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!