I'm not a max friend at all, but I remember in max when you want set some numeric weights you can select the bone and the vertex a the same time in the viewport. So you quickly can switch in the viewport to the right bones for weighting.
In Maya you have to search in the Component Editor for the Bone you want to set weights and this slows down weighting dramatically. I know that you can Layout the CpEd to "Show selected Columns" but this means you have to decide before which Bones you want to have listed.
It's such a pain spending time scolling through the CpEd looking for the Right Bones.
Maybe i missed something here?