“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

Microsoft takes photos to the MAX w/ WinFX

Microsoft has released a beta version of its Max software for organizing and sharing photos. It is the first software I have seen so far that uses the new WinFX framework that is going to be standard with Windows Vista.

Max as noted is a photo organizing and sharing application. It is basically an extension of the desktop that brings all your photos into one location. In this article I’m going to go through a full screens and describe how it works. In a next article I’ll do a comparios between Max and Picasa 2–UI aparent strategy, and then critiques of both. Further discuss Flickr as a completely hosted solution.

Microsoft Max's Entry Screen
This is not in a web-browser. It is in it’s own application space. The top left is where you sign in (using Passport) and then you can begin seeing other people’s photos and for them to see yours. You can of course begin to organize without logging in.

MS Max My lists
A user can build lists by navigating their hard drive and creating albums/sets of photos/images. The lists are represented as a slide show of the images in them.

MS Max: Edit List View
Editing a list allows you to add, remove, and rename its label. It assumes that lists are organized by date and it always starts out in the “my pictures” folder. There are 3 basic views. This one is thumbnails. …

Album View
Album view …

Mantle View
Mantle view …

These 2 views are interesting, b/c can arrange the content images in any type of pattern you like. Presumably the person viewing your photos in shared mode will see them this way when they look at your lists (if you give them permission). …

Max Sharing
Despite the look that this is an email form, it really is not. It is a permissions screen. You list e-mails of other people who have Max (or who you want to get Max) and then as long as they use that (and only that) e-mail address as their Max account then they will see your lists in their tab for “other people’s lists” on the entry screen. The message area doesn’t really mean a heck of a lot. Doesn’t seem to mean a lot. [I’ll critique the heck out of this in the next article.]

Lg. Thumbnail View
[NOTE: red box added to call out feature.] The slider bar at the top has an interesting behavior. It does the expected for sure quite well. As you slide the bar in one direction or the other the thumbnails get larger or smaller. What’s interesting though is that when the thumbnails get to size that they can fit horizontally in their row, they just dont’ jump down. The images move in a funky linear bouncing animation so that you see where the image is going. This makes it easier for eye tracking if you have happen to be looking at the image at the right edge and want to track where it is going.

All in all, Max is a lush environment to take care of some very basic management and sharing needs.

Sharing is Peer-to-Peer
I’ll go into more detail in this with the next article, but Max works Peer-to-Peer on a closed protocol/network. When you share, you are giving people access to your hard drive directly. This means that sharing is all about your bandwidth and your hard drive storage. It also means that sharing by the other person is also all about their hard drive and their bandwidth. No “smaller” versions are downloaded first. You get the whole enchilada when you do a sharing.

That’s It!

  • No editing tools
  • Only works with Max
  • No tagging or added meta-data
  • No public sharing
  • No printing

It is definitely worth checking out. So go to http://www.microsoft.com/max. As you would expect, it is Windows XP SP 2 ONLY.

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