June 24, 2002 7:43 PM   Subscribe

Warchalking Collaboratively creating a hobo-language for free wireless networking. Here is the first draft of a warchalking symbol card. [via Boing Boing]
posted by srboisvert (25 comments total)
this rules
posted by sawks at 9:43 PM on June 24, 2002

In the interests of transparency, of course, system administrators (such as myself, should the industry ever deign to employ me in that capacity again) ought to police their work neighborhoods for these as a security measure. Aha! The boys in accounting grabbed a node at CompUSA!
posted by dhartung at 11:12 PM on June 24, 2002

yeah, just yesterday i was talking about how fucking rad the hobo language was. this is even cooler... because it's MODERN.

no, seriously, any sort of hobo language is cool.
posted by sugarfish at 1:05 AM on June 25, 2002

From an artsy perspective this is cool "Let's chalk up the city!" but couldnt this be more efficiently done by sharing and publishing GPS coordinates, say online? I believe NetStumbler will hook directly into GPS though I guess you're on your own if you are a Pringles Can guy.
posted by vacapinta at 1:35 AM on June 25, 2002

It'll be the new "tagging". Cops will be on the lookout for geeks with laptops and chalk instead of magic markers.
posted by password at 1:37 AM on June 25, 2002

that's so...cyberpunk.
posted by juv3nal at 1:56 AM on June 25, 2002

friend of mine recently finished a thesis project about reclaiming wasted urban space (specifically all those useless shite-filled alleyways in manhattan)

...the giantant comment about layering information space on top of physical space has a similar appeal to it.
posted by dorian at 3:18 AM on June 25, 2002

Another great idea from blackbeltjones.
posted by vanderwal at 4:40 AM on June 25, 2002

Vacapinta, I was thinking the same thing, until I found this quote on another blackbeltjones page:
"The idea behind Warchalking is that it breaks the cycle of having to be online to get to the pages that give you the free- wireless node info for the city you are in."
Food for thought.
posted by scribblative at 5:43 AM on June 25, 2002

There's something about the word "warchalking" that's bothering me. Look at similar words for comparison:
Wardialing - dial until you get something
Wardriving - drive until you get something
Warwalking - walk until you get something
warchalking - walk around until you see/make a chalk mark?

It doesn't quite fit the pattern. That said, it's a pretty nifty idea.
posted by majick at 6:13 AM on June 25, 2002

Huh. What a cool idea. I'm sure there's some deep sociological statement to be made about this, but I'll be damned if I know what it is.

Follow the link to the Google search on the site, there's a trove of cool hobo language stuff on the 'net, including a font.
posted by mkultra at 6:17 AM on June 25, 2002

So, is sms-speak a hobo language?

Warchalking is a great way to show your local isp how much money they're "losing".
posted by mecran01 at 6:23 AM on June 25, 2002

The GPS style thing is already being done in the UK at consume.net.
posted by nedrichards at 6:37 AM on June 25, 2002

I'm running an open 802.11b access point out of my apartment; the network name is "mars network, open for all". Unfortunately I haven't found a way to determine whether anyone is actually using it.

Maybe I will go chalk some of these marks on 1st Ave...
posted by Mars Saxman at 7:37 AM on June 25, 2002

Bad ass, although, it tooke me a long time to figure out what you were talking about. I like graffitti in all of its forms. Hope me administrator.
posted by goneill at 8:21 AM on June 25, 2002

12 monkeys....
posted by monkeyJuice at 8:38 AM on June 25, 2002

Got it scribblative. Thanks.

I still think that this is more artistic than practical. The hobos didnt have many alternatives for an information distribution system. This is not the case today. Here's some ideas off the top of my head:

1. Published lists of locations distributed via an anarchist-type sheet left at coffeehouses.
2. Neighborhood location-distribution hubs which could be telephone poles with the info
3. Once you find one access point on your own, you download a standard document which gives you a map of all the other known points.

posted by vacapinta at 12:17 PM on June 25, 2002

Yeah, if you can get away with it, spraypaint is the way to go.
posted by samsara at 12:59 PM on June 25, 2002

If something about the network changes though, maybe it gets locked, maybe the T1 gets upgraded to an OC3, chalk is a lot easier to update than spray paint.

Also, you don't significantly piss off building managers with chalk.
posted by cCranium at 6:28 PM on June 25, 2002

i think maybe a set of stencils and spray chalk may be in order. spray chalk can take anywhere from 6-12 rains to wash off so it's not perm but it'd be easy to update.

just an idea tho.
posted by boogah at 6:58 PM on June 25, 2002

I'm seriously kidding about spray paint. I was seeing a possibly humorous misinterpretation between existing graffiti and warchalk. Well, as for spray chalk...

Being in a semi-rural area, warchalking wouldn't be as useful. It would be neat if telephone poles could be used however. Maybe we could staple a missing dog poster to them who's name is the SSID, and whose weight matches the available bandwidth. Posters or stickers with the warchalking designs could work as well. And if laminated would last a bit longer.
posted by samsara at 8:39 AM on June 26, 2002

monkeyJuice, 12 Monkeys is exactly what came to my mind when I read the story..
posted by kchristidis at 2:13 PM on June 28, 2002

Godammotherfuckingsonofabitch. I can't move. I can't twitch. Stick your machine gun in my face............(The OtherMothers)

Sorry, seemed relevant. One more spastic twitch toward the Greater Awakening.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:00 PM on June 28, 2002

Elite !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by elpapacito at 7:20 PM on July 1, 2002

Write here, right now

Mefi gets a name check....
posted by dash_slot- at 1:37 AM on July 4, 2002

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