Sound design app MetaSynth 4 adds new 'rooms,' more

Redwood City, Calif.-based U&I Software on Monday released MetaSynth 4 and MetaSynth 4 Pro, new versions of the company's sound design tool. The developer noted so much has changed that it decided to bypass version 3 when updating version 2.7, the last one released. In addition to a revamped user interface, the software offers such new real-time capabilities as real-time stereo previews and capture-to-disk, along with the ability to create and play music on the fly in the Image Synth and Effects "rooms."

You Control 1.3 updates, adds menu modules

You Software has released You Control 1.3, an update to its menu utilities collection that adds four new modules -- CPU Monitor, Disk Monitor, Memory Monitor and Network Monitor -- and updates the iTunes module with the ability to view and modify song ratings, as well as choose new button designs for the controls. The CPU Monitor graphically displays how much processing power is consumed by each application, including the system software, while the Disk Monitor shows available space in all mounted hard drives as well as each drive's read/write activity.

Tekkeon adds FM transmitter to myPower for iPod

Tekkeon on Thursday released an FM transmitter add-on to its myPower for iPod, the company's rechargeable battery and portable dock that offers up to 32 hours of extended use for iPods and up to 42 hours for iPod minis. myPower FM snaps into the bottom of the myPower unit and draws power from its battery, rather than the MP3 player's. It features seven FM frequencies to choose from and can transmit music to any radio or stereo within 15 feet.

OmniGraffle 3.2 adds OmniOutliner 3 support, more

The Omni Group on Wednesday issued version 3.2 of OmniGraffle and its Professional counterpart; they're free updates for registered users. OmniGraffle is a diagramming and drawing tool that can be purchased in a regular or souped-up Professional version. This upgrade adds support for importing OmniOutliner 3 files and offers several performance enhancements and bug fixes. OmniGraffle 3 is US$69.95 while the Professional version is $119.90. Mac OS X v10.2 is required.

Security update to Firefox released

The Mozilla Organization on Wednesday released Firefox 1.0.2, a security update to the full version of the Web browser that was released last November. This free upgrade includes three security updates and is recommended for all users. Mac OS X v10.1.x, a G3 266MHz processor (G4 667MHz recommended), 64MB RAM (256MB recommended) and 72MB of free hard drive space are required.

Tari releases HTML/CSS authoring tool GoodPage

European developer Tari has released its first application: GoodPage, an HTML/CSS tool that Web site owners can use to author and edit their documents. GoodPage offers WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) selection and navigation of documents viewed at the code, structure or browser level, with the ability to simultaneously view one document different ways. The utility can also manage a Web site via FTP, SFTP or a mounted WebDAV or other folder, such as .Mac's iDisk.

TechRestore offers to upgrade iPod hard drives

TechRestore Inc. on Tuesday announced a new iPod hard drive upgrade program for owners of all four generations of the full-size MP3 player. First- and second-generation iPod hard drives can be upgraded from 5GB to 10GB and from 10GB to 20GB, respectively, while owners of 4G models can boost storage from 20GB to 40GB or from 40GB to 60GB.

This week's user group news

Chuck Joiner has posted his latest User Group Report to the Macintosh User Group (MUG) Center Web site. In this update, he interviews BeLight Software's Irina Nazarova, who talks about her company's involvement with MUGs; Design Tools Monthly's Jay Nelson, who covers the Quark vs. InDesign debate as well as his publication's user group offer; and Tropical Software's James Lee, who recaps his recent presentations to MUGs about the company's TopXNotes software and mentions which ones he's visiting next.

Curious Labs ships 3D human figure tool Poser 6

Curious Labs Inc. on Tuesday announced that it is now shipping Poser 6, the latest version of its 3D tool for creating realistic human figures. New features in this upgrade include a revamped user interface, OpenGL hardware acceleration, cartoon outline rendering effects, better support for Flash with user-defined export colors for the Web and more. Poser 6 also offers two new lighting tools: ambient occlusion, which creates photorealistic soft shadows, and image-based lighting, which uses a photograph or an image map to light 3D scenes and make them appear as if they're part of a real-world environment.

Digidesign adds Ableton Live Lite 4 to Pro Tools

Digidesign on Monday announced that it will soon add Ableton Live Lite 4 Digidesign Edition to every Pro Tools TDM and LE music production environment. A free update from Live 2 Digidesign Edition is available for registered owners at the Ableton Web site. While Live Lite 4 is a feature-limited version of the full Live 4 music recording and mixing software, it adds functionality not present in the previous version of the Digidesign Edition, including better control of volume, pitch and timing, new audio and MIDI effects and more.

Quark previews Quark Publishing System 3.5

Quark Inc. on Monday announced that it is previewing Quark Publishing System (QPS) 3.5 at this week's Newspaper Association of America NEXPO trade show in Dallas. A free update for customers with current maintenance agreements, QPS 3.5 features integration with QuarkXPress 6, edit tracking with redlining capability, QuarkConnect for tracking and managing applications and files, support for Mac OS X Server and Xserve, support for AppleScript and an enhanced commenting function that enables the assignment of a specific color to each user.

IconBuilder 5.1 adds Fireworks MX support

The Iconfactory on Thursday released IconBuilder 5.1, a free update to its icon creation plug-in that adds support for Macromedia Fireworks MX 2004. The software was previously only compatible with Adobe Photoshop 7.0 or higher. IconBuilder can create icons for either the Windows or Macintosh operating system and can convert icons between the two. The full software is US$69 or $349 for a site license. IconBuilder 3.x or 4.x users who bought the software after Oct. 1, 2003 can upgrade to the latest version for free; anyone who bought it before that date can upgrade for $20.

Edirol ships R-4 recorder with BWF format support

Edirol Corp. on Friday announced that its R-4 recorder, which was first introduced last October, is now shipping. The company has added support for Broadcast Wave Format (BWF), which enables the R-4 to write the metadata required to comply with that standard. BWF files can be used in any playback device or audio editor that is compatible with the WAV format. The R-4 features a 40GB hard drive and USB 2.0 connectivity, with the ability to hold up to 17 hours of material at 24-bit/96kHz quality or up to 58 hours at 16-bit/44.1kHz, which is comparable to a CD.

Bandmates Inspiration offers 1K Apple Loops tracks has released Bandmates Inspiration Vol. 1, a collection of over 1,000 tracks in Apple Loops format, which is compatible with GarageBand, Logic 7 and Soundtrack. The library, which was created by professional musicians, features acoustic and electronic drums, acoustic and electric guitar and bass, keyboards, synthesizers, percussion and effects. Bandmates Inspiration Vol. 1, which comes on a DVD, is US$89.95. System requirements call for Mac OS X v10.2.8, GarageBand 1 or 2, Logic or Logic Express 7.x or Soundtrack 1.2 and 1.2GB of free hard drive space.

WMP 9 component exports content in QT-based apps

Popwire on Friday released Windows Media 9 Export Component, which exports content in Windows Media Viewer 9 format from any QuickTime-based application. Verified to work with QuickTime Pro 6.5.2, Final Cut Pro HD 4.5, iMovie 4.0.1 and Discreet Cleaner 6.0.2, the software features one-pass CBR and VBR encoding, 32 presets and automatic de-interlacing, with support for fractional frame rates and natural key frames. Pricing is US$29.95 and Mac OS X v10.3.5 and QuickTime 6.5.2 are required.