Codebits 2008

Path: mv.asterisco.pt!mvalente
From: mvale…@ruido-visual.pt (Mario Valente)
Newsgroups: mv
Subject: Codebits 2008
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 08 22:03:21 GMT

Another Codebits has gone by. Its always some nice time
off from your standard daily life, but age is starting to
get to me. Like Savatage says: “And though we still stay
up all night, the mornings arent quite as bright”. Plus
the novelty is starting to wear off and I dont find it as
interesting anymore. Add to that the fact that beyond a
certain point you just start to look ridiculous, like those
parents who go with their kids to nightclubs, and the fact
that it becomes pretty obvious that the kids really dont feel
comfortable with you being there. Its very likely that I wont
be there next year…

Anyway, once again a nice hacking/programming contest. The
number of bozos, clowns and wannabes has gone up but the jury
was able to go through 81 projects and find a few valuable ones.

Out of all of them, some definitely stand out, although they’re
not “investment” grade:

– Project 2 (the “Quiz Show” setup, using hacked Buzz controllers)
and Project 20 (the winner, code and demo for using the Open Moko
accelerometer) deserve major kudos for hack value. I wouldnt
invest in them though.

– Project 43 (“Million Dollar World”, a selling pixel space in a
world map project cloning the Million Dollar Page 1×1 pixel
ad space sellout) and Project 58 (“FotoLOL”, a mashup of random
fotos and random post titles that generates some funny situations)
have some money-making value, but always dependent on ad based
revenue and not much of a business model. I definitely wouldnt
invest in them but their authors should go forward with the
implementation, before someone else does it. Hell *I* would clone
the “Million Dollar World” this week, if it wasnt for the fact
that I have some principles (unlike others who feed on others
ideas and dont even credit them back)

The ones that stood out where I would think about putting money
in (after discussing several issues, including business model):

– Project 1, “Na Taxa Verde”, from Codebits07 winners, has some
potential. Its basically an invoice tracker for freelancers that
could get some traction and income with aditional features (like
expense tracking and tax advisory)

– Project 12, “FeedBits”, is a feedreader which includes a
Bayesian filter. Lots of talk around something like this and even
similar projects, but nothing that really does it well. Could solve
a personal itch of mine and could even sell some copies (maybe
through the iphone/android app markets, at a small price)

– Project 13, “GoodActions”, is sort of a social network for
do-gooders to track their nice deeds and to get suggestions. It
has enough “touchy feely”, “new age”, “social responsibility”
involved that might just make it gain a following within the
socialist vegetarian animal lover crowd. Not my sorta people but
hey… as long as they have money to spend (and it seems they
are the upcoming psychosocial segment) I’m with it bro…

– Project 33, “World Wide Apps”, is from a friend of mine that
wants every site to be wikipedia-like and have both content *and*
source code editable. Its wacky enough to interest a fringe of
users (and companies… yum) and to generate its own plataform and
ecosystem. Curiously enough a few hours later after discussing the
project and seeing it presented I found out something very much
like it implemented in serverside Javascript, no less (SSJS is a
personal fave right now). See http://reasonablysmart.com/

– Project 70, “Sapo Quest”, is a set of quest/games/challenges
to be done in real life by completing a set of steps or stages
while being tracked (using RFID at Codebits). The idea could very
well have some nice applications for alternate reality games
(which are played using your real environment), namely by using
other types of tracking (GPS, mobile). I have some business model
ideas around thus type of alternate reality game that dont
involve your typical game and gamer that could generate some nice
cash flows.

All in all, I hope that Codebits happens again next year. A big
thumbs up for Celso and for all the people at Sapo team that make
Codebits happen. Maybe someday the portuguese web community will
live up to your standards and deserve all the personal sacrifices.

I’m sad to say
It’s time to go
But until we meet again along the road
Remember this, on your journey home
When you hear the thunder roar, you’re not alone
We wish you well
We wish you well
In times of trouble, may your heart be strong
We wish you well
We wish you well
Until we meet again
We wish you well
– Whitesnake, “We Wish You Well”

— MV