A fine opportunity for Shenanigans using the most modern technology combined with the most Ancient of Hobo Traditions.
In the Distant Past (and some say the Almost Future), Transient Americans, or ‘Hobos’ to use their preferred term, were known to utilize a series of small glyphs to pass along secret messages to each other. Scrawled hastily on a gate or nearby telegraph pole, the ancient symbols would let other travelling kings know if a house or business was friendly or not. A top hat with a triangle signified ‘wealth’, for example, while a ‘spearhead’ image prepared fellow hobos to defend themselves. A half-moon symbol radiating wiggly lines warned that the house was occupied by a soul-devouring Lovecraftian horror, and that one should plan accordingly. If the half-moon had a top hat on, of course, the Lovecraftian horror was wealthy, and might be prevailed upon for a hot meal, and so forth.
Sadly, Time has robbed us of this elegant and useful method of communicating with each other. Today, how can you tell if your neighbour has a mass hobo grave in their basement? Beats me. Are the baristas surly at this particular coffee shop? Probably, but who knows? Does this bank accept bits of string as currency? I’m not gonna chance it.
Now, Rejoice! The good folks at Free Art and Technology Lab have solved the age-old problem, and human beings can once communicate with their fellow “gentlemen of the countryside”. The finest FATL scientists have come up with a program that generates stencils of QR Codes. [A QR code is a 2D barcode that contains text, a web address, or other data. You scan it with your smartphone, and magic happens!] These stencils can be cut out manually, or used with a laser cutter. The code can then be sprayed onto any surface, and can be read by all smartphone-equipped hobos in the area. The free program is available, with licence and full instructions on how to make the QR Hobo messages, here. They, also, have a bunch of pre-made codes done up for important messages like: “owner gives to GOP”, “unexpectedly good coffee”, or “dangerous homophobes”. Enjoy!
Please note: The Paltry Sapien is not responsible for any mischief you may indulge in with these stencils. To learn more about Hobos and their fine traditions, visit your local Hobo library… which really, is just about any library.