The dark side of alliances...

I want to say thanks to Teams #114 and #1097 for playing with us at the San Jose Regional. You guys did a great job.

As one of the main programmers, I feel personally responsible for the software bug that had our robot sitting frozen in its starting position for the first 90 seconds of our final match.

I cannot apologize enough.

I like the alliance concept, but there is a dark side to it as well. Specifically, when your team fails to deliver, you feel 3 times as bad because you let down not only your own team, but 2 additional teams that were counting on you.

Both teams #114 and #1097 were very gracious about the defeat, but I can imagine that they were very let down by the experience.

I hope that the Cosmic Karma will eventually balance all accounts.

Until then, please accept my thanks for picking us and my regrets for not coming through for you.

Joe J.

If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that you can’t blame yourself when things go wrong. You’re part of a team - if the robot fails, it’s not your fault. It’s the team’s fault.

At the Detroit Regional, almost everything that could have gone wrong for us did. We plugged the autonomous switch into the wrong port on the RC, disconnected a few wires moments before matches…heck, we even went the entire competition before noticing that the left and right side motors had been switched during a hasty rewiring job. :ahh:

My friends on our Electronics group held themselves responsible…they decided that it was their fault, and refused to let anyone else take blame. Thing is…it wasn’t their fault. At all. We had more than a few people - at least 15 I can recall off the top of my head - that looked at the robot during the couse of the competition. The Electronics group may have missed it, and they may have actually been the ones that miswired it…but it wasn’t caught by any of our drive team, other students, or the engineers. The entire team missed this one.

The point I’m trying to make: it’s not anyone’s fault. You can’t blame yourself when everyone else misses it as well. Blaming one person accomplishes nothing.

You’ve been around in FIRST for a long time…you should know this one by now. :slight_smile: Things can (and will) go wrong…you’ve just got to learn from your mistakes and move on. If you blame yourself, you just make yourself miserable…and that’s no way to go through a competition. We’re here to have fun, remember?

Don’t hold yourself to feeling bad about this. I accounted for many mistakes with my team, including just about the exact same error you made here, I also hooked up the wrong radio so our robot malfunctioned, and I have held myself responsible for these mistakes. However, every team makes mistakes and everyone on every team makes a mistake. And even though you made one error, I am sure that you have given much more to your team to counterbalance what happened in this one match.

now everyone on your team has learned a valuable lesson on SW test and valididation.

We had a student on our team last year who wanted to make ‘one little change’ to the code right before we needed to demo the machine to about 200 people

we explained to him that SW changes have to be thoroughly tested, there is no such thing as a simple change

and Dr Hensel told the student about a problem with the flight control system on F18s that arose when a programmer made a simple change to the SW, which caused the aircraft to want to fly upsidedown when you flew south of the equator (which actully happened on one mission)

and after all this, the students response was “but we only want to change one line of code and we KNOW it will work ok”

Experience is a cruel teacher - first you are tested, then you learn the lesson. :^)

There’s no need to apologize. We were actually glad to be seated with you since you were such a well-known team. Our team competes to have fun and enjoy our time at competition. This is the second time we made to the quarter-finals (we made it in Sac as well) and we were honored to be chosen by you. We hope to see you on our playing field at Nationals. :slight_smile:

Regardless of how it worked out, it was fun. Whether is your fault is not important at all, only that you learn from it…

I would, however, be quite interested as to how you created your autonomous mode so that it would do this. I haven’t figured it out on my own why ending the autonomous mode causes it to go into an infinite loop. How is it set up?

I hope to be allied with you and Site 3 again at some point in the future - we were definitely a formidable team!

Hey Steven,
Actually, ask Kesich, our programmer. I basically used this name as to say Code of the Robot kinda like Code of the Ninja or to that degree. I’m not the programmer. Here is his profile so you can send him a PM. Anthony Kesich

Nonono, I was talking about Delphi’s. That’s what happened during the final match that we played - they got stuck in an infinite loop (or so I’ve heard).

Oh whoops. I thought your robot had an infinite loop problem. My mistake.

Oh, man. Do I know about that one.
Thanx to Ken for helping me at Buckeye. I think I finally got it to work Late Firday/Early Saturday at West Michigan. :yikes:

Sort of goes along with C vs. VB. In VB, it’s simple enough that a small change will probably just introduce new idiosyncrieses. In C, there is no such thing as a ‘Small Change’. :ahh:

“C is screwing up my english; I’m ending all my sentences withe semi-colons;” And what is this ‘Small Change’ you speak of?

[And I am infinately smarter than at kickoff due to everyone involved: this is my first year. (little/0=infinity)]

I know what you mean about SW glitches… we tried to download a new program right before our first match and our robot ended up sitting it out on the field.

The most embarrassing thing is we won that match.

Thanks to our partner team #100 for putting up with our mistake.


I know exactly how you feel. At GLR, I (myself) forgot to put our winch brake mechanism back in after showing it to someone and we lost because of my stupid mistake. I felt terrible for team 27 and 461.

And at MWR I also felt that I made some crucial coaching mistakes that also cost us. Again, I let down team 27 (and 74), who graciously picked us even though we failed them at GLR. I did not care so much that we lost, but that 27 had to lose because of us. They played great and deserved better.

alot of people here are pointing out the good side of alliances

when your bot is dead in the water, sometimes a good alliance partner can still win - you dont get totally decimated like you would if we played one on one.

For instance, at one of our matches our partner didn’t show up. We still managed to win by hanging. :slight_smile:

Well said. I know I’ve made more than my share of stupid mistakes in the three years I’ve been in FIRST … but the real mistake is if you don’t learn from them. Now, really, what fun would it be if software worked right everytime you went out there? I knew how to program when I started this thing. Since, I’ve learned how to debug; how to track down a problem, isolate it and then fix it. Looking back, this seems to be the better skill, and I’m glad for all the mistakes that let me get here. I’ve wanted to kick myself more than a few times for some things I’ve done … but now we do system checks before each match and as often as the fabrication group will let me have the robot, and I’ve come up with a nice checklist of things to do, and check all my pot values, etc. Losing a big match because of a mistake sure isn’t fun (I know that all too well); but five years down the road, it’s more likely to help out the student than winning because everything went perfectly! Well, that’s just my poor opinion, anyway …

yep - if everything works perfectly all the time then

  1. you arent doing anything new
  2. you arent learing anything
  3. you arent pushing your abilities out of your comfort zone

I think we made the ultimate stupid mistake on our very first match of our first regional (Peachtree) …

The drive team never turned on the main breaker. They saw the blinking leds on the controller and assummed everything was good to go. :rolleyes:

The good news is that I don’t think we’ll ever have that problem again. :ahh:

Whoops. That’s a good one. I guess that shows how important it is not to get TOO specialized…

Everyone makes mistakes…I myself was the arm operator for our robot, and forgot to pay attention to the gigantic markings that indicate when our hook is being overextended (ends up making a mess of our winch mechanism). To make a long story short…we had to hang to win the match, were in position with ample time, and I blew it. But in the end…winning isn’t everything.