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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
   on doing?

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 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
   unstable.  Sigh.

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
   will tell.

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.