Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get the most out of their computers every day.

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How to reset the printing system

If you're having printing issues, there are lots of troubleshooting steps to try. You should check the printer's network connection and perhaps search for any new drivers your model has available. Another good idea is turning the device off and on again to see if the problem's just an intermittent one. You could even delete the printer from System Preferences > Printers & Scanners and reconfigure it. There is, however, a troubleshooting step that you can attempt if nothing else seems to work - resetting your entire printing system.

This can be especially helpful if you're pretty certain that your Mac's the problem, not the printer (if your other computers can print just fine). You'll want to use this only as a last resort, though, because you'll have to set up all of your printers and scanners again.

Here's how you do it: 

• Open System Preferences from the Apple menu and click "Printers & Scanners"
• Right or Control click on the white box on the left of the tab (where your devices are listed)
• Choose "Reset printing system..." and click OK
• Wait for your Mac to complete the task (which can take a little while) and after it's finished, select the plus (+) button on the "Printers & Scanners" window to walk through adding your devices back in

Backing up to multiple Time Machine drives

Despite constant encouragement these days to push our valuable data into "the cloud", there is still a genuine need for offline backups. Since its introduction in OS X Leopard, Apple has improved the Time Machine drastically. Within OS X Mavericks, Mac users can not only enjoy encryption and improved notification support but also backup disk rotation. This means that you can now choose multiple drives for Time Machine to use, and it's easy to set up!

To add extra drives to your Time Machine backup routine, do this:

• Open System Preferences from the Apple menu and click "Time Machine"
• Click "Select Disk..."
• Choose the volume you want to add to your backup routine, then click "Use Disk"
• Click "Use Both" to add the new drive to your backup schedule.

Your Mac will rotate its backup schedule to include all of the volumes you add to Time Machine, which is great because that means you can easily have separate backups at work and home simply by keeping different hard drives at each location. It's also great for automatically backing up to more than one Time Machine volume at the same location. For example, you can backup to a Time Capsule on your own network, and have a second backup on a hard drive connected directly to your Mac.

Time Machine will show you files from the volume it most recently used for backing up content. If you need to see files from a different backup location, just press the Option (Alt) key and choose "Browse Other Backup Disks..." from the Time Machine menu in the menu bar.

Troubleshooting keychain issues

Is Safari no longer remembering logins and passwords? Is asking for a password every time you launch the app and try to check or send mail, despite the fact that you’ve entered login credentials over and over? When a Mac app no longer remembers password and login data, it’s often the result of corrupted keychain files. This is easy to fix in three easy steps with Keychain Access first aid.

• Launch Keychain Access located in /Applications/Utilities
• Open the "Keychain Access" menu and choose "Keychain First Aid"
• Enter the user’s password and check the "Repair" box, then click "Start"

After keychain repairs are completed, exit out of Keychain Access and return to the application that wasn't remembering the login and password information. You may be asked one more time for the login, but from this point on it should remember it.

Symbol and text substitution

Posted in Tips & Tricks

Using symbol and text substitution, you can easily write any special character or symbol like ™ or ® just by typing something like TM or (r). You can adjust this and set your own, and it's easy to configure.

• Open System Preferences from the Apple menu and click "Keyboard"
• Click on the "Text" tab
• Adjust text to replace with a symbol or add more text to replace by hitting the plus (+) button

For example, if you set "JS" to be replaced with "John Smith", anytime you type JS and hit space the text will be replaced.

Speed up your Photoshop

Here are a few tricks and tweaks to speed up your Photoshop performance.

• Close unused document windows. If you’re not actively using an image file, close it. Each open file can take up a significant amount of memory, which can quickly lead to slow downs.

• Reduce an images resolution. Working with higher resolution images and files uses more resources. If you’re going to be saving a relatively low quality version of an image anyway, reduce the image resolution to a tolerable level to gain a nice speed boost.

• Purge history and clipboard. Edit > Purge > All. The history feature of Photoshop is useful but it takes up a lot of memory. If you’re not using it, purging the contents of history and clipboard frees up resources.

• Turn off animated zoom. Preferences > General > Animated Zoom > Uncheck.

• Turn off flick panning. Preferences > General > Enabled Flick Panning > Uncheck.

• Set drawing mode to Basic. Preferences > Performance > Graphics Processor Settings > Advanced Settings > Drawing Mode > Basic.

• Disable anti-aliasing on guides and paths. Preferences > Performance > Graphics Processor Settings > Advanced Settings > Anti-alias Guides and Paths > Uncheck.

• Adjust Photoshops memory use. Preferences > Performance > Memory Usage (adjust this based on your physical memory capacity and individual needs, a higher percentage is better).

• Turn off image previews. Preferences > File Handling > File Saving Options > Image Previews > Never Save.

• Use less Video RAM for 3D stuff. Preferences > 3D > Available VRAM for 3D > 30%, this is particularly useful for anyone using a computer with a video card that shares VRAM with primary RAM, such as some MacBook, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini models.

• Watch the efficiency indicator. At the bottom of any open Photoshop window you’ll see an “efficiency” gauge, if this falls below 100% that means you are using the scratch disk (hard drive) for memory and Photoshop will become slower. Solve this by allocating more RAM or by having less open windows.

Make sure you completely quit Photoshop and restart it and you should see a significant difference in performance.