This week, Avram Piltch discusses one of the biggest problems in laptop buying: pricing. Many retailers, including HP, Lenovo, Dell and Microsoft, list their laptops as "starting at," showing the price for the lowest possible configuration. Those prices are almost always for a configuration that you simply do not want, but by the time you get far enough into the process to know better, you feel committed to the purchase. Avram has some warnings on what to look for, what a minimum acceptable configuration should be, and how to not be taken advantage of.
Middleton High School's Robotics Program has so much to offer to their students including a couple of [FIRST] teams up their sleeve. Elijah Bond, captain and lead builder for one of the teams, Masquerade ([FTC] 4997) detailed this year's [FTC] game along with their strengths and weaknesses for the season. Elijah is currently a senior at Middleton High School and this is his third year working with Masquerade. Starting the season as the new captain, he discusses the requirements necessary to acquire the position and the steps he took to get there. With multiple teams at the school, including two [FTC] teams, there is a process to determine which team you'll be on. This is to make sure neither team overpowers the other, and neither team becomes too large. Elijah describes the process, and how he came to be on Masquerade. [Roboticon2017Sponsor]
This week, Apple's preventing their own sales, Microsoft is preventing cheating and you need to protect your Wi-Fi.
Being apart of [FIRST] Robotics as a student can bring in a world of possibilities for you and your future. David Guzman is a prime example of this. In high school he was a member of [FRC] Team 1251 Tech-Tigers as the team's lead designer with mentors from [url=https://www.sonnysdirect.com]Sonny's Enterprises[/url], engineering and manufacturing for car wash equipment. After graduating high school, Sonny's was very impressed with his work in [FIRST] and was offered an internship. Today, David is a mechanical engineer working full time with Sonny's leading the new product development in the engineering department. He talks about his journey from [FIRST] to employment and how he stays involved with [FIRST] to this day. [Roboticon2017Sponsor]
ROBOTICON Tampa Bay focuses a lot of it's attention on [FIRST] Robotics but the event holds so much more. This event also showcases some of the clubs from the University of South Florida such as the Society of Aeronautics and Rocketry, also known as SOAR. SOAR is a student run club that dedicates their free time to design, build, and understand rockets. Our team was lucky enough to interview the President of SOAR, Jonathan Fitzer. He discussed the club's main objectives throughout the year from competition through NASA to real life work experience to aid future engineering employment. Learn more by going to the [url=http://www.usfsoar.com/]SOAR[/url] website. [Roboticon2017Sponsor]
At most [FIRST] events, you only get to see a single league, but at ROBOTICON Tampa Bay we get the opportunity to interact with everyone from [FLLj] to [FRC]. We took advantage of the opportunity to speak with team members from [FLL] team 24334, the IncrediBotz. The team is made up of a group of friends who live in the same neighborhood who came together as a team after experiencing an outreach event. These kids provide a very different perspective on [FIRST] for several reasons. First, as a rookie team last season, the team made it to the World Championship in Houston. They got to experience the height of the organization in their initial year, getting to see teams from across the country, but also some they knew from the State Championship. Some of the teams they met at the championship they still keep in contact with after the competition. Second, their younger age provides a unique view of the other leagues. While students in [FTC] and [FRC] are used to 3D printing parts and cutting metal, the [FLL] teams are more used to LEGO bricks. Getting to see the materials of the next levels, as well as the physical size and scale of the machines, gets the students excited about continuing their [FIRST] journey. [Roboticon2017Sponsor]
One of the things that makes [FIRST] so interesting is the constant evolution of the program. In the beginning of [FRC], teams were always based in high schools. Over time, schools joined forces to create teams while saving money. A few years ago, a new type of team was created for the first time: a team based out of a public library. Based at the Land O' Lakes Branch Library, the Edgar Allan Ohms have been a mainstay of [FIRSTLooks]. This year we were joined by Joanna Sanders, the team's safety captain. She talked about the early days of the team and how they work out of a library. The team builds in The Foundry, a makerspace built as a "fishbowl" within the library, allowing people to use power tools without interfering with other patrons. In exchange, the patrons can see what is happening within The Foundry, giving the team regular outreach opportunities. [Roboticon2017Sponsor]
One topic that comes up on our shows often is the idea that great ideas come from things that suck. In the case of [url=http://solidprofessor.com]SolidProfessor[/url], the idea came from a lack of great training options for SolidWorks. The CAD software, which is popular with [FIRST] teams, has a lot of capabilities, but seemed to pose a challenge to a lot of people to learn. Tony Glockler co-founded the company in an attempt to create a scenario for students to learn the software in an interactive way, and also gives the students an easy way to refresh your skills. The training, which has grown beyond just SolidWorks, allows students to turn their learning into certifications to enhance their abilities and their resumes. The company recognized the value of [FIRST] last season, and become a sponsor of the program. In fact, teams involved in a [FIRST] program can get a free subscription to SolidProfessor, to make their manufacturing capabilities better. Head to the [url=http://solidprofessor.com]company's website[/url] and reach out for your team's subscription. [Roboticon2017Sponsor]
The creators of [url=http://roboticon.net]ROBOTICON Tampa Bay[/url] work very hard every year to grow this fun filled weekend into the amazing event that it is today. Their passion and dedication definitely shines through in the smiles and excitement of the students. They were honored to have the Director of [FTC], Ken Johnson, join in on the fun. And we were thrilled to get a chance to speak with him. As director, Ken is responsible to develop the program, which includes the game, rules and field field. Another important aspect is partnering with those that execute the program, outreach and events like ROBOTICON. His role is to help coaches succeed, finding funding to hold the events and building volunteer communities, all under the umbrella of espousing technology and using it to the fullest potential. Along with recognizing the hard work that the students put into their teams and robots, Ken is fully aware that [FIRST] would not be all that it is today without the many volunteers who help pull everything together. The sheer number of man hours is staggering. And he loves that many of them are [FIRST] Alumni. He feels that the best ambassadors of [FIRST] are the students that have gone through it and the coaches that have volunteered for it. They are truly the best advertisement that they have. We encourage everyone to visit [url=http://firstinspires.org]their website[/url] to learn about the different programs. [Roboticon2017Sponsor]
The more we learn about the Engineering and Robotics Program at Middleton High School in Tampa, Florida, the more we like it. Russell DeSousa, Head Designer for Masquerade ([FTC] 4997) and a Senior Mentor for the Middleton Robotics Club, stopped by to give us the inside scoop. Middleton's STEM Programs include Engineering, Biomedical, Game Design and Digital Electronics. The engineering program is structured with engineering design the first year, which transitions students from traditional learning methods and helps them adapt to the learning style offered in the program. Through the next two years, the students take Computer Integrated Manufacturing, Digital Electronics and Principles of Engineering. Then in their senior year, they take Engineering Design & Development, which is a yearlong Capstone Project. Russell feels that being involved in [FIRST] Robotics really enhances this curriculum because he can get out of an engineering class and put what he learns to practical use, sometimes almost immediately. Check out Middleton Robotics Club [url=http://middletonrobotics.com]here[/url] to learn more about their teams. And don't forget to visit their [url=http://facebook.com/MiddletonRobotics]Facebook page[/url]. [Roboticon2017Sponsor]
As the students continue along their journey in [FIRST] Robotics, they tend to move into leadership and mentoring roles. Erin Piacitelli, President of [url=http://middletonrobotics.com]Middleton Robotics Club[/url], is no exception. Erin has been coming to ROBOTICON Tampa Bay for years with her school's teams and she agrees that it's a great event to practice, train new team members and have a lot of fun. Middleton High School is a STEM Magnet School in Tampa, Florida that places an emphasis on robotics in a really wonderful way. It's not just a club, the kids also have robotics classes as part their curriculum. They take their teams and competitions very seriously. Middleton's Robotics Club currently has 1 [FRC] Team, 2 [FTC] Teams and 1 VEX Robotics Team. The students are able to participate in any aspect of the process that they would like and all the teams are there for each other to help brainstorm and mentor. They even mentor middle school students and invite them to join in on the development and brainstorming sessions to help them get involved and know the process when they get to high school. Their structure is quite impressive. It's a collaborative effort that has strengthened over the years with a tiered leadership approach. The club itself has captains and vice presidents, comprised of students, with specialized roles. Then each individual team has a coach and at least one adult mentor. [Roboticon2017Sponsor]
Get some inside info on the best aspects of being involved with Roboticon Tampa Bay and [FIRST] from a few members of our [FIRSTLooks] team. Jacob, Marissa and Scott share some of their favorite stories and their love of robotics during a quick break in the day's interviews. Don't miss an opportunity to learn more about ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. You an check out all the fun by clicking [url=http://roboticon.net]here[/url]. Learn more about [FIRST] and all it has to offer by visiting their [url=http://firstinspires.org]website[/url]. You can also learn more about our team, watch more interviews and check out our other special events as well as product & game reviews by visiting [url=http://plughitzlive.com]PLuGHiTzLive.com[/url]. [Roboticon2017Sponsor]