MAX is supposed to mean "Metropolitan Area Express," but everyone just calls it MAX. It is the light rail system serving the greater Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. TriMet owns and operates the system.

The first leg of the system was the eastside line, built in 1986. This line extends from downtown Portland, over the Steel Bridge, through the Rose Quarter and Lloyd District along Interstate 84 (the Banfield) and out to Gresham via Burnside Avenue.

The second part to open was the westside line in 1998. This line meets the eastside line in downtown, and heads west past Civic Stadium, through Goose Hollow, and into a 3-mile-long tunnel through the west hills. the Washington Park station is the only underground station in the system, and the deepest transit station in North America. The tunnel dumps the line out along U.S. 26 (The Sunset Highway). The line turns and goes along Oregon 217 for a while and heads into downtown Beaverton. The line then goes out an old rail right-of-way out to Hillsboro.

The next part is the airport line, which is currently under construction. It will branch off the eastside line at Gateway and head north along Interstate 205 toward the airport, where it will go along Airport Way to a station right at the PDX terminal. This line is slated to open in the fall of 2001.

There is yet another line has recently started construction: the north, or Interstate line. This line will branch off the eastside line at the Rose Quarter and head north along North Interstate Avenue, terminating at the Expo Center. This line is planned to open in 2004. Vancouver, Washington is just across the river from here and I think that the line may be extended there someday.

MAX Updates:

April 5 2001:

Line colors: With the opening of Airport MAX, TriMet is assigning colors to each of the lines. I'm pretty sure these will be the colors, but I've heard differing reports. The blue line is the only one I know for sure. In fact, kiosks at some stations even say "blue line" on the maps now.

  • The existing eastside and westside lines will become the blue line, with endpoints in Hillsboro and Gresham.
  • The airport line will be the red line, with endpoints at PDX and downtown Portland. The red line will share the existing blue line track between Gateway and Portland.
  • The interstate line will be the green line (I think!) with endpoints at the Expo Center and downtown Portland. The green line will share the existing blue line track between the Rose Quarter and Portland.
Between the Rose Quarter and the 11th Avenue turnaround downtown, all three lines will operate.

Portland Streetcar: The streetcar will begin operating in the summer of 2001. From Galleria/10 Av (westbound trains) or Library/9 Av (eastbound trains), pick up the streetcar at Yamhill & 10 Av for northbound service (NW Portland, Pearl District, Powell's) or Taylor & 11 Av for southbound service (PSU, cultural district). Fareless Square south of Irving street, so if you're headed to "trendy-third," pay the 1 zone fare.

Future MAX extentions: Vancouver is starting to talk about light rail again, what with two new lines basically ending just on this side of the Columbia River. I expect to eventually see a line from Expo Center north, over a new or reconstructed Interstate Bridge into downtown Vancouver. The possibility exists to extend MAX over the Interstate 205 bridge (the Glenn L. Jackson Bridge) with a spur from the airport line. Someday there may be connections within Vancouver, as well.

Don't count out Clackamas County. The poor stepchild of tri-county light rail will be getting it eventually. Look for a line to head south through SE Portland, through Milwaukie, and on to Oregon City and/or Clackamas Town Center. They might get it before Vancouver, what with the complexities involved in a multi-state project.

In the farther future (wishful thinking): SE Portland service (possibly streetcar instead), Barbur Boulevard service to Tigard, Service along Oregon 217 between Beaverton and Tigard. (Currently under study as part of a commuter rail corridor.) Service along the old trolley line from Portland south to Lake Oswego, possibly as far as West Linn. Service along Interstate 205 bewteen Gateway and Clackamas Town Center.

May 30 2001:

The interstate line will be the yellow line, not the green line. Sorry!

There has been talk of a Clackamas County line built in the median of Interstate 205 from Gateway south to the Clackamas Town Center and/or Oregon City area. Light-rail proponents in the Milwaukee area don't particularly like this idea.

October 11 2001:

MAX Red Line sucessfully opened to PDX on September 10, 2001. Interstate MAX is currently under construction, expected completion and opening of MAX Yellow Line is in 2004. MAX Blue Line is operating much the same as before, with reduced evening hours. MAX to the south (MAX Green Line) is still being studied.

Remember that Airport MAX != MAX Red Line. Airport MAX is the set of tracks between Gateway TC and PDX. MAX Red Line trains are trains operating between Downtown Portland and PDX, over both the original MAX trackage (aka Eastside MAX) and Airport MAX trackage.

April 13 2002:

Time for the semi-annual update! MAX is still plugging along with Blue and Red lines in full operation. Interstate MAX is continuing construction, apparently ahead of schedule. The September 2004 opening date for the MAX Yellow Line has not yet been pushed back, however. Studies for the south are continuing, with corridors through Milwaukie and along Interstate 205 from Gateway TC under consideration for light rail and other transportation options.

May 3 2003:

Construction on Interstate MAX is continuing ahead of schedule and budget. Work on the Interstate Avenue roadway & sidewalks is basically finished. Much of the trackwork is complete up to Kenton. My impression is most of the heavy construction left is on the northern end, north of Kenton. Station shelters and overhead catenary lines are working their way up the street. The first train was towed onto portions of the new track recently. Opening day is still scheduled for September 2004, with the possibility of an early opening in the spring. Whenever it opens, the plan is to run the new MAX Yellow Line from downtown Portland on existing track to the Rose Quarter, where it will use the Interstate MAX track to the Expo Center.

TriMet recently decided to extend the MAX Red Line's western terminal from downtown Portland to the Beaverton TC. This change will occur in September 2003.

It looks like Clackamas County will get 2 MAX extensions. The first one to be contructed will be a line down Interstate 205 from the Gateway TC to Clackamas Town Center. Along with this phase they also plan to build a new downtown Portland line on the existing Transit Mall on 5 and 6 Avenues. Who knows where all the buses are supposed to go during construction & operation. Seemingly also up in the air is the fate of the existing tracks and stations between the Steel Bridge and the transit mall.

After that, the next extension would be to the south again, this time from downtown south across a new bridge between the Marquam Bridge and Ross Island Bridge, then south through SE Portland and into Milwaukie.

Standard C library function/macro which returns the greater of its two operands. Can be written as #define MAX( a, b ) ((a) > (b)) ? (a) : (b) It, has of course, an evil twin.

Often short for maximum. Also a fairly common name for humans and pets.

Some famous (and not-so-famous) Max's are:
The Grinch's dog; Max Headroom; Max, the rabbit, of Sam and Max; Mad Max.
MAX is a visual programming language oriented towards realtime operation.

Originally developped at IRCAM (french major research center in music, founded by Pierre Boulez) by Miller Puckette for IRCAM's musical platform. The software was taken over and distributed commercially by Opcode whose most succesful version of MAX was the Macintosh version. Recently, all commercial activity has been handed over to cycling74

The language is interpreted and rely upon 'patches' as structural components of a program. Those patches contain objects linked together by typed or untyped inlets (inputs) and outlets (outputs)

When a value is sent to those inlets, the system is sending messages to the destination. This destination can be an object (which is an 'external', that is, is a binary program executed on the platform) or a subpatch, and perform whatever operation is defined.

The appeal of a visual language is that it's rather easy to develop programs in an intuitive/creative way, and it's also friendlier for a non-programmer. (as the application was to be used by musicians)

Of course, a visual programming language has its drawbacks, especially when a patch becomes complex (all you see is a mass of objects and connections) or because of implicit or hidden temporal effects: it is sometimes quite hard to figure out when this or that message will arrive. Also, the position of the elements in the patch matters.

MAX really shines in the way it permits realtime manipulation of incoming and outcoming MIDI (and audio) data, which makes it very useful in a live situation.

two free software versions of MAX exist:

  • jMAX developed by IRCAM (under GPL)
  • PureData developed by Miller Puckette (under a specific, BSD-like license)
The X-files

Max (part 2 of 2)
Episode: 4X18
First aired:3/23/97
Written by:Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz
Directed by: Kim Manners

As seen in the previous episode, Mulder, clad in scuba gear, inspects (what appears to be) the wreckage of a UFO deep beneath the murky waters of Great Sacandaga Lake in Upstate New York. A bright beam of light penetrates the darkness, illuminating the agent. The light's source is revealed to be a team of frogmen, accompanied by an amphibious craft equipped with large searchlights. Mulder attempts to make an escape, but he is placed under military arrest.

A wounded Garrett escapes from the Headless Woman Pub. Scully immediately turns her attention to Agent Pendrell, who was caught in the crossfire. Paramedics are called to the scene and Pendrell is transported to a nearby hospital. Skinner tells Scully that Louis Frish is being placed under military arrest (for suspicion of murder and providing false testimony to a federal investigation).

Mulder is released from jail. The Air Force asserts that Flight 549 collided with a military fighter jet when Frish and his tower co-controller made an error in judgment. Based on the wreckage he saw beneath Lake Sacandaga, Mulder believes Flight 549 collided with a UFO (after it was shot down by a military jet). Scully tells Mulder that Agent Pendrell died of his injuries. Mulder conveys his sympathies.

Records reveal that Sharon Graffia is not Max Fenig's sister, but an unemployed aeronautical engineer who spent time in mental institutions (where she met Fenig). The agents search Fenig's mobile home. They discover a videotape in which Fenig states that the military salvaged alien technology for use in their own technological applications. He claims to have undeniable, irrefutable proof to back up his assertion.

Mulder describes for Mike Millar the sequence of events that (he believes) led to the downing of Flight 549. According to Mulder, Max boarded the plane carrying physical proof of the existence of extraterrestrial life. Someone followed him aboard the craft, intending to obtain the object at any cost. But before the assassin could carry out his plot, Flight 549 was intercepted by a UFO. As the UFO began to abduct Fenig, flight controllers ordered a military jet into 549's airspace on a mission to destroy the alien craft. When the Air Force shot down the UFO, the airliner, caught in its "tractor beam," spun out of control and crashed.

The manager of the trailer park where Fenig lived gives Mulder Fenig's undelivered mail. One envelope contains a luggage claim ticket bearing a three-letter designation for Syracuse. Meanwhile, Scully meets with Sharon Graffia at a mental health center. She admits she stole an object from her employer after Max insisted it could prove the existence of alien life. The object was divided into three parts. Max and Sharon each took a segment, but they were later confiscated.

Mulder finds the third piece inside Fenig's luggage at the Syracuse airport. He boards a flight for Washington, but is followed by Garrett (Agent Pendrell's killer). Mulder gets the jump on Garrett and confines him to a bathroom aboard the plane. He telephones Scully and instructs her to meet him at Dulles airport. Suddenly, Mulder's wrist watch stops running. A UFO intercepts the aircraft and, during the commotion Garrett escapes from the lavatory. He grabs a knapsack containing the third stolen alien segment. As a bright light from the UFO engulfs the plane, Mulder instructs Garrett to drop the bag. But Garrett refuses to do so. When the plane lands at Dulles airport, Garrett is not on board. Mulder tells Skinner that Garrett "caught a connecting flight."

Important Quotes:
Scully -- "Mulder."
Mulder -- "Hey, Scully. You here to spring me from the joint?"

Mulder -- "Remember this place?"
Scully -- "I remember being amazed at what some people will call home."
Mulder -- "You have to admit the man had an enduring sense of style."
Scully -- "Only Max Fenig and you would appreciate living like this."

Max -- "And, uh, I should probably mention that I do this at great risk to my own health and safety but hey, when every day is just another day you're gonna get kidnapped by a bunch of little gray dudes from outer space what's a few CIA spooks to worry about? "

Mulder -- "Do you know where she is?"
Scully -- "In a mental institution."
Mulder -- "I'd go with you . . . but I'm afraid they'd lock me up."
Scully -- "Me too. "

Scully -- "Mulder, where are you? "
Mulder -- "I'm standing outside an airplane bathroom where I've got the man who shot Pendrell locked up."
Scully -- "What?"
Mulder -- "Yeah, looks like I'm gonna miss the inflight movie. And it was something starring Steve Guttenberg."

Scully -- "I think you appreciate that there are extraordinary men - and women- and extraordinary moments when history leaps forward on the backs of these individuals. That what can be imagined can be achieved. That you must dare to dream, but that there is no substitute for perseverance and hard work and teamwork. Because no one gets there alone. And while we commemorate the greatness of these events and the individuals who achieve them, we cannot forget the sacrifice of those who made these achievements and leaps possible."
Mulder -- "I thought it was just a pretty cool keychain."

Back to The X-files: Season 4

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