Codebits VII (2014)

Codebits VII

After a year and a half of waiting, Codebits VII finally took place again from the 10th to the 12th of April. Codebits, for those that don’t know, is a 3-day technological event where the 900 (!!!) participants can attend dozens of talks, enter in the 48h programming contest, participate in workshops, and basically have tons of fun. I’ve been attending since the 4th edition in 2010 (you can check my previous posts here, here and here), and each edition has been even more awesome than the previous one. This year it was no exception.


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For the second year in a row, Codebits had a Hardware Den where you could attend workshops on robotics, electronics and Arduino, and ride on the immersive Tron motorcycles (they even made it to Gizmodo and CNET!) with an Oculus Rift, see BeeVeryCreative’s 3d printer in action, or control the RAPOSA robot, also with an Oculus Rift. There was also another edition of the Presentation Karaoke, where stand-up comedy meets random powerpoint presentations that the participants have never seen in their life. Once again I participated in yet another edition of the Amazing Codebits Quiz Show (think of it as the “Who Wants to be a Millionare?” for geeks), but it ended like all the previous ones: elimination in the first round. I hope I’ll make it to the finals someday 🙂

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This year there were a total of 49 talks, in 5 different simultaneous tracks. I submitted a talk proposal about cryptocurrencies, which was accepted. At first I thought I was going to give the talk in one of the smaller stages, but lots of people wanted to attend the talk which got me bumped to the main stage just a couple of hours before. It was friggin’ terrifying! I think it went well, but I still have to check to video to see what kind of nonsense I was babbling about 🙂 At least it generated a very interesting discussion in the end, which was what I was aiming for.

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I participated with David Jardim, Tiago Rodrigues, and Valéria Pacheco in the 48h programming contest, with the Babel Talk project. It consisted of a mobile application that allows users to communicate using their voice with anyone in the world, regardless of their language. The application translates voice from one language to another transparently using several Google and Microsoft APIs. We ended up in 5th place in the jury’s choice category, which was the icing on top of the cake! It’s always an honor to receive an award in Codebits, since it attracts some of Portugal’s best talents in the area of Computer Science. The quality of the projects just keeps getting higher and higher every year, with notable examples such as this year’s winning project, NeLo.

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There are so many other awesome things that happen at Codebits… From the badge hunt, to the lightning talks, nuclear chiliquadrocopters, crowd pong, nerf guns, that INCREDIBLE video mapped intro, free food (and Red Bull!), the GoT throne, world-class speakers (John Graham-Cumming and Christian Heilmann, just to name a couple), people zip sliding over your head, bean bag madness, retro computing area, the amazing organizers, and the friendly people all around that will gladly talk to you about their crazy-ass projects. Codebits is the Mecca of geeks, and it simply has to be experienced. If you have never applied, please do yourself a favour and go to Codebits VIII next year!