Colour Image Processing

Once again, we had outgrown our premises and so leased first-floor offices over a row of shops in the centre of Royston. This was something of a wrench; having rejected the idea of working for large companies we were now in danger of ending up creating one of our own. Although a few customers had appeared decidedly uncomfortable finding themselves in an extended garage surrounded by an eclectic mix of engineers, most were openly envious of this retreat from stifling corporatism. The move was made stranger by the forthcoming PCUser Show. We packed all our equipment in vans and headed off to Olympia on Sunday afternoon and, the following Friday, moved it all into our new office.

The highlight of the show was the previous year’s release of Microsoft’s Windows 1.0 and, once in our new office, we began the task of producing Windows versions of all our products. Chris Turner, like Huw Finney, was brought in under contract to work on the Windows version of MicroSight I. Our entry level system was now supplied with software that captured images in a range of graphics formats, providing it with a new lease of life. At the same time, people started using PCs for desktop publishing.

We inherited our new office from an oil exploration equipment company, who had been trying to reassign the lease for two years. We took it under the condition that the landlord stopped the water coming in through the roof. We paid for new carpets and partitioning. Stephen, Ray and I had separate offices, while Sue worked in an island-style reception area. We now had a development area for three engineers, stores, a demonstration area, a meeting room and a kitchen.

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Electroplan closed down and we took on two of their employees: Dave Thorpe as a salesman and Matt Peachey as a technician. We also recruited Jim Holyoake to work on MicroScale. Stephen Childerly, who had helped with the original development of the MicroEye before going to college, told us of a friend, Ramin Sayer, who was looking for employment. Ramin took over MicroSight I product development and its integration with a range of Windows applications – principally, desktop publishing. The fear that we might become a boring company was dispelled by Dave’s endless stream of one-liners, Matt’s insistence that Ramin taught him to speak Iranian, and Jim’s pet rats. Serious work tended to finish Friday lunchtimes, after which Jim entertained us with his banjo playing and Matt recited the current week’s Iranian expletives …

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... (An extract from The Ghost in the Labyrinth by Peter Kruger)

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