how to cancel when volunteering for first (frc/ftc/fll)

A friend asked me how to switch from one volunteer event to another on It isn’t intuitive at all.

The answer:

  1. Logon to
  2. Click “My dashboard”

If you were already assigned to the role

  1. Expand “assigned event volunteer roles”
  2. Click “Role options” pull down
  3. Click message coordinator and write a message that switched to Saturday

If you were not yet  assigned to the role

  1. Expand “pending applications”
  2. Click “Role options” pull down
  3. Click “withdraw application”
  4. Click “withdraw”
  5. Hope it worked. The role still appears in your list so you aren’t automatically withdrawn (not great usability)

FIRST – FLL vs FTC judges training

I’ve been volunteering as a judge at FLL (FIRST Lego League) and FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) for many years. This year the difference in certification was interesting. After all, why would you use the same system for the same organization?

Video/educational materials Required* Optional
Quiz/cert test Required Required
Area to discuss quiz/other topics No Yes
Calls ? Optional
In person training ? Optional

The FLL training videos were horrible. There’s no option to speed up play. Many online videos let you play it at 2X the initial speed. Most of the material is the basics if you’ve been doing it for years. (Apparently I’ve never been certified as a judge for FLL). And you can’t skip even a small section of it to “fast forward”. The system actually records how many minutes the video is open. Well, you get what you measure.

What makes it worse is that the cert is completely optional as judges can be walk ons or corporate volunteers who show up the day of and have barely heard of FIRST.

I passed both certs on the first shot. I didn’t need the training. I did enjoy the survey at the end.

cropping video fast for dummies on a mac (updated for 2015)

I don’t edit video often, which means it feels different each time I try. I last wrote about cropping on a Mac in 2012. It felt different (but easier) this time.

Downloading the file from youtube

I entered the original youtube URL into Then I downloaded the mp4 file.

Opening the video in iMovie

  1. Open iMovie
  2. New Project
  3. No theme
  4. Name project
  5. Import Media > navigate to the mp4

Crop the video

  1. In the thumbnails view, select the beginning of where you wan the video to start.
  2. Drag to where you want the video to end.
  3. Adjust as needed
  4. Play the video in the preview to ensure it is right.

Export the video

  1. File
  2. Share > File
  3. Next
  4. Save to location
  5. Wait until Mac pops up message that export was successful