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Live Blogging The 2009 FRC Kickoff Event

January 3, 2009

We're here live at the 2009 FRC Kickoff Event in Manchester, New Hampshire, eagerly awaiting the release of the new game. And for the first time, pending Internet connectivity, we are hoping to live blog the event in real time with updates and observations. We apologize in advance for any spelling errors; in order to keep you updated as fast as possible mistakes may slip by!

8:31 am - It's snowing up here in Manchester, NH. What would a Kickoff event be without the snow?
9:37 am - Breakfast is over, and we're all moving into the main arena for the Kickoff now!
9:44 am - The arena is really filling up fast now, and the entire playing field is covered up a sheet. What this means is anyone's guess!
9:54 am - Blair is up to the microphone now, warming up the crowd.
9:55 am - We're all waving at Blair!
9:57 am - And it's Mike the clapping seal!
10:01 am - The webcast countdown has started! 90 seconds to go
10:03 am - The Kickoff video this year is awesome. Great props for bringing up JFK's landing on the moon challenge form the 1960s.
10:06 am - Paul Abele is up, and introducing one of New Hampshire's congressmen.
10:09 am - Paul Abele is back with all kinds of interesting statistics abou FIRST.
10:11 am - ...and now he's onto talking about the Hall of Fame (National Chairman's Award Winners) teams, including last year's winner Team 842.
10:13 am - Now here's Moe Team 365's video celebrating their 2007 Hall fo Fame induction. (Does anyone else notice that they seem to use the same background music in every HOF video at Kickoff every year?) Otherwise, it's a great video as usual!
10:19 am Paul Abele is back at the microphone, and is bringing up the moon and the Apollo lunar missions again.
10:24 am - A representative from PTC is up, and announcing their continued support of FIRST in spite of the difficult economy. Thanks!
10:25 am - Paul Abele is back and talking about the new Control System, the new FIRST Virtual Simulator, and all of the scholarships available to students through FIRST.
10:29 am - Thank you volunteers and mentors!
10:30 am - The preview of the new documentary sponsored by PBS looks really interesting. Can't wait until it's done.
10:34 am - Now they are announcing the President's Circle, as well as the winners of the competition. Congratulations to the Cyber Knights Team 195 for having the winning video! Also, the new student advisory board sounds like an interesting idea.
10:36 am - Always use [eye] protection, and be safe.
10:37 am - Grant Imahare (from the Mythbusters), is shown in a video to the teams telling them to be safe.
10:38 am - Team 342, the Burning Magnetos, award winning animated safety video is shown.
10:40 am - Dean Kamen is up to the podium! Wow, FIRST is already 18 years old!
10:43 am - The problem of science and technology resounds around the world, in which there is an enormous potential for technology to transform the world for the better.
10:46 am - As usual, the content of Dean's speech is good, but the delivery is, well, characteristically Dean Kamen.
10:50 am - Dean's speech is continuing onward about how difficult it is to make a game both easy for the rookies and challenging for the veterans.
10:52 am - Reading between the lines, it will take a lot of hard work and dedication this year is you really want to master the new control system.
10:59 am - Dean's speech is riddled with "frictionless" jokes...
11:04 am - The FIRST Alumni database project over the next two years seems like a really cool idea, in which they can see how many people have been impacted by FIRST.
11:06 am - So, who's up for a road (or train) trip to Washington DC in 2011?!
11:07 am - The moon, frictionless surfaces, and musical instruments (voilin and kazoo) oh my!
11:08 am - It's Vince with the new control system! "It's a really big deal!"
11:13 am - The new control system is really complex, but has amazing potential.
11:14 am - Dave Lavery, program executive for NASA is up at the podium and talking about NASA's support of FIRST. Dave's story of getting involved "for only a year" and they looking back at fifteen years of FIRST mentorship is shared by many.
11:17 am - Dave is really stressing the importance of having mentors on your team to learn from them, as this is what really sets FIRST apart from the 81 other similar robotics, science or technology high school competitions.
11:20 am - Dr. Woodie Flowers is up!
11:22 am - Wall street broke because of greed and incompetence, which is the exact opposite of gracious professionalism.
11:25 am - While Woodie is talking, behind the scenes they are starting to move all of their camera assembies out of the way of the center of the playing field and off to the side. The Game Design Committee members are gathering in front of the drapes!
11:26 am - Woodie: It's important to create real wealth, not artificial wealth. And the only important thing about this recession is that maybe now society is willing to listen to new ideas, such as gracious professionalism, that can help prevent things like this from arising as much or as serious in the future.
11:28 am - It's all about being in the right place at the right place and the right time. "FIRST is the right stuff, and the right time is now. And all you need to provide is the right attitude" - Dr. Woodie Flowers
11:30 am - It's a giant rope? Wait, now Woodie is talking about the moon!
11:30 am - It's the Game Design committee!
11:31 am - The 2009 Game! Lunacy! The playing field is now called the crater.
11:33 am - The entire game is themed like the moon this year. Launch pads, moon rocks, regolith, etc.
11:34 am - Mobile goals are back!
11:38 am - That slippery playing field looks like quite a challenge!

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