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All comments should embody the FIRST values of Gracious Professionalism® and will be moderated prior to posting. Thank you for helping to keep the conversation civil and productive.

Posted On:
Fri, 05/31/2013 - 13:25

From the response we received to this new feature – 25 emails and counting – I think we’re going to have plenty of material to keep us busy over the summer.  Several folks sent in multiple questions on the same email, even though that wasn’t necessarily the intent (I’m looking in your direction, Jon Stratis, and several others o\~/o ), but that’s OK.

As I said, I may not be able to answer a question every Friday, but I’m going to try.

The first question I’ll be answering is from Martin Regimbald, from...

Posted On:
Thu, 05/30/2013 - 17:08

Team 4797 Owlbots

Take a look at the incredible letter and photos I just received from FRC Team 4797, the Bryant High School Owlbots, from Long Island City, New York.

The team’s bus had turned over on the way home from Championship.  No one was seriously injured, fortunately...

Posted On:
Wed, 05/29/2013 - 11:16

We’re going to try something new over the next few months. In the ‘Frank Answers Fridays’ feature, individuals will be able to email me questions about FRC, and I’ll pick one to answer on Friday in the blog. Depending on the number of good questions I get in, and my availability, I may not be answering a question every Friday, but that’s the goal. If this feature proves popular, we’ll keep it for a while. If not, we’ll consider it a lesson learned and shut it down.  Even if this feature is popular over the summer, we may shut it down at some point over the...

Posted On:
Tue, 05/21/2013 - 09:20

Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the awful tornado in Oklahoma yesterday.  We have several teams in the area, and our thoughts are with the members of our extended FIRST family as they deal with this terrible tragedy.



Posted On:
Mon, 05/20/2013 - 15:22

The Other Shoe

The Old Shoe

The Old Shoe by George Hodan

Some folks are waiting for the other shoe to drop* from my last blog.  There’s no other shoe.


We have two important FRC...

Posted On:
Thu, 05/16/2013 - 14:01

I’ve seen some posts on Chief Delphi and a few comments in response to some of these blogs themselves in which folks have noted a new openness in communication from FRC.  This change is deliberate.  When I was asked to take on the role of Acting Director over the summer, I was told to not just behave as if I were a caretaker, holding things together for whoever would eventually be named as Director, but to act as if I were the Director – hence the title – working with the FRC Staff and other departments to make changes and try new things where we saw the need. I like...

Posted On:
Wed, 05/15/2013 - 14:31


Self-portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

FIRST community favorite, Dave Lavery, and his Mars Science Laboratory team recently picked up two prestigious accolades.


Posted On:
Wed, 05/15/2013 - 10:04

Many people are aware there was a scoring error on the Einstein field, but not everyone knows the details.  I’d like to explain what happened and our plans to minimize the chance of this happening again. 

We knew that the automated scoring system in use had a design limitation which could result in disc count errors, so a manual count verification process was put in place at the start of the season to double check counts before scores were finalized. The goals over the driver stations had hinged bottoms to allow easy removal of discs. On Einstein, a field reset...

Posted On:
Fri, 05/10/2013 - 13:35

2013 Championship Pits

I have so much to talk about regarding Championship!  I’m going to break this in to two sections – pros and cons.  These aren’t comprehensive lists, but are more along the lines of what I consider to be highlights.


Posted On:
Thu, 05/02/2013 - 09:11


There is so much to say about Championship but I only have the energy right now to cover a few items. The week after Championship is one of the few quiet weeks we have at FIRST, so many of us are taking a couple days off to catch up on our rest. After a very full Championship schedule, this break is something all of us – teams, volunteers, and staff – really need! 

My sense is that overall, we had a great Championship, but we’ll be sending out a detailed survey to everyone who attended so we can better understand what went well, and where we...

Posted On:
Thu, 04/25/2013 - 12:38


The first full day of Championship is going great! Matches have started smoothly, teams are flowing through inspection, and you can feel the energy in the air. Since all 400 teams are here, we did not need to change the schedule from the preliminary versions released Monday.

Championship 2013 Pits

I recognize the disappointment teams have expressed with only getting...

Posted On:
Mon, 04/22/2013 - 13:02

We’re seeing lots of activity on the forums over our release of the Practice Field policy for Championship.  I’m going to try to clarify some things, and let you know about changes we’re making.

Our primary concern with the practice fields is safety. With this year’s game, we feel that the only safe way to run the Formal Practice Fields, where robots may be driving and shooting over long distances and at high velocities, is with no humans on the field. The match play timing structure and use of FMS were a result of the desire to make sure that all robots are enabled and...

Posted On:
Mon, 04/22/2013 - 09:47

Share Your FIRST Story at Championship!

One of the best parts of our jobs is the opportunity to see how someone’s life may have been positively impacted by participating in a FIRST program. We love to receive letters, meet people at events and read about our alumni in the news. This year, we’re going to take this one step further and capture some of these testimonials on video. In St. Louis, you might encounter a video crew interviewing folks for personal stories about the FIRST experience. Some will be planned, some will be more impromptu. In the...

Posted On:
Thu, 04/18/2013 - 10:51

Wireless at Championship

There’s no question that all eyes will be on Einstein next week to make sure we don’t have a repeat of the communications issues we had last year.  We’re working hard to make sure things run smoothly.  We have several changes already in place and a few more steps we’re taking that I wanted to mention today.

First, all Divisional Winners will be brought out to Einstein at least one hour in advance of the big show to allow the teams to calibrate their cameras and run a practice match.  This will give us a chance to catch...

Posted On:
Tue, 04/16/2013 - 08:30

The thoughts of the FRC Staff are with the Boston bombing victims and their families and friends. 

I encourage anyone having sentiments they would like to express to add them to the comments section below.