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.

Get Cocktail here

Color flag your emails

Posted in Mail Tips & Tricks

Although it's handy to be able to flag an important message in Mail, there is a more eye-catching method.

• Click to select a message

• Open the Colors window by pressing Command+Shift+C

• Choose your preferred color, and it will be applied to the message's background

To remove color applied to a message, choose white as a new color. You can set the background color of messages in rules (Mail > Preferences > Rules) as well.

Move a file by using the window title bar

Posted in Finder Tips & Tricks

Longtime Mac users are accustomed to moving files around in OS X by dragging and dropping them between folders and directories. Both of those methods work just fine to relocate files and move things around, but another lesser known option to move a file can be done when that file is currently open, just by using the files window title bar.

This is a fairly hidden feature in OS X, so if you've never seen file relocation done entirely through the documents active window titlebar before, don't be too surprised. Hidden or not though, you'll find it useful and a cinch to use.

• With a file open, click on the files name in the window title bar to reveal a contextual menu (be sure to click on the text name itself, not the little document icon).

• Click on the pulldown menu alongside “Where” (the location shown is where the file is currently located).

• Select the destination you want to move the file to from the list (including iCloud) or choose “Other...” to browse the file system and select somewhere specific.

• Click away from the title bars contextual menu to hide it and resume work within the document as usual.

That's it, the document has moved. Simply changing the “Where” selection will move the file to the chosen destination instantly. There's no confirmation, no dragging and dropping, nothing else is necessary to relocate the file, it will move immediately as the window title bar action is taken, to the location specified by “Where”.

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.

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.