mardi, avril 18, 2006

It's a Death-Defying Life I Lead

...I take my chances....

(are you with me, wireless card??)

It was migraine day and I've been on the couch all afternoon, but I wasn't too under the weather to get pissed off at what I heard on the news, and think of a way to recoup my future losses.

MPS has announced that next summer, they'll be piloting a program to provide WiMax or wireless broadband to the teachers and some students. Well I started putting two and two and two together, even in a painkiller induced state...the multi-talented Jones that I am...

My neighbor is an MPS teacher. She doesn't watch her kids or her dog, so there's no way she'll be watching her network. Hmm. My taxes will pay for this network, and I'll be darned if I'm going to live next door to it and not at least *try* to participate. Okay so I have no clue how WiMax is structured or how I would do it, but if she broadcasts the signal you can bet I'm going to try to jump on it!


UPDATE: I have more thoughts on this of course, the queen of after-the-fact that I am.

- Who is going to pay for the computers and support? This is supposed to be a low-income target audience. You know that's next, we'll be providing computers. (Many of them don't have shoes, much less read or add or write at the level they should for their grade).

- This is the only case of "it's good for the kids, so it must be good for us" I've seen. Like any limo lib, the bourgeoisie often has a much better package. We'll see.

- What are the parameters of acceptable use? Is it an open network? Are there filters in place? Are we potentially looking at network abuses?

- Who's going to make sure the network is maintained within budget? The state already appears to have a problem with doling out millions to IT contractors. Nothing wrong with IT contractors, btw. But we seem to have a track record of overpaying for many services that are on contract. If it's the teachers union... will Doyle send the contract the way of one of his donor dodos????

The questions go on and on....


Blogger Jay Bullock said...

I can answer some of your questions, as I assume that MPS will maintain the same level of security--if not a greater level of security--with a new wireless thing.

You will not be able to poach your neighbor's WiFi, as any new connection to the network will require an MPS login. Actually, you wouldn't be poaching the neighbor's WiFi anyway, since it won't originate with her wireless router but rather with a broadcast tower located somewhere nearby.

There are filters in place for student logins. All students (and staff, for that matter) agree to an "Acceptable Use Policy." Violating that can terminate your account.

Because the staff and students use the same system, there's probably not any way to charge teachers. (I don't think you asked that, but every other right-leaning blogger today has.) Part of the reason why MPS offers free dialup now to teachers is so that teachers can work on the network (we do our grades and such online) from home. Apparently, they are not content to have us slaving away all day.

The teachers union does not represent anyone who comes close to maintaining district IT stuff. Though you're right to worry about cost overrun. I could tell you stories . . . I've seen no evidence yet that anyone is thinking about handing out computers or laptops. No way that initiative passes, anyway.

11:15 PM, avril 18, 2006  
Blogger Phelony Jones said...

Hmmm.... somewhere nearby... I know exactly where you're talking about!

Thanks for your response, it's nice to hear it from someone who uses the system. So with that, I'd like to ask just a few more questions....

You mention filters, I'd be interested in knowing what kinds of filters would be in place, especially because technically the connection would be available to anyone in the household of a student or staff member. We have acceptable use policies at my own work however, you can access any site out there. Whether you are found out or investigated is an entirely separate - and unlikely - matter. I think this is the case at many companies and as we have seen in recent years, is definitely the case for many government entities. Isn't there any concern that this could be the case for home use if it is not use-restricted? An acceptable use agreement isn't a restriction.

As for charging the teachers, no I did not ask it but assumed that would be the case. I have some issues with that to be honest. First is, can't you pay a nominal fee for your login? Secondly, I am pretty sure that my salary does not exceed that of many public school teachers and administrators. They don't have the expenses I do such as healthcare, yet I myself need to pay for my own internet at home.

But I must have a high speed connection. Why?

I have to access our network as part of my job because many of my conference calls are not during US working hours, and I have to be on our network during. I work with very very large files so I have to have a connection that can handle it. I could do it from work, but it would be at off hours. I don't have much choice in that matter. My employer doesn't pay for this, it comes out of my salary. Teachers could do grades on the network after school... they have more leeway with timing... I just don't see how I would have to pay to work from home when I must, and a teacher does not.

I guess with regard to IT contractors I was thinking more along the lines of a Doyle contributor, not a teachers' union contact. It seems like he's had more variety of contributors than 31 flavors has's an easy target !! :)

11:10 AM, avril 19, 2006  
Blogger Casper said...

I heard on the radio this morning from an MPS rep that one of the pluses of this set-up was that by using laptops (seems we may actually go down that path), kids living in homes without electricity will be able to get on the net!

Seriously, if they don't even have electricity, not being on the web is the least of their problems.

11:35 AM, avril 19, 2006  
Blogger Phelony Jones said...




Being able to pay your electricity when you're an adult - and for your own laptop.

11:52 AM, avril 19, 2006  
Blogger Nick said...

How dare you try to infringe on everyone's natural born right to life, liberty and internet! It's a basic human right! Who needs water when you can got anyway?

1:43 PM, avril 19, 2006  
Blogger Phelony Jones said...

Yes, let them eat cake!

2:04 PM, avril 19, 2006  
Blogger Jay Bullock said...

Phel, I forget the name of the filter contractor, but there are limits to what students can access.

You should petition your work for something there. At the very least, you claim it on your taxes, right? And I did, in fact, pay $20 and sit through a class on how to use that there new-fangled internet thingy before I was granted my login when I was hired by MPS.

4:56 PM, avril 19, 2006  
Blogger Phelony Jones said...

I would love it if they could pay for it, but it would be enormously cost-prohibitive for them to provide it. Which I can understand they aren't made of money...

I have to look at it as part of the cost of doing business. Next year it will be claimed, that's for sure.

9:17 PM, avril 19, 2006  

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