Why The File Manager is Still the Best Media Manager

After I first installed Windows Vista, I attempted to use the default application (whenever possible) for activities which I usually installed some kind of helper app. For example, I initially toyed with Media Player instead of installing Winamp, and use the included photo manager instead of grabbing Photoshop Album.

In the process of installing my iPod software, I also decided to give iTunes a whirl. I have never actually used iTunes — it’s always been completely at odd with my expectations from music management software. The few times I played with it, it was baffling. I didn’t quite understand it’s legendary status as the most usable media player available. It was also huge. Continue reading

In Completion

It seems silly that it’s been so long since my last release, a problem that’s rectified by In Completion. My first set with the new Mixmeister Fusion software, it’s a lot closer to my live sound than the studio sound of previous mixes. The tone is mellow overall, but you’ll find a few barn burners stuffed in there as well. Enjoy.


  1. Tripswitch – Indigo
  2. Ormatie – Glossow (Funk Harmony Park Remix)
  3. Jody Wisternoff – Nostalgia (Remix)
  4. Funk Harmony Park – Crystal Sky (Hernan Cattaneo & John Tonks Remix)
  5. Jaytech – Starbright (Jaytech Touch Your DJ Mix)
  6. Above & Beyond – Good For Me (King Roc Dub Mix)
  7. Dominic Plaza – Korny (D-Nox & Beckers Remix)
  8. Jaunt – Travelling
  9. Benz & MD – Signals
  10. Achillea – The Seeress Prophecy (Micah’s Premonitions Remix)
  11. Jaytech – Manipulator (Parallel Sounds Remix)
  12. Tsewer Beta – Marl 1 (You’ll Never Guess Remix)


cactus spines

By day, she’s an evolutionary biologist. But secretly I think my sister wants to be a designer too.

Windows Vista and *My* Happiness

A few weeks ago I wrote about some concerns about Vista’s usability in a post titled Windows Vista and the Measurement of Happiness. I’ve now had a chance to test those concerns myself on my home machine, and what I’ve found is a mixed bag.

To give Vista a fair chance, I’ve tried to leave it as uncustomized as possible, usually the default Microsoft solution when one was available instead of installing my preferred app. On XP, it takes me 4-5 hours of tweaking and installing to get my desktop to where I want it. For Vista, I’m only go to seek out alternatives after I’ve tried the built-in solution for a while.

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I Finally Have Wii

After an seemingly endless series of false starts and short shipments, I finally have my Nintendo Wii. It arrived on Friday via Canada Post, a full 4 days after the guaranteed delivery date, just as panic was starting to set in. I had images of Future Shop employees or delivery men gleefully playing my Wii in their basement as I constantly reloaded Canada Post’s useless package tracking webpage. I was pleasantly surprised on Friday morning when I received a nice large delivery at work — just in time for me to leave town for Christmas Holidays and Krista’s birthday.

In any case, Krista and I spent a drunken few hours on Friday night setting it up and giggling as we created our Miis, then promptly getting my ass kicked at bowling. One thing is initially clear: I desperately need a second controller. The brilliance of Nintendo systems (I bought a GameCube shortly after release just to play Super Monkey Ball and Mario Party with my friends) is the social aspect of the party games. Passing the single remote between two people playing Golf or Bowling is fun but there’s an unfulfilled promise of multiplayer tennis and baseball. My second remote (and a copy of Zelda) are currently trapped in the bowels of Christmas package delivery hell, and probably won’t see the light of day until the new year.

Unboxing the Wii was a dream. Nintendo has clearly made a great effort in this regard, and everything is well labelled and easy to set up. Within minutes I was connected to my wireless network, and after a quick system update we were giggling again. It’s a happy feeling knowing that 50% of the electronics in my living room are connected to the internet and willing to tell me what the weather is like outside. Helpful, since it’s unlikely I’ll be seeing “outside” for quite some time.

I also had a chance try test out the Wii’s “trial version” of the Opera browser. I love Opera’s non-PC browsers. I won’t touch their PC version as I’m not fond of the UI, and you’d have to pry Firefox (and it’s add-on system) out of my cold, dead hands, but between Opera Mini and Opera Wii they’ve got the alternative-browser-on-an-alternative-device market locked up.

Opera Wii (Wopera?) is fast, makes excellent use of the Wii’s navigation, and renders this site flawlessly. The auto-completion on the on-screen keyboard makes typing URLs rather less painful than it could be, although at 480i (still waiting for my component cables) the default text is an unreadable mush. You can zoom, making things legible, but you have to re-zoom on every page load. Hopefully this will be fixed in the final release.

All in all, I can’t wait for Mario Party 8, a bottle of rye, and someone to buy me enough remotes for a 4-way drunken orgy of ridiculousness.

Windows Vista and the Measurement of Happiness

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the User Experience 2006 conference in Seattle, Washington. We spent several days covering the fundamentals and latest trends in developing usable products, such as usability testing and developing personas. With most members of the audience usability professionals, one would expect, to some degree, a consensus on the best ways to design and build truly user-friendly software.

Thursday night found us at a presentation by Microsoft’s Tjeerd Hoek, Director of User Experience Design for Windows. Now, Tjeerd is an extremely smart guy, and given the short time period of the presentation, managed to show off some impressive development efforts going into Vista.

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Mission Sessions 002

Since I posted part three first, it only makes sense to continue in reverse-chronological order. Part two cuts straight to the chase, delivering dance-able beats from the first track before diving into some funky house and then carrying through the progressive melodies to the 80th minute. Like the rest of the Mission Sessions sets, it’ll fit onto a single CD if you care to burn it.


  1. Espen – Along the Edge (Peter McCowan’s Heliobacter Mix)
  2. Suicide Sports Club – I Don’t Know (feat. Dead Rabbits) (King Unique Mix)
  3. Exhibit A – G Minor (Soul Avengerz Mix)
  4. Colder – To the Music (Instrumental)
  5. Kings of Leon – Milk (Stretch and Vern Edit)
  6. Big – A Promise (Dousk Vandalismic Mix)
  7. Def E & The Beginerz – Wipe Your Tears Away (Punkrok Remix)
  8. Junior Caldera – Black Mamba
  9. Robimon – Aquatic
  10. Sayes – Dolphin Ride
  11. Matt Rowan & Jaytech – Tomorrow
  12. Macca – I’d Rather Be Alone (Dub Mix)
  13. Espen – Along the Edge (Original Mix)


Mission Sessions 003

In January, I started a project called “Mission Sessions”, an open-ended series of mixsets in a similar vein — strong, dancable progressive house, each set under 80 mins so it could be burned to a CD. Of course, these projects always take longer than you expect, but that’s the nice thing about not having a deadline.

Today, to mark the live launch of brokendigits.com, I’m happy to release part three of the series, appropriately entitled “mission sessions 003”. The name comes from the Mission district in Calgary, where I moved in January. Overlooking the city, the sets capture my moods and tastes as the year has progressed.


  1. Banco de Gaia – Kara Kum
  2. Wally Lopez and David Ferrero – Ca C’est Paris
  3. Basek and Jeff Bennett – Free Float (Subsky Mix)
  4. Kris Menace – Jupiter
  5. AFK – Lush (Matt Rowan and Jaytech Mix)
  6. Ray and Peter – Next Chapter (Derek Howell Mix)
  7. Micah – Epidemic, Part 2
  8. Dousk – Estrange
  9. Kirk Degiorgio and Esoterik – Starwaves (Spirit Catcher Mix)
  10. Jody Wisternoff – Cold Drink, Hot Girl
  11. Paolo Mojo – 1983
  12. Starecase – Vapour Trails (Matt Rowan and Jaytech Mix)
  13. Satoshi Tomiie – Glow (Spirit Catcher Mix)
I’ll be re-releasing parts 001 and 002 on this website shortly, along with some older mixes I’ve made over the past few years.


Live at Art Gallery of Calgary

On May 12, thanks in no small part to my good friend Jeremy, I landed my first live gig. I played for just over two hours on a small stage at the Art Gallery of Calgary for a local magazine launch party. It went off fairly well — I don’t think most people were expecting to come out and dance, so it was good to get a vibe going and to see some people on the dance floor.