07/21/11 8:43am

Illustration by Meghan Doherty

In the 19th century, hobo signs were scrawled on city buildings to communicate which bartenders would give nomads free liquor and which ones would call the cops on sight. Now there’s a 21st century version created by New York-based Free Art and Technology Lab —hobo QR codes, those squiggly little boxes you scan with your smartphone. They take the form of graffiti on sidewalks to alert nomads (at least those with $300 phones) of myriad modern day perils, like camera perverts and high-fee ATMs or just great dumpster. So “hobo” now apparently means people with obsolete 13-inch Macbooks weaving in and out of cafes in search of outlets and wifi that actually works. But the next time you need a deli with the often-overlooked nice bathroom and Plan B sold here combo, don’t look on Google — just look down. (more…)