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4 Years Ago


Peter works at the intersection of people's fundamental technical needs and the commercial and social realities that hinder or help them.

As a designer, two notable accomplishments are the invention of the sparkline and design of the first practical book-on-demand system. As a consultant, Peter has worked as a strategist relating to design, marketing, or operations for many enterprises in their infancy, including Groupon, Apartments.com, and Apple China. He was founding art director of Chicago's Propaganda Screen Printing and one of the original technical managers of InfoComm Electronic Prepress. He co-founded AIGA's Design for Democracy and served on the editorial board of AIGA Chicago's inForm journal and the board of Chicago Calligraphy Collective. In 1997, Peter co-founded Chicago's Unscrew U, probably the city's earliest DIY hackerspace. A platform for teaching and exploring technological ethics, Unscrew U participants analyze and attempt repair of everything from home appliances to food products to public systems. He has brought the program to farmers markets, art centers, health centers, and social-justice events.

As an election expert, Peter has taught election management technique to numerous groups and also co-founded and served as technical advisor of the League of Women Voters' I Am the Government training program. He served on the board of the election technology group Project LEAP, which identified and monitored the design flaws in punchcard voting technology throughout its 30-year lifespan; managed elections for organizations; and trained judges and pollwatchers for public and private elections. He also advised the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project, a successor group, and has served as an election-day monitor and troubleshooter for several jurisdictions, including for the International Office of Migration during the first Iraqi Elections.

Description of work

General consulting for the startup industry. Writing and research in technology.

Theoretical interests: Historical analysis of human factors concerns in technology and technique. History and philosophy of technology and culture, consumer culture, and technology's appropriate use. Practical interests: media technology; improvement of voting technology, reform of laws relating to the operation of elections, addressing election fraud; foodways and other systems as technology; techniques of the simple living movement. History of the technological counterculture.

Publications, papers, work in progress

Herman Schaaf and Peter Zelchenko. Innovations in pinyin input methods for desktop and mobile use. Begun in 2015, anticipated release 2017.

Peter Zelchenko and Marc Auger. IsisOne Dual-Extruder 3D printhead and printer design. Finalist in Chicago Innovation Awards, August 2014. Currently in final manufacturing and rollout phase.

Peter Zelchenko, "Gang Use of Cell Phones." Case study for International Habitele project (SciencesPo and UIA/University of Chicago), July 2013. In press. View presentation.

Peter Zelchenko, "Online Gift Giving." Case study for International Habitele project (SciencesPo and UIA/University of Chicago), July 2013. In press.

Peter Zelchenko, "The Quantified Self Movement." Case study for International Habitele project (SciencesPo and UIA/University of Chicago), July 2013. In press.

Peter Zelchenko, "Equity Distortions in Public Transit Technology." Master's thesis, University of Chicago, May 2011. Advisor: William Wimsatt.

Hugh Devlin, Peter Zelchenko, and the SSA Working Group, "Rational-basis Alternative for SSAs." Outline and plan to refine SSA tax burden, benefit, and oversight using existing law. Submitted to legislators and citywide media, June 2008.

Peter Zelchenko, "RSS Community Newsfeed Display." Proposal for pilot of large-scale LED crawl display highlighting community events, sent via RSS feed from web sites. Late-round mention in Knight Foundation News Challenge grant cycle, July 2007.

Peter Zelchenko and Ted Kilpin, "Remotely Programmable Time-Triggered Warning Indicator Light." Design specification for electronic street-cleaning advance notification system. Introduced to public 2006. Provisional patent application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 2006. Pilot of design implemented in First Ward by City of Chicago, May, 2007.

Peter Zelchenko, "Retail Access Master Plan." A land and tax-incentive package proposed to several aldermen. I first formulated this in 2005 as the "Core Services Initiative" (see below) that I developed for Ald. Manny Flores, as a way to encourage competitive infrastructure in the city for right-sized, reasonably priced local business. It has been revised to address many of the problems inherent in the "big box" debate. In collaboration with LaDonna Redmond of the Institute for Community Resource Development.

Peter Zelchenko, "Statement on Chicago Voter Database Vulnerability." Published Oct. 23, 2006 by the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project. Parts excerpted by the Chicago Sun-Times and election watchdog blogs nationally.

Peter Zelchenko, "Food Underground Network." Concept and pilot print design for fruit-sticker collectible book to be given to children, submitted to the Coalition to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, 2006.

Peter Zelchenko and the SSA Working Group, Provisions for SSAs. Submitted to several Special Service Area commissions in Chicago. The group identified a number of Special Service taxing areas - including those in Lincoln Park, West Town, and Wicker Park-Bucktown - that were created with inadequate community process and as a result are causing homeowners, renters, and small businesses in the area to shoulder the majority of the tax burden. Although ostensibly community driven, the proceeds go to the local chambers of commerce for their own commercial enhancements. This document makes recommendations to the commissions.

Peter Zelchenko, "Supermarket Gentrification: Part of the "Dietary Divide." Progressive Planning, No. 168, Summer 2006, p. 1, 11-15.

Peter Zelchenko, [Untitled] Paper and critical testimony at Cook County Board Election Technology hearing regarding irregularities stemming from new polling place technology manufactured by Sequoia Systems, April 27, 2006.

Peter Zelchenko, TimeOut Chicago magazine. Articles throughout 2005 for new weekly magazine entering Chicago market.

Peter Zelchenko, "Core Services Initiative Introductory Paper." Executive summary for draft plan to bring crucial services, such as affordable supermarkets, pharmacies, laundromats, and gas stations to all Chicago neighborhoods. Submitted to 1st Ward Ald. Manny Flores. Jan. 29, 2005.

Peter Zelchenko (ed.), Terry Williams, Richard Means, and Tracy Smith, "I Am the Government 2004 Pollwatcher and Troubleshooter Guide." League of Women Voters of Chicago, 2004. Perfect bound, 66 pp. includes 44 illustrations, and fold-out flowchart by Terry Williams and Peter Zelchenko.

Peter Zelchenko, "Appropriate Technology in Surface Scheduling." Paper presented at Transport Chicago 2004, Illinois Institute of Technology, June 4, 2004.

Peter Zelchenko (Project LEAP) and Tracy Smith (League of Women Voters). Election-day troubleshooting report for 16 precincts selected from the South Side and North Side of Chicago, March 16, 2004 Partisan Primary Elections. Proceedings of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, April 17, 2004.

Peter Zelchenko, "The new voting systems" (working title). Originally prepared as position paper for presidential candidate Carol Moseley Braun, with Drs. Avi Rubin, Rebecca Mercuri, David Dill, Laurie Cranor, and Douglas Jones. Submitted for publication, November 2003.

Peter Zelchenko, It Happened Four Years Ago: Mayor Daley's Brutal Conquest of Chicago's First Ward. VolumeOne Press, 2003, ISBN 0-9677489-5-X. 192 pages. Based on my earlier report to the FBI, a highly critical documentary expose which tied controversial 1999 paperwork discovered in a West Side campaign office to numerous individuals answering directly to the mayor of Chicago.

Peter Zelchenko, "Fool Me Once, Shame on You. Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me." Writing and design of final campaign mailing for Illinois Committee for Honest Government, in support of First Ward aldermanic candidate Manny Flores, March 2003.

Peter Zelchenko, "Project LEAP Analyst Observes PBC 2100." Op-ed submitted to Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, March 21, 2002.

Peter Zelchenko, "What's standing in the way of a new Dominick's store at Chicago and Damen? It may be just you and me." Brochure privately published and distributed to 3,000 Ukrainian Village residents as part of petition drive to block a zoning change for Dominick's. June 2002 and May 2004.

Peter Zelchenko, "Redirecting Consumption, Reapplying Technology." Paper presented on technology panel at the Globalization and Social Justice International Conference, May 10-12, 2002, Loyola University of Chicago.

Homer Sharpe, Sallie Posniak, and Peter Zelchenko, "Noontime 1890." Typography, lettering design, and printing for historical art book on the Marshall Field & Co. restaurants. In conjunction with Marshall Field & Co. Design Department, 2001.

Peter Zelchenko, "The two-headed eagle meets the one-headed eagle." Commentary on Dmitry Sklyarov and the ElcomSoft-Adobe matter. Published on eBookWeb, July 2001.

Peter Zelchenko, "Verso." A critique of technomania in the emerging e-book industry. Publication delivered and panel position for TextOneZero symposium, Brooklyn, New York, May 2001.

Peter Zelchenko, "Automated Direct Notification of Call Rates for Residential and Business Customers." Paper submitted to the Subcommittee on Telecommunications Article Rewrite, James R. Thompson Center, Chicago, April 10, 2001. See "Consumers Yelp Ameritech Horror Stories, Slam AT&T For 'Slamming,'" Chicago Sun-Times ePrairie.com, April 11, 2001. http://eprairie.com/news/viewnews.asp?newsletterID=2225

Peter Zelchenko, "Two Views of BookExpo America 2001." The Seybold Report: Analyzing Publishing Technologies, vol. 1, no. 6 (June 18, 2001), p. 17.

Peter Zelchenko, Untitled. Abstract: "The City of Chicago Zoning Ordinance was created to provide all of the citizenship with a tool for managing the greater shape and character of their neighborhoods. Its efficacy can be gauged by the level of access by and satisfaction of those who generally have had the least power in our city." Paper presented at Zoning Reform Workshop, June 13, 2001.

Peter Zelchenko, The Voting Experience." Submitted for publication to InTheseTimes, March 12, 2001.

Peter Zelchenko, "Scrollodex World." Unpublished manuscript, March 1, 2001.

Peter Zelchenko, "Book-on-Demand Market Pursues Affordable Run of One." Seybold Report on Publishing Systems, vol. 20, no. 5 (Nov. 20, 2000), p. 3.

Peter Zelchenko, "Trick or Treat from Stephen King: He may be victim of his own story." GemStar eBookNet column, October 2000. Excerpt: "I must assert again...although any student of Anglo-Saxon capitalism can argue that value is entirely transcendental and that people will pay whatever the market agrees a thing is worth, the bitter corollary is that value, and therefore price, eventually approaches the cost to manufacture a thing, once consumers and competitors understand all of the necessary trade secrets. Usually this is a slow process, sometimes taking years. But remember that every one of us is now 'in the industry' of publishing, traveling at Internet speed: even our children have insider knowledge of the true costs of publishing content, and we're not happy with Mr. King's price structure."

Peter Zelchenko, "2000 - The Dawn of Moveable Hype." GemStar eBookNet column, August 2000. Excerpt: "...Technology tends to redefine perceived notions of quality. Cellular phones - even after 20 years and a move to 'digital reliability' not yet nearly as reliable or as clear as even the most primitive land line - may eventually displace wired telephones almost entirely. If that happens, we shouldn't notice any loss of fidelity, possibly because the land line will no longer exist to make a comparison even on the surface level, let alone in terms of more abstract questions..."

Peter Zelchenko, "TreeBooks still a major hit at BookExpo." GemStar eBookNet column, June 2000. Excerpt: "The decentralizing Internet and the eBook reader - in which 10,000 irrelevant pages weigh as little, and matter as much, as one truly relevant page - can only do further damage to the legitimate portion of the ivory tower's function. At least for the moment, electronic media are ideal for masses of knowledge which need to be searched or quickly used and discarded."

Kari Lydersen and Peter Zelchenko, "Tax referendum offers relief." West Town Free Press, Spring 2000, p. 1.

Peter Zelchenko (byline omitted), "Election: State rep race crucial for West Town." West Town Free Press, Spring 2000, p. 2.

Widow Lopez (pseud. Peter Zelchenko), "Widow Lopez Edmar redux." West Town Free Press, Spring 2000, p. 7.

Peter Zelchenko (byline omitted), "The Fall of the House of Umberto: The greater 'impact' of gentrification?" West Town Free Press, Spring 2000, p. 1.

Peter Zelchenko, "We Interrupt This Program to Bring You...a Copy of an Idea." GemStar eBookNet column, April 2000. Excerpt: "As our collective moral center erodes and we are exposed as a culture of digital kleptomaniacs - mutually stealing from one another, without a touch of remorse, what amount to copies of ideas, all asymptotically approaching zero in worth - we will find the market soon teaching us the sobering lesson that information ultimately has no value in a society which does not value itself."

Peter Zelchenko, "eBooks: A Long Way from Wonderland." GemStar eBookNet column, April 2000.

Peter Zelchenko, "Distributed Book Publishing Network." Describes a network-based on-demand book data distribution system. Patent Application Number 60/060,810, conveyed by agreement in part to Harvey M. Ross as proposed addendum to his U.S. Patent No. 5,465,213, September 1998.

Peter Zelchenko, "UNIX/PLATO Notes for the Next Generation." Paper presented to Dr. Roy Campbell and his research students in the Next Generation Notes Group, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, Oct. 13, 1999.

Peter Zelchenko (byline omitted), "Intimidation, favoritism still reign in these here parts: Wild, Wild West Town." West Town Free Press, June 1999, p. 1.

Widow Lopez (pseud. Peter Zelchenko), "Economics for Dummies." West Town Free Press, June 1999, p. 7.

Peter Zelchenko, "Summary of Documents Recovered at 830 North Ashland," April 2000. A comprehensive 45-page report compiled for the FBI on campaign documents discovered in a West Side campaign office, eight months after it was abandoned. The materials helped to corroborate allegations of widespread irregularities and systematic discrimination in the 1999 campaign to re-elect First Ward Ald. Jesse Granato.

Robert Cotter and Peter Zelchenko, "Cynthia Soto wants you to know what this election is really about." Final ward-wide election mailing, April 1999.

Peter Zelchenko, "The truth about affordable housing in the First Ward: How an alderman defames honest people to salvage a crumbling campaign." Brochure in defense of Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp., privately published and distributed to 5,000 First Ward residents, March 1999.

Peter Zelchenko, "Computer Gaming Overdrive." Lumpen, December-January 1999, p. 24.

Peter Zelchenko (byline omitted), "Angry Voters Go to Polls: First Ward incumbent problems lead to run-off election April 13." West Town Free Press, April 1999, p. 1.

William Wendt and Peter Zelchenko, "Behind Goldblatt's, a real landmark is quietly demolished." West Town Free Press, April 1999, p. 1.

Widow Lopez (pseud. Peter Zelchenko). "Four Years and Some Change: Widow's Medication Still Doing Its Job." West Town Free Press, April 1999, p. 7.

Peter Zelchenko, "Exploring Alternatives to Hype." Educational Leadership special report on Integrating Technology into the Curriculum, vol. 56, no. 5 (February 1999), p. 78-81.

Peter Zelchenko (byline omitted), "Independents Rage Against the Machine: Let's Put an End to Ward-Beating!" West Town Free Press, Spring 1999, p. 1.

Widow Lopez (pseud. Peter Zelchenko), "Landlord's Corner." West Town Free Press, Spring 1999, p. 7.

Peter Zelchenko, "Moving at warp speed: Interactive entertainment has progressed at the speed of light." Chicago Tribune Silicon Prairie magazine, Special Report on the videogame industry, February 1999, p. 10.

Peter Zelchenko, Jason Compton, James Coates, "A 223-year history of the videogame industry." Chicago Tribune Silicon Prairie magazine, Special Report on the videogame industry, February 1999, pp. 12-13.

Peter Zelchenko, "'Game over' in Chicago?" Chicago Tribune Silicon Prairie magazine, Special Report on the videogame industry, February 1999, p. 24 ff. Includes chart of Chicagoland videogame developers and sidebar piece on "Hatman."

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Typographically precise replica of original 1865 edition, by Peter Zelchenko, for VolumeOne Press. Cover by Bill Sosin Design. Printed on demand by VolumeOne. Distributed electronically by Adobe, Glassbook, BookVirtual, and Elibron. The Adobe-Glassbook copy was widely mentioned in the media through Summer 2001, after intellectual property expert Dr. Lawrence Lessig and others used it to highlight problems in the new Digital Millennium Copyright Act. See, for example, Roger Parloff, "Don't Read Aloud This Version of Alice in Wonderland," The Industry Standard, Feb. 21, 2001. http://www.thestandard.com/article/0,1902,22377,00.html. Tim O'Reilly and Richard Koman, "Code + Law, An Interview with Lawrence Lessig: Legally and Technically, Hollywood Is Assaulting Some Basic Rights." O'Reilly OpenP2P.com, Jan. 29, 2001. http://www.openp2p.com/pub/a/p2p/2001/01/30/lessig.html

Publisher of June Rachuy Brindel and Wilbur Zelinsky, eds., Bernard Brindel, Who Wore at His Heart the Fire's Center. Heraclitus Press (VolumeOne imprint), ISBN 0-9677489-1-7.

Peter Zelchenko, "From Photographic Man to Digital Man." Chicago Sun-Times Digital Chicago, November-December 1997, p. 52.

Peter Zelchenko, "PLATO/NovaNET Royalty Questionnaire Summary." Results of questionnaire responded by 54 former PLATO and NovaNET authors, raising issues of royalty buyouts of authors by NovaNET. Nov. 22, 1997.

Peter Zelchenko, "WIRED's Second Mistake." Response to Katie Hafner article in WIRED 5.03. June 18, 1997.

Interviewed in Steven Schwankert, "The Giant Infant: China and the Internet." Internet World, December 1996. http://www.internetworld.com/print/monthly/1996/12/china.shtml

Peter Zelchenko, "Hulian shi zui zhongyaode ma?" ("Is the network really the important thing?") Wang (net.cn) magazine, September 1996, p. 30

Co-producer of Matthew Brandabur, Steven Stofflet, Peter Zelchenko, et al.: The Internet Video: Doing Donuts on the Information Superhighway. 1995. Distributed by videos.com.

Louis Bloomfield, with revisions by Peter Zelchenko, "Moonbattle": A game of mathematical training. Includes hall of fame. 1983.

Louis Bloomfield, with revisions by Andrew Shapira and Peter Zelchenko, "Mazewar": A game of skill and acuity. Includes hall of fame. 1983.

Peter Zelchenko, "Type": A speed typing exercise. PLATO Typing Curriculum. Includes hall of fame. Currently in use under separate license to NovaNET Learning, Inc. 1983.

Peter Zelchenko and Brendan McGinty, "One-on-One Basketball". Game of skill. Includes hall of fame. PLATO Sports Network, Urbana, Illinois. 1983.

David Karr, Peter Zelchenko, and Louis DiBello, "Technical Documentation for PLATO CIS (Career Information System)." University of Illinois: PLATO Administrative Systems Research Group, September 1982. 240 pages. Includes fold-out system flowchart designed by Peter Zelchenko and produced by Sara Tabor.

Louis DiBello, Daniel LaBerge, and Peter Zelchenko, "Employer Files." Major software system funded by the Illinois Occupational Information Coordinating Committee. Geographically and occupationally exposed over 100,000 up-to-date employment opportunities statewide to job seekers throughout Illinois. PLATO Administrative Systems Research Group, Urbana, Illinois, 1982.

Louis DiBello, David Karr, Mark Eastom, et al., "Career Information System." Major software system funded by a grant from the state of Illinois and JobCorps. Matched job seekers with thousands of occupations and their descriptions, based on a detailed questionnaire. PLATO Administrative Systems Research Group, Urbana, Illinois, 1981.

Peter Zelchenko, Robert Davis, and Marty Siegel, "Verbs I." SYS IV Core Curriculum in English, PLATO Education Group, Computer-Based Education Research Laboratory, Urbana, Illinois, 1980. Currently in use under separate license to NovaNET Learning, Inc.

Peter Zelchenko, Robert Davis, and Marty Siegel, "Subjects." SYS IV Core Curriculum in English, PLATO Education Group, Computer-Based Education Research Laboratory, Urbana, Illinois, 1980. Currently in use under separate license to NovaNET Learning, Inc.

Peter Zelchenko, Robert Davis, and Marty Siegel, "Affixes I." SYS IV Core Curriculum in English, PLATO Education Group, Computer-Based Education Research Laboratory, Urbana, Illinois, 1980. Currently in use under separate license to NovaNET Learning, Inc.

Martin Siegel, Robert Davis, et al., "SYS IV Education System." Participated in team to develop major curricular planning and student routing software complex for PLATO and NovaNET. PLATO Education Group, Computer-Based Education Research Laboratory, Urbana, Illinois, 1980.

Peter Zelchenko, "Assist." An interactive programmer consultation system for PLATO networks, linking programmers in need of assistance to available peers acting as consultants, 1981.

Peter Zelchenko, "Delete": Bulk records deletion system for PLATO student records management. City Colleges of Chicago, 1980.

Martin Siegel and Peter Zelchenko, "Tennessee Self-Concept Survey." PLATO Education Group, Computer-Based Education Research Laboratory, Urbana, Illinois, 1979.

Robert Little and Peter Zelchenko, "Century": Group editor. University of Illinois, 1979.

Sally Droege and Peter Zelchenko, "Hobbits and Orcs." Educational game. The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, 1977.

Milada Benca and Peter Zelchenko, "Pollution of Air and Water." PLATO Core Curriculum in Science, City Colleges of Chicago, 1976. Currently in use under separate license to TRO PLATO and NovaNET Learning, Inc.

Joan Sweany and Peter Zelchenko, "Temperature Conversion: Fahrenheit to Celsius, Celsius to Fahrenheit, Celsius to Kelvin." PLATO Core Curriculum in Science, City Colleges of Chicago, 1976. Currently in use under separate license to TRO PLATO and NovaNET Learning, Inc.

Presentations and public activity

Media on the Lincoln Park soccer field debate are at Protect Our Parks, http://protectourparks.org/links/. There you will find most of the local and citywide print coverage from the time we began in December, 2007 to the present.

Featured in Ben Joravsky, "It's not illegal to be obnoxious: A community activist is jailed after speaking 20 seconds too long at a Plan Commission hearing." Chicago Reader, Sept. 11, 2008, p. 6-9.

Interviewed on Frank Avila's Issues Forum, August 2008. Topics included public-private ventures, including the Children's Museum and the soccer field, and the upcoming elections. Broadcast on Channel 19 September and October, 2008.

In Micah Maidenberg, "Private dorms out of RLTO." Chicago Journal, June 19, 2008, p. 1, 6. Excerpt: "But Peter Zelchenko, a tenant activist, decried what he saw as an expansion of exclusions in the RLTO. '[The universities] and their contractors now maintain sweeping powers over the homes of these students.'"

In Fran Spielman, "Colleges may get power to lock students out of dorms." Chicago Sun-Times, June 5, 2008, p. 4. Excerpt: "Peter Zelchenko, former board member of the West Town Tenants Union, noted that the 1980's ordinance 'penalizes an institution for locking someone out of their home, except under very limited circumstances.'" This legislation was introduced during the summer, when students were not available to evaluate it. The previous month, a university dormitory tenant had contacted me for assistance when management was attempting to evict her unlawfully.

In Noreen Ahmed-Ullah, "Museum clears 1st hurdle on move to Grant Park." Chicago Tribune, May 16, 2008, p. 1. Excerpt: "Peter Zelchenko, an open-space activist, accused [TWO President and Plan Commission member Rev. Leon] Finney of 'using the Woodlawn Organization as a political chess piece.'"

Featured on WTTW Channel 11 Chicago Tonight. Feb. 23, 2007. "Chicago's 43rd ward is located in one of the city's most affluent areas. In our final aldermanic candidate forum before next week's elections, Eddie Arruza talks to the four contenders hoping to unseat Ald. Vi Daley. Guests: Michele Smith, Rachel Goodstein, Tim Egan, and Peter Zelchenko. Ald. Daley declined to participate on tonight's program, citing scheduling conflicts."

In Chicago Tribune, "The 43rd Ward candidates." Half-hour video showing Chicago Tribune editorial board interviewing the candidates on the issues. Aired on chicagotribune.com, February 2007.

Peter Zelchenko, "Journalism: Broad history, narrow future." Historical timeline of journalism and publishing. Keynote presenter at Mensa Association Winter Meeting, Sheraton Chicago Northwest, Arlington Heights, Ill., Feb. 17, 2007.

In Steve Edwards, "43rd Ward Candidate Forum." Chicago Public Radio's Eight Forty-Eight chose to feature the 43rd Ward candidates' debate in its entirety. Debate held at the Chicago History Museum, Feb. 12, 2007. Aired live on WBEZ Chicago, February 2007.

"City Beat: Zelchenko challenges other candidates to debate." Inside, Feb. 7-13, 2007, p. 2. Excerpt: "'Some voters have suggested that the candidates' forums have been great, but the fact is that they've reached only a tiny fraction of the community, and they are not true debates. ...' [Zelchenko] wrote."

Featured on WTTW Channel 11 Chicago Tonight. Jan. 23, 2007. "The Chicago Board of Elections is being sued for releasing the social security numbers of more than a million voters to aldermen and ward committeemen. Elizabeth Brackett's panel includes the man who filed the lawsuit. Guests: Peter Zelchenko, Wai Gen Yee and Jay Stewart."

Featured in Art Golab, "City loses voters' vital information: Social security data, birth dates, addresses on discs." Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 22, 2007, p. 4. I found a second major flaw in the Board of Elections' security systems, this time when I discovered their longtime practice of distributing CD-ROMs of voter data, including all Social Security data, to hundreds of political organizations annually. (This story also made national headlines and TV broadcasts for the day, after the Sun-Times release.) Excerpt: "'This information must be on campaign computers and in desk drawers all over the city,' said Zelchenko. Zelchenko discovered voters' Social Security numbers on a so-called 'Ward Work' CD, which is supposed to contain voter names and addresses and is given on request to anyone affiliated with an aldermanic campaign." Led to two additional class-action lawsuits, filed against the board and the state, by pro bono by Vernor Moran LLC.

Interviewed in Ranch Triangle Association, "Meet the Candidates." Ranch Reporter, Winter 2007.

Featured in Frank Avila, "Election 2007." Talking about the 43rd Ward and historic Lincoln Park. Broadcast on CAN-TV, Channel 19, December 2006.

Featured in Felicia Dechter, "Four challenge Ald. Daley in the 43rd Ward." Pioneer Press Skyline, Nov. 23, 2006, p. 3. Excerpt: "Zelchenko, a third-generation Lincoln Parker, says, 'No other candidate has been here as long as I have and knows this area like I do. I'm familiar with every street and alley.'"

"Aldermanic candidates Smith, Zelchenko look for support in 43rd Ward." Inside, Nov. 8-14, 2006, p. 2. Excerpt: "[Zelchenko] just made national headlines after pushing the Chicago Board of Elections to seal up a gaping identity fraud threat he discovered on their Internet site. Now he is focusing on the problem of street-cleaning tickets. He wants to introduce a law that forces the city to post any 'no parking' sign at least three days in advance of the date posted, and forbids the city to issue tickets or charge for towing where this minimum is not met."

In John McCormick, "City withholds voting machine pay." Chicago Tribune, Oct. 25, 2006, p. 1 Metro. Excerpt: "Zelchenko said he worked with colleagues in the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project and that his intent was not to embarrass election officials, who he believes are overwhelmed by all of the new technology issues related to electronic voting."

Featured in John McCormick, "Voter security glitch fixed: Site's data vulnerable at least 5 years, say city election officials." Chicago Tribune, Oct. 24, 2006, p. 1 Metro.

Featured in Art Golab, "The hacker who saved your secrets." Chicago Sun-Times, Oct. 24, 2006, p. 1. Headline: "A loophole in the Chicago Board of Elections Web site exposed the Social Security numbers and birth dates of more than 1 million registered voters - until Peter Zelchenko came along." Led to a federal class-action lawsuit against the board filed by Vernor Moran LLC.

In Michael Tarm, "Group says election data vulnerable, election officials investigating." Associated Press national wire story. Excerpt: "About 1.3 million former and current registered voters have their information on the Web site, but only about 780,000 have their Social Security numbers listed on it, [Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spokesman Tom] Leach said."

"Street-cleaning program causes problems in Lincoln Park." Inside, July 19-25, 2006, p. 1, 12. Excerpt: "'Peter saw entire blocks of cars being ticketed,' said Wiseman. 'He noticed that hundreds of tickets were issued on a day two weeks away from the scheduled street cleaning.'" See related media activity and results below.

Featured in Russ Stewart, Issues Forum, June 13, 2006. Topics: Aldermanic and county sheriff elections. Broadcast on CAN-TV Channel 19, June-July, 2006.

Interviews for FOX-32 News coverage of ticketing fiasco in Lincoln Park. Aired July 26-27, 2006. The city had accidentally ticketed hundreds of cars on the wrong day. By bringing citywide attention to the problem, I forced city officials to drop their suits and return tens of thousands of dollars to the victims.

Peter Zelchenko, "Community Process and the Media." (Outline, PowerPoint) Presentation at Planner's Network Conference, University of Illinois at Chicago, June 10, 2006.

Peter Zelchenko, "Supermarket Gentrification: Part of the 'Dietary Divide.'" (Outline, PowerPoint) Presentation at Planner's Network Conference, University of Illinois at Chicago, June 10, 2006.

Peter Zelchenko, "The Electronic Polling Place." Lecture on history and future of election systems, given to members of the Secular Humanists Society, University of Illinois at Chicago, April 23, 2006. Copies of a DVD recording of the presentation available from SHS videographer Joanne Reid, Jrreid@corpdevelopmentassoc.com.

Peter Zelchenko, "Politics of Print." A look at trends shaping print journalism as it competes with electronic media. Presentation at Open University of the Left, at Acme Artworks, Feb. 23, 2006.

Interviewed in Frank Avila's Issues Forum, Jan. 3, 2006. Topic: Spring primary elections. Broadcast on CAN-TV Channel 19, January-February 2006.

Guest speaker at Anti-Gravity Surprise, "Selection: Take Us to Your Leader." Lecture on public leadership and art, featuring the art archives of Propaganda Screen Printing. Wicker Park, Oct. 23, 2004.

Interviewed in Roy Lipscomb, "A Video Catalog of Voting Machines." Recorded at the Voting Machine Expo, Chicago, Oct. 24, 2003. Videocassette. Copies may be obtained from the videographer at 773-262-5927.

Interviewed by Yahael Yadid. Discussion of book It Happened Four Years Ago. Guest on two-hour election special with host Yahale Yadede, broadcast on WZRD 88.5 FM, Feb. 23, 2003.

Peter Zelchenko, "Gutenborgs." Media criticism from Sven Birkerts' The Gutenberg Elegies and Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death. Lecture at Open University of the Left, held at Inter-American High School, December 17, 2002.

Interviewed by Jason Scott, for upcoming documentary on the history of the BBS, hacker culture, and online community. 2002. I also was instrumental in arranging interviews for Mr. Scott with the two inventors of the BBS, Ward Christensen and Randy Suess. See www.bbsdocumentary.com.

Featured in Brenda Bouw, "If your book gets stuck, just pound the machine." National Post, July 19, 2001.

Featured in M.J. Rose, "Twelve-Minute Book Delivery." Wired News, July 17, 2001.

Interviewed in Calvin Reid and Paul Hilts, "Text One Zero: Talking E-Books. Brooklyn confab looks at POD, devices, revenue models and new screen technology." Publishers Weekly, v. 248 no. 23, June 4, 2001, p. 1. "In fact, the POD firms seemed a little bored by all the emphasis on e-books. Peter Zelchenko, president of Volume One, a print-on-demand firm, said, 'E-books are a distraction from POD. What people really want is quick access to hard-to-find titles.'"

Featured in Alysia Tate, Carlos Hernandez Gomez, et al., "Voter Fraud Not Absent in Chicago." Chicago Reporter, Nov.-Dec. 2000, pp. 10-13.

Interviewed by Brian Dear, for upcoming book on history of PLATO and online community. 2000-2002. See www.platopeople.com.

Advisor and interviewee for Patricia Wright and Ignacio Gonzalez, "Gentrification in West Town: Contested Ground." University of Illinois at Chicago, Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement, September 2001.

Peter Zelchenko, "From Paper to Pixels: The Transition from Print to Electronic Media." Lecture and demonstration given at Harold Washington Library, Chicago, for Society in Focus Series, National Library Week Program, April 17, 1999.

Peter Zelchenko, "Publishing and Printing Books on Demand." Paper delivered at College of Complexes, Chicago, Feb. 20, 1999.

Peter Zelchenko, "Whatever happened to the BBS?" Chicago Tribune Silicon Prairie Special Reports, Oct. 30, 1998.

Peter Zelchenko, "Reading your PC." Chicago Tribune Silicon Prairie Special Reports, Nov. 2, 1998.

Peter Zelchenko, "Will we read books on PCs?" Chicago Tribune Silicon Prairie Special Reports, Aug. 28, 1998.

In Nina Paley, "Joyride." Portrayed as character Patty K. Zenko in comic strips in The Daily Illini, Champaign, Ill., Oct. 22-Nov. 1, 1985.

Dr. Donald Bitzer and Peter Zelchenko. Interviewed by Donna Schulte in newscast on computer security, WCIA-TV (east-central Illinois) May 15, 1982.

Interviewed in John Erickson and Mike Howie, "Hi-tech burglars find challenge in break-ins." Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette, Nov. 20, 1983, p. 1.

Organizations and activities

2008- Founder, Joint Committee on Entertainment Venues. Attempting to use strength of several existing community organizations to build ongoing community-based group to address problems caused by bars in Lincoln Park.

2007-2008 Co-founder, Protect Our Parks. Organized and led group of neighbors in successful opposition to artificial-turf soccer field in Lincoln Park and other privatization efforts. Trained board members in media management, event planning, political strategy.

2007-2008 Co-founder, Chicago Rider-Driver Alliance. With Mike Pitula of LVEJO, driver Erek Slater of the CTA, and disabled advocate Dr. Ayo Maat. Organized, developed strategy, and led numerous planning meetings and events for coalition of transit advocacy organizations and individuals geared toward uniting CTA employees and passengers under a common issues umbrella. Developed concept for Allies, the organization's newsletter. Won certain concessions for the disabled, but failed ultimately to build a larger base after doomsday scare was alleviated. Modeled after the Bus Riders' Union in Los Angeles.

2007-2008 Founder and editor, Reform Chicago. Developed plan to organize community leaders citywide in a coordinated online venue. Conceived of periodical Policy Advisor as a weekly print newsletter, based on citizen journalism from these sources. Planned to concentrate message, find the similarities, and convey a unified message clearly to reach all decisionmakers and organizations, as a cure for large-scale media problems. Submitted to Knight Foundation New Voices program, January 2008.

2005- Founder, Joint Committee on Election Integrity. I have led a citywide initiative to provide crucial supplemental training to pollwatchers, poll troubleshooters, and judges to manage and monitor election fraud and error. We manage a large-scale training facility with an expert panel overseeing a fully functional mock polling place, we analyze each election's races and technologies to help direct volunteers to the places of greatest need, and we staff Election Day, with a hotline and experts in the field to help volunteers. This is an ongoing effort to divide among several organizations (LWV, IVI-IPO, IBIP) the best of the work that Project LEAP (see below) once performed.

2005-2006 Co-developer, League of Women Voters I Am the Government training program. Worked closely with Chicago staff in developing a widely praised youth-oriented training program to increase interest in monitoring elections in Chicago. Planned and published 75-page illustrated guide; reproduced fully operational demonstration polling place for 500 volunteer trainees; led training sessions.

2005- Founder, SSA Working Group. Convened group to coordinate discussion of special taxing districts in Chicago, initiated and controlled by chambers of commerce for fundraising and promotional purposes, while residents have been shouldering the primary tax burden. Raised level of debate for several major SSAs on North Side and transformed their makeup. Currently working with legislators to craft amendments preventing creative abuse of SSA law.

2005 Official election monitor, Iraqi Elections in the United States. Invited by the International Office of Migration to be an official observer for election proceedings for Iraqi expatriates voting in Chicago, one of six regional centers in the U.S. where thousands of Iraqi citizens and refugees came to vote for their new parliament.

2003- Creator, "Unscrew U: Fixing Food." Developed and led 10-week cooking training curriculum based on intuitive and exploratory teaching methods employed in "Unscrew U."

2003 Advisor to presidential candidate Carol Moseley Braun. Convened five security experts from academia in conference with the candidate, through which we developed for her campaign the most sophisticated position of any candidate regarding the election systems debate. Wrote summarizing position paper for the campaign.

2000-2002 Editorial board, American Institute of Graphic Arts inForm print magazine.

2001-2002 Co-founder, American Institute of Graphic Arts Voting Experience Redesign Initiative (now Design for Democracy). Brought unique background in design arts, technology, and urban politics into a new organization devoted to exploiting the best qualities of design to correct recently discovered problems in the voting experience. Performed extensive legal research which led to changes in election law for design convenience.

2000- Member, board of directors, Project LEAP (Legal Elections in All Precincts). Founded in 1971 and widely respected in the national political arena, Project LEAP has responded over the years to the need in every precinct for careful monitoring on election day.

2000- Creator, "Unscrew U." With Greg Fitzsimmons and others, developed a learning workshop to dissect broken consumer appliances rather than discarding them, with an aim to teaching repair skills. Emphasis on simplified explanations describing electronic theory, adhesives and cleaning agents, and tools. Underlying intent is to discuss philosophy of consumerism, and demonstrate the waste related to planned obsolescence.

2002-2005 Independent public advocate. Led activity to prevent Dominick's from taking over a West Side neighborhood grocery which had served the community for 40 years. Coordinated volunteers in petition drives, media events, and several packed public meetings, all of which successfully brought greater public input on the question.

1995-2002 Independent public advocate. Combated Machine-backed politicians and asserted political independence on West Side. Aligned with numerous independent community groups, provided strategic support and on-the-ground energy to numerous independent campaigns against Machine-backed candidates installed in the 1990s.

1996-2001 Board member, West Town Tenants Union. With executive director Khloe Karova, steered and participated in activities of tenants' rights organization based in the rapidly gentrifying Northwest Side of Chicago. Oversaw redesign and edited and published widely distributed newspaper The West Town Free Press, committed to politicizing the debate among landlord and tenant. Wrote and illustrated extensively for the paper, including popular "Widow Lopez" column.

1992 Lead technologist, shared workgroup initiative. Shortly before the Internet explosion, developed proposal and led a group of graphic arts professionals in attempting to wire several graphic arts-intensive buildings in Chicago to one another using ISDN and T1, linking offices in one building to a single shared pipe and realizing significant cost savings.

1988-1989 President, Chicago Calligraphy Collective. President of the U.S.'s largest professional guild and hobby organization for the lettering arts. Board member from 1987-1990.


Over the years I have performed the broadest variety of services, including commercial illustration and marker renderings, commercial calligraphy and handlettering, print and Web design, newspaper redesign, copywriting and editorial, translation, typography and type design, technology infrastructure, and extensive software development. I also have taught students in calligraphy, typography, keylining, and typographic and printing history.

From 1976 to the mid-1980s, my main work was computer programming. Since 1983, I performed technical, typographic, and design consultation for numerous Chicago-area and Illinois design and publishing entities, and some national and international companies. Very partial list includes: Alphabets Inc., Apartments.com (Visual Properties), Apple Computer (Hong Kong), Black Box Collotype, Bruce Bendinger Copywriting, Bill Sosin Design, China Research Institute for Printing Science and Technology (Beijing), Steve Dahl and Associates, Design Design, Design Kitchen, Henderson Typography, Jade Publishing, K-Squared, Lily's Talent, London House, Monotype Typography, Propaganda, Segura and Associates, R.R. Donnelley & Sons, School of the Art Institute, Shore Typographers, Spider Systems, Tandem Typographers, The Typographers, Trope Communications, Want Ad Management Company (Illinois, Colorado).

2008 Design consultant and writer, NeighborPal. Analyzed design and planning for new social networking site geared toward increasing neighbor interaction. Wrote early marketing materials and worked with founder to define scope of strategic design planning for upcoming improvements to the project.

2007-2008 Editor and design consultant, The Point. Under marketing department, proposed and implemented special development plan for well-financed Internet social networking startup. Hired and managed team of writers to develop content. Observed users and provided expert input on future design changes.

1997-2003 Co-founder and CEO, VolumeOne. With Mike Medved, Michael McGonagle, et al., conducted extensive research, development, and design for the emergent book-on-demand printing industry. We had a number of clients and several high-profile venture partners (including Jason Epstein's 3BillionBooks), and we became one of the household names at the center of this turbulent industry. We were widely profiled in the media in the summer of 2001 when Jeff Marsh of Marsh Technologies, Inc., and I automatically ordered and printed the first book over the Internet, in a 12-minute period from order to bound product, with no human intervention. See, for example, M.J. Rose. "Twelve-Minute Book Delivery," Wired News, July 17, 2001. Brenda Bouw. "If your book gets stuck, just pound the machine." National Post, July 19, 2001.

1998-2001 Technical and design consultant, Black Box Collotype, Chicago. Co-designed a book on history of Marshall Field's design department. Handlettered a title script. Consulted on overall technology plan for one of the country's best-known fine printers, who was at the time transitioning into Iris inkjet fine printing, Indigo short-run printing, refinement of drum scanning, direct-to-plate technologies.

1997-1998 Technology consultant to two Chicago Public Schools, Walt Disney Magnet School and Du Sable High School.

1997 Technology consultant to proposed Enterprise Charter School, Chicago.

1996 Apple Computer, Inc. and China Research Institute for Printing Science and Technology. Worked Wilson Chung and Stephen Siu in Hong Kong and Beijing. (As a writer, educator, and printing pioneer, Wilson is widely considered "the Mike Bruno of the Far East printing industry.") While there I consulted for Apple Computer's Publishing Technology Center, BIEP/EPmedia Shows, WysSystem, and CRIPST, where I handled various tasks including translation, technology development and cost-benefit analyses, design direction, writing magazine articles, and training and lecturing in several disciplines.

Before leaving, I investigated and reported asset-laundering fraud in the books of Apple's Publishing Technology Center, and the allegations were found to be true. I also co-managed part of the show and redesigned the identity program for EPmedia96, the largest and most widely attended publishing technology trade show in China, supported by Apple, Linotype-Hell, Heidelberg, CRIPST, Founder Group, and many others. While at the show, I singlehandedly apprehended a thief who was making off with over $10,000 in equipment. After I refused to file a complaint against him, I was told that the man would still be executed for grand theft.

1991-1996 InfoComm Electronic Prepress and Wagner Printing, Chicago and Freeport, Illinois. Technologist for Chicago's largest digital publishing facility, an arm of the oldest family-owned printing company in the country. Developed technology plan and network requirements, supervised major purchases and contributed to final decisions in technological investment. Founded online design department.

1989-1991 Propaganda. As a founder, I built the art department for one of America's fastest-growing and most interesting screen-printing shops, featured in Screen magazine and elsewhere. During my tenure, we promoted and were at the forefront of the trend toward treating the T-shirt as a kind of canvas for wearable art. We produced many popular designs which stretched across as much of the shirt's surface as possible. Notable clients include Steve Dahl et al. at WLUP (Teenage Radiation, Man from New York, and many other designs including some of the Fat Man's Lake Effect designs were mine); illustrator Paul Vaccarello; World Music Theater; Tom Doody Associates; Hilton Hotels.

1987-1991 Master typographer. I worked for many of Chicago's type shops as the house typographer, with duties ranging from dealing with designers to doing typographic markup and reviewing proofs. We were a dying breed and at 25 I was probably the last in the line. Although I was intimate with most of the equipment and had a strong background in design, I was allowed to do very little keyboarding or creative work at this time because I knew typography well enough (my brother and I have been type fetishists since we were young) and was too good at proofreading, a job despised by other employees.

During this period, I was interviewed and rejected for type design jobs by Adobe in California and Ed Benguiat (Photo-Lettering, Inc.) in New York, and also by Charlie Hughes in Chicago, who chose Eliza Schulte Halliday over me to be his apprentice. The people who beat me out were focused on doing one thing extremely well. I, however, was a very good generalist. I could name any type face you put in front of me and draw the whole thing from memory. I became equally good at flat and pointed nib and brush, and handlettering. Today, my calligraphy, type, and lettering skills are part of my professional arsenal.

1982-1986 Newspapers. In Champaign, after slotting, writing an opinion column, and illustrating for the Daily Illini (1982-1984), I received a tip from Bob Swisher at Abana Press. I was given the job of starting the art department at a new Thrifty Nickel Want Ads franchise, working for Randy Cooper and Want Ad Management Company owner Bob Christensen, both of whom have since left this world. This gave me a good background in newspaper production and operating a small business.

Champaign's overnight profitability, due largely to our dream team of workaholics Christensen had assembled, gave us a kind of mythic reputation among the other 70 papers nationwide, who were under constant criticism from the management company for allegedly underperforming. Christensen thought we were geniuses, and we soon opened two more papers in Illinois. The youngest paper in the chain, we were often in consultation and traveling around helping in business, design, and technical matters with various other Nickels. In 1985, I began Black Inc. design in the second-floor office and had a number of clients. I returned to Chicago in 1987 to work in advertising design and copywriting.

1975-1988 Programmer and software designer. My first paid programming work was in 8th grade, for a video T-shirt concept and accounting software for Marks Pest Control. During high school, I worked at Itty Bitty Machine Company in Evanston, the first computer store east of the Mississippi. With friends and Itty Bitty cohorts Todd Bodenstein and Mike Uchima, we also founded Gamma Enterprises, a tiny electronics distributorship which failed miserably.

Still in high school, I was interviewed by IBM and Control Data Corporation but it was not for me. I worked for several academic computer-based education departments, primarily on PLATO and its derviatives, at: University of Illinois and the City Colleges of Chicago, hired with Don Piven, who stuck it out and eventually became director of the city's entire program. (A lot of good that did him.) I also started the PLATO project at the Chicago Public Library and developed their computer-based training packages.

I later moved to Champaign and from 1980 to 1983 worked at the Computer-based Education Research Laboratory, variously under Drs. Donald Bitzer, Martin Siegel, Robert Davis, Connie Curtin, Bill Goodman, Lou DiBello and Marilyn Flynn. I became one of PLATO's most prolific authors during this period, and also one of its most serious security problems. Still later, I worked for Learning Tree Software and Sensory Computing, two education consultancies in Northern Virginia.

This document may be downloaded from http://pete.zelchenko.com/