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Unread 09-26-2003, 05:17 PM
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FYI: FIRST E-mail Blast 9/26/03

Greetings Teams:

Welcome to the opening of registration for the 2004 FIRST Robotics Competition season. FIRST has worked hard during the summer to make changes to continue enhancing the program. We hope these changes improve the experience of participating in the 13th FIRST Robotics Competition season. Please remember first event registration opens promptly at 12:00 noon est Monday, September 29th.

The rumors are true; a new control system is coming. The new RC has a user programmable Microchip PIC" controller operating at 10 MIPS, gives direct access to I/O, has interrupts, and is programmable in C. Please do not contact Innovation First requesting information as more details will be available at www.InnovationFirst.com in the next few weeks when the product ships.

Last year all teams received the FIRST EDUrobotics kit to assist in preparation for the FIRST Robotics Competition season. Based on the overwhelming response and positive feedback from teams for survey results, FIRST will again offer the FIRST EDUrobotics Kit to the incoming rookie and returning teams that did not compete last year. After these teams register for an event, and upon receipt of a $500 deposit at FIRST, they will receive the kit that will include the new Innovation First Control System. All deposits are applied toward the $5,000 registration fee; however, once product is shipped the deposit is non-refundable. In order to allow everyone to build familiarity with the system, all teams that received the FIRST EDUrobotics kit last year will receive the new control system when they register. On-line instructional materials will be available on our website at www.usfirst.org. Both items should start shipping approximately October 15, so register early.

In order to provide the new robot controllers and other new parts in the kit this coming year and stay within budget constraints, it is necessary for FIRST to make some changes to the kit of parts. Battery chargers, joysticks and compressors will be supplied to teams in their first and second year. Veteran teams should have two sets of these parts and can use them on their 2004 robot. We hope you find some of the new parts exciting and challenging.

Discussions are still ongoing concerning qualifying criteria for The Championship. There are many factors to consider and FIRST aims to make the system as fair as possible. In order to have sufficient time to test various models, the opening of registration for The Championship will be delayed for approximately two and a half weeks. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes teams.

FIRST has contracted with a new company for hotel reservations in 2004. The THS Company specializes in tournament housing solutions and handles many clients with requirements similar to FIRST. They are making excellent progress on the hotel arrangements and we expect the reservation system to open by the end of October. Team Travel Coordinators will receive detailed information on the process prior to the opening of reservations.

Regional Chairman's Award submissions this year will be completed electronically. The format will be identical to last year but files will be e-mailed so FIRST can distribute them to judges prior to each event. Since the Chairman's Award is based on sustained excellence and impact of the team's overall program, rookies will not be eligible for the Chairman's Award. We recommend they still document their program as the process is a valuable component of the FIRST experience.

At each Regional, FIRST is implementing a new Woodie Flowers Award Finalist in 2004 to recognize mentors and their significant contribution to teams and students. The regional winners will form the finalist pool for the Championship Woodie Flowers Award.

It has been a very busy summer for all of us at FIRST. Welcome to the 2004 season, we hope these changes improve and enhance your FIRST experience!

Sincerely,



Bob Hammond
Director, Robotics Competition
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Unread 09-26-2003, 05:32 PM
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Re: FYI: FIRST E-mail Blast 9/26/03

Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Wong
FIRST has contracted with a new company for hotel reservations in 2004. The THS Company specializes in tournament housing solutions and handles many clients with requirements similar to FIRST. They are making excellent progress on the hotel arrangements and we expect the reservation system to open by the end of October. Team Travel Coordinators will receive detailed information on the process prior to the opening of reservations.
You can run, but you can't hide from the internet!!

The THS Company's website!

Nothing on the site FIRST-related as of yet.
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Unread 09-26-2003, 06:12 PM
sanddrag sanddrag is offline
back to school ;-)
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I'm okay with everything except no joysticks. Those things break pretty easily and we really like getting new ones because these days we use four to control the robot anyhow. We also like to keep a control board for each of our past robots. At least we can probably still buy them.

/me hopes for 4 Chias to be the "exciting parts" of the kit.
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Unread 09-26-2003, 06:13 PM
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Who cares about that stuff? J/k, but looky new RCs, programmed in C! It's confirmed!

*Does Happy Dance*
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Unread 09-26-2003, 07:56 PM
Rickertsen2 Rickertsen2 is offline
Umm Errr...
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Umm who sent this email?
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Unread 09-26-2003, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rickertsen2
Umm who sent this email?
It's an official FIRST e-mail blast. It was sent out to the main contact for every team. If you read the end of the e-mail, it was sent by Bob Hammond, the director of the FIRST Robotics Competition.
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Unread 09-26-2003, 08:26 PM
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This great news. Our kids just started working with a Microchip pic about a week ago (Me so happy). Finally a regional Woody Flowers award! Yes!!! FIRST is doing a great job this year
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Unread 09-26-2003, 08:56 PM
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I like the new regional Woodie Flowers Award, should be very good to help recognize more people that deserve these awards. I don't like them getting rid of the compressors, joysticks, and battery chargers though... because like someone else said... the joysticks break easily and sometimes u even redo it to make it part of your control board, plus repeating what someone else already said again... how're we going to control past year robots? I see for the joysticks you can probably just reconnect them the way for that year, but you can't easily swap back the compressor when you want the old robots to work. Also, the battery chargers aren't the highest quality and break relatively easy, I don't even think ours from previous years works, even though we kept decent care of it, it just doesn't have a long-life... but I guess we have to use more money to buy these items, and our budget is already tight :-/ Overall I do like the new ideas though.
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Unread 09-26-2003, 09:05 PM
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The one thing I really disagree with is the compressor. I know my team uses all of our compressors on old robots that we still do demos with. Now, we'll have to take apart one of them to have a compressor for this season. If nothing else, FIRST should allow teams to buy a new compressor if they want one.
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Unread 09-26-2003, 09:28 PM
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Many this for the FIRST kit are donated, but the compressor is not one of them. I think that there has been a grant that has been paying for the compressors etc. in the kit and that the grant is expiring soon. Older teams will just have to make do or purchase new ones out of their budget if it is needed (I think they are going to let us purchase them if we wish).
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Unread 09-26-2003, 10:42 PM
KenWittlief KenWittlief is offline
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If we have to buy our own compressors this year, Im getting mine from Sears and Sawbucks

two stage, 8HP with a 100 gallon tank

can you say 'KangarooBot" ?
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Unread 09-26-2003, 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by KenWittlief
If we have to buy our own compressors this year, Im getting mine from Sears and Sawbucks

two stage, 8HP with a 100 gallon tank

can you say 'KangarooBot" ?
You know FIRST is gonna have restrictions on it if you can buy your own and I don't think they would allow that but who knows?
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Unread 09-27-2003, 12:18 AM
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Angry

So am i the only person that thinks it bytes that we have to use previous year joysticks, batteries and compressor?

*sad glare at WCS*
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Unread 09-27-2003, 12:35 AM
sanddrag sanddrag is offline
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Whoa hold on. It never said we had to re-use batteries. That would be absurd. It said battery chargers. I think it's okay about the battery chargers because until just last year they were all junk anyway and even last year's isn't that impressive. We went out and bought a couple of our own selection and are very happy with those. Now, we have never used pneumatics before so I can't cry about that either.

Now, the joysticks I think they should still give because we keep our old robots runing (well, we try) and would like to have a separate control board for each. Also, the past two years we have used four joysticks for the one robot.
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Unread 09-27-2003, 01:05 AM
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Matt Krass Matt Krass is offline
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Don't worry about Tom, it's past his bedtime and he made a silly mistake. Anyway I hope we get Metrowerks software for those chips, I use it for C/C++ dev on my win2k machine, I love it.
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If I suggest something to try and fix a problem, and you don't understand what I mean, please PM me!

I'm a FIRST relic of sorts, I remember when we used PBASIC and we got CH Flightsticks in the KoP. In my day we didn't have motorized carts, we pushed our robots uphill, both ways! (Houston 2003!)
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