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Posted on December 5, 2013 at 11:28 am

Mac OS X Mavericks: new problems with old printers? (and some solutions too)

Mavericks Printer Filter ErrorI recently updated a couple of client*s iMacs with Mac OS X Mavericks (better late than never) and found myself stuck with an unknown error from the printer spooler: “Filter failed”.

I checked all printer software, namely a Kyocera PDL and a Samsung laser printers, and still got the same problem.
A short check with Error Console didn’t helped that much.
I deleted the printers and re/installed them, I checked for more recent drivers on the web but… no way, no solution.

Time to Google out some help.
It turns out that Mac OS X Mavericks doesn’t support (or likes) many older printers and many users are complaining about it so here’s my pick along with a couple of solutions and a few lessons learned.

Mavericks Mac Printer ProblemFirst attempt, just as I did, try to delete, remove and reinstall the printer, eventually rebooting in between.
Then, from the Printer & Scanners panel, right-click to Reset printing system status and try again if the dreaded filter error gets away.

If not, here’s B-Plan.
Mac OS X printing service, CUPS, may be part of the problem so you may turn to GutenDriver, which overrides CUPS’s settings and brings high quality printer drivers for Canon, Epson, Lexmark, and PCL printers.

Download them from GutenDriver web site, as of writing latest version is 5.2.9, and reinstall printer drivers as usual: GutenDriver should have taken place.
Now you’re printing (happily as I did) back with your old printer but through GutenDriver filter.

GutenDriver works from Mac OS X 10.2 up to 10.8 and, as I tested, with 10.9 AKA Mavericks.

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Posted on December 4, 2013 at 8:26 pm

ScreenShade: an old (free) utility that will make brighter (or dimmer) your Mac

ScreenShade Utility MavericksMost of the time, I love a dim-lit working environment (I guess it’s not only me…).

My iMac 24″ display sports a good estate when it comes to screen size but it’s damn too bright, especially when you’re using it for hours and hours writing text and/or coding.

ScreenShade Mac OS XThe latest Mavericks update urged my to find a substitute for the now-defunct utility Shades (that is: no more supported by 10.9.x).
Meet ScreenShade which, incidentally, looks like it’s some sort of abandonware: its home website is no longer available…

You can still find it on Softonic library, download it and get up and (dim) running very fast!

ScreenShade resides in the upper-right bar, can be configured for Startup-Launch and, quite interesting, can be set up for external displays too.

Simple, free, useful: recommended!

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Posted on October 23, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Mac OS X Mavericks: lots of features and… free!

mac os x mavericksYou may or you may have not followed yesterday’s Apple Keynote.

Among several new products (namely iPad Air AKA iPad 5) and a bunch of new MacBook Pros, Apple released (not just announced) Mac OS X 10.9, dubbed Mavericks.

It’s a major release: it introduces dozens of new features most users (me too) are exploring and getting used to.

First of all, it’s free!

Yes, it’s completely free provided your Mac is entitled to run it (check here for older Mac compatibility http://www.apple.com/osx/how-to-upgrade/) and you’ve got some spare time (a few hours depending on your Internet connection and Mac) and some 10 GB of spare disk space.

First thoughts are about energy management: I’m installing Mavericks on both an iMac and a MacBook Pro (mid-2010 i5-based).

Battery status now shows which processes/programs are using more energy and from Activity Monitor, now redesigned, you can check how much energy is draining each process.
This will for sure affect MacBook owners: battery management has been surely enhanced.

Overall performance seems adequate but only everyday usage under ‘worst’ conditions will tell…

Second monitor fans will be happy to learn that now each display has it’s own dock and menu bar (a feature previously available only by means of some utility).

More details upcoming…

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Posted on August 25, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Heavy PNG (or JPG/GIF, by the way) files? Get a free and simple Mac tool: ImageOptim!

I use/love/hate/hack WordPress for some websites I run/admin/work for.

Media uploading though – image, namely, has become an issue since every time you upload an image (PNG to be accurate) huge files are being stored along with their smaller thumbnails.

The catch is that WP ( > 3.x) generates thumbnails from uploaded PNGs that are far from optimized and so take a lot of (precious) storage space – and result in being slower when downloaded with mobile devices.
I know that we live in the gigabytes-hosting-giveaway era, but it’s still an issue to me!

At first, I tried with Photoshop, getting PNGs as small as I could but then moved on to a simpler solution.

free image resize optimization mac toolMeet ImageOptim!

ImageOptim is a free and really simple to use image optimizer that works well to quickly reduce the file size of PNG, JPEG, and GIF image files.
The interface couldn’t get any easier: you just drag and drop images into the app and they’ll be optimized, whether it’s one picture or some hundreds (just in my case) it works the same.

The app works by finding the most suitable compression parameters for the image file type, and then it further reduces file size by removing unnecessary color profiles, EXIF data, and comments from the image itself.

Check it out! Optimization works well and it’s a lot faster than opening something like Photoshop.

You can even optimize ImageOptim itself by adjusting the amount of CPU gear it can use (so that CPU usage is correctly shared along with all other applications running): this is great on my i5 MBP – all 4 cores are devoted to get the job done really quickly.

Try now and find out how much you can optimize/reduce/save your image file – i found PNGs are on average 25% smaller when ImageOptim-treated!

ImageOptim requires Tiger and up, and is available in English, French, German, Italian, Dutch and Polish.

Download ImageOptim here!

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