Kent Palmer's Computer Experience

    Hardware experience:


      I began working with computers in the 1970s when MacMurray College acquired a HP minicomputer system. This was a multiuser timesharing system. The initial terminals were teletype machines connected at 110 BAUD.


      In 1978 I enrolled as an undergraduate student at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. While a student there I used their Xerox Sigma VI machine for FORTRAN programming and WordStar.

      IBM mainframes

      In 1982 I worked for Argonne National Lab debugging thermodynamic subroutines used in computer programs simulating liquid metal MHD (magneto) power plants. The main program was written in PL/1. While at Argonne I used IBM 370 computers. These machines used the following operating systems: MVS, CMS, and VM. When the federal government stopped funding this research, I went to Clemson University to do research on acid rain. My research there focused on sulfur dioxide absorption in slurries. I occasionally used the school's IBM mainframe as well as some TI-99/4s.

      Radio Shack

      When the Jacksonville, Illinois, public school system acquired some TRS-80 computers in the early 1980s, I did some VisiCalc programming.

      Digital Equipment Corporation (now COMPAQ)

      In the mid 1980s I assisted in the instruction of adult education courses in BASIC and Pascal at MacMurray College. At that time they were running a Digital pdp-11 system running RSTS. I then worked at the Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety for a couple of years. They were running VMS on a VAX-11/750. I wrote programs in Fortran to convert readings from lab equipment into radiation contamination in samples. In 1990 I became


      In 1987 I took a job at Koinonia Partners to computerize some of their operation. They had their mailing list divided between a Commodore-64 system and a Z-80 system running CPM. I decided to replace these machines with a Macintosh network. I wrote a program to process their mail orders that had previously been done by hand.

      IBM PCs

      In 1989 I joined the staff of Habitat for Humanity International. At that time Habitat used 8 bit PCs clocked at around 5 Megahertz with 128 Kilobytes of memory. where I first worked on maintaining a human resource database that was in Nutshell and ran on an IBM PC clone.

    Software experience:


      I started working with FileMaker databases in 1998. In 1989, I switched to Double Helix & Nutshell. In January of 1991, I installed Habitat's first Oracle database. When I left in 1999 this database was used to track the activity of 3 million supporter's of Habitat's ministry. The size of the database exceeded 50 Gigabytes.

      I have also worked on FoxPro databases on PCs for Peace Brigades International.


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