Microsoft Max

26 Sep

A year or so back, Microsoft decided to develop applications that made use of Microsoft’s Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and the new .Net Framework 3.0. So far, Microsoft seems to have developed only two such applications, the first being the New York Times Reader (see screenshots here) and the second, Microsoft Codename Max. A friend of mine told me about Max in October 2005. At that time it was simply a photo-sharing tool. I saw screenshots and description on the web and that was all. I didn’t think it would be useful since in order to share photos with someone, the other person would need to download the software too. In November or December 2005, Microsoft added a news reader to Max. I downloaded it this time, but uninstalled it after a couple of days. The software was way too heavy for my 700 MHz Pentium III Dell Laptop with 512MB Ram. Finally, this year, Microsoft added the ability to add RSS feeds to Max. Since most bloggers were raving about how gorgeous it was, I decided to download it and give it a try. This time I was downloading it on a faster 1.6 GHz AMD Turion Laptop with 512MB Ram.

As mentioned earlier, Max is a photo-sharing tool and an RSS reader. Now, I have no idea why one would need both these features in one piece of software. In this review, I’ll examine the features of Max.


The software installation process is painfully slow. It takes 20 – 30 minutes (because the .NET framework has to be installed too) and the computer needs to be rebooted at the end of it. I guess things will improve with Vista. As of now, the software is not compatible with Vista, though.

The photo sharing features are decent.

One can make some cool looking albums in 2-D and 3-D view, but there is no provision to publish it to the web. As mentioned above, you can share photos only with people who have this software installed. On the whole, I don’t see this as a very useful feature.

The news/ RSS reader, on the other hand, though rudimentary, is gorgeous. Adding a feed is simple – simply click on “Add a feed” and enter the address. All feeds that you’ve added are visible on the left. Clicking on any of them brings up a nice view of the page, as shown below. Deleting feeds is also a simple two step process. However, several advanced options that are available in web-based feed readers, are not available in Max.

On the whole, Max makes great use of WPF but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to make this product useful.


Posted by on September 26, 2006 in Reviews, Utilities


5 responses to “Microsoft Max

  1. tismarkhan

    September 27, 2006 at 6:14 am

    i thought u said u wont review max..and what abt crosslisting it on the sparks page…?

  2. tismarkhan

    September 27, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    i havent checked this product, but from my understanding of rss, this could be good for blog feeds where every post makes it to the feeds, for news, i use feeds only to go to that page, and then read all the news items directly on that page as per my interest..
    and then u also might want to have a quick reference or google on some other page..
    point being webpage feeds make lot of practical sense..unless I am really underestimating what max can do..

    as for photo sharing, i dont know who copied from whom, but google has a simialr software ‘hello’…its light and quick as other google products..and both the parties need that software..

    but the thing is, google also has a photosharing website webpicasa, which is real sweet..and the best part is both hello and webpicasa are configured to desktop picasa…and u can easily play with ur images..

    although editing abilities of picasa are fairly limited and the ‘export’ option is very annoying.

  3. shravan

    September 27, 2006 at 11:43 pm

    “and what abt crosslisting it on the sparks page…?”
    I’ll try to put up some screenshots…

    Actually picasa is much older than Max. I’m absolutely positive Microsoft has copied this idea but it was anyway about the implementation and not the ideas. They wanted to implement something using the new WPF and the result is Max. I don’t use photo-sharing software. I the web-publishing add-in for flickr instead. I like Picasa, though. It’s a nice little software.

  4. tismarkhan

    September 28, 2006 at 2:02 am

    naah i was comparing ‘hello’ and ‘max’,
    i know picassa is older, but from what u described, max sounds more like hello…i dont know the editing abilities of hello though.

    as i said, what is good abt picasa is, its configured with hello, so u can transfer ur images from picasa to hello easily..

  5. tucson

    September 28, 2006 at 5:50 am

    Must be. Max is pretty new. It’s very basic at this point, though. Picasa is better for editing. Max creates good albums but you can’t save them as images – wonder why.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: