Monday, December 1, 2008

Warchalking and Hobo Codes - December 1, 2008

During my Thanksgiving vacation my Dad alerted me to a recently failed trend, warchalking, which was intended to inform pedestrains about locations of free wi-fi.

The idea was to develop a set of standard icons/symbols that people would associate free wi-fi with. It was the responsibility of anyone to draw an icon/symbol in a public place where it was viewable by others. It sounds like a great idea, but nothing ever came of it.

I think the more interesting story is the fact warchalking eminated from hobo code. Hobo code was a means of icons/symbols to help aide the homeless in finding shelter, avoiding dangers, locating food, etc. It was established at the National Hobo Convention, which was founded in 1900 and has been held every year since.

Here are some various ways hobo code can provide helpful information:
- A cross signifies "angel food," that is, food served to the hobos after a party
- A spearhead signifies a warning to defend oneself
- Three diagonal lines means it's not a safe place
- Two shovels, signifying work was available

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