This IS the definitive site for the PS2. The 'scene' has taken a little longer to come around and get really organized, compared to the XBOX, but it's coming along quite nicely now.
A lot of opinion questions in the essay. IE, console version. Opinions vary, but I'm going to suggest going with the latest, which appears to be the V11. Looks promising... just hard to find at this point. Keep your eyes open for it.
As for chips... the Infinity (infinitymod.com) and the DMS3 Plus (dms3.com) are leading the pack, especially since you're thinking along the lines of the harddrive.
There is much much more you can do with the XBOX over the PS2, so don't be surprised at the apparent lack of tuts. Still, if you have questions, this is where you'll find the answers. Good luck.
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Oshawa modder... up there in Canada.