I've gotta say all this hype around a paid for run time/free run time is annoying... I'm really glad that albeton haven't offered it. Now before you all get out your pitchforks here's why:
If we want max for live to be the revolutionary software that its being hyped to be then there needs to be a community that surrounds it, not a bunch of people waiting around for a couple of people to release a bunch of free pseudo vsts.
Sure, there will be people who will make amazing things with it, but you shouldn't be buying it solely for that. The main reason you should be excited for m4l is the freedom it will provide in allowing you to use Live in a unique way. For example -
i'm currently using Max to ramp live's tempo from one song to the next so that i can do dj-style mixes between our songs when playing in the session view, while still playing the parts that i'm mixing (rather than having a hand on a controller). and the patch knows the previous tempo, so if its a large tempo change it will happen slower so its subtle.
I'm also using it to control dmx lights via midi. And to make a joystick send out midi.
None of this is particularly revolutionary. Most of it can be done in one way or another either in Live itself or using third party software but not nearly as elegantly. And no, i'm no max guru. I struggled my way through the lights patch and in doing so learned enough to do the other to. These are really simple max patches, but they allow our live show to be slightly more unique.
I first tried out max years ago cause I was (and still am) a huge Radiohead and Johnny Greenwood - i remember reading a quote where he said he used it cause it doesn't try and push you in a certain direction. He argued that every other piece of music software pushed you towards a certain kind of work flow. Think of all the ableton djs who just use only beat repeat here... Anyway, I tried it, hated it and got Live instead. I only went back to it when i moved over to a mac and wanted to continue running DMX lights in sync with my set, but couldn't use VVVV anymore (i won't go into it here, but its surprisingly difficult to just control lights directly with midi).
Now in terms of how i'd use it going forward - I was thinking the other day about how i could do drummagog type drum replacement when we record our new album. Slice to midi is useful, but not very elegant for using on a kick track where you want all the midi notes on the same note for sample replacement. Here's where m4l would step it. Simple patch that takes audio in, and when it gets over a threshold outputs a midi note. Drop that on a kick track and you got sample replacement that responds to any drum editing you do. This could all be done in 5 mins once you get your head round it. And it will become part of your work flow. Just like how racks may have initially intimidated people, but now if an experienced Live user wants a dry wet control on an effect he/she can have it in under a minute using racks.
So the point of this ramble is that if you're prepared to learn it max for live will probably end up speeding up your work flow in the studio and will definitely allow for more unique performances. But none of this will happen if you just rely on it for other people's clever toys. Sure there will be loads of those i'm sure, but m4l is far more than that. And yeah, there's a risk you'll lose some music making time learning it, but you also lost music making time learning Live - you could've been playing an instrument rather than learning what follow actions do, but once you learn them, you find they may be useful to making more interesting music. The same will apply with M4L...
So stop whining about the fact that you can't just buy into an endless supply of cheap/free step sequencers and think about how you might be able to use it for useful little things.
And then work out how to make nine inch nail's step sequencer with M4L (btw, its totally possible cause of the inclusion of Jitter)... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53S5wTWB ... r_embedded