[Air-l] Warchalking does not exist: a wager.
dsmunger at commontext.org
Mon Jun 30 12:46:20 PDT 2003
Paul Ruiz claimed he used warchalking to deliver his "Live from Eldred
V. Ashcroft" blog on Lawmeme:
It was amazing to see these published notes just moments after the oral
arguments were completed (too bad the ruling itself wasn't so amazing.
I don't know if Ruiz still "uses" warchalking, so though it may not
qualify for betting purposes, I think it's a pretty interesting example.
On Monday, June 30, 2003, at 11:32 AM, Christian Sandvig wrote:
> Hi Steve and air-l colleagues,
> Steve: Remember the hallway conversation we had last fall about
> whether or
> not 'true' Warchalking exists? If I remember, it was your contention
> it does and that you'd seen it in the Loop. As you know I'm doing a
> research project on Wi-Fi and I've been trying to settle this for a
> I'm writing this note to air-l because I need help.
> For background, Warchalking is the use of symbols (marked with chalk)
> indicate the presence of a Wi-Fi hotspot. In pure form, the story of
> warchalking is that there is a subculture of Wi-Fi users that use
> chalk to
> communicate with each other about Wi-Fi locations. Hip/cool
> businesses then
> co-opted the subcultural warchalking to advertise their own hotspots.
> at: http://www.warchalking.org/
> My contention is that the first (subcultural) story about warchalking
> is entirely a media phenomenon -- it is a beautiful idea, but it
> make any sense as a directory service to find Wi-Fi. It is too easy
> to miss
> a warchalk mark, and the chalk wears away (or washes away in the rain)
> quickly. Warchalking symbols were heavily promoted in the New York
> just *48 hours* after they were first made public on the Web. There
> was a
> subsequent wave of media stories about warchalking, giving everyone
> Every single occurrence of chalk I've found can be attributed to
> who want to self-promote their own mark. So I believe that people *do*
> rarely make warchalking marks for various reasons (to be cool, to
> for their own network) but I *don't* believe that people use
> marks in a meaningful way to find Wi-Fi.
> After the conversation with Steve, on December 18th I posted an call
> to many
> colleagues around the world asking for verifiable instances of
> that work the way that warchalking describes itself. Reports to date:
> zero. If warchalking worked as a directory location service,
> shouldn't I be
> able to find it?
> I just had a close call -- a friend told me that my office at Oxford
> been warchalked. Since it is a WEP (non-open) node and I didn't do
> it, this
> could be half of a "true" instance of warchalking! I ran out as soon
> as I
> heard but couldn't find the mark. It must have washed away? (Here in
> England, it is raining.)
> So I am willing to propose a wager, or a bounty. I'll bet one dollar
> warchalking is not a meaningful way of locating Wi-Fi hotspots. To
> win the
> bounty, can anyone deliver someone that uses warchalking to locate
> Caveats: (1) Warchalking done by the provider of the hotspot does not
> count -- it is supposedly a co-option of the "pure" subculture. I
> the subculture, not the self-promotion. (2) I am not disputing that
> wardriving, warwalking, and online hotspot mapping (warchalking with
> bits in
> GIS databases, not with chalk) exist as advertised. (Though others
> My beef here is only about the chalk part.
> I've made a web page for this bet that has the relevant emails I've
> sent and
> some links: http://www.niftyc.org/bet/
> As you may have guessed I'm writing a paper about this. Email me if
> want a copy when I finish. Thank you for any help!
> Air-l mailing list
> Air-l at aoir.org
dsmunger at commontext.org
dsmunger at charlotte.uncc.edu
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