How to Print Your Own Notable Women in Computing Cards

We decided to run a Kickstarter for the Notable Women in Computing Card Deck because a number of people indicated they would rather buy a deck than print one and we could bring the per-deck cost down  with an order in the thousands. But we’ve always kept the option to self-print open and protected by our Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 U.S. license. If you print using one of these options, the deck will likely cost about $18 for one, down to $3 for thousands.

Below is a step-by-step guide to printing cards yourself, organized by whether a given vendor allows you to produce cards that are good or fast or cheap or small-batch. (Scale is what brings the per-deck price from $18 to $3, so I had to add a 4th to the product managers’ triangle.) If you’d like to use our vendor, let us know and I’ll refer you.

Before I start, you can browse all of the files referenced here, all either jpgs or Photoshop files. Different vendors require slightly different sizes for cards, so I provided 3 full options.

Print the Poster

Printing the poster is easy. Download the file, send it to your local print-shop, pay for it, pick-up it, hang it up, brag about your awesome wall-art. If you want to edit the poster (make it bigger, make it smaller, add some Tartan-print to the background) you can download the editable file here.

Notable-Women-in-Computing-Poster3

Print a Deck at Home (Fast/Cheap/Small)
If you need a deck today and don’t particularly care how fancy it is, this is the option for you.

  1. Download the card files
  2. Print them on the thickest paper your printer can chew
  3. Cut the cards out
  4. Done!

Print Regular Decks in China (Fast/Cheap/Medium)
If you need a deck in 10 days, don’t mind it shipping from China, and want it to feel like a card deck.

  1. Download the card files
  2. Go here and search “Custom Game Cards (63 x 88mm)”
  3. Select “Linen,” and “White window tuck box”
  4. Upload all 55 image files (52 cards, 2 jokers, and 1 image for their backs) and drag them over
  5. Click Next Step. Ignore the options about a message on the card, and click Next Step.
  6. Drag the Back image over
  7. Click Next Step. Ignore the options about a message on the card, and click Next Step.
  8. In the Preview stage, you can double check your cards against our list of who we’ve assigned for each suit and number. Then click the button saying “Yes, the images, names, dates and other information applied onto the cards are correct and I own all copyrights of them or have authorization to use them,” since we used images licensed under Creative Commons, in the public domain, or that we received explicit permission for them.
  9. Click Add to Cart and then check-out. One deck should cost $12.70 + $5.99 for standard shipping. The price goes down if you buy more than 5.
  10. Put your shipping info in and expect the cards in about 10 days.

Print Jumbo Decks in China (Fast/Cheap/Medium)
If you need a deck in 10 days, don’t mind it shipping from China, and want it to feel like a card deck. Some educators prefer jumbo cards because they make it easier for students in the back of class to see the text.

  1. Download the card files
  2. Go here and search “Large Playing Cards Series – Double Face Classic Poker Playing Cards”
  3. Select “Smooth,” and “White window tuck box”
  4. Upload all 55 image files (52 cards, 2 jokers, and 1 image for their backs) and drag them over to their respective cards. You can use the poster as a reference to place them correctly.
  5. Click Next Step. Ignore the options about a message on the card, and click Next Step.
  6. Drag the Back image over
  7. Click Next Step. Ignore the options about a message on the card, and click Next Step.
  8. In the Preview stage, you can double check your cards against our list of who we’ve assigned for each suit and number. Then click the button saying “Yes, the images, names, dates and other information applied onto the cards are correct and I own all copyrights of them or have authorization to use them,” since we used images licensed under Creative Commons, in the public domain, or that we received explicit permission for them.
  9. Click Add to Cart and then check-out. One deck should cost $18.70 + $5.99 for standard shipping. The price goes down if you buy more than 5.
  10. Put your shipping info in and expect the cards in about 10 days.

Print Over 1,000 Decks in the U.S. (Good/Cheap/Big):
If you need a 1,000 decks in a month, this is your option.

  1. Reach out to Gemaco (our chosen vendor for the second edition) for a referral to vendor (they only sell to printers, so you have to find a printer who will send your images to them–thus this not being a fast option)
  2. Download the cards, which I’ve revised based on feedback from them to match their specifications.
  3. Pay them–it should be about $4.20/deck + shipping (which can be about $750 for 1,000 decks).
  4. Wait 2 – 5 days for proofs, then 15 business days for production, then 4 – 5 days for shipping. It’s 20 business days for production if you want a custom box, with your company/university/Girl Scout Troupe number on it.
  5. Enjoy! (If you’re sending them to a lot of places–remember, the deck can’t be reproduced commercially–you might want to use a vendor like ShipWire for fulfillment)

Print Over 1,000 Cards in Taiwan (Good/Cheap/Big):
If you need a 1,000 decks in a month, this is your option.

  1. Submit your request to Expert Playing Card Company (their website says they’re based in New York, but they confirmed over email they do all of their printing in Taiwan). Another option is Legends Playing Cards, but I asked for a quote a month ago and never heard back.
  2. Download the files
  3. Give them the decks, probably making small changes to the editable files
  4. Pay them
  5. Enjoy!
  6. (I know the least about their process, so there may be more steps)

The One Place You Cannot Print This Deck: The United States Playing Card Company

I was excited to reach out to the USPCC for a quote. They were recommended by name on a card forum I visited. They also are listed as the printer for Kickstarter-funded card decks like this one of WWII-era photos, so they had some kind of interest in women and history.

When I emailed them, their sales rep said their legal team would need written proof of individual photo permission from each woman in the deck. We had that for most of them, since many of the images came from the women themselves, but given that 7 have passed away, you might imagine this is a bit of a trouble. I pushed back, saying most of the images were provided by their subjects, and those few that weren’t are licensed under Creative Commons.

The sales rep then asked me to “provide the Creative Common License for the image and/or documentation of the public domain status.” This indicated a lack of familiarity with both, so I shared a quick refresher on Creative Commons for her and their legal team. She said they would review it.

Three weeks later, the sales rep came back to say the legal team at the United States Playing Card Company couldn’t accept the Creative Commons license and I’d need to provide individual proof of permission from all of those pictured and the estates of those deceased.

I don’t know if the other Kickstarters they printed for had those permissions. Maybe all of those WWII-era photos of Japanese women and army nurses came with individual permission. If I hadn’t already lined up other options, this would have had a chilling effect on the project in the way modern copyright policy often does. But I had lined up options and so could shimmy away to a vendor who wanted our money.

tl;dr: The United States Playing Card Company doesn’t believe in Creative Commons and we can’t use them to print this deck.

But that’s alright because there are a wide range of different options, both in the U.S. and Asia, for printing this deck.

Have any questions that weren’t answered by this? Feel free to ask! Our goal is for this deck to get out to as many women in computing as possible, so if you have a clever idea of what to do with it, let us know. We’ve heard from folks who want to overhaul the design, make a left-handed deck, make a Canadian Women in Computing deck, a Middle Eastern Women in Computing deck, all great ideas!

Inspirational Quote:

“Fast, good or cheap. Pick two.” — Software Development Saying

Update on Kickstarter

We had a great finish to the Notable Women in Computing Kickstarter, bringing in just-over 500% total funding. Since then, the team and I have done a thorough review of the cards, added or updated a number of pictures, and changed the text on all of the cards. Those changes will make the deck more accessible to folks who might not know what the alphabet soup of “IEEE Fellow, ACM Fellow” means but do know what “Known for: contributions in robotic and intelligent systems” means. See more examples on the poster:

Notable-Women-in-Computing-Poster3

As a reminder, the entire deck is Creative Commons licensed. Because cards are more fun in meat-space, our Backers paid to have them printed, boxed, and shipped to them, but the IP embedded in those cards is (nearly) free like beer and (nearly) free like speech.

You can download all of the 2nd edition files in 2 sizes here, both editable and jpg, as well as the poster as soon as they finish uploading on my oft-exhausted wireless. I’ll be posting in the next few days about best-practices for printing, with examples of some of the vendors we reviewed. All of this information will also probably go up on the home-base for this project, this page on the Duke University site.

I’ve gotten a lot out of this project, even if my team and I will make $0 from it. A lot of friends bought decks through this Kickstarter, more than I thought would, and for that I’m grateful. I’ve gotten to DM with famous women in computing who are just as great in private as public. I’ve read shy, thankful notes from some of the awesome women in the deck as well as bombastic, enthusiastic notes from some of the incredible women in this deck. I’ll keep you all updated, but this has been pretty fun so far.

Inspirational Quote:

“Well-matured and well-disciplined talent is always sure of a market, provided it exerts itself; but it must not cower at home and expect to be sought for. There is a good deal of cant, too, in the whining about the success of forward and impudent men, while men of retiring worth are passed over with neglect.

But it happens often that those forward men have that valuable quality of promptness and activity, without which worth is a mere inoperative property.

A barking dog is often more useful than a sleeping lion. Endeavor to make your talents convertible to ready use, prompt for the occasion, and adapted to the ordinary purposes of life; cultivate strength rather than gracefulness; in our country it is the useful, not the ornamental, that is in demand.”–Washington Irving, letter to Pierre Paris Irving (nephew), 1824 December 7th

Final Inspirational Hand of the Week

This post is from a series digging deeper into the stories behind the cards in our Notable Women in Computing playing card deck. The hands are for 5-card draw poker unless otherwise noted. If you’re already a Backer on Kickstarter, thank you. If not, become one today.

The final hand I’m going share is a straight, 7-high. Why final? Because tomorrow is the last day of our Kickstarter to fund the second edition of the Notable Women in Computing Card Deck:

Notable Women in Computing_Hand4

Here are their names and achievements, original list work of my Mom:

Honoree Name Position, Honors, Awards Learn more
3 ♦ – Betty Snyder Betty Snyder ENIAC computer programmer team 1946, WITI Hall of Fame Wikipedia page
4 ♣ – Kristina Johnson Undersecretary US Dept. of Energy, IEEE Fellow, ABI Women of Vision, SWE Achievement Award Wikipedia page
5 ❤ – Lila Ibrahim Chief Business Officer Coursera, ABI Women of Vision, Purdue University-Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineer No Wikipedia page
6 ♦ – Ruzena Bajcsy Univ. California Berkeley Professor, NAE Member, ACM Fellow, IEEE Fellow, AAAI member, AAAS member Wikipedia page
7 ♠ – Jean Sammet IBM Researcher, 1st woman ACM President, ACM Fellow, Computer History Museum Fellow Wikipedia page

You can help: As with all of the hands in this series, at least one of these notable women does not have a Wikipedia page. This time it’s Lila Ibrahim of Coursera. If Donald Trump has 12,000 words dedicated to him on Wikipedia, she deserves at least 100.

If you’re willing to write or edit an article about these incredible women, learn more about Lila Ibrahim’s work and get some tips on how to get started writing or editing an article on Wikipedia. If you write them, let me know and I’ll send you brownie points in an update.

Inspirational Quote:

“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” ― Madeleine Albright

15 Ways to Use a Deck of Cards in a Computer Science Class

When I was taking my second semester of Java at Carnegie Mellon I had the task of modeling the Pontifex cypher from Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon. As a huge nerd, I knew the purpose of the cypher but writing it let me truly understand its cleverness.

The Pontifex solitaire cypher was written by security expert Bruce Schneier as a secure, offline cypher. It also turns out it wasn’t just my professor that used cards to teach computing. Dr Susan H. Rodger of Duke University, a member of the team behind our Kickstarter, reached out to her CS educator friends and collected 15 more examples–you can read them here. They include everything from the obvious (teaching arrays and searches) to the delightful (using magic tricks to teach math).

As a reminder, we’re at 66 hours until the Notable Women in Computing Kickstarter closes, so if you haven’t bought yours, you join over 350 cool people and become a Backer. If you’re already a Backer: thank you!

PS: Megan Smith, CTO of the United States, now also has a copy of our deck thanks to Katy Dickinson!

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Inspirational Quote:

“None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody – a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns – bent down and helped us pick up our boots.” — Thurgood Marshall

Pumpkin Carving Pictures + How to Light a Jack-O’-Lantern Without Candles

Halloween 2014

Matthew and I carved pumpkins together tonight using the same knife set I picked up on a whim in Pittsburgh my freshman year for about $4 at Walgreens. That first year I bought pumpkins at the Presbyterian church’s lot, packed them into my duffel, and heisted them to DC where we carved them on the newspaper-covered floor of the hotel room where we were staying on our weekend together.

We’ve carved them together as many Halloweens since then as we could. It’s the perfect holiday for us to celebrate with our microcosm of a family. It’s silly; it involves the sugar content we so dearly love; it’s messy and creative. Matthew went for pure traditional in this year’s design:

Halloween 2014

I pulled out the power-tools, drilling dozens of holes to make this pin-head’s face:

Halloween 2014

After living with a gas stove for 2 years, I hadn’t thought of getting matches to light candles for our pumpkins. But, I pulled together a solution. Look:

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

All you need is a smartphone with a flashlight application, and a plastic bag to keep pumpkin guts off of your phone. And tomorrow I get to be She-Hulk for a day!

Inspirational Quote:

“Drain the whole sea
Get something shiny
Something meaty for the main course
That’s a fine looking high horse
What you got in the stable?
We’ve a lot of starving faithful”
— “Take me to church,” by Hozier