Sapo Codebits Summer Call

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!