20th September 2016

Meet FBAUP Design Inc. (with Bruna & Tiago)

Meet FBAUP Design Inc., a students association at FBAUP, the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, and responsbile for PSC16’s image.

This year, we had to pleasure to work closely with Bruna Martins and Tiago Andrade, talented designers at FBAUP Design Inc., and they were available to answer a few questions about their work for PSC.


FBAUP Design Inc.
Students association in the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto


Bruna Martins & Tiago Andrade
Rock star designers at FBAUP Design Inc.

Hello Bruna! Hello Tiago! Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. To start things off, please tell us a bit about yourselves.

Bruna & Tiago: “We are two enthusiastic design students who have been working in a few freelance projects together.

We can’t say no to a good challenge and we are eager to have new and better experiences. In order to do that, we have joined a small junior association — FBAUP Design Inc. — which has helped us achieve those goals.”

What’s FBAUP Design Inc., and what are your roles?

B & T: “FBAUP Design Inc. is a small association based in the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto.

Its members are exclusively students of that faculty, as we are. It has about 20 members, whether they’re in their 1st or last year of their course, and they all are ambitious design students who want to know the world outside the walls of the university, work for real clients with the help of the older students.

Recently, we became part of the association’s direction, and we hope this next year we all create amazing projects.”

“[FBAUP Design Inc. has 20] ambitious design students who want to know the world outside the walls of the university.”

Did you know about Porto Summer of Code before our contact, or was it something new?

B & T: “We had never heard about PSC before we were asked to design this year’s image for the event. It was definitely something new, different and challenging. We had quite a lot of research to do!”

Did you have any experience with this kind of event? Was it difficult to keep up with the demand?

B & T: “We had never worked in a project this big, at least not together. But when you are working with someone who is professional and whom you can trust, it makes it a lot easier to keep up the demand.”

What was your favourite and least favourite part of designing this year’s image of Porto Summer of Code?

B & T: “The favourite part, as always, was to see our work being used, whether in the mupis on the streets of our home town, or people wearing t-shirts we have designed as well. Oh, we also had free lunch during the days of the event, which was also cool! 😛

The least favourite was the pressure and concern to have things done until the day of the event, but we knew from the beginning what we were getting into. All the hours we might not have slept were definitely worth it!” 🙂

“For those who want to do big projects (…), and this might be a strange advice, but, honestly, go out and have fun.”

Did you have any crazy ideas you weren’t able to do, due to time or other constraints?

B & T: “When we were brainstorming about this project we came up width some challenging ideas. One of them was to create big cardboard structures in the space of the event and further explore the elements we used in the posters.

However, time and budget constraints prevented us from dreaming too high. Even so, with the help of the team from PSC, the end result exceeded everyone’s expectations.”

Before and after, what do you think of PSC?

B & T: “First good, then awesome!” 🙂

What advice do you have to young designers who are eager to approach a big project or just a project with computer nerds?

B & T: “For those who want to do big projects, nerds or no nerds involved, and this might be a strange advice, but, honestly, go out and have fun. You can’t spend your life staring at that screen. You will most likely have the best ideas when you’re far from your laptop.

As for the computer nerds, avoid the nerd jokes! You would think they will find it funny, but they clearly don't… Or is it that we just couldn’t find the right ones??” 😃

If you have any final remarks, now’s the time.

B & T: “See you next year!” 😃

12th September 2016

All together now (WIT Software)

The content of this post is authored by our sponsors at WIT Software.


Today is the day. For the next three days you will sit together with your team(mates) and you’ll all try to create the next big thing - that big project that you’ve all wanted to develop for a while, that idea that keeps you awake at night - and day. That feeling that you’re on something great and you just need to find some free time during your busy schedule to implement it.

This is it.

You suddenly realise that you still haven’t found that great idea, that everyone else is up to something but you. Don’t worry, you still have time - and one of the best and funniest parts of an hackathon is the brainstorming sessions.

This is it.

Now that you’ve got the idea - it’s time to built it. You’ll face numerous challenges since you write your first line of code until you ship it (or someone tells you that the hackathon has ended - usually this is what happens) - and for that you have an amazing group of mentors that can help through the entire process. Take (real) advantage of them - they’re just an older version of you that, deeply, what they really want is to be in your place and have the time and energy to follow the same idea.

[Suggestion for the next PSC: mentors’ hackathon.]

This is it.

Three paragraphs so far. Are you still awake?

Through the entire event you will go through a set of stages - that… well, truly saying, they’re not all pleasant - but you will get through them - and next year again.

Every group is already doing *something*

You’ve just opened your computer and you look through the venue and realise that everyone has already their IDE’s open and they’re typing gibberish at full speed, designers are already doing mockups and you look at your screen and you have Facebook open and you will automatically feel that you’re getting behind. Don’t worry, you still got plenty of time ahead and, most certain, everyone is feeling the same - even those guys.

It’s really important to keep in mind, that different groups work at different paces and don’t get demotivated with that. The real goal behind an hackathon is to hack; to build something that you want - that you will use. Be creative through the entire process and have fun - really, have fun.

Yes! This is a brilliant idea - we can add this and this and of course an option to share to Facebook; and we cannot forget about this thing here - is unique! Lets do this - lets start!

When we have that ah ha! moment and all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. We then keep adding more and more features over the initial idea and start distributing tasks across the team. The feeling is unique: everyone is pumped up to just start coding and designing and see their idea grow - and it’s an excellent motivational boost.

I’m starting a new project lets do everything by the book. I’ve never used this framework, but it’s trending - everyone is talking about it on twitter. Don’t forget that edge case!

The urge to try and use something new is really difficult to resist. You have to keep in mind that you’re on a hackathon - you’re here to create your idea or using some of the buzzwords out there your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and not a final product. So, use frameworks that you already know - don’t mind about all those edge cases - focus on making your project work.

Sleep is overrated. Lets pull an all nighter!

One word: focus. You want to do everything and that’s amazing, but keep in mind that you have roughly 52 hours to implement your project and although mathematically that’s more than week of work just keep in mind that you can’t just skip sleep. Trust me, it’s better to sit on a beanbag and take a power nap and then get back to work than try to go through it without sleeping - on the long run it will delay your project - and well… you become a bit annoying.

It’s done! It works - don’t write anything more. Lets ship it!

Your team has done the impossible! You’ve all outstand yourselfs. Of course, this won’t be a final product - it will have some rough edges that need to be polished - but you’ve accomplished this in just 52 hours; now imagine what you can do with a week, or even a month of work. Some hours after all this, you’ll fall asleep - exhausted - to wake up on the next day thinking:

— Next year I’ll be back again.


Carlos Mota

8th September 2016

Meet Ricardo Queirós and Bia Afonso

Meet Ricardo Queirós and Bia Afonso, residents in Porto, partners in crime, and founders of Catraio Craft Beer Shop, a craft beer shop in Porto. The name is pretty self-explanatory. 😁

They will be at Porto Summer of Code giving a craft beer workshop.


Ricardo Queirós
Co-founder and part-time janitor @ Catraio Craft Beer Shop


Bia Afonso
Co-founder @ Catraio Craft Beer Shop

Hi Ricardo! Hi Bia! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us.
Let’s get started. How does a typical day in Catraio look like?

Ricardo: “Everyday is different. We deal with clients, mostly tourists, so you never know what to expect every day, but it’s fun.

Catraio has a very good energy so people that come in, want to have a good time.”

Bia: “Everyday ends up being different, but there’s one certainty: someone who is a beer enthusiast will show up and remind us why we’re here.

We talk a lot with our clients, be them new or clients that already became friends. We spend our days talking about beer.”

Craft Beer seems to be taking off everywhere lately. How do you explain it?

B: “I disagree, I don’t think it’s everywhere. It’s difficult for us to find craft beer when we leave Catraio.

The interest is arising in bars and restaurants though. It’s something that’s happening for years now all over the world and finally Portugal is starting to see a crescendo in the interest for craft beer, but there’s still a lot of room to grow…”

R: “Let’s hope not a lot, we don’t want to lose business…” (laughs)

B: “We wonder if Porto has room for more projects of this kind, like Lisbon that right now has 5 places completely dedicated to craft beer.

We know some projects are on the horizon, and we don’t know what the market reaction will be. We’re excited about it!”

Ricardo: “You’ve been drinking boxed wine your entire life and then one day you enter a supermarket and you find shelves full of good bottles of wine.”

What are some of the most interesting things people can try out?

B: “It’s a very personal topic since no one has the same tastes. Our palates are completely different, but without a doubt people should at least try an I.P.A.”

R: “I think that the most important thing is that people try to get a good quality craft beer.

Sometimes people are badly advised and have a beer that is bad, or that doesn’t fit their flavor profile and end up categorizing all craft beer in the same negative way.”

B: “A bad first experience makes you think ‘Why am I paying more for a beer that I don’t even like?'”

R: “There’s hundreds of beer styles, even more than wine.”

B: “There will be a beer that will fit your taste. It happened to us with close friends or relatives having a bad experience and becoming afraid of trying other types. But generally, someone who likes it can’t go back to drinking “regular” beer.”

People grown up only knowing Super Bock, and maybe they think “Craft Beer” is only a type of beer… 😏

B: “Yes, sometimes people get in here and ask us for a beer, and are surprised when we ask “Which one?”.

There’s a world of beers that people can try and sometimes they reduce that world to one kind of beer, which isn’t the case.”

When did you have your first craft beer? How was it?

B: “Every time we traveled we tried local craft beer, but in Portugal it was Sovina. It was the first one and when we learned about the launch, we tried to find out where it was sold.

The memory I have from it is the explosion of smell and flavour that I wasn’t used to. That sparked our interest and we started trying to explore portuguese craft beer that wasn’t made here in Porto.”

R: “The biggest memory I have is really the difference of quality of the beer. It’s like you’ve been drinking boxed wine your entire life and then one day you enter a supermarket and you find shelves full of good bottles of wine. ”

B: “It’s starting with a beer that is refreshing and we enjoy it, specially in the summer, and moving into a world with different kinds of beer that are meant to be served at different temperatures and that change over time and temperature.

We went from a beer that we drank like a cold juice, to refresh ourselves, to a beer that you can appreciate. I think that’s the biggest difference, the way you look at beer, and the way you enjoy it.”

Bia: “Generally, someone who likes [craft beer] can’t go back to drinking “regular” beer.”

Do you have any beer you like to save for special occasions?

B: “We’re starting a small collection of beers at home. We want to see how they evolve.

Since most of these beers aren’t filtered, they’re not the final product yet, they mature inside the bottle. Pedro Sousa’s Imperial Stout, for example, is a beer that we want to save to see how it tastes in some years.”

R: “It’s almost like a vintage wine. De Molen beers have a shelf life of 25 years. If you buy one today and look at the expiration date it will say 2041.”

B: “Still, there are some beers that you can’t keep for that long, like the ones with a lot of hops…”

R: “Or a low alcohol percentage…”

B: “But if it’s a beer with a lot of alcohol like an Imperial Stout or a Barrel Aged, you can keep it for several years and they will change over time. We’ll try to keep them until 2040 and see how they age.”

Do you think beer is for everyone? How do you approach the situation when someone tells you that they are not into beer?

B: “When someone enters Catraio and says they don’t like beer, Ricardo often tells them that that’s impossible. There are so many styles that it’s almost impossible that you can’t find one that fits your taste. But I understand when people tell me that they don’t like the typical beer flavor.”

R: “It’s related to people’s openness to sample different beers since we can’t force anyone to drink. We talk and try to learn people’s tastes and recommend something.

I remember a situation where a girl came in saying that she didn’t liked beer, and her boyfriend, who’s a beer enthusiast, tasted some beers. One of the beers was a Sour, which isn’t an easy beer to like. She tried it and loved it. She went from not liking beer to loving one of the hardest beers to like.”

B: “We notice that some clients already know what they like and pick beers based on the styles that fit their taste and not based on the brewery or other factors.

Part of our job is to try and comprehend what people like and advise accordingly. With some clients that have some difficulty in verbalizing their tastes it’s more of a trial and error situation. Sometimes the secret isn’t understanding what someone likes, but what they hate in a beer.

We’re not always successful but I would say that 95% of the time we end up being able to recommend a beer that is adequate for the client’s palate.

We don’t only sell beer, we also sell the experience of finding a tailored made beer for you.”

7th September 2016

Meet Cisco

The content of this post is authored by our sponsors at Cisco.

Cisco is truly happy to be supporting the Porto Summer of Code event.


While you will probably associate Cisco with being the world’s largest networking devices manufacturer, the truth is that Cisco’s portfolio is significantly more extensive and we pride ourselves on being at the top in all the markets in which we operate. From networking to voice and video unified communications, media broadcasting, network security, data center, IoT, enterprise collaboration tools, satellite communications, wildlife conservation or smart cities to name just a few.

When you start connecting the unconnected, the possibilities are endless and no single company in the world is capable of imagining every single use case or feature.

Then again, why should you be limited? Why should you limit your users from adding the features they need?

If you start providing simple, developer friendly APIs to your products and start leveraging the network, not just of devices but also of minds then everyone can have a platform, of both physical devices and software where they can innovate.

“When you start connecting the unconnected,
the possibilities are endless.”

Cisco is strongly committed on providing its developer community the best possible API experience so that you can easily get your bearings and save time while letting your imagination go wild.

Many of the newer Cisco products are heavily API based, like Cisco Spark for instance. A secure communication and collaboration suite for enterprises. Spark enables end-to-end encrypted collaboration, both in transit and at rest, including personal and team messaging, file-sharing, high definition video calling and conferencing, regular phone calls with a raft of new and nifty features coming in the next few months.

Cisco Spark APIs allow you to manipulate users, team rooms, messages and files to have Spark as the platform for your own app or just add features to the Spark platform. All the expected integrations like box and dropbox, IFFT, Zapier, api.ai and others are there already or you can build your own.

Cisco’s customers and partners are developing their own bots for Spark automating actions and interactions, like customer care, file management, expense reporting, Q&A and a lot more.

What’s more we are so excited about and committed to our Spark platform that we have announced a $150 million Developer Fund to enable the next wave of innovation on our platform. You can find out more here developer.ciscospark.com/fund/.

“Cisco Spark APIs allow you to manipulate users, team rooms, messages and files to have Spark as the platform for your own app.”

Why don’t you try it? You can download Cisco Spark for free over at www.ciscospark.com, it even includes HD Video conferencing out of the box with up to 3 people. For all the documentation and simple tutorials just drop by developer.ciscospark.com and give it a quick whirl.

And have you ever wanted to include phone calls or SMS text features on your app? Well, couldn’t be easier than with Cisco Tropo. With a simple and developer friendly API and unlimited free usage for development purposes without needing to give us your credit card details, that’s a quick and easy way to add powerful communications capabilities to your apps. Visit Tropo.com to learn more, we are also excited to share that we will be launching our own purpose built Tropo.eu service, designed especially for Europe which will be available soon!

These are just two examples of what’s hot in our developer community right now. Show us something innovative and lets talk about how we can make it a reality!

If you are fortunate enough to be sitting on top of a modern Cisco network and want to try all the neat things you can do with programming network infrastructure, data center or IoT, just head out to developer.cisco.com and see all the platforms you have available to play with.

“We are so excited about and committed to our Spark platform that we have announced a $150 million Developer Fund.”

We are eager to see what you come up with at Porto Summer of Code and if you even use one of our APIs we’ll become your best friends.

Tip of the day:
Even if you don’t use any of our API’s during the competition :( we’re all about making your life easier.
Do you use containers and microservices and deploy them on a cloud environment? Ever wanted to have a way of deploying and managing all of it without the hassle of configuring all the components you need to deploy? We do too so we created Mantl.io as a free, open-source solution that incorporates most of the tools you probably already use like Docker, Kubernetes, Marathon, Consul, Mesos, Traefik and others. We joined it all up for you, pre-configured so that you don’t lose time and you can use it in loads of platforms like SoftLayer, Amazon Web Services, Azure, Cisco Cloud, your private cloud or your PC. It’s all at Mantl.io for you to use and abuse. Just download it or fork it from github.

Oh, and do you want to build it, deploy it and then monitor it, tune it up and auto-scale? With automatic integration of several APIs or docker repositories? Try ciscoshipped.io for all the lifecycle of your app. All you need is a github account. Check the tutorial and start shipping your code in minutes. It’s still in beta but we already love it.

5th September 2016

Meet Júlio Santos and Hugo Peixoto

Júlio and Hugo are the founders of Life on Mars, a new software consultancy company based in Porto. They will be at Porto Summer of Code teaching you how to build your own VR experience on a budget.


Júlio Santos, Co-founder @ gruvi.tv, madmarkedet.dk, lifeonmars.pt


Hugo Peixoto, Co-founder @ lifeonmars.pt

Hi Júlio and Hugo!👋 Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. For starters: please tell us where you’re from, where you live now, and how you got there.

Julio: “I was born and studied in Porto, but moved to Copenhagen as soon as I finished my masters in 2010. There, I co-founded my first company, Gruvi, which specializes in online movie marketing.

I moved to Berlin in 2012, and in 2013 I co-founded my second company, Madmarkedet.dk, an online marketplace for craft foodstuffs.

2014 saw me moving to Dublin, where I kept at it with Gruvi and Madmarkedet.dk.

By December 2015 I had decided to reduce my involvement in the day-to-day of those companies and, after partnering with Hugo, Life on Mars was born.”

Hugo: “I’m from Porto, and I lived here most of my life, with the exception of 2015, during which I was living in Cambridge, UK.”

Could you tell us a little bit about Life on Mars?

J & H: “Life on Mars is a bet on two things. The first is that Porto is a fantastic source of talent. The second is that a great team can accomplish anything.

We’re working to become the company that everybody else is sorry they’re not part of.

We bootstrapped Life on Mars through providing client services, and our first project was for Twitter which was a great opportunity. Eventually we will want to move into a startup-as-a-service model, and developing our own products as well.”

“[VR’s] greatest selling point is really sensorial engagement, and it will play a very important role in the entertainment industry for years to come”

Everyone’s talking about VR, and how it’ll play a huge role in our digital future. In your opinion, will it be everywhere in 10 years? How will that look like?

J & H: “Everywhere might be a bit of an overstatement, but hardware costs are almost no longer a factor hindering the global adoption of VR tech.

Its greatest selling point is really sensorial engagement, and it will play a very important role in the entertainment industry for years to come, especially as peripheral technologies like haptic feedback and sensorial stimulation evolve.”

What was your gadget and when did you get it? How did it feel like?

J: “I didn’t have access to anything really interesting at a young age.

I got busy disassembling anything I could in search for tiny electric motors, and then trying to see if I could use them to make all sorts of things move. It was pretty fun when I thought I could get those to move faster if I plugged them directly to the wall. Fun and painful.”

H: “Early on I had access to video game consoles (a NES and a Game Boy), which are not known for being open platforms.

In the late 90s I finally got my hands on a Pentium laptop, which eventually became the target of many failed installations of Linux and BSD.”

Júlio: “The world’s a complex dynamic system and you won’t understand it alone from behind your screen.”

Hugo: “Participate in local communities, as meeting new people is a great way to exchange knowledge.”

Do you remember your very first project? Is it still running today?

J: “Yea, it was extra digital material for a biology school book. Delivered as a CD-ROM application, written in Flash and ActionScript 2 back in 2005.”

H: “My first personal projects were all built on top of mIRC, an IRC client. Usually network related stuff: email clients (implementing SMTP and POP3) and online games.

Eventually the builtin language started showing its limitations and I started building DLLs in C++ to extend the client’s functionality.

My first professional project was a platform where students published and discussed architecture projects, using the (at the time) standard stack of PHP and MySQL. This was also the first time I worked with Júlio.”

We have a lot of students in PSC. Is there something you’d tell them that could help them immensely starting out their careers?

J: “1. Stop worrying and don’t let yourselves be intimidated by recruiters an HR departments. Your skills are in high demand right now, and there are no signs of it tapering off.

2. Work with people you like in what you love, and never take a job because it feels like the safe thing to do.

3. Network your ass off, get out there and meet as many people in as many fields as possible. Learn from them. The world’s a complex dynamic system and you won’t understand it alone from behind your screen.”

H: “Don’t stop learning. If you get too comfortable you will eventually have to play catch-up.

Explore different areas of knowledge, either inside or outside of software engineering.

It helps to participate in local communities, as meeting new people is a great way to exchange knowledge, and to expose yourself to new opportunities.”

1st September 2016

Meet Tomé Duarte

Tomé Duarte is a web engineer consultant with 10 years of experience. He will be at Porto Summer of Code talking about web security, by giving a workshop on penetration testing of real-world apps.


Tomé Duarte, Web Engineer Consultant

Hi Tomé! Glad to have you with us. Could you please tell us where you’re from, where you live now, and how you got there?

“Hi! :)

I’m originally from Porto, Portugal, where I grew up and went to college.

I did a short stint living in Brazil for a couple of months, in the lovely city of Vitória, ES; I quite enjoyed it, but my love for Porto brought me back to live there.”

How does your typical day look like?

“I believe in the power of habit [1] and follow a routine, rolling with the punches when appropriate.

My sleep schedule varies depending on what timezones I’m working with at the moment, but essentially my days go like this:

  • wake up, have an espresso and 0.5L of water
  • ~20min morning exercise and 10min meditation session
  • by this point, I’m fully awake
  • get ready, have some oatmeal or lunch (depending on time of day)
  • get out and take care of random life stuff
  • get to the office, start a podcast playing and achieve inbox 0, with an approximate GTD method; everything is either:
    • replied to
    • snoozed for an appropriate date/time
    • processed into either a task on my moleskin notebook or a note on a client’s trello card
  • get my pen & paper out and quickly review week workload / on-going stuff
  • (recursive) pick the next task, start Toggl and Magic Work Cycle, and go at it; I use a variation of the pomodoro technique, with longer stretches for focused technical work
  • get out of the office by dinner time
  • go for a run or a swim, if I’m in the mood
  • cook something good (I love to cook) and enjoy it!”

1: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12609433-the-power-of-habit

“Portugal has some world-class security professionals and organizations, and there has been some very good work done in the last few years.”

We have to ask 😅 In your opinion, how safe are our critical systems? Should we expect something major to be hacked in the near future? Or are we watching too much Mr. Robot?

“Well, that’s a difficult question to answer without actually trying to hack them, isn’t it? :) Seriously, though, the answer lies outside of technical analysis.

Portugal has some world-class security professionals and organizations, and there has been some very good work done in the last few years, both to lock down critical systems and general security improvements. It’s not possible to be “100% safe”, but we’re making good headway.

I think it’s important to remember John Gall’s law [1] when thinking about this:

“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.”

So, let’s break these down into some key infra-structures:

  • government central systems: overall progressing in the correct path, still some hiccups of course. It’s a very large mix and legislation, data privacy and related considerations are all factors into both decision making and speed. Projects also must be publicly bid most of the time, as it is taxpayers money being spent. Very difficult to ensure the IT parts of project development are security conscious
  • legal/judicial systems: there was a big mess recently with citius having a public meltdown and we haven’t fully recovered; it’s still under the spotlight and too soon to tell if it’ll be safe longterm
  • power generation, etc: I have no visibility into those; no idea!
  • banking: the basis for Portuguese banking technology systems was COBOL. Sad thing is, it still is! There’s a lot of wrapping with modern technologies and quality development, but some of the core legacy systems have been in place for decades, with tweaks every few years.
    E-banking is common and generally safely deployed, with an effort to make it very safe (token cards, etc). We also have some fantastic things like safe virtual credit cards (MBnet)!
  • local municipalities and councils: certainly undervalued. They’re usually responsibility of local resources, although somewhat constrained by central ruling (as far as I know). Security varies greatly from one to the other: there’s excellent and awful
  • private figures: the only one that comes to mind is the political parties local headquarters. Similar to local councils: there’s been some public defacing that hit the news some years ago, but it doesn’t really impact our lives
  • FCCN / DNS / RCTS / Local Public School Systems: the core of our “Internet” development has always been academia and education systems. Good work overall, with some hiccups along the way

To conclude, it’s also important to understand the Portuguese ecosystem: since the 80s, we have had some of the very best hackers and hacking crews, even if mostly low profile. We’ve also had some vocal hacktivism, including the remarkable Timor-Leste hacks [2], and this wouldn’t be complete without mentioning AP2SI[3] and BSides Lisbon[4].”

1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gall_(author)#Gall.27s_law

2: http://hackstory.net/ToXyN#The_Portuguese_Scene

3: http://ap2si.org

4: http://www.bsideslisbon.org

Wow, so much information! A personal question now: when did you get your first computer? How did it feel like?

“I was lucky to have a big brother that wanted to be on the edge of technology. :D

My first computer was a 286 CPU model, which I shared with my brother. It was overclocked for a while before upgrading to an ultra-fast (at the time) 486! I started out typing commands I didn’t understand in MS-DOS, and sometimes booting windows 3.1 for some stuff. The first computer that I owned was a Toshiba laptop, when I got into college. I had it for 5 years, running from WinXP to Slackware, PC-BSD and finally Gentoo GNU/Linux.

One thing that completely changed my life was access to the Internet very early on. The ability to get online and “surf the web” as teenager was what led me to find security wargames and diving into programming and network security.

Actually, I remember one of the first times I used Google was to search for C programming tutorials, back in high school. Before that, all we had was Yahoo!, Altavista, Astalavista and our very own SAPO!”

How old were you when you first “hacked” something? Can you tell us what it was?

“I guess it depends on your definition of hacking:

  • wargames: I was heavily into these between ages 14 — 17. I still play some for fun and toying with new tech, from time to time!
  • live systems: started with some toy stuff at 15; actual securing an initial foothold all the way to continuous anonymous access, probably 18 or 19
  • first private disclosed vulnerability: 2007, IIRC


I really enjoy wargames. I started with “hack this site” [1], and moved on to more complex stuff like “root this box” (now offline), “smash the stack” [2] and “over the wire” [3].

There’s plenty of other good stuff out there, too.

Live systems

The first time I remember was actually really basic stuff branched out off of some Google Dorks (from johnny.ihackstuff) to find vulnerable systems. A couple of things I enjoyed most were printers (to store exploit code) and webcams (just for fun).

Over time, as I learned to protect and defend systems, I started to learn more about rootkits, how to hide actions and how to counter-measure those issues.

Another big milestone for me was learning the ins and outs about networking, protocols and “tracing” so I could understand where attacks were coming from and how to jump hoops to either be difficult to trace or to find the source of an attack.

Important disclaimer: I do not advocate or condone hacking systems without previous authorization. If you’re doing it, make sure you’re prepared to face the consequences.

Vulnerability disclosing

The first vulnerability I remember finding and disclosing a local file inclusion on a custom made PHP CMS. I sometimes randomly click to view-source on websites and poke around; we all do, right? Right?..

I stumbled upon a website with an URL that included something like page?id=home, which peaked my interest; turns out I could see other files in the system, and eventually get a webshell on the server.

As it happens, it was a custom CMS a webshop sold to clients. I contacted them and disclosed the vulnerability.”

1: http://www.hackthissite.org

2: http://smashthestack.org

3: http://overthewire.org/wargames

“I sometimes randomly click to view-source on websites and poke around; we all do, right? Right?..”

We have a lot of students in PSC. Is there something you’d tell them that could help them immensely starting out their careers?

“Don’t be afraid to try, and don’t come up with excuses not to.

When I got into college, I already knew how to program in 5 programming languages, had spent some time working on game development and was learning all about IT security. During college, I was building things by my second year that I would learn a few years later if I followed the curriculum.

Learn by doing, building and breaking. Study what peeks your interest, and never from a single source. The Internet has a lot of information. Be keen on educating yourself!”

30th August 2016

Bright Pixel at Porto Summer of Code

We’re very pleased to announce that Cláudio Gamboa from Bright Pixel, the company behind Pixels Camp, will be in Porto Summer of Code 2016.


Bright Pixel is a “company builder studio”. They specialize in bringing ideas to life, by developing a tight partnership with great teams and new companies.

This year, they are also organizing Pixels Camp, Codebits’ spiritual successor, which was one of our largest inspirations when we started Porto Summer of Code three years ago.

Cláudio will be part of PSC’s jury, and he will also be reviewing your projects from an entrepreneurship point of view. If you think your idea might just be the next big thing, and you’ve been wanting to take it to the next level, now’s your chance! From day one, Cláudio will be around keeping an open eye on teams and their projects.

We look forward to seeing conversations sparking left and right with Cláudio and all the other incredible people that will join us in September.

See you soon!

29th August 2016

Meet Hélder Silva

Our second interview features Hélder Silva. Hélder is working at Abyssal and will be at Porto Summer of Code giving a workshop about one of his passions: hardware maintenance.


Hélder Silva, Senior Software Developer @ Abyssal

Hello Hélder! Thanks for taking the time to sit down and chat with us. Please tell us where you’re from, where you live now, and how you got there.

“I’m from the Porto district and I live in Porto.

Since I was born and raised near the city, I think it was a safe bet to stay around.”

How does a typical day working at Abyssal look like?

“It really depends which “hat” I’m wearing.

If I’m programming I’ll probably stay mostly silent throughout the day picking stuff to do from the sprint board.

Sometimes I’ll need to jump to the “server room” (our servers are in the same room as us :P) and do some maintenance of the hardware. I don’t do much of that anymore, but at the first weeks at the company most of my work was configuring and assembling our current server infrastructure.”

“I would give the prize for technological achievement to SSDs.”

Hardware has changed a lot over the years. It’s smaller, faster, more accessible. For you, what are the most interesting highlights?

“Solid State Drives. It was such a jump in performance from the old spinning drives that I cannot imagine myself having a computer without one.”

How about all the die shrinks we’ve seen lately in CPUs and GPUs? Or do you think that quantum computers are the future?

“Nothing too special. Don’t get me wrong, it’s technically impressive making transistors so small, but if we take into account that the GPUs were a bit stale for almost 2 years, and CPUs don’t bring nothing new for almost 5 years now…

I would give the prize for technological achievement to SSDs. :)

I don’t know much about quantum computers and I think we will have to wait a bit more for that to reach the average consumer.”

What components were in your first computer? Did you assemble it?

“I can’t quite remember, I know the CPU was an Athlon XP 2400+ and the graphics card was an ATI 9600 Pro, but I can’t remember the rest of the specs.

I did not assemble it. It was given to me by a civil engineer student (it was his old computer). I just changed the graphics card and hooked a monitor that a professor offered me.

Of course, after a few weeks I did disassemble it to do some maintenance.”

“Focus on something you like to do and try to be good at it.”

Do you still remember your very first software project? Is it still running today?

“Yes, it was a system that handled food tasting and evaluation. It was in PHP.

I don’t know if it still running, but I bet it is. It was a very competent software for the time.”

What exactly do you mean by “competent software”? Any specific highlights?

“For a time were there were no good web frameworks available, and everything on the front-end was either a jQuery plug-in or a flash component, I think we were able to do a very good job creating a software where you could create and customise many types of surveys (something similar to SurveyMonkey, but directed to food evaluation and scoring industry).

Also, the team was made of “kids” out of college, so, to have a fully functioning product with some very tight schedule was something we can be proud of.”

We have a lot of students in PSC. Is there something you’d tell them that could help them immensely starting out their careers?

“Focus on something you like to do and try to be good at it.


Professional fulfillment (and probably money) will ensue.”

25th August 2016

Meet Vitor Monteiro

We had the opportunity to chat with Vitor Monteiro. He’s working at GitHub and he will be at Porto Summer of Code giving a workshop about Git.


Vitor Monteiro, Principal Solutions Engineer @ GitHub

Hi Vitor! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. To start with, please tell us where you’re from, where you live now, and how you got there.

“I’m from Porto, Portugal. I’ve been living in London for the past 6 years.

I worked at Alert Life Sciences Computing for 5 years, until I decided to adventure into more competitive markets. The options were Barcelona, Berlin, London and New York. Due to language, free transit and a massive market, I ended up in London. Still here. :)”

How does a typical day working at GitHub look like?

“You’ll get 500 answers depending on who you ask. I’m one of the 56% of Hubbers that works remotely, so I work from home. This was a big change from my previous jobs, but something I got used to and cannot see myself going back to an office life.

Usually I start my day by reading my GitHub notifications. GitHub itself runs the company, so regardless if it’s a engineering, legal or HR discussion it will be a GitHub issue. This makes my day, because it prevents from going through an endless inbox of e-mails every morning. Then I either work on Solution Engineering materials or go out to speak with customers that want to adopt GitHub Enterprise.

It’s great fun since you end up meeting a lot of different people with different needs. You make a lot of friends on the way as well.”

“Whatever Source Code Management platform you use, it will be Git under the hood.”

Where do you think version control systems are headed? Any major changes in the foreseeable future?

“I honestly think whatever Source Code Management platform you use, it will be Git under the hood. If you see Google Trends or StackOverflow Tag trends they show a reality where Git is here to stay. In that aspect, I think Git might surpass SVN’s hegemony in the 2000’s. I would even risk it, to say that Git will have a period of success that will extend any other previous VCS since their inception in the 70’s.

I think innovation is coming from areas like GitHub where it’s more how you code with others and how you review your code than how you record your history.VCS is more a means to and end with the success and popularity of GitHub.”

When did you get your first computer? How did it feel like?

“My first computer was a PC200 (although I can’t find the model by googling it - it was not a Spectrum). It had no storage, so it would boot up with a MS-DOS floppy drive and then you would change floppy to run any other program.

It was pretty magical I would say.

I used it to play games more than anything, but having the ability to control what shows up in the screen by typing commands on that keyboard felt awesome.”

“Take risks. (…) If you’re not learning at a incredible fast pace, move on.”

Do you still remember your very first project? How was it like? Is it still running today?

“In University I briefly worked on Mooshak which was the platform we used to evaluate programming submissions automatically.

At Alert I worked on the main product and then went to run a team that created Alert PHR later branded as myAlert.

In terms of software development my main work was done at UBS in the form of UBS Neo which is live and running as the largest cross-asset platform in the world. On this system I wrote some interesting pieces like Authentication, Entitlements system and many other in-product features for about 5 years.”

We have a lot of students in PSC. Is there something you’d tell them that could help them immensely starting out their careers?

“Take risks. Look for the job or career that gives you the more growth and knowledge.

Salary, stability, visibility and reputation are all things you (in most cases) can throw away to the future. This is the time where you should be hungry for knowledge. There’s a rule called the Rule of 2 Feet: leave a job if you’re not teaching or learning. I would say for the next 10 years, make it a Rule of 1 feet: if you’re not learning at a incredible fast pace, move on.

Also be loyal to you and others. Loyalty doesn’t just mean sticking in a place for 10 years, it means being transparent about your goals and your motivations. You’ll never disappoint anyone if you are true and transparent. That alone might be as important as the knowledge you’ve obtained in 10 years.”

24th August 2016

TY: University of Porto

Back in 2014, when we had this crazy idea of starting a programming competition from scratch, we didn’t know where to start! But just for a moment.

We’ve quickly realized that we would find the help we needed near the ones who helped us during five years of our life in college, the University of Porto.


Our past professors and mentors at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto were the first ones to step forward and help us shape the event as it is today. The first ones that made us believe that it would be possible and relevant to bootstrap Porto Summer of Code. The first ones to sit in the front chair, to support us and to tell us how to improve.

We see Porto Summer of Code as the rendezvous of all the tech scene institutions and hackers, and as a complement to the very important academical path.

As Professor João Pascoal Faria, director of the Master in Informatics and Computing Engineering at FEUP puts it:

“We actively support Porto Summer of Code and encourage our students to participate. The event provides for a great opportunity to exercise the learnings and skills of any software and programming aficionado in a healthy yet competitive environment. Moreover, by involving several institutions from all around the country, it promotes companionship while boosting Porto, the region, and the country in the technological scene.”

The support from the University of Porto applies a strong validation stamp to the importance and responsibility that Porto Summer of Code has in the development and evolution of Portuguese hackers!

Thank you very much for your support University of Porto!

The Porto Summer of Code team.