Mix like a DJ on your Mac with Djay

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This article is originally posted on Shufflegazine.

If you are a music fan (who isn’t?) you might have dreamed about mixing some tunes and added new grooves to your favorite tracks. Macs are famous for their music production tools and you don’t need to be a professional DJ to create cool stuff.

There are a lot of DJing and music production tools (GarageBand, Logic Studio, Reason, etc.), but for a hassle-free mixing experience, Djay can be your best friend. No matter if it’s your first time (like me) or you are a pro, you can make wonders with this nifty application.

Read the full story from Shufflegazine.

Convert video formats on your Mac for free

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This article is originally posted on Shufflegazine.

Earlier today I received a dinosaur JVC camera with a truck load of video clips. We are traveling to Lebanon to have our annual seminar on the beautiful mountains of Farya and somebody had to make a fun video intro for our office. Since I still did not learn to say “no” easily, it ended up on my desk.

After opening the files, I found out the files are MOD type, needing to be converted before importing into iMovie. A quick search revealed that I need to pay around $35 for a decent video converter, but I just remembered using HandBrake for DVD ripping long time ago. And the rest is history.
Let’s see how you can convert a host of different video formats to each other in few easy steps and more importantly for free.

Read the full story from Shufflegazine.

Fixing the multiprocessing error while developing for AppEngine

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If you are developing for Google AppEngine on Mac, and you have updated python to 2.6.x or higher, you might face this non-sense error over and over:

ImportError: No module named _multiprocessing

The main reason behind this error is that AppEngine (as of this writing) can’t get along with python versions higher than 2.5.x.

Fortunately it is quite easy to fix this issue, especially if you are using GoogleAppEngineLauncher:

7 reasons to buy your laptop an external keyboard and a mouse

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This is an unusual topic to be discussed in my software-oriented blog, but this morning I was staring at my wireless keyboard and I just thought how it (along with its companion mouse) made my life easier.

I use a wireless keyboard and a wired mighty mouse (broken 3 wireless mice already and I can’t afford it anymore) with my laptop. The tiny size of the keyboard allows me to easily use it on the go as well. If you are worried about the battery, the 3 AA Energizer batteries last for weeks (if you turn the keyboard off when you are not using it for a long time).

not always cluttered like this, though

But a quick review is not why we are here, so let’s see why you should get yourself an external keyboard and mouse.

1. Less heat under fingertips

Boy, my MacBook Pro gets hot when I make her angry. With fans hitting 4000 rpm while working on something resource-intensive you can literally melt cheese on the touchpad. Living in the city of Summer, Dubai, makes it even more unbearable to work. It’s not hard to guess that the external companions are the only solution.

2. More distance from the screen

They say you should keep your distance from the screen, a minimum of 40 cm. But how is that possible when you are checking the latest tweets of your buddies (or something hotter), leaned toward the screen, like the letter C? Well, you know my answer: Get yourself external input devices.

3. More flexible screen positioning

People who use computers for a long time, tend to sit in weird positions, often in funny postures. That’s very wrong, you should sit correctly (no one sees me) all the time.

The point is that it helps a lot if you can put your laptop in a position higher than your hand, say 10-20 cm, to create a much better angle between your eyes and the display. There are many laptop stands that do the job for you, but I use a paper tray (works as a storage too) and I’m happy.

On the other hand, having a keyboard and a mouse, especially wireless, helps big tim in presentations where you don’t have access to a big screen. Just put your laptop on the table and let the people watch your jaw-dropping presentation while you are showing a lot of skill using your keyboard across the room.

4. Lowering the risk of CTS

Here comes the enemy of typaholics, CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome). There are ways to avoid CTS, but for the average user, being careful while typing may be the most important thing to consider.

In my experience (suffering from some minor pain in my wrists) the external keyboard could help relieve the pain. You can easily position the keyboard (and the mouse) right, but the laptop itself is less flexible.

5. More hygiene

Did you know that the toilet (a public toilet to make it more disgusting) is more likely cleaner than your laptop? It is in fact 5 times dirtier than a typical toilet.

I’ll make it quick by saying that cleaning external peripherals is way easier than cleaning the laptop itself. And if you are obsessive about it, just throw them out and buy new devices. Easy.

6. Increased productivity

For some mysterious reason, I can work faster and type better using my external devices.

7. Better resale value for the laptop

This one has nothing to do with health, but when you make more money reselling your laptop, you automatically feel a lot better.

One of the ugly things about second-hand laptops is the shiny stains on each and every key, especially the space bar. Depending on the quality of the laptop, there can even be a bigger spot on the touchpad. Not nice at all. If you see my laptop (purchased and used passionately since Oct. 2007), there is no spot, stain, or anything like that. It’s all on my external keyboard. So a cleaner laptop means an easier sale, and hopefully a better price.