What do you do? (2022 edition)

It’s the quiet part of the season for North America, I know some of you are building robots and some of you are watching interdimensional TV with your friend Morty. But I know on average roboteers are active in 4 other things that they spend a lot of time and and have a passion for. So quick peek to see what you are up to. Here is mine.

  • New wood shop has about 3 hours to go before it’s finished (*). Epoxy floor is cured, tint people came to put the film on the giant glass doors to help control the temps, portable AC has been shipped.

  • Electronics for the new balloon projects have arrived, I’ll be able to do APRS broadcasts for the next flights. Thanks ARRL for the grant money,

  • Boating is still fun, finished both the podcast on weather and the final touches on the fall guide. Not as much float time, but had some nice days messing around.

  • Hummingbirds are at a peak, I see about 4 different birds every hour come to the feeder. Sadly I also watch the wasps touch down.

  • I watched a drone demo at the EP summit, I got to fly and mine is to be delivered on Friday. I’ve been assured that my considerable lack of eye-hand-eye lack of coordination will not be a factor. We’ll see.

  • Got kits together for Lego Zoom ™ with grand kids / grand friends for the winter season.

So that’s my summer, what cool/interesting/mundane things are you up to?

Now off to the Citadel of Lacsap’s to watch his bio-pic.

(* And all the mentors laughed at the ‘three hours’ note. Where your season robot is done an hour after your last match, same with workshops)

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I don’t do a lot in the quiet season. I’m starting to brainstorm ideas and watch competitions to improve my CAD, but that’s all for robotics. I’m starting soccer again, and working on learning blacksmithing, but the main thing I’m doing is college prep. That and practicing overwhelming existentialism (unintentionally).

EDIT: I also might be spending too much time every day here and reading everyone’s favorite webcomic: XKCD.

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Mainly just keeping in touch with the VEX scene in Mainland China as it gets closer to my college move in date. I’m hopefully going to continue my competitive robotics career with VEXU so this is a good way to prepare for this season.

I’m also working on a couple of how-to guides for various things like notebooking & judging as my college is too far away for me to regularly visit and help out (mentor) the robotics teams at my former high school (sorry, no release to the general public as they contain too much inter-organization and school references). With several teams having new notebookers this season (the only notebookers from last season have either left the school or graduated) I thought the guides would be a good “parting gift” to the new notebookers.

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You are one of the best people in existence. I’m sure the incoming vex students will honor and respect the legacy you leave. :saluting_face:

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This is cool, I’ve looked at custom hinges and the cost borders on me buying a forge and just doing my own. Book mark this and when you get to be able to make two of the same, ping me. Also a huge Forged in Fire TV show fan, pretty sure the commentators would be going “So after suffering the two huge burns, it now looks like Foster has actually managed to hack his last limb off” - Doug Marcaida says “Well not sure that it will KEAL, but it does look painful”

You should reach out to @Bob_Mimlitch_III the co-founder of IFI about this. They are on a mission to produce as much documentation / guides / instructional material as they can. He recently unveiled the beta of the on-line notebook, and your info on how to create a great notebook would be a huge win for all the teams.

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Yeah I really hope so too. I recently spoke with a former teammate of mine and she had mentioned that her team’s incoming notebooker was not sure where to start, so so I really hope this helps them this season.

As much as I’d like to do this, these guides are really only meant for my organization to see and as such their content heavily reflects that. Not so sure I could do this without heavily modifying them/starting all over.

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Right now I am in an RV in Utah. Did 3> mile hike this morning and on the way down had a discussion about making turret. Rinse and repeat into the past and for a few more days into the future

  • the stress of doing collage apps while trying to do robotics
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While you guys are enjoying your summer my schools started here and they messed up my schedule. Now I am placed with all below level students and when I told the teacher she told me I have to live with it for a quarter. But during summer I took a trip to india and did some cading while my stay there.

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I get that, but you are a master notebook maker. Redact out, do "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur … " for the bulk text. Key thing is to give others your knowledge.

This is the personal problem that I have. There are about 150,000 of really smart roboteers out there. You are easily in the top 10. I need some way to extract all that you know and can do and put it out there for the other 149,989 to learn from. I am so sad, year after year, for over a decade that there isn’t a way to take the collective hive mind / builder skills and have roboteers use them to grow. We get small pictures, some blurry video and we make small incremental steps.

a tide raises all boats.

And I’m hitting you (sorry), but I’m directing this at all of you. Last season is done. 2020-21 is long gone, can’t even remember the 2019-20 game. So all of those cool ideas, things you built are not relevant. But they are not meaningless or worthless. Share them. Teach us. I want the 2030 rules to say robots are limited to only 10oz of propane because the 18x18x18 robots have become so amazing. I want the VAI rules to be “Match lengths are 11 seconds” because wins happen that fast.

But that’s not going to happen because there is a dismal lack of sharing. I love when teams go @Foster “thud” here is our robot, all the parts, the design, the programming, everything. And we will still beat you because we will improve this and make it better. We have skill, we will level this playing field, but we will still are going to come and kick you"

Only a few teams in 14 years have done that. And we remember them.

Be a memory team.

(math isn’t off, last person is Kyle, they never learn)

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You see, I could do that, but I have a strict deadline of completing it before I move in to college. I’d like to get this done, rolled out to the new notebookers in my HS org, and forget about it. So I’m afraid I won’t have enough time to do that this summer. Also not everyone has the same notebooking style , so a decent portion of it wouldn’t even apply. If I have time during the school year I might rethink this, but between my classes and extracurriculars I’m not sure I’d have enough time to ready it for general use. But in the mean time, if anyone wants me to review/judge their notebook, I’d be happy to help!

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Literally you do not… Why do I say this? As an EP I went above and beyond for teams in the region to offer possibilities beyond “strict deadlines”.

That statement above had booking venues, getting volunteers - way beyond comfort levels for all… but in your statement

Strict deadlines

Who is impacted by it, are they willing to bend a little to help the community?

This without reading all of the thread - it seems you are not looking more widely about the growth of all roboteers …

So let us get back to the topic at hand - help community or push back on VEXforum member request when you should be “move to college”…

@foster is not wrong - work to give back to community …

Best wishes for your future endeavors.

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If I don’t finish the guide before I (and the students at my High School) start school, I would be doing the biggest disservice to them. Imagine if I decided to release it after Winter Break. After half of a season not knowing how to do a notebook, they finally get something that can help them. Wouldn’t it be better for them to start off at least having some inkling of an idea of what to do? Or should they wait until I finish it, spending half a season without a notebook?
Although this deadline is largely self-imposed I bet my mentor would have given me the same one if he’d asked me to do the same thing.

I think we’ve largely gone off topic here, and I think we all know that more discussion about this isn’t going to lead to anything meaningful/impactful. Let’s try to keep future discussions like this on topic (or move it to PMs).

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Got it, time crunch, happens to ALL of us. Thanks for getting you team cut over, that will be a big boost to them!

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I actually want to expand on this to apologize for my behavior on what should have been a fun thread and ended up as a bullying session towards @RoboCatz. Conner has been a member here as long as I have. They have thousands of posts of great ideas. Their long term support of teams, adding new ideas, leading and directing teams to paths forward is all something we all strive to do.

In the posts above I ran over RoboCatz. I have a zeal for what this should be and what this program can be about. And I ran over RoboCatz fully lacking awareness they are with me on “Team Better” and I’m sorry. Conner deserves more for all the work that’s been done. I appreciate the efforts on their part to leave a legacy for the current team in a quest to make them better but also the effort that RoboCatz is making to impart what they know to the next generations of roboteers.

Conner has a well deserved reputation on helping, teaching, and mentoring other roboteers. I apologize for my words that besmear their work.

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Marching Band 20 char

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I have started weight lifting. And as much as I hate exercise, I always find myself satisfied at the end of the day because I feel like I did something useful for myself. Gym prices are kinda pricy, but luckily my university offers a gym for free.

If it’s not already obvious, I like anime. So I have went to an anime convention in Houston and found out that Attourney Tom went there as well so that’s cool. I would probably recommend anyone to go to a convention that catches their interests (doesn’t have to be anime if you’re not into it). For instance, my brother goes to firearm conventions and gets to see the cool guns that are out-of-this-world.

I started touching grass and went swimming with my family. Very nice, 10/10 would swim again.

I have my old gaming PC from 2015. Instead of spending $2000 on a new bleeding edge computer, I instead decided to upgrade my old PC. I put in a 5800X + new motherboard ($400) and then slapped in a new RTX 3080 bought at MSRP ($700). I only had to spend $1100 in total to upgrade the PC and I am very happy. Also, NVMe SSD’s are really affordable now so I bought a 1 TB NVMe SSD for $100, replacing the old 256 GB Samsung SSD and now it runs like a champ. I also bought a new monitor and put it next to my bed. My bed can be used a couch to play games with my friends and roommates.

As for my hobbies, I am getting very interested in VR. I currently have a Rift S, and had it for about 2-3 years now. I am working very hard to save up for the best VR setup I can afford but I want to wait patiently since I know that new VR headsets are soon to release. I’m considering the Pimax Crystal when it releases (Estimate would be $1900). I would also need base stations and controllers ($700) and also full body trackers ($400). It would probably mean about $3400 total when tax is included, but I am wanting to start developing VR games because that’s what I love.

I have been looking at 3D printers that are far outside of my budget but they are really cool to see and fantasize about all of the things I can make with them.

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I’m staring at the clock and waiting for the weekend, so sure, I’ll bite.

Some highlights from post-VEX Worlds:

  • I’m re-binging Breaking Bad with my wife, who has never watched it before. Still just as good as the first time I watched it.

  • My in-laws recently finished building a cabin outside of Beaver’s Bend State Park in Oklahoma, so I’ve spent a couple of weekends there. (Side note, it’s available to rent for anyone that’s interested!)

  • Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a huge sports-fan. I recently started buying autographed memorabilia and trading cards online and reselling on eBay / Mercari / Facebook. Highlights being a number of different baseballs signed by players such as Wander Franco, Fernando Tatis Jr, Austin Riley, Julio Rodriguez and Dennis Eckersley.

  • Added nearly a dozen more hats to my (already too big) collection.

  • And most importantly, taking care of my two mini-me’s. Jordan just turned 2 years old last month, and Carter is now already 6 months old. (Crazy how fast time flies with them)

Obligatory photos because I mentioned them:


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Designing robot parts-- Season never ends for me!

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I will piggy back on this, as @sazrocks kindly reminded me that the forum needs to always be welcoming and my post was neither constructive nor welcoming.

@RoboCatz Great to give back to your organization to support them as you enter a new chapter of your life!

Foster is correct, if you have practices that work for your team, share them with your RECF Team Engagement Manager - does not need to be super polished good enough so teams elsewhere can be better supported.

Back to original topic:

  • getting daughter ready for her freshman year in college (yes, I will officially be an empty nester!)
  • demolishing deck and rebuilding it (stalled with non-stop killer heat - sorry AZ we are not used to this up here)
  • random adventures - off to Halifax next week to hang out with my high school alum
  • binge watching various star trek series …
  • take VRC referee certification course …

Enjoy last bits of summer!

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Outside of robotics, taking the newly restored '52 MG driving,


Learning to play the ophicleide,

And working on IQ storage designs,

Also, our organization is reorganizing the workspace for robotics, but it’s still too messy for pictures…

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