Back in the carefree days of youth, I met a kid named Larry (Serle at the time, though he reverted to Grinnell as an adult) and we spent a lot of time on various geeky kid activities, mostly stamp collecting, watching bad TV, and hanging around the local hot spots like the Smithsonian Institution. Larry just wrote a blog entry about our days in DC and how it led to his visit to an unrestored Enola Gay.
As Larry pointed out, we got back in touch when I e-mailed him a couple years ago.
I’ve reconnected with a variety of people over the Internet. Google is much more effective for finding people than even high school reunions. Larry popped up, e-mail address and all, when I used Google to search for him.
Some people aren’t as easy to track down. Former neighbors have left some tracks on Google, hints at home addresses, but no e-mail addresses.
I’ve been on the Net so long I’m not sure who the first person was I tracked down that way. “John Lowry” who has worked with me on DARPA computer security contracts, is not the same one who sat in front of me in first grade. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that Oregon’s premier fireplace designer shared classes with me from grade school through high school (pardon me – the web site says the “premier American fireplace architect”).
Before Google I generally found people by tripping over them. For example, Tim May.
Tim and I spent many a morning together in the cafeteria freshman year of high school. We visited Brentano’s together at Seven Corners (the closest ‘real’ bookstore), perused Edmund Scientific catalogs together, and did some pranks together. And, of course, we visited the Smithsonian. We fell out of touch almost entirely when he switched high schools (except for hanging out in science fairs – yes, it’s the geek stereotype).
Tim achieved early success at Intel as an engineer, retired on his stock options, and went on to coin the term “crypto-anarchism.” We encountered each other on the “Cypherpunk” mailing list in the 1990s with some amusing results (just ask Google).