5 October, 2019

In an earlier, pre-Internet era, it was common to show appreciation to software developers who wrote free software by sending colorful local postcards to the software authors. This was referred to as Cardware. I was one such programmer who received a few postcards here and there for a few pieces of software that I had written. All of this software was exchanged on Bulletin Board Systems, over a telephone line, unlike today where we can connect instantaneously to any part of the world and get whatever information we like. At the time when connecting globally was more scarce, there was something more special about it.

Time has passed, and my main occupation has changed from writing software to working in NLP research. Still, every so often, I look back fondly on the days which were more naive, less connected, and where getting in touch with those who consumed your work was more personalized.

So, I am making a request to you - if you ever find one of our research papers beneficial to you to the extent that it is worth making a trip to the nearest postbox, and sliding in a postcard with a brief thank you note to me or one of my co-authors, please do so. It will greatly be appreciated by myself and my group members, with whom I will share the postcards in our group meetings. For every 10 postcards we get, I will donate £20 to Unicef, which is dedicated to helping children around the world. (I may increase or decrease this amount, depending on the number of postcards we receive.)

Over time, if there are enough postcards, I might scan and post them on this page.

Postcards should be sent to:

Shay Cohen
10 Crichton St.
Informatics Forum, 4.26
University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh EH8 9AB
United Kingdom