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October 11th, 2000

Alumni Sites

For some reason, recently I’ve had the urge to hunt down people from high school. There are four major alumni sites that I keep an eye on:

  • Alumni.Net: Well organized drill-down site, but at my high school, there are only three of us listed. Free registration is required for certain “restricted access,” which I believe means e-mail addresses of your classmates. Also includes colleges as well as separate categories for faculty.
  • Gradfinder: Though it’s hard to tell from the front page, you can browse listings without logging in here. To get any information beyond name, though, you need to log in. The nice feature of Gradfinder is that it includes middle schools and elementary schools as well as colleges and high schools. Six people from my class were listed here.
  • High School Alumni: The most comprehensive listings of high school alumni, mainly because that’s the only kind of alumni information available. It used to be a very clean site, but now it’s part of, so there’s a lot of extraneous crap surrounding the information. This site has more people listed from my class than any other except for Classmates: 38.
  • American Alumni Directory: The least comprehensive of any of these, with only two people from my class. Doesn’t seem to me that this one is a major player. Includes primary and middle schools.
  • Classmates: This one’s been around the longest — there are about 45 people registered here. Main problems: a number of duplicate entries, you’re required to sign-in before you can even view names, and you have to pay in order to get e-mail addresses. Thanks to Terry for reminding me of this one below — I had forgotten about it!
  • Planet Alumni: Nice looking site, but a bit overloaded with features. Only 4 people from my class.
  • My High School’s Alumni Page: My high school has it’s own (lame) web site, but the number of alumni listed (which are entered by hand by the Webmaster) is pretty significant compared to others: 23.
Some of these alumni sites allow you to receive e-mail notifications when someone from your college or high school registers (and in one case, you can specify specific years, allowing you to track the year before your graduation and the year after as well). Out of all of these, I’d have to give High School Alumni the nod, though I am registered at all of them. 🙂 -ram

Posted in Technology

FROM: Robert
DATE: Wednesday October 11, 2000 -- 10:06:40AM
I have the best entry on I told those bastards what I thought! There was no real reason for it but it makes me happy.

FROM: Terry Murphy
DATE: Wednesday October 11, 2000 -- 11:09:38AM
There's also, which I believe is the most comprehensive (it has about 40-50 people in my graduating class listed)

However, I have found that the best way, by far, to hunt down high school classmates, is through NorthernLight. Through something like this, it is possible to find people who haven't registered with an alumni service. The only limitation is girls who have gotten married. I have found almost everybody I've needed to this way (a small handful of people remain elusive).

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday October 11, 2000 -- 11:29:17AM
Terry -- I totally forgot about Classmates. I have an entry there, as well, and they've been around for quite a while. THAT's one that I always lose my password for. :) Do they still require you to log in before you can even view names? IIRC, that's what annoyed me about it.

Robert -- How about a direct link to your entry? I'd like to see it. :)

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday October 11, 2000 -- 11:30:40AM
Terry -- Also, yes, Northern Light works well for hunting people down. I prefer Google, though, since a lot of times their "Cache" option comes in handy.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Wednesday October 11, 2000 -- 11:48:41AM
Ryan--I forgot that I changed it some a few months ago, but what I have still amuses me:

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday October 11, 2000 -- 12:02:20AM
Robert -- Nice. :)

FROM: Robert
DATE: Wednesday October 11, 2000 -- 12:53:52AM
I'm glad it worked.

FROM: Terry Murphy
DATE: Wednesday October 11, 2000 -- 1:12:56PM
Ryan -- Although Google's cache feature is nice, NorthernLight does have a more comprehensive engine (plus, it uses the one true operating system, while Google uses toy software to run). Actually, it is good to go to BOTH search engines, as there is actually little overlap for searches where there are only a couple of hits.

As far as passwords, I really wish web designers would settle on standards for passwords, and preferably have a shared password database. It is annoying when everybody has a different password, and a different standard for passwords, such that one password won't work everywhere because it will be too long, too short, won't have the required characters, or will have non-permitted passwords for whatever site you're on. This is especially problematic when you have to have an account to do almost anything, even to read NYT articles.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday October 11, 2000 -- 2:24:53PM
Terry -- I'm pretty sure that Google has a bigger actual database than Northern Light, but Northern Light covers all those news sources, which is a nice added bonus.

With regards to passwords, another problem is the method in which a lot of them set cookies. With certain sites, if I click "Remember me" it does, period. With others, no matter WHAT I do, it won't remember me.

This kind of ties in with my Ping from the other day, but one other little system tray app that I use a lot is PasswordKeeper.

FROM: Terry Murphy
DATE: Wednesday October 11, 2000 -- 3:03:21PM
The problem with cookies is that they are specific to the computer. At home I quite regularly log on to the web from 3 different computers, and have 4-5 more which I log in from occasionally. At work, I spend much of my time working in a lab, and thus also shuffle between different computers (as well as my office).

PasswordKeeper looks promising, but is not a satisfactory solution, and only works on Windows. Perhaps the best solution would be to keep them in my Palm.

Cookies also have the added disadvantage that they assist you in forgetting your password. If you don't type your password for six months, and then you move to a different computer, you're not going to have any idea what your username/password is.

The only reasonable solution I can think of, is for there to be a central password service which people have the option to use. Then you only have to remember one password. But that will never happen.

FROM: Sheriff Buford T. Justice
DATE: Wednesday October 11, 2000 -- 3:49:52PM
Ryan, if requiring you to put your personal info in these sites bothers you just enter some shiznat.

My favorites are

Who knew Muhammed Ali was in my graduating class? :)

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday October 12, 2000 -- 11:11:21AM
Yesterday I updated my bio on I posted my e-mail address in it to protest their charge-for-anything-beyond-a-name policy in my own little way. This morning I got this e-mail:

We're sorry, but we cannot post your bio as submitted. is a member supported Web site. Contact
information including "Hi Notes" and Web site addresses
are provided to paying members only. We do not allow these
in the bio area. Please revise your bio with this in mind.

In addition for your own security, we recommend against
this open posting of contact data, including phone numbers
or postal addresses.

If you are a paid member of ClassMates and would like to
list your home page, login and click on "My Information"
on the blue bar at the top of the page. Next click
on "Edit" in the "About Me" section.
You will see the area for posting your web
address. You can revise your "Bio" in this area as
well or use the following link:

FROM: Terry Murphy
DATE: Thursday October 12, 2000 -- 1:45:58PM
I put my e-mail address in my bio also. They e-mail me about it every few months, but I've never changed it, and neither have they.

Even for paying members, they do not let you get other people's email addresses any more. They just have a "send note" thing (I don't want to send my ex-classmates a note, I just want to know where they work).

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday October 17, 2000 -- 5:19:54PM
Added one more alumni site to the list above...

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 2:51:15 pm

Ryan October 10, 2008, 1:59 pm

This Ping is so quaint, eight years later.

Somehow, though, a lot of these sites are still around.

What is this then?

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