Friday, February 24, 2012

The Perfect Mac Utility For The Paranoid Geek Wannabe Newbie

If you were to look at the apps and tools on my Mac you would come to the conclusion that I’m a collector. I have a few hundred non-Apple, non-Adobe, non-Microsoft, 3rd party apps and utilities. Some I love but don’t use. Other utilities have hundreds of features but seldom get double-clicked. Cocktail is one such Mac utility.

The Tool For Paranoid Geek Wannabe Newbies

Mac OS X, in whatever kitty version you’re sporting these days, is designed to run fine right out of the box. Add iWork to the included iLife and your Mac is a powerhouse

Below the surface is Unix, so if your geek gets an itch you’re just a terminal session away from becoming a command line god, keystrokes from making your Mac sing in ways most Mac users cannot imagine.

Or, you can point and click to add functions and features you not only never heard of, but probably don’t need.


The Madness Of Too Many Tools

Windows PC users spend an inordinate amount of time tweaking their systems. Not tweaking for performance sake or general geekiness, but running anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware apps– just to be in a position to use their computer safely.

Mac users get 21st century perfection right out of the box. Mac OS X takes care of nearly everything we need to keep the Mac in tip top shape, including most of those behind the scenes functions we don’t know about.

The Mac community loves utilities and I have my share. No, more than my share. Most of them are seldom used. Some of them are never used.

More Cocktail

Cocktail For You And Me

I’ve owned Cocktail for many years. It’s one of many Mac utilities which help to unlock many of Apple’s hidden OS X treasures. What’s not to like?

It is a smooth and powerful digital toolset with a variety of practical features that simplifies the use of advanced UNIX functions and helps Mac users around the world to get the most out of their computers. Cocktail is installed at more than 200 000 computers world wide.

Advertising copy is a wonderful thing. In this case, it doesn’t say much about why I should use Cocktail. Other than lots of other Mac users use Cocktail.

The Utility of it All

Cocktail does have uses. Look at all these bullet points just for the Disk functions.

  • Automatically check SMART (Self Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) status of disks
  • Enable or disable journaling on selected disk
  • Repair disk permissions permissions on selected disk
  • Reset home directory permissions and Access Control Lists
  • Set disk sleep (spindown) time
  • Modify sleep settings for portable computers
  • Allow or prevent mounting of external disks during system startup
  • Enable or disable Sudden Motion Sensor

Most of those functions are available in OS X’s Disk Utility or elsewhere on your Mac. One central utility that does it all is handy.

More And More Utility

Mac OS X is made up of many systems, some of which do this or that while you’re asleep and your Mac is running (or, should be). System functions in Cocktail are similar to the Disk functions. OS X will let you do them if you know how, but it’s not as easy.

  • Run periodic maintenance scripts
  • Enable or disable Spotlight indexing of selected disk
  • Erase Spotlight index for selected disk
  • Set backup interval and modify other Time Machine settings
  • Rebuild Launch Services database
  • Update locate and whatis databases
  • Change startup mode
  • Set startup delay
  • Force empty Trash
  • Enable Kiosk mode

Cocktail makes every one of those functions a few clicks away, no Terminal needed, not even a degree in Geek. Dozens more functions for Files, Network, and OS X’s Interface are just a tab and a click away.

But, do you need all this functionality if your Mac is designed to run fine right out of the box? Yes. And no. I’m as power hungry as anyone, but find myself collecting more utilities than actually using those utilities to dink around and tweak this or that on my Mac.

Cocktail is great. It’s highly recommended if you need, truly need to dig into your Mac and make it better. It’s a fine app for the paranoid, the Mac newbie, and the geek wannabe.