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Code Blacks Squad Announced For NZ's 2010 'Geek Olympics'

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Code Blacks Squad Announced For NZ's 2010 'Geek Olympics'

The countdown is on for FullCodePress 2010 - a unique fundraising event which pitches three crack web teams from NZ, Australia and the US in a race to build a working website for a charity in just 24 hours.

Dozens of web designers, writers and programmers will descend on Wellington for the June 19-20 event, while thousands more follow the action on YouTube, Twitter and live blogs on the FullCodePress website.

New Zealand's team, the Code Blacks, were announced at lunchtime today (Friday May 14, 2010). Around 50 web professionals from around NZ - along with a few ex-pats living in Australia - applied for one of the six coveted roles on the Code Blacks team. The selection panel ultimately chose the following: 1. Project manager: Amanda Wood 2. User experience advocate: Lulu Pachuau 3. Graphic designer: Matthew Buchanan 4. HTML/CSS: Mike Harding 5. Programmer: Sam Minne 6. Content editor/writer: Hadyn Green

The six successful applicants have a lot riding on their shoulders - the Code Blacks are defending last year's crown and have yet to be beaten in the competition, which first ran in 2007 and again in 2009, both times as a trans-Tasman battle between NZ and Australia. The stakes are higher this year as the US fields a team for the first time, including some high profile names such as designer Jason Santa Maria.

The competition is a unique event, says organiser Mike Brown, who also runs the Webstock conference in Wellington each year. "There's no other place where geeks compete against each other like this. It's kind of like the geek Olympics."

Getting a working website off the ground in 24 hours is a big challenge. "If you take the six people and multiply by 24 hrs, that's 144 hours of work - which at standard industry rates might equate to a $20,000 website. Normally, websites of this size and complexity take 3-4 weeks to build."

At the heart of the competition are the three charities who will benefit by getting a brand new, working website for free. "The emphasis is on making sure that they will leave with websites they can use immediately," says Brown.

This year's charities won't be announced until the morning of the competition - so that none of the teams can get a sneaky head start. The teams, who work on their own laptops but get a server, wifi, whiteboard and food for a day, will be given content, images and a briefing from a representative of the chosen charity. "They have complete freedom as to the platform and setup they use - Ruby on Rails, Windows or LAMP, it's all part of the fun," says Brown. Once the starting gun goes at 11am, the teams won't leave the venue until after 11am the following day. "The hardest time is around 4am," says Brown. "The end's nearly in sight, but the body and mind are very tired. If there's going to be a meltdown, it'll come around then!"

At the end of 24 hours, a team of judges will review both sites and select the winner. International pride, bragging rights and a trophy will follow for the winning team.

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