Mycro-Tek, Inc., Wichita, Kansas (Photo: Founder Stan Brannan)|| Systems Architect
* Project Engineer, 08/1985-11/1986, 01/1978-04/1982. || Google | Profile |
Earlier, I developed the hardware and software for an 8086-based
interactive graphic system,
A patent was awarded to me for the
generation technique. It was
my job to design the Mycro-Tek version of
the Intel 8086 Multibus card
that went into the product,
and also the Multibus RAM and PROM memory cards, and the
digital video card with
two area cursors
and a cross-hair cursor somewhat similar to
Xentron's pioneering area and cross-hair cursors.
graphical composition system
was written and perfected by myself and Lisa Powell, who was responsible for
The machine competed at trade shows
the newspaper industry ANPA show
against the pioneering digital raster-scan oriented
Xenotron XVC from Britain,
digital raster-scan graphics system,
and the vector graphics workstation
It was developed after studying
Xenotron at a trade show
and examining a more expensive
ad composition and newpaper layout system at
The Toronto Star. (See the
Xenotron XVC2 with Tim Coldwell.) In
those days I read The Seybold Report
every month to keep up with competitive
newspaper front end systems
industry equipment development trends. Several of us were groomed to
perform as proposal managers who
could specify equipment
after customer interviews in
top-down product development
documents, in addition to keeping up with
Electronic Engineering Times,
and other magazines and journals on
electronic components developments.
I developed a personal library of
books on project management,
structured software design,
microprocessor system design, and
interactive graphics, and
collected a huge bookcase full of
manuals on electronics components
from manufacturers and
I wrote the top-down product
specification for the AdComp product, which was reviewed and amended by
printed card layout,
and code for product were developed in
8086 assembly language.
The AdComp sold at first for $25,000 per unit,
and later for $20,000 per unit. I wrote the baseline sorting
algorithm that interfaced
the unit through a Mycro-Tek OLI microprocessor
shoebox computer to
phototypesetters and patched in
the typesetter composition language
commands from tables. To boot, I invented the name "AdComp", after
Mycro-Tek company president Stan Brannan prompted me to invent the name for the machine.
After I left the project to design other hardware for Mycro-Tek under the direction of
our Vice President of R&D Larry Runyan, Lisa Powell went on with
software engineer Mike Christianson
to enhance the product. (In a few years Mike had his own software company on the top floor of a building looking over
a river and a lake.) Software accretions slowed the machine down, and
the next version, the AIM graphics system based on the
and VME bus described in the
previous section, was more ergonomical, faster, and more attractively
Lisa Powell was obliquely memorialized by
Apple, which came out
subsequently with LISAs to remind us about sharing credit.
concepts for interactive graphics workstations applied to display ad applications
came from Harris and
I saw the Xerox Palo Alto Star System
demonstrated at the ANPA,
featuring a mouse
like the one Microsoft
Numerous Mycro-Tek staffers
contributed useful concepts (including Kenny Castor in sales, who provided plenty of customer feedback) and the
AdComp was an exciting product in
those days. It was for a time the most profitable piece of equipment
Mycro-Tek produced, per unit. The net volume in the more conservative
editing system for newspapers
developed by leading lights Stan Brannan,
Larry Runyan, and Steve Markel was more impressive. AdComp sales probably
amounted to several million dollars.
Earlier at Mycro-Tek, I developed Intel
dynamic RAM memory
cards with and without
error detection and correction, and a
Z80-based micro-winchester disk interface
with direct memory access DMA. A
EEPROM card was developed by me,
together with the
printed circuit artwork.
The data bus was 16 bits wide and the 20-bit address bus let us reach an entire megabyte of memory in 1980. (Today
in 2011, I have 4 gigabytes of
flash memory on my keychain.)
I used PAL Programmable Array Logic,
and did digital state machine design.
Also, I prepared research papers on
disk drives and
operating systems and
developed a proposal complete with detailed schematics for a 68000-based
system with a custom memory management unit to support
In addition, I developed advanced
printing composition software for commercial print shops, featuring
a counting keyboard program,
and an automatic
hyphenation and justification
Our first project was a small program to count keyboard keystrokes.
It was used to compute all the keystrokes that compositors would make while doing
difficult composition jobs for the printing industry at outfits like Printing Inc.
Later, I developed a translator for reformatting
the word processing
input of the system into paginated text. Finally,
I wrote a
smart word processing editor
with horizontal scrolling and other advanced
features, and copy-fitting software. These were large programs that
were installed at several sites. Mycro-Tek marketed this system for print
shops nationally, although it was never as profitable or popular as our system for
I wrote some PLM/86
test software before leaving,
the C programming language
in connection with a company proposal for installing
on a hypothetical new system. This new system included a design by me,
under Vice-President of R&D Larry Runyan's supervision,
for a complete Motorola 68000-based
system card set, including
a custom MMU memory management unit, memory, and peripheral interface cards. It
never got into production because our salesmen decided that
UNIX was not
user-friendly enough for our
Instead I went to Kreonite after the sale of Mycro-Tek to
Allied Chemical Corporation
to work on a system for
printing color photographs
and later proposed
a color retouching terminal
capable of zooming and panning over very large
high-resolution color images with offset registers for horizonal and
vertical scrolling based on my work at Kreonite prior to Dwight Kreihbiel's untimely death on vacation in the tropics.
When it the news broke, I felt my IQ go up 10 points as my feet hit the bricks,
because I was soon fired and looking for work.
We also considered flat-bed scanner designs proposed by
Dwight Krehbeil, who held 51% of Mycro-Tek's stock at the time it
was sold. He had acquired some
Hell scanners from
Rudolf Hell in Germany, including
sophisticated and highly educational users manuals explaining their theory of operation.
I wondered if perhaps Hell had decided to sink his ship after he died. Dwight and I had dinner together
with a Hell representative a few weeks before his death.
I note that Jim Dawson of Printing Inc., one of our best customers,
used to promote us at Mycro-Tek as "the wizards of Washington Street", because
at first our offices were located on Washington Street not far from downtown. While I was
developing the AIM graphics system in 1986 with Cass, my electronics technician,
a TV monitor in the lab announced
Space Shuttle disaster and
before our eyes.
Later, I could watch the
take off in the mornings from
Tampa Bay on the other side of the Florida peninsula (while driving on my way to work),
when it rose into the sky atop an orange contrail as wide as your finger held at arms length.
The Mycro-Tek Building on Greenwich Road near James Jabara Comotara Airport in 1986. The company had come a long way from Washington Street downtown, where it was located when I joined it in 1977 with an MSEE from WSU. See also Silverspot, The Story of a Crow who collected a tea cup handle (the gem of his collection), shells, and pebbles as if they were web links. Also see The Association of Old Crows and Old Crows Empire Chapter. One of my popular WSU electronics professors, Dr. Norris, belonged to The Association of Old Crows and displayed its insignia in his office. As a graduate student, I delivered an advanced paper on electronic countermeasures at a WSU IEEE meeting dealing with adaptive array antennas with null-steering for anti-jamming. I was a student at WSU studying industrial laser technique under optics systems expert Dr. Fred Dickey when the first Viking Landers touched down on Mars in the late 1970s.
Surfing Waves of History. Next: a return to Tampa Bay in 1987, where I had worked at Alphatype/Berthold and ABA Electromechanical Systems near Largo, later rechristened General Defense and Radiation Systems. Mycro-Tek went Chapter 11 in 1993 as ink jet printers replaced typesetters and as Microsoft general-purpose software running in Windows on standard PCs replaced special-purpose workstations.
|1st Wichita Period (1978-1982)||Mycro-Tek | Kreonite|
|1st Tampa Expedition (1983-1986)||AlphaType/Berthold | ABA|
|2nd Tampa Expedition (1987-1989)||Honeywell DCPD | Compro at Fotomat|
|2nd Wichita Period (1990)||Watkins|
|3rd Tampa Expedition (1990-1991)||Telos | Greenwood Research|
Stan Brannan's Biography
Stan G. Brannan is a founding member of Wichita Technology Corporation (Spoke) and active angel investor who also serves on the Board of Directors of select technology startups now CEO of Purifan. At age 24, he was the Founder and CEO of Mycro-Tek, Inc., which grew to be a major supplier of customized computer systems for newspapers in over 50 countries around the world. He sold this company to Allied-Signal [Wiki] in 1980 and later became the President of the Allied Division that acquired his company. In 1984 Mr. Brannan started another company, Brite Voice Systems, Inc. As founder of Brite Voice Systems, Mr. Brannan served as Chairman, CEO/President from its inception until resigning as CEO/President in December 1996, and as Chairman of the Board in January 1998. Brite Voice Systems, Inc. merged with InterVoice to form InterVoice-Brite, Inc., for which Mr. Brannan served as Vice Chairman for three years. Mr. Brannan graduated from Wichita State University, where he earned his BS in Electrical Engineering.
Engineer Tonto and the Lone Ranger Parody.
Mycro-Tek on your head, 2 stints.
Most Mycro-Tek staff are hard to find as images on Internet.