsing relatively speedily now!

We added a link to in the portal because the site works great on the PSP. If anyone wants to post up in the comments if they find sites that work particularly well in the PSP browser (well-formatted, e.g.), we'll collate them into a separate account and post that to the portal, as well. Also, leaving comments on Flickr photos is a snap. Wheeee!