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  #16   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 09-29-2009, 11:27 PM
JB987 JB987 is offline
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Re: [BB]: Regional Variations & Bagging It

I am on the planning committee for LVR and there will not be a reduction in entry fees. I can assure you that teams will not notice any reduction in quality services resulting from our cost cutting efforts. Savings will come from using the awesome operators of the arena on the UNLV campus instead of the FIRST provided Show Ready operators. Our "in house" group has incredible experience putting on events much bigger than regionals and we expect our 6th year to be even better than our first 5! Those of you who have shared in the "Vegas" experience and return will not be disappointed, newcomers will be blown away!

Cory is right...there will be a few dollars saved on what we spend on the volunteers but the money saved is mostly saved by FIRST since our local contributions to the cost of the event doesn't cover the full costs of the regional and they will pick up the shortage as in the past (as they do across the country). There will be less shortage with expected savings, hence [i]FIRST[i] spends less...
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Unread 09-29-2009, 11:29 PM
Akash Rastogi Akash Rastogi is offline
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Re: [BB]: Regional Variations & Bagging It

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Originally Posted by JB987 View Post
I am on the planning committee for LVR and there will not be a reduction in entry fees. I can assure you that teams will not notice any reduction in quality services resulting from our cost cutting efforts. Savings will come from using the awesome operators of the arena on the UNLV campus instead of the FIRST provided Show Ready operators. Our "in house" group has incredible experience putting on events much bigger than regionals and we expect our 6th year to be even better than our first 5! Those of you who have shared in the "Vegas" experience and return will not be disappointed, newcomers will be blown away!

Cory is right...there will be a few dollars saved on what we spend on the volunteers but the money saved is mostly saved by FIRST since our local contributions to the cost of the event doesn't cover the full costs of the regional and they will pick up the shortage as in the past (as they do across the country). There will be less shortage with expected savings, hence [i]FIRST[i] spends less...
That definitely sounds like an awesome experience. Much like I've always heard Boston and the WPI offseason are. I look forward to seeing more about this
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Unread 09-29-2009, 11:37 PM
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Re: [BB]: Regional Variations & Bagging It

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Originally Posted by Akash Rastogi View Post
That definitely sounds like an awesome experience. Much like I've always heard Boston and the WPI offseason are. I look forward to seeing more about this
Best seen in person, right?
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Unread 09-30-2009, 05:36 AM
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Re: [BB]: Regional Variations & Bagging It

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Originally Posted by Bob Steele View Post
How many regionals have you been to that have all of the rookie and younger teams ready to start playing at 12:00 on Thursday?
I have NEVER been to a regional where that was the case...
Perhaps we need a shift in our mindset. Thursday is no longer the "last day of build" - it's the first day of competition. Build has to be done on bag/ship day. Any practice time is only for tweaking, not major builds. Michigan teams had to face that reality last year - many did not realize it and missed a significant portion of their 12 matches in their first district event.

And it's not just rookie or young teams that have to change their thinking. I know of very veteran teams who built or rebuilt major components of the robot on Thursday in the past.
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Unread 09-30-2009, 06:29 AM
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Re: [BB]: Regional Variations & Bagging It

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Originally Posted by GaryVoshol View Post
Perhaps we need a shift in our mindset. Thursday is no longer the "last day of build" - it's the first day of competition. Build has to be done on bag/ship day. Any practice time is only for tweaking, not major builds. Michigan teams had to face that reality last year - many did not realize it and missed a significant portion of their 12 matches in their first district event.

And it's not just rookie or young teams that have to change their thinking. I know of very veteran teams who built or rebuilt major components of the robot on Thursday in the past.
Agreed. Teams will have to shift their mindset a day or two durring build season. We have left last minute things for Thursday morning, and had a good practice day, but some teams look at Thursday as the last day of build as you said. Those things will have to be done before ship. It's part of the challenge!
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Unread 09-30-2009, 06:34 AM
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Re: [BB]: Regional Variations & Bagging It

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Originally Posted by Fe_Will View Post
Do we get a reduced fee or just less for what we are paying for?
This comes up just about every year, and while it's been said just about every year, I'll reiterate it again to save from having to search...

Very little of the registration cost actually goes to the costs of the actual regional event you are attending. The vast majority of it goes to things such as:
  • Payroll @ FIRST HQ
  • Travel Expenses for FIRST staff
  • Kit of Parts items
  • Facility costs(utilities, etc) for FIRST HQ
  • etc, etc...

As others have alluded to here, essentially what FIRST does is guarantee that the various bills for the regional (venue, A/V, drayage, etc) get paid, but it is the responsibility of the regional committee to obtain funding to cover as much of this as possible. In the event that the committee comes up short, FIRST covers the difference.
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Unread 09-30-2009, 08:10 AM
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Re: [BB]: Regional Variations & Bagging It

Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryVoshol View Post
Perhaps we need a shift in our mindset. Thursday is no longer the "last day of build" - it's the first day of competition. Build has to be done on bag/ship day. Any practice time is only for tweaking, not major builds. Michigan teams had to face that reality last year - many did not realize it and missed a significant portion of their 12 matches in their first district event.

And it's not just rookie or young teams that have to change their thinking. I know of very veteran teams who built or rebuilt major components of the robot on Thursday in the past.
Totally agree. You must be ready to play on friday. Your team mates must atleast move. Rookies ask for help and veterans seek them out. It is in your best interest. Stage a rookie event like Kettering did. The team we helped last year had their base moving before we did.
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Unread 09-30-2009, 08:17 AM
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Re: [BB]: Regional Variations & Bagging It

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Originally Posted by XaulZan11 View Post
I disagree. Thursday matches will lead to a more representative top 8. Not because they are on Thursday but in simply increases the sample size.

In addition to the increased sample size, the good team are more likely to pass inspection and won't be as effected by the lack of practice time (due to practice robots). The 'bad' teams are the ones more likely to miss matches or have mechanical/electrical issues.

It is true that more robots missing will lead to more variability. But a missing robot will effect the good and bad teams equally (assuming the match schedule is random). I think three more matches clearly outweighs this potential variability.

I'm all for more matches!
The "good" teams will also have fewer uninterrupted stretches of time to help the "bad" teams so the "bad" teams can actually get out on the field and play. Because that's what it's all about, right - making sure everyone has a great competition experience?

You can tell vets and rookies to "make sure you're ready to go before you arrive" until your gums bleed, but some teams are still going to slip through the cracks. Also, some teams who *think* they are ready when they ship their bot will put the bot on the playing field and inevitably find out that they are not ("oh....we are [heaven willing] playing on carpet....we tested driving on tile floor....."). So add them to the list of those who are at increased risk of not getting a chance to play under the "compressed" schedule.

As the "ready to go" teams salivate over the prospect of the 10 qualifying matches, don't forget about those who, by way of an oversight due to inexperience or pure bad luck, still need a little help from their friends to get on the field and compete.
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Unread 09-30-2009, 09:13 AM
Lil' Lavery Lil' Lavery is offline
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Re: [BB]: Regional Variations & Bagging It

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Originally Posted by artdutra04 View Post
I can't speak for the other regionals, but I bet the WPI Regional is probablyActually, the more I think about it, the idea behind to moving a large number of Regionals from convention centers and sports arenas to college sports arenas makes a ton of sense.

Convention centers and sports stadiums don't really have anything to gain from having lots of motivated high school students in attendance, other than the earning money from the rent part. But colleges have a lot to gain from having lots of motivated high school college students on their campus. Colleges would most likely be a lot more motivated to get the expenses down while getting more fun and excitement out of the event, as this excitement would likely correlate well with the student's perception of the school.

Nearly everyone in FRC needs to go to college before they'll become an engineer, scientist, or entrepreneur aspiring to change the world. Lots of colleges offer existing FIRST scholarships, but a large number remain unclaimed. By hosting a regional, this gives students a chance to really get to know a college, and I'd surmise would make them more motivated to apply for potential scholarships offered by the school hosting the regional.

Win for students, win for colleges, win for FIRST.
I can't agree much more with this statement than I currently do. There's a reason a number of my favorite regionals are held on college campuses, and why they're so good because of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Steele View Post
When many speak of the 10 rounds of qualifiers being the solution to our problems of getting the best teams on the field for the finals... we need to ponder this...

How many regionals have you been to that have all of the rookie and younger teams ready to start playing at 12:00 on Thursday?
I have NEVER been to a regional where that was the case...

So you go into your qualifier on Thursday and your partners have not been inspected... or can't pass inspection.... many teams need all of Thursday to get ready....it is a god send to many of them....

It also gives those of us that are ready plenty of time to help them get ready.
Now we are all playing.... noon....

If the game is anything like last year.. you will see even more qualification situations.... last year if one team did not make it on the field.... it was a free for all on that empty trailer....

If that happens again Thursday will NOT represent BETTER qualifications...
It will be much worse...

I would rather have 7 good qualifying rounds than 10 with 3 on Thursday...with only half of the robots showing up...
I agree. I'm all for more matches for a number of reasons, but not at the cost of Thursday. Heck, I can't even count how many VETERAN teams take until 2-3pm to get their robots inspected. Between uncrating, setting up pit spaces, attaching/modifying fix-it window components (or whatever the equivalent system is this year), calibrating cameras, fixing inspection violations (however minor they may be), scouting, and helping out other teams, very few teams I know are ready by noon on Thursday. And shrinking that time they have on Thursday is only gonig to make it more difficult for them to help the teams that really are struggling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by XaulZan11 View Post
I disagree. Thursday matches will lead to a more representative top 8. Not because they are on Thursday but in simply increases the sample size.

In addition to the increased sample size, the good team are more likely to pass inspection and won't be as effected by the lack of practice time (due to practice robots). The 'bad' teams are the ones more likely to miss matches or have mechanical/electrical issues.

It is true that more robots missing will lead to more variability. But a missing robot will effect the good and bad teams equally (assuming the match schedule is random). I think three more matches clearly outweighs this potential variability.

I'm all for more matches!
If the top 8 is all you care about, sure. It will be a more representative top 8 of how all the robots performed between Thursday at noon and Saturday at noon. It still won't be very representative of machines that improved as they were completed/fixed during the event, and it still won't be representative of teams' alliance partners missing matches because they haven't passed inspection.

But that's hardly the only point of a FIRST event. I'd rather play 7 matches and have a slightly worse top 8 than play 10 without getting half the robots on the field for their first match or two.
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Unread 09-30-2009, 09:51 AM
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Re: [BB]: Regional Variations & Bagging It

Having inspected before...

What's this about finishing inspections on Thursday? Teams actually do that?

Of the L.A. teams in the first three matches, about half a dozen had to finish inspection on Friday morning. For most of them, it was a simple matter that had held them up (say, no BOM). After they finished, another 3-4 teams still needed the BOM or some other matter cleared up--and this is after Thursday's 12 hours of work/inspection.

Starting competition matches on Thursday is going to hurt, especially because teams will say, "We've got Thursday to finish" again. It'll take an event or so for them to realize, "$%^, we DON'T have Thursday, we need to finish on Ship Day!" And for many teams, their year will be over already by the time they realize this. Their experience is going to stink for a bit. It'll take a year or two to get everyone going to the point where this will actually work the way it's intended to.
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Unread 09-30-2009, 11:28 AM
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Re: [BB]: Regional Variations & Bagging It

Bill's Blog states that shipping will not be provided to bagged regionals. It also states that robots will be taken home from bagged regionals, and then shipped by UPS to your next regional. If you are attending two consecutive bagged regionals (as we might), these two statements conflict. Will you take your own bagged bot from one bagged regional to the next, or will bots that have already been to a bagged regional be an exception and get shipped to the next? We will write to FIRST and ask, but maybe someone has already looked into this.
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Unread 09-30-2009, 12:17 PM
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Re: [BB]: Regional Variations & Bagging It

If you only attend "Bagged" districts or Regional events then you cart your robot everywhere.
There will be no shippers (to or from) present at Bagged events.

Bill's wording is a little misleading, but addresses the mixing of Bagged & non-Bagged events.
You have to ship to non-Bagged Regionals and Championship. (Although in a sense it's still kind of a bagged process, because you must crate it intact inside it's bag.)


I wonder if I can get some of those bags for my leaves this fall? It'd scare the bejeezus out of our leaf pickup guys.
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Unread 09-30-2009, 01:04 PM
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Re: [BB]: Regional Variations & Bagging It

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Smith View Post
This comes up just about every year, and while it's been said just about every year, I'll reiterate it again to save from having to search...

Very little of the registration cost actually goes to the costs of the actual regional event you are attending. The vast majority of it goes to things such as:
  • Payroll @ FIRST HQ
  • Travel Expenses for FIRST staff
  • Kit of Parts items
  • Facility costs(utilities, etc) for FIRST HQ
  • etc, etc...

As others have alluded to here, essentially what FIRST does is guarantee that the various bills for the regional (venue, A/V, drayage, etc) get paid, but it is the responsibility of the regional committee to obtain funding to cover as much of this as possible. In the event that the committee comes up short, FIRST covers the difference.

In addition, if you look at FIRST's financials, the registration fees in total are far lower then the total operating expenses. It is more then likely that some major sponsors are feeling the economic hurt and have had to reduce thier generous donations this year.
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Unread 09-30-2009, 02:09 PM
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Re: [BB]: Regional Variations & Bagging It

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Originally Posted by Lil' Lavery View Post
... And shrinking that time they have on Thursday is only going to make it more difficult for them to help the teams that really are struggling.
Yeah, I've been thinking about those scenarios as well. We were one of the fortunate veterans week 1 last year in DC. On Thurs the only work we had to do was camera calibration which one of our engineers was handling pretty well. Mind you we had a VERY simple robot, no fix-it-window add ons ... only a DS upgrade to do besides getting a camera dialed in. Even being in great shape otherwise, we spent all of Thursday...along with some other vets ... getting a few rookies past inspection ... two of which finally passed, but never ran one practice match. I'm trying to picture in my mind what that day would have looked like starting Q matches at noon.

I LOVE 10+ matches for all, let's hope we can get those struggling teams more functional prior to showing up at their first event.
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Unread 09-30-2009, 03:06 PM
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Re: [BB]: Regional Variations & Bagging It

Instead of starting at noon on Thursday, why not run until 8 pm on Friday as well?

It would require longer hours for the volunteers, but I don't think there is a single team that would rather cut half of practice thursday vs staying later on Friday.

There might be other considerations like OT for venue staff. Maybe FIRST has looked into it and deemed it undo able. It would be nice if it was possible though.
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