First Look: Adobe's Muse code-free website designer

Adam Berenstain Contributor, Macworld

Adam Berenstain is a freelance writer in upstate New York and a longtime Macworld contributor.
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Many applications let you create websites with little or no coding, but Adobe is betting print professionals are ready for one more. Adobe’s new Web design program, code-named Muse, lets users take advantage of their familiarity with InDesign to build entire sites as easily as they might create brochures. But while Muse transports the page-layout paradigm to the Web intact, it offers features that establish it as an exciting new tool for making sophisticated, interactive sites.

Plan and design your site

Plan View: Muse’s Plan view is a sitemap that lets you easily add or delete pages, drag and drop to rearrange and nest them, and create master pages that can be applied by dropping them onto other pages in your site. Here you can also customize properties like page size, the number of columns in each page, and page metadata. Double-clicking pages opens them for editing.

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Autodesk releases trio of CAD apps

Autodesk has released a trio of new software applications and upgrades for the Mac: AutoCAD 2012 for Mac, AutoCAD LT 2012 for Mac, and AutoCAD WS for Mac. All are compatible with Lion and Snow Leopard. All feature multi-touch capability for intuitive pan and zoom and cover flow for graphical browsing of design files. AutoCAD LT and AutoCAD WS are available only from the Mac App Store.

With their support for creating and editing files within the DWG file format, AutoCAD 2012 and AutoCAD LT 2012 give users an easy, cross-platform way to collaborate with suppliers, customers, clients, and partners. Files created in previous versions of AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT are compatible with the current Mac versions of the products.

While AutoCAD returned to the Mac with great fanfare in 2010 after a 16-year absence from the platform, this is the first time Autodesk has offered Mac desktop versions of its AutoCAD LT drafting tool and AutoCAD WS, the review and collaboration application. AutoCAD WS has been available as a mobile app since last year, but the new version offers desktop functionality on the Mac for the first time, enabling people who don't own AutoCAD to read and edit files created by the program.

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Playing nice with GarageBand for iPad

Apple touts its GarageBand for iPad application as a great way to play and record music without the need to learn scales or time signatures. Musical newbies aren’t the only ones interested in using the $5 app, however. GarageBand for iPad appeals to seasoned musicians, too. And those with significant investments in recording equipment may be wondering which, if any, of their existing gear will work with the portable version of GarageBand. I decided to grab my trusty iPad, my iPad camera connection kit, and powered USB hub and plug in whatever I had around to see what would work.

The iPad Camera Connection Kit includes two adapters that plug into the iPad’s Dock connector. One of the adapters has an SD card slot that allows you to transfer photos and videos from a camera card into iMovie or iPhoto for iPad. The second adapter has a USB 2.0 input that allows you to connect a camera, or other USB peripheral to your iPad–I used one to connect a Flip camcorder.

iPad Camera Connection Kit

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Adobe previews Muse Web design app

Adobe has unveiled Muse, a new Web design program that lets print-oriented graphic designers create and publish standards-based websites without having to write code or work within restrictive templates.

The software, which employs Web standards such as HTML 5, CSS3, and JavaScript, is being released as a public beta under the code name, Muse. The program will be available from Adobe's website as a free preview until the first quarter of 2012.

Muse is a freeform tool targeted to graphic designers and artists whose work has thus far appeared only in print, but who want to create interactive websites without having to deal with code.

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Quark sold to merger and acquisition company

Quark, developer of the desktop publishing software QuarkXPress, has been acquired by Platinum Equity, a Los Angeles merger and acquisition company, for an undisclosed sum.

Quark, which is privately held, was previously owned by the Ebrahimi family, which bought it from founder Tim Gill in 2000. On August 1, the children of Farhad (Fred) Ebrahimi, who retired in 2005, completed a transaction in which they sold all of their Quark shares for cash, and handed over control of the company to Platinum Equity.

Quark said the purpose of this transaction is to strengthen the company and give it the flexibility and financial facility to fulfill its goal of becoming a category leader in the realm of dynamic and digital publishing.

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Apple updates Logic 9 Express, Pro

On Monday Apple released minor updates for its Logic Express and Logic Pro audio recording and editing software.

Both Logic Express 9.1.5 and Logic Pro 9.1.5 address the same issues. Apple says that all instrument and effect plug-ins that use LFO’s synced to the beat now behave correctly; that the Toggle Zoom key command now returns to previous zoom level as expected; and that it provides improved compatibility with Apogee’s Duet 2.

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