Vanishing bandwidth

Superintendent Silva’s decision last spring to provide every Saint Paul Public School student with an iPad in two years has not proven to be a seamless transition for SPPS staff and students. For those students who have received iPads it sometimes takes several minutes for web pages to load on their devices. Quite often the students are unable to download apps due to a dearth of bandwidth available to the devices. The network remains sluggish and iPads often lose their IP Addresses that allow them to access the network and the Internet. This generally means the iPads need to be restarted in hopes that the devices will be able to connect to the district network after they restart. Continue Reading

Security vacuum

The Iraqi security forces, bolstered by a small contingent of US ground forces working as advisors to the Iraqi Army, have been battling the terrorist organization known as ISIS or ISIL for the last four months (the air campaign has been in effect for six months).This is a Community Voices submission and is moderated but not edited. The opinions expressed by Community Voices contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TC Daily Planet.The conservatives don’t think the Obama Administration is doing nearly enough and Liberals think that throwing a pebble is too aggressive against any foreign or domestic enemy and are generally against any form of military action. The point of the matter is why was a terrorist organization able to gain such a strong foothold and able to threaten large cities (including Baghdad) in a country the United States military had a strong presence in for almost nine years? For whatever reason, the Iraqi armed forces weren’t ready to secure their country and, as is often the case, the US military needs to bail those forces out unless they want to see Iraq overrun by a fanatical terrorist organization and see a new authortarian government formed in Baghdad.The air strikes and the current US ground forces serving as combat advisors to the Iraqi security forces would not be necessary if the United States and Iraqi governments had negotiated a modest US force to occupy and maintain a few permanent bases in Iraq-say 40,000 soldiers. Three or four divisions of US troops would have been more than enough boots on the ground to maintain security and keep the peace while at the same time not overshadowing the work and continual training of the Iraqi Army or looking like an occupying power to Iraqi citizens. Continue Reading

The elusive deer

I spent a few hours yesterday afternoon deer hunting (or sitting as I call it and “nature viewing” as a friend of mine calls it). It was about the twelfth time I’ve gone bow hunting this year and it was the 11th time I didn’t draw my bowstrings back. The time I actually might have had a shot where I did take aim it was too far past sunset for me to get an accurate shot, although I do believe the deer were actually within range (for me that would mean 25 yards or less). I probably would have had a shot the very first time I went out which was opening bow hunting week in Minnesota in the middle of September but, of course, I had to reach for my bow screwed into the tree that I was sitting in and my hanging stand was only about eight feet off the ground so the deer, of course, noticed. It’s too bad. Before I moved the deer was running straight towards me. Continue Reading

What’s next for the MPS IT department?

The sudden departure of the former CIO of Minneapolis Public Schools, Rich Valerga, early last week leaves a lot of questions for some Daily Planet readers such as myself. Mr. Valerga served as MPS CIO for almost exactly 15 months. It seems a little odd that Valerga would decide to step down so abruptly since he had been pursuing the position for two years prior to him being hired in the summer of 2013. Was there some reason for Mr. Valerga’s departure that hasn’t been publicly revealed yet?This is a Community Voices submission and is moderated but not edited. The opinions expressed by Community Voices contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TC Daily Planet.The other big looming question concerning the MPS Department of Information Technology is where is the department now headed? Continue Reading