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Unread 06-23-2002, 09:18 PM
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Proposed shipping schedule

Posted by Jim Morin.

Engineer on team #175, Buzz, from Enrico Fermi High School.

Posted on 12/23/99 12:44 PM MST



I recently wrote Dave Brown at FIRST to present my arguments against the proposed shipping schedule.
I'd like to get Delphi's opinion and possible support in getting FIRST to re-think their shipping plans.

The proposed plan to have everybody ship robots without any opportunity to make repairs is wrong.
The 'fairness' issue came about because the teams in the last regional must ship directly from the
contest in order to make it to the nationals on time. Since those teams can't make repairs FIRST thinks
(to be fair) that nobody should be able to make repairs. I fear a major log jam will result at the nationals
with many teams needing to make repairs and overloading the machine shop. I'm on one of those teams
that competes at a last regional and if I need to make a repair at the nationals I don't want to be delayed
by a team that could have made his repair a month earlier. If FIRST wants to be fair to me then let
everybody make repairs before shipping as we normally do and save the resources for the teams that
have no choice. In every contest that we've been to the opening day is a fury of repair activity and thats
after three days of repair time that we've normally had. What do you think Florida will be like this year.
To keep things running as smoothly as they have in past years, don't force teams to have to ship a
damaged robot when there is time up front to fix them. At last count there's 378 teams. The last regionals
will account for maybe the 78, so 300 teams are penalized which doesn't seem very 'fair' to me. 378 teams
also means about 100 new rookie teams. Without those 3 days after a regional many of those rookies
just won't have the time necessary to fix their problems, and we all know to well that it takes more than
the couple of hours we'll have on Thursday morning. I asked FIRST to re-think their fairness logic and don't
ship damaged robots.

I think most teams have all they can do to just make the first ship date with little or no running time. The
few days after a regional are the most valuable days we have; that's when we make repairs, modify
software, and get much needed practice time. I think the nationals could degrade to just a mediocre event
if these critical days are taken away from us.

This year there is a schedule problem and some teams will get hurt by it and that's too bad, but don't
penalize the majority. In response to an earlier memo to Lori she said that it's too late to fix the situation.
Seems to me that there is plenty of time to fix this. Just say 'we reconsidered the shipping plans and it's
business as usual and sorry to those last regional teams, and we'll do a better job next year with the
events scheduling.

Lastly as a footnote, we spend in the order of $50k annually on this program, not to mention the often
resented hours any from our families. With poor regional sites such as the Meadows in Hartford and now
this years shipping plans, it's no wonder why great teams like Plymouth decided to drop out.

I wrote to the Delphi team because I feel that they're well respected by FIRST and that there opinions
would be taken seriously. If you feel I have valid concerns, please write Dave Brown at FIRST.
We can change this. Please help get the word through your extensive web page and teams contacts.
Also please contact me at my email 'james.morin@hs.utc.com'

Thank you - Jim Morin from the BUZZ team 175


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Unread 06-23-2002, 09:18 PM
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I can go either way

Posted by Joe Johnson.   [PICTURE: SAME | NEW | HELP]


Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

Posted on 12/23/99 9:31 PM MST


In Reply to: Proposed shipping schedule posted by Jim Morin on 12/23/99 12:44 PM MST:



Jim,

You make many valid points in you message. I am glad to have another great voice join the chorus on the the forum.

As to your specific points, I really can go either way on this issue.

Actually, I think that it would have been better if FIRST just figured this out before any teams registered and then announced that IF you choose to go the the last two weeks, you will be at a disadvantage in terms of shipping your robot. Plan accordingly. But, that is not what FIRST did.

To my mind, FIRST has somewhat of a fixation of the appearance of fairness. From trying to level the playing field for rookies to trying to make it possible for 6 kids in their basement to form a team, fairness gets a lot of consideration at FIRST.

I can see some of their points, but in many cases fairness cannot be achieved in any case but the ideal of fairness allows FIRST to avoid making some hard choices.

One example that I am keenly aware of is the area of motors. I know of a number of cases where 1000's of dollars of motors are never going to see the light of day because it is impossible to obtain the EXACT same motor in sufficient quantities to make a integer number motors per kit. Motors that are substantially identical are easily obtained but because FIRST would get so much flack from teams if they didn't give out 100% identical kits, donors are required to spend more money.

This is just one example of the cost of FIRST's near obsession with fairness.

Back to the matter at hand, I feel that teams can plan around this new limitation. Every rule in FIRST is somewhat arbitrary. This is just one more arbitrary limit to deal with.

Our team has used the Tuesday shipping rule to great advantage for 4 years now. That advantage is now not available to us. We are currently making plans to try to make this new rule work toward our advantage as well. We will see how it works out.

Time will tell.

Joe J.


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Re:different at final rounds

Posted by Fran .

Other on team #166, Team Merrimack, from Merrimack High School and Unitrode/R.S. Machines.

Posted on 12/25/99 1:12 PM MST


In Reply to: I can go either way posted by Joe Johnson on 12/23/99 9:31 PM MST:



:
My guess is that as soon as teams don't advance or get knocked out in the elimination rounds they will be in the pits furiously working on robots and the only spectators for the last rounds will be from teams whose robots didn't need repairs.........there isn't much choice, FIRST just needs to watch their dates better in the future and have at least 2 weeks between last regional and nationals.....it should be a major factor in the negotiations....beyond repairs, I'm as concerned about spending so much money to get the team to Florida and what if the whole truckload of robots doesn't make it?

Fran
team 166




Jim,

: You make many valid points in you message. I am glad to have another great voice join the chorus on the the forum.

: As to your specific points, I really can go either way on this issue.

: Actually, I think that it would have been better if FIRST just figured this out before any teams registered and then announced that IF you choose to go the the last two weeks, you will be at a disadvantage in terms of shipping your robot. Plan accordingly. But, that is not what FIRST did.

: To my mind, FIRST has somewhat of a fixation of the appearance of fairness. From trying to level the playing field for rookies to trying to make it possible for 6 kids in their basement to form a team, fairness gets a lot of consideration at FIRST.

: I can see some of their points, but in many cases fairness cannot be achieved in any case but the ideal of fairness allows FIRST to avoid making some hard choices.

: One example that I am keenly aware of is the area of motors. I know of a number of cases where 1000's of dollars of motors are never going to see the light of day because it is impossible to obtain the EXACT same motor in sufficient quantities to make a integer number motors per kit. Motors that are substantially identical are easily obtained but because FIRST would get so much flack from teams if they didn't give out 100% identical kits, donors are required to spend more money.

: This is just one example of the cost of FIRST's near obsession with fairness.

: Back to the matter at hand, I feel that teams can plan around this new limitation. Every rule in FIRST is somewhat arbitrary. This is just one more arbitrary limit to deal with.

: Our team has used the Tuesday shipping rule to great advantage for 4 years now. That advantage is now not available to us. We are currently making plans to try to make this new rule work toward our advantage as well. We will see how it works out.

: Time will tell.

: Joe J.


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Unread 06-23-2002, 09:18 PM
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Three days

Posted by Bill Beatty.

Other on team #71, Team Hammond, from Team Hammond.

Posted on 12/31/1999 3:43 PM MST


In Reply to: Re:different at final rounds posted by Fran on 12/25/99 1:12 PM MST:



The new rule is great! It sounds like there is some confusion between 'repair time' and 'revision time.' Before the days of regional competitions you went to the meet and 'rung what you brung.' Whatever was designed and built in the six weeks was it,and if you broke you tried to fix it before the next match.

It helps level the field. Although going to regionals still gives a team more practice time. But, as Greg M stated, you trade the practice time for risking breaking and having to rush repairs.


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Bill, Brian, Are you in or out???

Posted by Joe Johnson.   [PICTURE: SAME | NEW | HELP]


Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

Posted on 1/2/2000 8:08 PM MST


In Reply to: Three days posted by Bill Beatty on 12/31/1999 3:43 PM MST:



Bill,

I reviewed the CDI tape you sent me over the break.

You were born for this stuff, Bill.

Not only me, but my mom & dad were extremely impressed with how you and Brian work with your kids.

Please tell me that your posting on this page means that you and Brian may be rethinking your '1999 is our last year' comments.

Do tell.

Joe J.


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Re: I can go either way

Posted by Jason Morrella.

Coach on team #254, Cheesy Poofs/Bay Bombers, from Broadway High and NASA Ames.

Posted on 12/26/99 3:22 AM MST


In Reply to: I can go either way posted by Joe Johnson on 12/23/99 9:31 PM MST:



I for one think that FIRST's 'obsession with fairness' is commendable and should be applauded. I would think less of FIRST if they did not treat ALL 378 teams exactly equal.

There are three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and FIRST will be faced with 'new, unforseen, difficult decisions' every year. It also seems that FIRST always corrects the problems from previous years - so I am sure the scheduling conflicts this year will be fixed next year.

Given the unavoidable scheduling conflicts which exist this year, I am very happy with the efforts FIRST has made to alleviate the shipping concerns of the teams in the last two regionals and also their decision to make the shipping rules the same for ALL teams.

Part of the great experience of the FIRST season is that teams always seem to be able to overcome and excel in situations they thought they might not. They are presented with problems (the same problems for all, which are valid, such as shipping and repairs this year) and they find solutions to those problems.

I may be proven wrong, but I am have a feeling the shipping/repair issue ends up being much less of a problem than we fear. Don't get me wrong, I am nervous about it just like everyone else - but I have all the confidence in the world that the National Competition will be incredible as usual, with hundreds of working & impressive robots displaying their skills.
I can't wait for the Kick-Off and the start of the 2000 competition. Everyone have a safe and Happy New Year!!!

Jason



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Obsession with Fairness...

Posted by Joe Johnson.   [PICTURE: SAME | NEW | HELP]


Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

Posted on 12/26/99 7:18 PM MST


In Reply to: Re: I can go either way posted by Jason Morrella on 12/26/99 3:22 AM MST:



My comment about 'obsession with fairness' is more driven by the great lengths that FIRST goes to in order to be able to say the it is 'fair' for rookie teams.

Believe me, THIS COMPETITION IS NOT FAIR TO ROOKIES. There is nothing to be done about it. I wish that FIRST would get over this idea that it must be 'fair' for rookies.

Beyond this, FIRST sometimes goes to great cost and bother to avoid even the appearance of unfairness. I would much rather the political capital was spent educating us FIRST folks the definition of 'fair enough.'

So...

...I don't want to imply that I think that the pursuit of fairness is not a good thing. What I do want to say is that there can be too much of a good thing.

Joe J.


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