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Scala IRC Conference
LOG from the IRC conference with John Chang, Tech Support Manager, Scala US.
From Thursday 21'st of March 1996. Independantly organised
JPChang | Thanks to everyone for coming and waiting patiently. As you may
know, CeBIT closed as of yesterday. From the few pieces of news, I
understand that Scala was a big hit. We'll see what the press has to
say in the coming weeks and months. A number of notable Amiga
publications were in attendance. So things are looking very good.
Welcome all. Thanks for coming back and glad you've been patient.
That's it. Let the questions, comments, complaints, ideas, begin!
Blast_SSP | Thanx for coming again Johnny first. :) Sorry Johnny for being
a bit off topic, but Dave Haynie... What is his status ? Is he still
working at scala or has he resigned? And to what platforms is Scala
still doing MM/IC ? Like what are you doing and what are you planning
JPChang | Dave Haynie still works for Scala and has no intentions of
leaving. There was some rumor running around that AT had offered him a
deal and that he would be moving to Germany. Not true. He may do some
consulting for AT on the side, but that's about it. MM and IC is still
available for the Amiga and of course, will soon be available for the
PC. Other platforms are being considered, but no decisions yet. We
still have low-level business activities with AT, but we may have to
wait until the first prototype Power Amigas become available to port our
new "BackBone" technology to the Amiga. BackBone is our new and much,
much, much improved software technology.
[Dave Haynie IS, and has been for months, a contract employee of Amiga
Tech. His primary responsibility is helping AT define a specification for
a PowerAmiga. He's doing it from the comfort of his New Jersey home.
NiteFlite | With Dave Haynie's involvment with the PowerAmiga, Amiga Techs
development of the Walker and PowerAmiga, etc. ... is there a chance
Scala will change their minds on this "wait and see" approach with the
Amiga. It sorta is a slap in the face.
JPChang | I don't see how its a "slap in the face". We could conceivably
do a port of BackBone to the ECS and AGA platforms, but by the time we
release the software, most will be working with the new Power Amiga
platforms. Truthfully, we can't count on the existing market to cover
the cost of R&D, marketing, sales, distribution and support. Power
Amiga, on the other hand, promises more. Including cross-platform
compatibility. Please keep in mind that we are a business and we have
comitments to our investors. Also, some assume that Scala is very
profitable, etc. While I can't actually disclose numbers, this is
simply not true. We will continue to do everything possible with the
Amiga market and work more dilligently with AT.
KarmaComa | Will there be a version of Scala with CyberGraphX support (or
atlest not only 15kHz PAL/NTSC) for Amiga if you decide to stick with it
(the Amiga)? And; what's this about a Scala set-top box? Info? ETA?
JPChang | We've discussed this in prior IRC sessions, but the fact is that
we can't do EGS/RTG support with the existing code that we developed for
our Amiga products. Its possible to do with our new BackBone technology
and more than likely, will be possible with the Power Amiga platform. I
seriously doubt if we can do it for the existing ECS/AGA systems.
MrDaniel | Note: Scala runs in most AGA screen modes, even >15kHz modes.
Like for example DblPAL, Multiscan etc.
JPChang | As to the set-top box, we are writing the playback/authoring
software for General Instrument Digicipher II box for Primestar. A
direct satellite service similar to RCA and USSB DirecTV.
Blast_SSP | It's me again Johnny :) This new Scala backbone... Is it your
plans on calling all Scala produced with the new backbone 1.0 again and
so forward ? Instead of continueing the 5.00+ version numbers ? Why
did you call the PC version 1.00? Was it because of you see the new
BackBone as some kind of a ReBirth? :) Thanx for your answers :))
JPChang | It was marketing's decision to call it MM100, as it is the first
version available for the PC. Yes, it would be our first product with
BackBone applied. Also, it help tech support distinguish which product
the user is talking about. If he says MM100, we know he means the PC
version, if he says MM400, then we know he's talking Amiga.
HeadQuake | Evening. :-) PC MM100, compared to other so called MM
authouring applications on Wintel machines.. what are the Scala
advantages? How will you market MM100?
JPChang | Well, first things first, it doesn't run under Windows, which has
its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that we can use the
hardware much more efficiently, than Windows or Win '95 can. All the
wipes you expect of the Amiga, can now be applied to the PC version.
Well, its reasonably close. Nothing quiet performs like an Amiga. :)
The bad news is that we can't take advantage of all the Windows
resources like MCI, DDE, OLE, etc. Not that its a great loss in my
opinion. :) If you've played PC games, you know how fast and powerful
the graphic speed and animation is. As we all know, a Windows based
application program, simply can't achieve that. Simply because Windows
limits these types of capabilities. I believe Scala will be the first
multimedia presentation program to take advantage of all these game
graphic techniques. MM100 and IC100 will come with literally HUNDREDS
of wipes! While the nearest Windows based multimedia app may give you
at most, 100! You can even create your own wipes, either using
"Picture" wipes or using the scripting language. As to marketing, well,
considering that we don't have as much money as Microsoft, who does, we
have to use gurella(sp) tactics. We have to take advantage of the
kindness of magazine reviewers, use the Internet and of course do as
many "grass roots" campaigns at tradeshows, expositions, etc.
Blast_SSP | Ok. here comes me again :) When will any new demo version be
out for any platform? When will any new VERSION be out on any plat-
form? What version number is it ? When is MM100 out ? And what's the
pricing of MM100, IC100, MMx00 (Amiga) and ICx00 (Amiga) ?
JPChang | We're working on the demo version for MM100 for the PC. It will
be distributed throughout the Internet and we are thinking of doing a
demo CD-ROM for in-store merchandising. Both MM100 and IC100 for the
PC, is expected to be released on May 1st of this year. MM100 for the
PC has a Suggested Retail Price of $249 USD, IC100 is $2,500USD and
$1,000USD for the IC Player. MM400 is $399USD and IC500 for the Amiga
is $2,500 and $800USD for the IC Player. You can find all of this
information and more at our website at http://www.scala.com or
MrDaniel | Tell us what happened after Rick Salmon plugged in his A1200 at
the multimedia seminar in Washington DC, three years ago. :) GA.
JPChang | Well, it was pretty neat. Everyone turned around to see Rick
plug the computer into the socket and the audio line-in jacks to the
mixer and the composite output to the projector. Rick already had
"ScalaTime" set up on autostart. So, you got the usual "This is a
journey into sound... After it was over, I think everybody was stunned.
Then came some applause. Then Rick proceeded to show everyone the power
of the Amiga and Scala. Like I said, in the newsgroup, Scala and the
Amiga was the only one to get a near standing ovation. :) Oh, yes. We
got plenty of inquiries. :))
HeadQuake | How about TCP/IP support in MM100/(IC100) (?) Having one server
(Pentium) doing CPU/disc work, and have many players/clients (486's).
Also, please tell us how a 'normal' working day for you at Scala US is
like. :) (a lot eh?)
JPChang | Yeah, all you need is to have the DOS based TCP/IP hardware/
software and that's all there is to it. Since it's peer-to-peer you can
load/save to any drive, although we do assign volumes. For example, if
you have the server array, say 10 GB, called BFG and its assigned driver
letter Z: You can set a directory by doing set scala_dir=BFG: Otherwise,
you can do peer-to-peer by using ScalaNetto transfer files from BFG to
the individual drives on the players. My working day... First thing in
the morning is to go through my voicemail. Do callbacks for the urgent
ones. I usually try to do a callback all at the same time, but many
live in different time zones, so I have to wait for the Californians to
have their first cup of coffee. Then I answer eMail, newsgroup
messages, America Online messages, CompuServe messages. Then its
whatever needs to be done during the day. Which includes call in
technical support, inside technical support (training), then projects.
Then there is the studying at night. Gotta keep up with all the trends,
new hardware, new software, etc. Its a lot but someone has to do it.
Blast_SSP | Will MM/IC PC have some kind of dongle or other hardware
protecttion? Like the AMIGA version has ? It has got to have some kind
of protection right ? Or will you maybe do SGI style protection? If
you know what I mean that is :)
JPChang | MM will not have a dongle, but IC will.
Blast_SSP | well I was wondering more about making some kind of SGI styke
JPChang | No. The dongle will be the standard ones like HASP and the like
for the parallel port.
Harv | hey John Chang - did you work there when I reviewed the original
Amiga Scala for .info magazine years ago? (came in a green box with a
guy climing up a ladder). wonderd if you read my review. :) feel fre
to upgrade me anytime, John :(
HeadQuake | The ladder is still there. (MM400) :)
JPChang | I did read your review Harv, but I joined Scala shortly
thereafter. Erm I think it was June of '90. Or maybe it was '91?
eMail me your address Harv and I'll see what I can do. :)
Spock | I have a wierd question here: Why can Scala MM300 run in one meg
chip, 2 fast, but not 2 chip, one fast? Also, what kinda fades do you
get with 2 meg chip/020?
JPChang | Erm, I think its a memory allocation thing. Also, if you attempt
to run a 2MB wipe, it usually hangs or crashes. :(
Spock | What kinda wipes aren't available with one meg chip I should ask.
JPChang | As to wipes with 2 MB, I think you get all of the "push" type
wipes or any wipes that have two images up at the same time. Erm, I
think with an '020 or faster onboard, you get to use the "Ants" wipe and
the "Dissolve" wipe. More importantly, you get real smooth, no pause
scrolls and stuff like that.
HeadQuake | Would MMU and/or FPU ever be of any use with Scala MM/IC ?
JPChang | On the current Amiga products, no. No need for an MMU or FPU.
We thought about changing the code to support an MMU for virtual memory
support, but found it was too difficult, rotten performance and very
MrDaniel | Assuming there will be a Scala PowerMM400, will it be fully
multitasking with the Amiga, have a AREXX interface etc... Or is
Backbone a complete, "handle it all" operating system?
JPChang | No, no, BackBone will be complimentary to the Power Amiga OS.
So, you'll still have ARExx, clipboard, intuition, etc. Keep in mind
that BackBone is scalable, we can add or remove features as necessary.
As you may know, MS-DOS needs all the help it can get. :), thus the
robustness of BackBone, more specifically MMOS (Multimedia Multitasking
Operating System). With the Power Amiga OS, I suspect we'll use MMOS
only to handle EXes and "glue" to the file system and graphics, but
that's about it.
<question seems to be missing>
JPChang | Hiya Commando. Umm, yeah it is possible to do scaling or zoom
type wipes. We can't make an image wrap around an object and spin away
and stuff like that, but you will get real "fly-ons" and "fly-offs" and
other really cool wipes. If you get to see the PC version, you'll see
the wipes that could be available for the Power Amiga version. Which
brings me to another subject, I wonder if the Power Amiga OS, will ever
have a 3D chipset API (Applications Programmers Interface)? Only time
HeadQuake | (CyberGraphics 3.0 (Amiga PPC RTG) will do 3D routines etc.)
JPChang | Ah, well that answers that. Hmm, I'm sure we'll come up with
some interesting stuff.
HeadQuake | Just curious John, WHY did you buy an Amiga?
JPChang | When I was younger, I wanted to get into advertising and I knew
that computers were going to play a big part in that. The advent of
Desktop Publishing saw to that. So, in 1985, look what was available?
There was the Mac. Yeah it was cute, but had a small screen and was
only in B&W. Then there were IBM PC-ATs and the clones. 16 colors and
lousy DOS programs.