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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André Sier (PT), Clara Brito (PT), Car­los Maza (CL), Dead J (CH), Dora S (CH), DJ Mar­celle (HL), Gecko Turner (ES), João Bas­tos (PT), Ka Keong (CH), Lula’s Cachupa Psi­cadélica (CV), Magau (PT), Manuel Silva (PT), Nuno Lemos (PT), Onishi Yasuaki (JP), Peng Yun (CH), Ran­cho Fol­clórico e Etno­grá­fico Mon­te­morense (PT), Tiago Fróis (PT), Tiago Pereira (PT)


A Música Por­tuguesa a Gostar Dela Própria, Alt_Lab, Asso­ci­ação Cul­tural +853, Asso­ci­ação Espaço do Tempo, Câmara Munic­i­pal de Mon­te­mor-o-Novo, Casa João Cidade, Casa de Harina, Cen­tro de Ciên­cia Viva de Estremoz, Coop­er­a­tiva Cul­tural PIA, CUT – Asso­ci­ação Cul­tural, Filmes da Praça, IndieLis­boa, Junta de Fregue­sia de N.ª S.ª da Vila, Lines_Lab, Rede de Cidada­nia de Mon­te­mor-o-Novo