User:TTown/CoB mails

From OLPC

Jump to: navigation, search

Contents

The Beginning

From: McKenna, Robert D. <Robert.McKenna@ci.birmingham.al.us>
To: stefan@reitzis.com
Subject: XO's for the City of Birmingham
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 12:54:06 -0600


Stefan, Thank you again for contacting me about the XO laptop program in Birmingham. I look forward to meeting with you Tuesday, February 19th at 4:30 pm, at the Mayor’s Office. The address is below.


Can you email me, or bring with you in writing, some of the thoughts you have about the XO? I welcome your suggestions and help, as we implement this exciting program.


I will see you next week. Enjoy the weekend. Bob


Robert D. McKenna
Liaison to the City Council
Office of the Mayor
[...]


and my response on 2-15-08, 3:57 pm:

Bob,

I have put my original thoughts on the XO roll-out to paper.
You can find them in the attached file.
These points are not in order of priority, but seem all to be building blocks of a successful project.
I understand that Birmingham is the first city in the US to implement the XOs at a considerable scale and that many lessons will have to be learned on the way. There will be problems and rough patches, but with proper planing, persistence and drawing on experience, this can be pulled off.

Some bullet points in my proposed tentative agenda are quick one line yes / no / a number issues, yet others could spark almost philosophical discussions.
I do not expect to get everything covered on Tuesday, but think this could act as an extendable checklist for further considerations.


Best regards and have wonderfull weekend Stefan Reitz


Reitz Industrial Services
Cell: (205) 292 5131

The Next Steps

1

From: McKenna, Robert D. <Robert.McKenna@ci.birmingham.al.us>
To: stefan reitz <stefan_w_reitz@hotmail.com>, garen@fwmgroup.net
Subject: Tomorrow 9a.m., at Glen Iris
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2008 18:52:00 -0600

Stefan, Tomorrow morning Elaina and I are meeting with some of the IT people you met last week from the Birmingham City Schools; Dr. Joanne Stephens and Darryl Burroughs. We are meeting at the Glen Iris Elementary School, which is on 11th Ave. South, and 10th Street South, zip code 35205, in Birmingham. We are planning the first roll out, and it would be great to have you join us.

Directions:

From Helena: Take the Green Springs exit off of 65, right off the exit, left at the lights, right onto 10th Ave, South (which may have another name, but it’s the 1st right after George Ward Park), bare left at the Greek Church, continue through one traffic light and two blocks later, turn right, you will see Glen Iris school on your right, a brick building. Come in the front door, we are meeting in the library on the right. I know this is short notice but come if you can. Bob

You can always reach me on my cell, 807-1964

Robert D. McKenna
Liaison to the City Council
Office of the Mayor
City of Birmingham


more:

From: McKenna, Robert D. <Robert.McKenna@ci.birmingham.al.us>
To: stefan reitz <stefan@stefandaheim.getmyip.com>
Subject: FW: Continued correspondence clarification
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2008 16:21:59 -0600


?

Robert D. McKenna
Liaison to the City Council
Office of the Mayor
City of Birmingham
[...]

---Original Message---
From: Darryl Burroughs [1]
Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 10:33 PM
To: McKenna, Robert D.; garen@fwmgroup.net
Subject: Re: Continued correspondence clarification

We did talk to Stefan. He is a nice guy but does not have the background to consult at the network level.

Darryl L. Burroughs
Interim Information Technology Officer
Birmingham City Schools
[...]
>>> <garen@fwmgroup.net> 02/28/08 4:34 PM >>>


and my response (and his to that):

Stefan, Thank you. We have the OLPC guys coming down to Birmingham soon. I'll keep you posted. Bob

Robert D. McKenna
Liaison to the City Council
Office of the Mayor
City of Birmingham
[...]


---Original Message---
From: stefan reitz [2]
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2008 4:11 PM
To: McKenna, Robert D.
Cc: garen@fwmgroup.net
Subject: Re: FW: Continued correspondence clarification

Bob,

he is right. At least from his perspective. That is from the perspective of someone having to run a large scale production system. Last Wednesday they / Darryl (using pluralis majestatis? ;-) he is actually quite nice, too) called me. I confirmed that my network experience at work is in the 300 - 500 networked devices range (and even this network is administrated by IT, we only help troubleshooting occasionally), whereas he manages 20,000 units. Beyond that I had to admit that I have for field testing of the XS only one server, two switches, three (not quite up-to-date ) access points, and one real XO (I wish olpc would deliver the second one...). I thus do not have the means to do a real world environment simulation with 500+ XOs (to my knowledge olpc hasn't done that either). This again would be necessary to convince him that a single server can handle more than 200 - 250 clients. It is his job to raise these concerns.
I told him that I could understand that BCS' IT would rather be the second or third candidate for a large scale roll-out instead of a research subject. His reply was he'd rather be number 20 or 30 in line...

I understand that whenever something goes wrong with the XS teachers and faculty will be calling his help desk. And it really wouldn't make much sense for the school board to go with a "second IT department" just to accommodate one vendor's hardware. This "second IT department" would be just a way of not having to provide proper funding and staffing for it's "first IT department" that really should be handling the project.

On another note:
I have been trying to find out what the XS server is really supposed to do in the schools. Beyond administrating the XOs and providing backup space. What resources does it offer for teaching? Internet and moodle?
I have a feeling OLPC does not have school servers for schools with more than 150 students in a position on the priority list, that would warrant hope for a functional product by mid April. I hate to say it, but you'd better consider having a plan B for the first 3 - 6 months in place (and I might be too optimistic here).

Personally I am committing more time now to a plan B setup. Something that could be useful for churches and community centers and other entities not bound by BCS's structures and with less of a priority on XO administration. Something that maybe even the schools could use (with IT's blessing) to bridge the time until olpc's XS is production ready.


Hope you're still enjoying the challenge.
Best regards
Stefan


[...]
Here could be some more emails but the next interesting ones are these (where Bob indicates that the project responsibility has been transfered to the Board of Education:

2

Stefan Reitz (stefan_w_reitz@hotmail.com)
Gesendet: Freitag, 14. März 2008 13:31:40
An: garen@fwmgroup.net; Robert D. McKenna (robert.mckenna@ci.birmingham.al.us)
Bcc: stefan@reitzis.com

Hello Elaina, Bob,

so IT seems to be reduced to a marginal role.
Since they are not doing it, who will?

We are at t = -31d 23h...

You would most likely want to assess the XO repair environment, too.
XO warranty will run out around May 18th.

Best regards
Stefan


which led to the following back and forth of emails:

Stefan, The Board of Education will be implementing this program. The funds have been approved by the City, and the BOE is working with their staff to determine the best way to proceed. You may want to contact Dr. Joanne Stephens with the Birmingham City School’s department of Instructional Technology with your interest in the XO. She has the most knowledge of the XO pilot program and is very capable . Bob


Robert D. McKenna
Liaison to the City Council
Office of the Mayor
City of Birmingham

[...]

From: stefan reitz [3]
Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2008 9:08 AM
To: McKenna, Robert D.
Cc: garen@fwmgroup.net; bryan@olenepal.org
Subject: RE: olpc @ bhm


Hello Bob,

two major topics for this email:
1) Brian Berry (bryan@olenepal.org) from OLE Nepal writes the following to Martin Langhoff, the new XS Server man-in-charge:
About a teleconference soon [...]
This would be very helpful for me as I will probably spend 40-50% of my time over the next 12 months working on the School Server and Sulochan likewise. We also hope to bring a linux expert to Nepal to work full-time on the XS for 5-6 months. Knowing the direction of the XS will make our work easier.
[...]
We don't have the language / symbol problem here, but that is not all they are worrying about.
How are your XS server deployment plans comming along? Please consider that not 'everything' may work out of the box.
The XS is a work in progress, and a fire (= deploy) and forget approach won't work. I (like many others), wish it were.

2) Will you have a bidding phase for companies to bid on the tasks that need to be done for the deployment? Or will everything be done in-house by "the foundation"? Does "the foundation" already exist (and have received it's - funding - breath of life by the City Council)? How do I get in touch with them / their purchasing department?

Best regards
Stefan Reitz

Reitz Industrial Services



On Mon, 2008-03-17 at 12:57 -0500, McKenna, Robert D. wrote:

Stefan, Let’s keep each other posted through email rather than meeting in person this week. Elaina and I are developing the rollout plan and are tight on time, as you know. Please stay in touch. Bob


Robert D. McKenna
Liaison to the City Council
Office of the Mayor
City of Birmingham
[...]


From: Stefan Reitz [4]
Sent: Friday, March 14, 2008 3:16 PM
To: McKenna, Robert D.
Cc: garen@fwmgroup.net
Subject: RE: olpc @ bhm


Bob,

Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday afternoon would be my favourites. As late as possible with your schedule.
I am supposed to work till 5 pm next week, even though I can leave earlier, the less time I need to trade with a co-worker, the easier.
So anytime past 4:30 pm could work.
Or do you start early? Like 6 am?
Other times could be made possible, too, but would require some preparation.
What would fit your schedule?

I also enjoyed talking with Walter, it helps to see things on a different scale. His email this morning was quite encouraging with respect to Birmingham:
"The plan that is emerging is to use a colocation model, where the OLPC deployment runs entirely independently of the BCS systems."
I couldn't have imagined any better outcome. UAB does the helpdesk and the foundation does the physical environment.

Looking forward to meeting you next week

Stefan


Subject: RE: olpc @ bhm
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 12:15:43 -0500
From: Robert.McKenna@ci.birmingham.al.us
To: stefan_w_reitz@hotmail.com

Stefan, I must have rolled right past you and not realized it Wednesday night, outside of Café DuPont. Walter Bender said he enjoyed talking with you. Let’s catch up sometime next week. Have a great weekend. Bob


Robert D. McKenna
Liaison to the City Council
Office of the Mayor
City of Birmingham

[...]

Personal tools
  • Log in
  • Login with OpenID
About OLPC
About the laptop
About the tablet
Projects
OLPC wiki
Toolbox
In other languages