MARC 2010 Hindsight

Well, 2010 has been a very successful year for the MARC. There were, however a few things that needed to happen that didn’t.

  1. Audio/Visual Capacity - The main problem with the A/V system was the lack of a scan converter. This forced us to do the score overlay by pointing a camera at a monitor and chroma keying the background. It was a good idea, and credit goes to Alex Fera for thinking that up. If anyone has a scan converter they’d like to bring next year with a VGA input and (preferably) component BNC output, we’ll love you forever.

  2. FMS - WOW, FIRST. You really have to use Windows Server 2008, the derivative of VISTA? Well, ultimately this led to a crash that corrupted the MARC’s database entry. Actually, what happened was the year got magically set to 0. Setting it back to 2010 fixed the problem, but it would be good if it didn’t happen in the first place. The least FIRST could do is roll back to Server 2003.

  3. Power! - We lost power in the gym on two separate occasions. I think the solution to this is instead of being lazy and plugging everything at the scoring table into one power strip (That’s probably over 20 things), we need to run more extension cables.

  4. Heat - This isn’t really anything new, but we need to think of a cost-effective way to cool the gym. Year-after-year it’s super-hot, and that isn’t good for the FMS and other crucial systems. We considered dry-mist fans or portable air conditioners, but that didn’t happen. Any ideas?

  5. MARCStats - Well… second year in a row the system failed. I think I managed to fix the scoring formulas, but I believe I was given bad data by the FTA’s. If you guys have any hand-written data lying around, I’d like to get a hold of it. I only need data from matches 1-43.

  6. Webcast - The camera was pretty shaky, and I apologize for that. Either way, we did get a lot of positive feedback on the webcast, but I think next year we need to get the word out a bit better.

  7. Free Internet Connection - Remember that wireless connection? You should all check your wireless lists (not the available ones, but the ones connected to in the past) to see if it’s still there. If it is, it’s broadcasting an infection from your wireless card, so you need to delete it from the list. Let this serve as a reminder never to connect to any ad-hoc (computer-to-computer) networks. This was also an issue in Atlanta, with a bunch of people picking up the “Free Public Wifi” infection.

Really, other than these minor things, the MARC was a big success. Thanks to all that came and all that watched the webcast (too bad none of you could do both, because the webcast was blocked on our guest wireless :(). We hope to see you all again next year!

I think the biggest problem with the FMS is FIRST’s assumption that it will never fail. From what I heard, the main reason it took sooo long to fix the database issue is because the FTA’s did not have access to the database, so they essentially had to hack into it.

That’s true. Luckily FIRST made the system password so easy to guess. We managed to restore a backup made a few minutes before the crash and get the MARC’s data back.

Maybe using more industrial fans. The one that was an intake was nice, but exhaust fans going outside would have helped a ton. Other than that I thought it was an excellent event! Great job!

I must say it was a great event. Here are some of the positives I notices:

Mentor matches were allot of fun
Everyone was so easy going.
You could walk where you wanted without the place being roped off everywhere and it worked.
You didn’t have everyone screaming “ROBOT!!!” all the time because everyone was polite and courteous.
Competition was high and all the teams were playing fair.
Pig roast was awesome.

It was the best event we went to this year.

Thanks to 1718, 33, and 1528 for the win.

Thanks to you guys - we wouldn’t have made it without you being able to step in and win one for us while we were out being repaired!