Well, I do have some limited Xbox knowledge as I've ressurected a dead 1.0 with a duoX2 GS and a HDD built from scratch using XboxHDM, and slayer's 2.7 and a dead DVD drive, so I can translate to an extent.
Regarding hard mods, the Xbox was a absolute breeze with the LPC header installation and everything compared to installing a v7 PS2 (SCPH-3900x) which is the easiet system to install a chip on. Your avarage PS2 mod chip will consist of no less than 18 wires (which is including the power and ground wires.) Also often times placement of the chip plays a role since you want the shortest wires as possible.
These days, the PS2's softmod is about as good as any mod chip and can be installed on almost any verion ps2. For that, I suggest you have a look in the FreeVAST section for Free MC Boot.
What that exploit does essentially, is install a hack that hijacks the DVD Player upgrade feature of the system and allow users to run homebrew. Most opt for a program called uLaunchELF since it is the most versitle launcher. It also has built-in filemanagement amongst other useful features like FTP server (manually activated by selecting PS2NET) hdd manager, JPG viewer, memorycard management. and can access USB for multiple objectives.
The author of Free MC Boot will also be releasing a new version soon which will entail new launching methods that have been showcased in the main 'FreeVAST Continues' thread. In the meantime, you can aquaint yourself with version 1.5 which can give you a foot in the door with it.
More or less uLaunchELF (uLE) is the 'Dashboard' but pretty much ELF files are the equivilent to XBE files.
The basic rundown of things to do:
1. Install Exploit (check the FreeVAST subforum for install tutorials)
2. Familiarize with uLE's GUI
3. Browse the homebrew forum (for for that matter SKSApps) for various programs such as HDLoader (to play games from the hard drive), SMS (media player) Various Emulators, etc.
Really, there's too much to list, but if you have specific questions, feel free to ask.
If you need help, post a question in the
forums, not my PM inbox. Thank you.