One Day to Go, FIRST Choice Maintenance and Game Piece Availability, NASA Broadcast, and More!

Blog Date: 
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 11:43


One Day to Go!

I hope everyone is as excited as we are here at FIRST HQ for Kickoff tomorrow.  I actually had a little trouble sleeping last night, and I already know what the game is!  (Hey – maybe I had trouble sleeping because the game is so great I can’t wait for us to reveal it!)

FIRST Choice Maintenance and Game Piece Availability

I wanted to make you aware of a planned outage of the FIRST Choice system on Saturday, 1/5/13, from approximately 10am to 4pm Eastern. The outage will accommodate the addition of 100 credits to each Team’s account.

So, as of 4PM ET on Saturday, you will then be able to log in to FIRST Choice. Also at 4PM ET, game pieces will be available for sale from AndyMark. For the first week (until 4PM on 1/12), we’ve asked AndyMark to put a cap on the number of pieces teams can order. More detail will be available after Kickoff.

NASA Broadcast

Great news!  NASA will be broadcasting the FRC Kickoff starting at 10:30 ET on both their ‘Public’ and ‘Educational’ channels.  This means the broadcast can be viewed both on computer, and, if you have a cable or satellite TV provider who happens to carry the NASA Public Channel (many do) you and your friends and relatives can watch the kickoff right on TV.  Ask them to check it out, get them in on the action! 

You will notice that the broadcast is scheduled for an hour.  SPOILER ALERT: It ‘might’ be shorter than that.

We’re very grateful to NASA for providing this wonderful service!

Classmate Image Files and Software Updates

Classmate Image files, which allow you to create a USB restoration key for your Classmates, are now available for download.  You can find detailed information here, under the ‘Driver Station’ heading:  http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/2013-Technical-Resources . Within the instructions, you will find a table showing what is included with the various image options.

Also, all the Software Updates noted as ‘Available January 3’ on this blog http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/blog-information-for-2013-the-what-when-where-and-how were available January 3rd as promised.

Hosting Documents or Files

It’s very important that FIRST, and only FIRST, host FIRST content. That is to say, rather than taking the documents and files you can find through usfirst.org and hosting them on your own sites, we need teams to link to our information instead.  There are two main reasons:

  1. Version control. Our documents and files may change over time. If a 3rd party host links to the original content instead of the original content, any updates we make will carry through. If the content is hosted instead of linked, the content may become obsolete, but with no notification to the user.
  2. Intellectual property. While we’re not particularly possessive of our content, we do have a responsibility to protect FIRST IP.  it’s not all created by FIRST, but it’s created for FIRST.  So, re-hosting content may or may not infringe on donation agreements, licensing agreements or other matters that may not be public knowledge.

All that being said, we thank you for understanding and respecting this request. If you have questions, please feel free to contact frcteams@usfirst.org or (800) 871-8326, ext. 0.

I’ll blog again soon.

Frank

Comments

Hello,

The FIRST website has a history of congestion (and even crashing all together) when it comes to kickoff. Therefore, for the purposes of kickoff, I have hosted a package of the manual, field documents, and check-off lists on dropbox and such. I believe people in the community are using this link as it's probably not going to go down and the package includes most of the pertinent files.

As per your post above, am I correct in understanding that you would like me to NOT host this package?

Thanks,
- Sunny G.

Sunny, you're absolutely right that there has been website congestion in the past, which is why we released encrypted versions ahead of time. Our awesome IT team also added additional capacity to the website, which should make web traffic less of a concern. That being said, content should not be re-hosted elsewhere, even if with the best intentions. Please watch this blog for updates and have a blast tomorrow!

Would it be possible for FIRST to consider hosting some of the files where IP is less of a concern on a GIT/SVN repository or something similar? This would allow teams to mirror things like the game manual/documentation but still ensure that they are kept up-to-date automatically. This would also help make sure that teams have the most current version of the manual just by using a git/svn client program.

Hello,

Just to clarify, would it be ok to have a RSS Feed Reader of the FRC Blog on team website's? I know of a plugin which gets the RSS Feed from the FRC Blog and displays it on a page on team website's. It does not alter or change any information. It just's displays the title of the post and when you click on it, it takes you directly to that post on the FRC Blog on the FIRST website. Its mainly for convenience to team members and anyone else.

Thanks
Aaron D.

just wanted to say that I really appreciate the recent trend of slimming down superfluous stuff in FRC: shorter kickoff, shorter and less complex game manual... very much appreciated!

Hi Frank, the "FRC kickoff" link is bad.

http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/kickoff

Hi Tyson, thanks for pointing this out! The link has been fixed.

Frank,
I appreciate the clear explanation as to why we shouldn't rehost and the public announcement that we shouldn't. I remember some confusion about this in the past.

The link on the competition manual page for the Arena Layout and Markings (http://www.usfirst.org/sites/default/files/uploadedFiles/Robotics_Progra...) is bad.

Hi Locutus 494, this link has been fixed. Rose @ FRC

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