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Salmanz
02-17-2010, 10:30 PM
The criteria for the Woodie Flowers Award says a maximum of 600 words, but on TIMS it says a maximum of 6000 characters or approximately 600 words.

Which one is correct?

Ternz
02-17-2010, 11:22 PM
6000 characters is my understanding. The form online where you upload the essay specifies, "Student Essay
(6,000 characters allowed, including spaces and punctuation, or approximately 600 words) "

I've had a different difficulty with submitting the Woodie Flowers essay. When you "Save" the essay onto the website, the website reformats the essay to erase all indentations and paragraphs. While I've tried indenting the paragraphs, adding a line in between paragraphs (just separating the paragraphs with Enter), and tabbing over to make the paragraphs new bullet points, I have been unable to enter the essay so that the submission shows the breaks in between paragraphs. Any suggestions about how to format it to differentiate between the end of a paragraph and the beginning of a new one? In fact, does this even matter - will the judges read the version as it is submitted?

We've considered writing the words "new paragraph" at the beginning of each paragraph. Does that sound like a workable option?

Thanks,
Zach

Salmanz
02-18-2010, 12:26 AM
I am having the same problem. Hopefully, it is intended to do that or they fix it ASAP.

Cynette
02-18-2010, 08:26 AM
The descriptin on the FIRST website says:

The students enter team and candidate information, reference information, and a maximum six hundred-word (600) essay written in English. Teams may also add up to six (6) pictures, totaling no more than 1.0 Mb. of memory. This essay should be a team effort and will stand alone as the teamís entry to award their candidate the deserved recognition.
The online system says 6000 characters (approximately 600 words). In the past, it has been a word count, so I'd recommend sticking with the word count. Our teams submitters have told me that their 520 word essay is only in the 3000 character range. If you stick to the 600 words, you should have lots of room.

And be aware that the online submission only asks for four photos.

ebarker
02-18-2010, 08:49 AM
It has been accepted practice since the days of the telegraph that a 'standard' word size is 5 characters.

So 6,000 characters is approximately 1,200 words.

GaryVoshol
02-18-2010, 09:43 AM
Maybe the people that write the rules use big words. :yikes:

Carol
02-18-2010, 10:49 AM
We had the same problem with the reformatting, and ended up putting extra spaces at the end of each paragraph. It still looks like one run-on sentence though. Also, when we first cut and pasted the essay in, all the quotations marks and tabs came out as a strange character, and we had to manually fix each one.

The essay was written with the 600 word limit. When we looged on last night to submit (by we I mean the students with me supervising) we saw the 6000 characters mention. Our 600 word essay was only about 3200 characters, but we left it at the 600 words.

Amanda Morrison
02-18-2010, 02:26 PM
I wrote to FIRST about the submission formatting issues, and here's the response I received:

"How are you entering your Chairman’s Award Submission? Are you copying and pasting it into the box? If so, the system will omit the formatting that you did in your original document. However, you should be able to reinstate it by going through the one long paragraph and putting in the spaces, tabs, breaks, etc. yourself. You can also create paragraphs by typing your essay directly into the box for submission."

In addition, I'd leave the essays at 600 words. I know there is some confusion between the submission information and TIMS, but I'd go with the submission information (read it here (http://www.usfirst.org/uploadedFiles/Community/FRC/FRC_Documents_and_Updates/2010%20WFA.pdf)). They make it very clear that the limit is 600 words and do not mention characters. That is the standard I have been using to edit papers.

Hope that helps!

Foster
02-18-2010, 03:22 PM
Are you copying and pasting it into the box?
Dear FIRST, how else would I do it?

Why would my roboteers spend 10's of hours on a Woody Flowers submission honoring their mentor to then need to type it all into a box, not make a mistake inside of a 15 minute session?

Why would I spend many, many 10's of hours creating a Chairmans submission, reviewing it internally, sending it out for peer review to other robot teams / people, agonizing over letters and words to get all of our robotic goodness into 10,000 characters to then type it into a box with chances of errors?

Why wouldn't I cut and paste it. Why wouldn't I use the technology that is available everywhere else?

Did you really expect us to type it in?

Cynette
02-18-2010, 04:38 PM
Dear FIRST, how else would I do it? ...Oooo:yikes: Foster is GROUCHY!

The students tried typing some of the text directly in the box and once they hit the save button, the formatting was gone. :mad: So, FIRST's helpful hint does not work.

Any remaining submitters - get in there now! Do not put it off!

Our biggest challenge was actually getting into the system. It did not recognize 5 of the 6 students who tried, including the one who logged on last night to do the Chairman's essay submission. And lucky Student #6 was on the team leader's list as not complete - so we almost didn't ask her.

AnibaS
02-18-2010, 10:02 PM
Are teams following the 600 word max?

We have two versions of the essay right now, one that exceeds the limit, and one that doesn't. Needless to say we would prefer to submit the longer one, but may end up playing it safely.

ebarker
02-18-2010, 10:08 PM
I don't think the FIRST guidance works at all. You can copy/paste it in and it looks fine until you save it.

Then they tried typing text in and made it look good. After saving and viewing it then it went haywire again.

I think it just can't handle formatting.

Cooley744
02-18-2010, 10:15 PM
Is it true that you have to create a FIRST account of some sort before you submit? I have my essay all written but I'm having trouble making an account. My verification link sent to me via email is broken! AHH! Help please?

AnibaS
02-18-2010, 10:32 PM
Is it true that you have to create a FIRST account of some sort before you submit? I have my essay all written but I'm having trouble making an account. My verification link sent to me via email is broken! AHH! Help please?

Your team captain has to assign you as a submitter. This should
help:
http://www.usfirst.org/uploadedFiles/Community/FRC/FRC_Documents_and_Updates/Awards%20Submission%20instructions.pdf

Salmanz
02-18-2010, 10:33 PM
Cooley, i do not know about the activation link, but to be able to submit the essay your team leader has to select you as an award submitter.

Cooley744
02-18-2010, 10:37 PM
Okay, thanks guys. This makes it pretty hard to submit your team leader for an award in secret haha. Now to figure out which mentor actually has the account and where they are...

Amanda Morrison
02-18-2010, 11:04 PM
So, FIRST's helpful hint does not work.

And my helpful suggestion has failed. Sorry guys, I don't have a login of my own to test this beforehand.

In addition, I've now received multiple reports that FIRST's system is giving errors to teams about their essays being over the character limit, while Microsoft Word is providing numbers below the limit.

I guess my best report is to just get the reports submitted and roll with the punches for the time being.

Chris Fultz
02-18-2010, 11:22 PM
There is always a difference in character count between word and a text file. Word does not count every letter and space and punctuation the same.

We found the best approach was to write in word, and then copy and past into a text editor file and then recheck everything. Then we cut and paste that file into the FIRST submission areas.

Karthik
02-18-2010, 11:24 PM
And my helpful suggestion has failed. Sorry guys, I don't have a login of my own to test this beforehand.

In addition, I've now received multiple reports that FIRST's system is giving errors to teams about their essays being over the character limit, while Microsoft Word is providing numbers below the limit.

I guess my best report is to just get the reports submitted and roll with the punches for the time being.

This has been a problem with both the old and new award submission system. Most word processors count an "enter" as a single character, while most other non-Unix applications read an "enter" as two ASCII characters, "carriage return" (ASCII = 13) and "line feed" (ASCII = 10). Thus, every instance of you hitting enter in Word is creating an extra uncounted character for your submission.

Since the award site isn't displaying paragraph breaks as is, if you are that tight on character count I recommend that you get rid of all "enters".

Cynette
02-19-2010, 09:50 AM
This has been a problem with both the old and new award submission system. Most word processors count an "enter" as a single character, while most other non-Unix applications read an "enter" as two ASCII characters, "carriage return" (ASCII = 13) and "line feed" (ASCII = 10). Thus, every instance of you hitting enter in Word is creating an extra uncounted character for your submission.

Since the award site isn't displaying paragraph breaks as is, if you are that tight on character count I recommend that you get rid of all "enters".Well that explains why it took two taps of the backspace key to get rid of each paragraph return.

We always save a few characters for when we put the essay into the system. For the Chairman's essay, we started with 25 extras but ended up needing 40. I just wish that the entry section had a character counter so you could tell how close you are (or how many over). I thought it did last year, but we couldn't find it this year.

The WFA essay was under 600 words so the students had no problem with character count there.

JVN
02-20-2010, 02:11 AM
Nine years ago, Flo and a Purdue University freshman
founded Westside Boiler Invasion (WBI) after observing the desperate need for the rejuvenation
of science and technology in education. With the respect Flo garnered after 24 years of teaching,
the community seized the opportunity. After relinquishing his positions as head wrestling and
assistant football coach, he was able to focus on the newly founded team. In addition to WBI, he
also helped found Purdue FIRST Programs, an organization that now supports three local teams.
Flo functions as the primary mentor for one FIRST Robotics Competition Team (FRC), one
FIRST Tech Competition (FTC) and three FIRST Lego League (FLL) teams. What's more? He
holds annual summer camps to further introduce robotics in the community where he uses FIRST
components to teach students design and engineering concepts. To this day, Flo continues to
expand FIRST, initiating five FRC teams and providing guidance as they develop.

Wow! A piece of a WFFA essay used as SPAM. I love it. I feel like we should leave this up for the pure hilarity of it!

-John

PS - Flo is the man, clearly.

GaryVoshol
02-20-2010, 07:19 AM
Wow! A piece of a WFFA essay used as SPAM. I love it. I feel like we should leave this up for the pure hilarity of it!

-John

PS - Flo is the man, clearly.

I've deleted the spam, but left your quote of it for the "pure hilarity".