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CHAPIN, S.C. – Tom Campbell’s job at PM Systems Corp. includes designing databases for credit unions to use in their electronic commerce operations, such as Internet banking, bill pay, that sort of thing. So he combined work and pleasure recently on a trip to the Sudan, where he spent about two weeks cobbling together a network to link standalone PCs at a cancer hospital in Khartoum, the African country’s capital. The hospital’s hard-pressed doctors see on the average 40 patients a day, six days a week, taking referrals from all over the vast desert nation. Campbell’s mission also included to get up and running a World Health Organization-provided program for cancer registration, which he accomplished with the help of the designer, who lives in France. As for the networking task, that involved using a “sneaker net” process Campbell designed in his job as director of e-commerce products at PM Systems, a provider of Internet banking, security and other services to credit unions from its base in Chapin, S.C. “It uses Access replication technology and USB flash memory drives to move data from PC to PC,” he says. “All the hospital’s computers had MS Office installed but there are no cables in the building and its construction makes wireless almost impossible.” The networked patient registration system now is being completed via e-mail updates while Campbell researches the possibility of enhancing that with Ethernet over power cable devices. He and his wife have no immediate plans to go back to the Sudan but hope to someday, and he said that they felt very safe in Khartoum, far away from the bloody ethnic conflicts that are wracking the nation’s southern regions. “Everyone was very friendly to us and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them,” Campbell says. “The people we worked with were also very professional and highly trained in their fields. Fortunately for us, they speak very good English. Our Arabic needs a lot of work.” -

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