Sunday, February 25, 2007

PS3 Hard Drive Upgrade and Yellow Dog Linux

- Anything you do to your PS3 you do at your own risk!
- Upgraded my PS3 to a 160gb hard drive and installed yellow dog linux on it.
- I picked up a Hitachi 160gb 5400rpm sata 2.5" hd from newegg for $130.
- I also picked up a sata/usb 2.5" enclosure: Vantec NexStar 3 for $35. I stuck the original ps3 60gb into the enclosure for some handy portable storage (FYI the ps3 formatted hard disk is unreadable until you init/partition/format it). The enclosure works ok but is pretty picky about the usb ports. The manual states it might not work with front mounted usb ports due to lack of shielding on the internal cable. They weren't kidding. I tried it on 2 different pc's and the front usb ports wouldn't work with it. Plugging it directly into the motherboard ports does work. Plugging it into a powered usb hub (in this case a belkin) worked fine too.
- If you have issues formatting large drives (like your original ps3 60gb hd) in fat32 under winxp try this tool:
Just be careful you format the right drive!
- Used my Logitech mx3000 wireless desktop. It works fine with the ps3.
- First run the backup utility from the system settings menu. It works even better than I thought. I used an external hard drive formatted to fat32 to backup to since it required 4gb of space. That's because it backed up everything into a few archive.dat files. This includes not only save games but all trailers, games, demos, and even ps1/2 memory cards I had.
- Swapping the hard drive was pretty easy. Just follow the directions carefully in the back of the ps3 manual. Be careful not to strip the 4 screws when removing the hd from the cage.
- Once you boot up the ps3 again you'll be asked to format it. After that go into the system settings and format it again. This format lets you allocate 10gb to other os. Kind of silly that you can't choose the amount of space.
- Now you can go restore that backup using the same backup utility. You should have everything pretty much exactly like it was before except you've got that 10gb partition ready for installing linux.
- Grab the two otheros files at the top of this page:
- read through and follow this guide:
and this one:
- Toggling back to booting the gameos is easy: just type boot-game-os at the kboot prompt. To go back to booting linux just select system settings - default system - other os.
- I played around with firefox, open office, and a few other apps. It worked ok. The firefox browser sure is better than the built in ps3 browser. Too bad the flash support is kind of broken on it.
- Wired networking works fine on first boot. Wireless isn't supported yet.
- VNC viewer crashed on me when I tried to use it.
- Googling a bit I noticed you can install VLC or MPlayer to kind of use the ps3 to stream media. It looked a bit involved so I haven't tried it yet. Also, without some sort of port to use the cell SPU's it seems HD content kind of stutters.
- Other resources:

I recommend you don't upgrade the hard drive until you are near running out of space. Hard drive prices are always falling/increasing in capacity. I probably wouldn't have done it now if I knew the backup utility worked so well and complete. Just make sure you have an external hard drive formatted in fat32 handy. Linux is interesting in so far that you can actually officially do it. If a good native built media player comes out for ps3 then I think that could be the YDL killer app.

UPDATE: 3/14/08
- I also got a 40gb ps3 and installed a later version of yellow dog linux on it. You can read about it here.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Logitech Cordless Desktop Comfort Laser

- I've been looking for a wireless desktop that had a split keyboard. I love the original Microsoft natural keyboard and this looked like a good replacement.
- usb and ps2 support. I went ahead and used it through my belkin kvm with ps2. Worked fine without drivers.
- Each device takes 2XAA.
- I don't like how the insert/delete/home/end/page up/down keys are flipped into a vertical 2X3 cluster. I guess I can get use to it.
- The keyboard is quite a bit smaller than the MS natural keyboard. I like the size.
- There are some odd shaped keys (like the larger T and N) and the grouping of the Function keys but overall pretty comfortable and nothing I can't get use to.
- I like the rubber/removable keyboard wrist rest. It's very comfortable. There are fold out feet that let you create a positive or negative tilt.
- The mouse works pretty much like any of the other mx 600 laser series. It works well.
- There are setpoint drivers for both xp and vista (I tested it in both environments). Just a warning if you use this with a KVM the setpoint drivers will kill the mouse scroll wheel, forward, and back buttons if you switch to another computer and back. For that reason I'm running this desktop set without any drivers. Then, it works just fine with my kvm.
- In winxp you can increase the ps2 poll rate for the mouse. Just go into the device tree, open the properties of the ps2 mouse, advance tab, change the rate to 200 and buffer to max, reboot. The mouse will be much smoother. I didn't see anything equivalent in vista.
- The range is still too short for my tastes and you have to position the receiver just right for best results.
- Tested for keyboard lag having a usb wired keyboard plugged in at the same time. I used the wireless vs the usb wired back to back in doom 3 and guild wars. If there is keyboard lag it's almost imperceptible. For serious gaming I still prefer the mx518 usb mouse(the last real logitech gaming mouse that has both back AND forward buttons). Still, the mx600 works well enough and is fine for games like guild wars.
- A bit too pricey. I think $50 would be more reasonable. I picked it up for $70 shipped from

Overall, it's pretty much like the mx3000 except with a split keyboard which is fine by me. Recommended especially if you like split keyboards and are looking for a wireless solution.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows

- $17 from Amazon. Gamestop also has them.
- Lets you use your Xbox 360 wireless devices with your Windows PC.
- Tested with the standard 360 wireless controller and headset. Yes the headset works! This was on winxp sp2. Not sure about vista support or other 360 devices.
- Install the drivers, plug in the usb puck (It even works fine hooked up through a powered usb hub), hit the guide button on the 360 controller to turn it on, hit the sync button on the puck, hit the sync button on the controller and you're done.
- Once installed two devices show up in the device tree if you also have the headset plugged into the controller.

Headset which shows up as a usb audio device:

- When you hit the guide button this little window pops up that shows battery life. Clicking it displays some useless help. Right click lets you toggle a few options and check for updates.

- Game Controllers in Control Panel

- By default when you connect the headset all sound comes through the headset. You can change that in the sound settings in control panel. Basically at this point you have two sound cards in your system:

- The controller works great with no lag at all and great range just like it is on the 360. I tried Super Steet fighter II along with a few other games in gametap and it worked really well. Also, I tested the headset with audacity and Teamspeak which worked perfectly. This will be great with guild wars where we use teamspeak all the time.
- Not sure if rumble is supported yet.
- Doesn't seem to be a way to turn off the gamepad. When you power down the pc the gamepad goes into search mode until it finally turns itself off.
- You can duplicate how sound works on the 360. Do the above change in sound settings control panel so all the usual game sound/music comes from your original sound card (in my case audigy 2zs). You'll get nice 5.1 as you usually do. Then in teamspeak options you can change what sound device to use so just point to the 360 headset for both input and output. Now all voice communications go through the headset (incoming and outgoing) and all game sounds come through your 5.1 speakers. It works perfectly just like a 360.

Very highly recommended. Even better if you already own a 360 and the controllers. It's almost worth it just for the headset support.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Poll Archive

I've moved all the older Polls to this post so the main page doesn't get too cluttered. You can still vote in these polls if you haven't already.

Poll Archive

Which next generation console do you own or plan to own?
XBOX 360
Playstation 3
Nintendo Wii
None - Current generation is fine (XBOX, PS2, GC)
None - PC Gaming only

Free polls from

Which next generation DVD format do you prefer?
DVD is fine
I love VHS and churn my own butter

Free polls from

Which HDTV technology do you prefer?
CRT Direct View
LCD Direct View
Plasma Direct View
CRT Rear Projection
LCD Rear Projection
DLP Rear Projection
LCD Front Projection
DLP Front Projection
Other/Future Tech (SED, OLED, etc)

Free polls from

Thursday, February 01, 2007

2006 Wrapup and Carnival of Gamers #21

Which games did you finish in 2006?
I'm talking about at least completing the main story line not necessarily 100% do everything in the game. With so many games and so little time I think it says something about a game you stick to and finish to the end.

fight night round 3 (x360)
Black (xbox)
GRAW (x360)
Oblivion (x360)
Tomb Raider Legend (PC)
Guild Wars Factions (PC - finished 3 times)
HL2 ep1 (PC)
God of War (PS2)
Prey (PC)
Dead Rising (x360)
Saints Row (x360)
Feat Extraction Point (PC)
Gears of War (x360)
Guitar Hero (ps2 - medium)

My top 5 of 2006:
1. Half Life 2 ep1
2. Guild Wars Nightfall
3. Guild Wars Factions
4. Fear Extraction Point
5. Tomb Raider Legend

1. Gears of War
2. Rainbow 6 Vegas
4. Dead Rising
5. Saints Row

Also, I'm participating in my first Carnival of Gamers. You can learn more about the carnival here. Check out the current carnival (#21) here. A big thanks to Tony and Jason for all their work.