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!

Why we need Open, Hackable Materials now – An Interview with Catarina Mota ( our founder :P )


Why we need Open, Hac­ka­ble Mate­ri­als now – An Inter­view with Cata­rina Mota @ Mee­dabyte.

Catarina Mota

I had the oppor­tu­nity to get in touch with  Cata­rina Mota recen­tly, while I was hel­ping my fri­ends at openp­Pi­cus, to con­nect with the Open Source Hard­ware Asso­ci­a­tion. She is, no doubt, amongst the most emi­nent repre­sen­ta­ti­ves of the Hac­king­mo­ve­ment. To me, it’s extre­mely impres­sive though how one of the lea­ders of this revo­lu­tion is coming right from out­side the tech­no­lo­gi­cal world and actu­ally has a com­mu­ni­ca­tion sci­en­ces and film col­lege back­ground. When I asked her to tell me a brief recap of her expe­ri­ence of hac­king, she gave a really insight­ful and detai­led story.

Our founder Catarina Mota @ TEDGlobal 2012


To be equipped for the future, you need to know smart materials’:
Catarina Mota at TEDGlobal 2012


Catarina Mota at TEDGlobal 2012

Cata­rina Mota has many fri­ends. One of her friend’s fathers, when her fri­end was a kid, built a vehi­cle out of a bicy­cle and washing machine, because the family couldn’t afford a car. Cul­tu­rally, we used to know how to make and fix everything. As the 20th cen­tury pro­gres­sed, we lost that abi­lity, but thanks to the maker com­mu­nity, we are slo­wly get­ting it back. By fos­te­ring the deve­lop­ment and inven­tion of new smart mate­ri­als, Cata­rina hopes to help makers reach the next level.

What are smart mate­ri­als? Fun­da­men­tally, they’re mate­ri­als we are alre­ady incre­di­bly fami­liar with like paint, paper and plas­tic. The trick is, all of these mate­ri­als now come with a twist. Paint and ink, for exam­ple, can now con­duct elec­tri­city such that peo­ple are able to paint cir­cuits with a brush or, with the addi­tion of a mag­net, make a spe­a­ker out of a sheet of paper. Acry­lic, a type of plas­tic, can now be infu­sed with light dif­fu­sing par­ti­cles so light can reflect through its entire sur­face ins­tead of just the edges. What this means prac­ti­cally is, by flip­ping a light switch, you can turn your win­dows from see-through to opa­que. Ther­mo­ch­ro­mic pig­ments can be added to plas­tics so you can see when your baby’s bot­tle is hot. Pos­si­bi­li­ties are beco­ming endless.

Howe­ver, in order to har­ness the full poten­tial of these mate­ri­als, Cata­rina beli­e­ves that we need to have a dee­per unders­tan­ding of the com­po­nents that are making up our world. We need to have a dee­per unders­tan­ding because when we do, we are able to shape the objects we use ins­tead of those objects sha­ping use. Beyond being savvy con­su­mers, by del­ving into tin­ke­ring, we open the doors to inno­va­tion. From moun­tain bikes to air­pla­nes, semi-con­duc­tors to com­pu­ters, his­tory has repe­a­te­dly shown that it’s been the ama­teurs who have been the sig­ni­fi­cant inven­tors and impro­vers of the world.

To bols­ter the tin­ke­rers’ abi­lity to cre­ate, Cata­rina co-foun­ded, a web­site where peo­ple publish infor­ma­tion and aggre­gate rese­arch, papers, and tuto­ri­als by other makers. Her ove­rall mes­sage is sim­ple: draw from the expe­ri­ments of the crowd and unders­tand smart mate­ri­als. Like lear­ning about com­pu­ters in the 1970s, the best way to ensure we have a say in our future is to acquire pre-emp­tive kno­wledge of emer­ging tech­no­lo­gies now.

Catarina Mota at TEDGlobal 2012

Pho­tos by James Dun­can David­son

VIA [TED Blog]

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