the world

with cops



[ what ]
is screed?

get the
PDF reader

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your stuff


"Hello, I'm David.
Welcome to Screed."

xerocracy ... what screed is ... how screed works

what xerocracy is

I think xerocracy makes Critical Mass really great. Sharing ideas, meeting people, managing a really big event as a group. Flyering each other might seem strange at first, but there are no bosses, you have to communicate somehow! The SF ride's too damn big to talk to everyone personally.

Reaching people just takes pen, paper, maybe a picture and some tape, and a copy machine. Other massers really do read the flyers! and maybe this time, maybe next time, they'll think about it and come back with something to add of their own. Share your dreams, see what you get back.

People outside the ride love getting flyers from riders. Something to take home and actually think about -- not just another coupon for a manicure. Maybe even something that reaches them just right so they get their bike out of the garage, dust it off, and take it for a spin.

what screed is

It's a show room for digital copies of flyers and other xerocratic materials. Why would you want to be here? To get flyers, or give flyers, that someone might find generally useful to hand out at Critical Mass or elsewhere, regarding any number of things. It's like a mall, only there are no shoes.

I started thinking about doing a web site for Critical Mass SF in 1997, when things were going crazy and rider-oriented sources of information were scarce. Because my personal life was falling apart, though, I didn't get to add to the info frenzy.

I did get to watch what other people had done, and through that, I started thinking that maybe the net wasn't a good final resting place for anything about Critical Mass. After one group published a 5th anniversary newspaper for crying out loud I knew that the web had to serve the ride, and not the other way around. ("Meanwhile, on the Internet," wrote one reporter, "where Critical Mass is organized ..." Who knew?)

The Four Sections of Screed:

  1. changing the world
  2. dealing with cops
  3. the index
  4. riding around

Many things will be specific to San Francisco, because I live here. Being local and specific keeps your words real. You're not some Wacko Treehugging Bicycle Extremist the corporate press says "regular people" can ignore.

Is Screed counter-xerocratic? Maybe. After all "xerocracy" is when people share their own ideas or collaborate by sharing flyers. I think of Screed as a kick start, and maybe an introduction into the flyer culture inside Critical Mass. Also if you think a flyer is cool, you can redistribute it.

how screed works

Screed makes extensive use of PDF, Adobe's Portable Document Format. Why did I choose PDF? Mostly because it prints predictably well. I have experience making flyers that print and copy well. Why waste that? With the flyers, there's usually a plain file of the text, so you can use the language for your own evil (and non-commercial) purposes. Go crazy with the text, or just print the flyer.

PDF is an "open" format, which means its specifications are public and anyone can write tools to work with it. This means you're not locked into any particular vendor (not even Adobe), version upgrade, or operating system. You probably already have the Adobe Reader (formerly named "Acrobat Reader") around somewhere on your computer already. If not, grab the reader from Adobe.)

Screed also has HTML flyers. Web pages written in early versions of HTML would often look completely different when printed. These days, "style" features give web page authors more control over the way the printed page will look. The HTML flyers are as portable and standards-compliant as possible.

Some of the documents are simply images. Those will be in several sizes. If you need a different size, tell me, I'll see if I can get it. Screed favors "open" format graphics files just as JPEG and PNG, though we still have the odd GIF file here and there.

What kind of documents can Screed take in? We can handle Mac, Unix, and Windows files, and can do some scanning. Contact Jym Dyer to arrange sending things to Screed. Even if you have the PDF publishing software, I can help you make your files more Screed-like.


David Powers

xerocracy ... what screed is ... how screed works


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