FIRST Choice Issue, Part II

Blog Date: 
Monday, December 10, 2012 - 18:04

FIRST Choice Issue, Part II

I apologize once again to teams that experienced issues with FIRST Choice today. 

Teams with team numbers less than 1000 experienced issues logging on to the system when it opened.  This was corrected fairly quickly, but AndyMark later discovered an issue with their inventory management system that made it appear as if certain items were in stock when the stock had actually been depleted.  The system was tested before being put in use, but the tests did not include team numbers under 1000 or placing orders at the rate actually experienced when the system went live at Noon today.  Our lesson here can be useful to all:  test systems under a wide variety of circumstances, and test them hard!

FIRST Choice will reopen at Noon EST, Tuesday, 12/11.  Teams that ordered items that were actually out of stock will have their credits refunded to their accounts for those items.  All existing orders will be adjusted by 8AM EST Tuesday, and  AndyMark will be emailing all of the teams with orders which had to be changed due to this system issue by that time as well.  This email will clarify what is actually on their team's FIRST Choice order.  Teams will also be able to go in to their AndyMark order themselves at that time to see which items will be fulfilled.

Thanks for your patience as we work through these issues.

Frank

Comments

Given the FIRST Choice difficulties, might there be any relaxation in the BOM accounting rules for 2013? [R13 in 2012] For instance, would it be possible to let teams pick an assortment of FIRST Choice items to exclude from the $3500 cost calculation--regardless of whether they were actually able to purchase those specific items? While it doesn't change the extra money required, it could remove the handicap to <1000 teams (and any others with issues) in the budget limit.

In following these questions, what prices are we to use for materials from last year's KoP that we use in this year's robot? (price of item last year or this year?)

What price do we find for Jaguars as they are not being sold via AndyMark this year?

I won't be talking about 2013 robot rules here, but thanks for your comment.

2881 could not log in to FIRST choice at all. The option to log in was not available on the website. I called FIRST and was told that 2881 was okay and was on the list. I attempted to log in every hour up until 1am. Now at 5:56am Tuesday, 2881 is still not on the list to register. I have only 2 choices of team numbers and 2881 is not one of the options. Everything better not be out of stock! Patience only works if the system is available to everyone equally. Thanks, Susie Rich, 2881 Mentor

Dear Susie. I feel for you as I have the same sediments. Don't worry all the more useful items are out of stock!

Try logging in again, and you should be all set.

Thank you for the fast explanation of what was happening with the website yesterday and for all of the work you have put into getting ready for this event. As a Rookie team we really appreciate the generousity of all of the companies who support FIRST! FIRST Team 4550

I can not log on to the web site first choose (only the practice number show up on the pull down menu and it will not let me enter my number 3283 ???????

The best approach for team-specific issues like this is to contact FRC team support directly, frcteams@usfirst.org or 800-871-8326.

Let me clarify this. As a rule of thumb, teams should contact FRC team support directly for team specific issues. In this particular issue, with Team 3283 not showing up in the drop-down box, the issue may be either at FIRST or at AndyMark. AndyMark can be contacted regarding FIRST Choice issues at firstchoice@andymark.com, and this is the email to use if you have issues you believe to be FIRST Choice order or website related - for example, if your team number is showing up in the drop-down list, but your password is not working, or if you believe your shipping information is incorrect.

I need to get a passcode for registration. I looked through previous e-mails and did not see a passcode. Can you provide me with a passcode so that i can register for our local competition.

To get your password:
Go to Usfirst.org
Click FRC
Under Registration select Go directly to TIMS
Login to TIMS (must use main or alternate email and password
Once logged in click on Team Summary.
In the right hand column go down to Additional Parts.
Your password should appear under the heading FIRST Choice Team Password.
You will need to go to the AndyMark.biz web site and click on First Choice, enter your team number and password.

in the TIMS...there doesn't seem to be an additional parts section (team summary) or the password? Am I too late?

This is the FRC Blog. ​ ​ But, because I like to be helpful to all FIRST teams, whatever the program, I suggest you contact the FTC support folks at ftcteams@usfirst.org or 800-871-8326.

While (finally) successfully ordering on Monday, items in my cart disappeared (due to other teams checking-out with them???) without any warning or notice. I discovered this as I had credits left that I should not have had. Placing an item in your cart should reserve it until checkout or removal from your cart (with perhaps a 30-minute time limit with warning). Having items just disappear was very frustrating! Discovering this and needing to choose something else took time, which by then other items disappeared. FIRST can do a lot better!

Is there anyway teams who's sponsors have not sent in the registration money yet, order parts?

As noted in my original post on this topic - http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/blog-10-25-2012 - teams must be registered and paid to take advantage of early ordering, sorry.

We were unable to log in as well. Hoping for access today. As a rookie team, are there necessary items in FIRST choice that we may need to acquire in some other way if FIRST choice is sold out?

I only have two team numbers to choose from and mine(4075) is not one of them. Does anyone know what to do to fix this?

Rookie Team #4467 is very thankful to receive emergency funding for our registration. As a new team with very limited resources we had hoped to make use of FIRST choice items to acquire some of the things we desperately need like motors. Unfortunately, since we received emergency funding which has not yet been applied to our account, we still do not have a FIRST Choice Log In. This puts our team at a disadvantage since many of the parts we need will likely be gone. There should be some other way to provide teams receiving emergency funding from FIRST with a FIRST choice login.

What if teams have a viewing period of FIRST Choice parts,rank their part choices,and then submit their requests through the FIRST Choice process. FIRST/Andy Mark could then hold a lottery and select team names.Teams would then receive their parts request based on their ranking from this process. Items would be distributed until gone and then teams would receive the next items based on their priority ranking.

This may be more equitable,less frustrating,and remove some of the technical challenges.
"Disadvantaged" teams may not have equal access to Choice parts in the current system.

It appears that all the tallons, batteries, and drills were purchased immediately and the other items we want will be gone by the time we place an order today. Clearly there are not enough high value items for all of the teams. Rather than using the current system that rewards those that are first to make a purchase, how about releasing the "credits" over time. Say 20 the first day and 20 more the third day etc. Spread the days out so people that have classes, work, and travel and cannot be on the system at the opening are not at a disadvantage. Then ship everything together after a week.

We were not able to login for team 3242

We are also experiencing the same problem. When I click the drop down menu to enter my team number the only options are 4998 and 4999. Neither of which are our team number. Please help!!! Really unfair because things are already out of stock!

I just checked our order for team 956 and find that the batteries I ordered yesterday are now gone. It has now been three years in a row I have been unable to order replacement batteries.

It would be good if FIRST would DO THE RIGHT THING and HONOR THE ORDERS THAT WERE PLACED IN GOOD FAITH YESTERDAY. I was on the system exactly as it opened and spent nearly an hour trying to get logged in and an order placed with the various problems the system had. I was relieved that after two phone calls to support I was finally able to log in and order the batteries we needed.

- Bob Headrick

Last year everyone got at least one battery last year at kickoff, and the same goes for this year. Please look here -->http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/2013-rookie-veteran-variation

The FIRST Choice system has only negative impact for my team. Having a system that penalizes inability to stare at a clock while squatting on a mouse is at best inane. Drop the FIRST Choice system and allow my team the dignity of garnering our own resources and using them free of a random and capricious system. I don't say this lightly. My school/team is ~50% free and reduced lunch population...I would rather deal with that than inanity.

>> Having a system that penalizes inability to stare at a clock while squatting on a mouse is at best inane.

The registration for the Seattle regional was full in less than 24 hours this year. We are a very young team that participated in the Seattle regional last year and now are daunted with organizing out-of-town travel to a regional event 6 hours away. This may be more than many FRC teams/students/families can cope with to support FIRST. Local teams should be allowed to participate in their local events.

I would like to thank AndyMark and all the companies supporting the FRC tournament for their generosity in making all these parts available at no cost. It truly provides an affordable and amazing learning experience for children from our high schools.

The FIRST Choice inventory problem points out a fundamental problem that isn't being addressed. There is an global shortage of parts available under the tight FIRST competition timeframe. Putting a good selection of parts in every kit was a much more fair solution, everybody was working with the same parts. Now we have a lottery where you pick parts without even knowing what the challenge is. If you're lucky, & pick good parts, you are ahead, if not, then nobody can supply the parts you need before the cutoff date.

I'm not dissing AndyMark, they do a great job for a 6 week sales window.

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