Posted by Filipe Cruz

Yes, It’s that time of the year again. The days are longer. The school year is ending. The metropolis gets deserted. A never ending stream of music festivals get constantly promoted.

And while drinking a cold cola with a twist of lemon and 3 icecubes at that bar near your local beach; While overpowered by the multitude of colors from all the latest bikini fashion statements; All the nerds of this glorious land, pushed out to the ocean at the western point of europe, all of them nerds, can think only and only think of one thing: shouldn’t the dates of this years Sapo Codebits be announced by now?

 

Yes, forget about the school year that just ended, forget the latest code revisions from all those Google Summer of Code projects you been following for a couple of weeks, forget about your pseudo-holiday plans for a few minutes. Nerds of Portugal, recall what’s really important if not for just a couple of minutes: The dates of the new Sapo Codebits have been announced, 15-17 November, the organizers are already pushing out teaser pictures of the new space layout for this year. And it’s gonna be awesome again!

No, they’re not paying us to write this. We decided, out of our own volition, after reading one of their latest blog posts, that it was time to remind you all that there is an incoming battle looming above you. Yes, you, dear nerd who are thinking of attending Codebits this year.

“And why is that?” i hear you ask. Couz we pwned you hard last year with our Nuclear Taco Sensor Helmet Gameshow project. That’s why! Our pwnage didn’t happen out of the blue you know? We carefully planned this world domination and had to carry it through nice and steady to make sure we indeed had something grand we could put together in 48 hours and take the competition by storm. And unless you’d rather sit at home and cry yourself to sleep for another year you should be getting off your ass, right about yesterday, and also getting ready for this years event!

We know, we know, our unsurmountable talent is quite hard to beat. But even if you’re too scared of getting your ass served again, you should be using this time to come up with cool projects you could develop.

Common mistakes you should be avoiding:

a) doing yet another clone of something (without a subversive twist). Simpsons did it, if you can’t improve on an old idea you shouldn’t be touching it.

b) doing an hello world of a random new technology. Unless it’s taking full advantage of the tech on a useful way, it’s dead fish in the water.

c) trying to be funny without the tech to back it up. You’ll get entertainment votes but unless it’s something over the top it’ll be just sad.

And in case you haven’t noticed just having a good project idea isn’t enough, you need to finish it and present it in an engaging way. Our public award winner entry is a good example on how a wtf presentation trumps over project specs. People are more engaged when you _show_ them things instead of _describing_ them.

I’m not saying you should turn your presentations into a circus, it worked well for us last year because no one was expecting something so over the top. What you should aim for is to have a good useful idea and prepare an engaging demonstration. Show awesomeness first, explain implementation details later. And don’t forget that during those 48 hours that you are supposed to put your project together you will be getting distracted by 4 tracks of tech talks which you may or may not choose to attend. And i also heard eating and sleeping are important. So don’t aim for something unattainable, or if you must, at least master your weapon of choice before the event, to make sure the actual 48h development period goes smoother. Surrounding yourself with folks who complement your skills nicely is also a key factor, don’t neglect it.

Ofcourse all of the above is useless if you don’t get yourself selected to attend the event. Codebits is limited to 600 attendees and if you want to be one of them you need to start building up your karma by participating actively in the codebits website and forwarding the information to your blog, twitter and facebook contacts. A sure way to get admitted is to give a talk at the event, there will be a call opening soon to submit your talks. So if there is a technology you have been busy mastering for the last few months you might want to consider submitting a talk about it when the call opens.

And why should you care about attending codebits at all? Well, even if your project fails to win anything you’ll still:

a) get some practice with the technology you chose to explore

b) learn a lot from the talks presented you bothered attending or checked the videos after

c) check what everyone else is up to

d) have some unrestrained chats with other random nerds on the food queue

e) face the possibility of a near death experience by nuclear taco

f) have fun geek’ing out

g) get an awesome t-shirt!

I have attended the last 3 editions of Codebits and i can tell you i learned new things in all of them. There is always something new out there worth checking out or new people to meet. I had a blast with friends, watched some nice gigs, shared my knowledge with fellow geeks and even managed to win some poofs and badges!

Every year we setup a small corner for the Audiência Zero labs, there we gather the folks from our 3 media hacklabs, LCD from Porto/Guimarães, altLab from Lisbon and xDA from Coimbra. We showcase 3d printing, give some electronic workshops and help each other out with random projects. Meet us there!