Point 6 makes a lot of sense. Things are a lot more complicated now and I'm not sure I've got the time to put in catching up any more than I already have. I've kept up with enough to keep myself useful but that's about it.
There's a nuance to point 7, though. I think the criminality angle is much higher. Back when I was some punk kid in the telco's switches, if/when they caught me, I just received a stern talking to. Nowadays, you'll get jail time.
I do agree about computing power, though. I have more than I could have ever dreamed of having and it's cheap. There's no real need for me to steal computing power or network resources any longer.
Point 8 is also quite relevant. The closest thing I know of to shared computing these days is an IRC channel or maybe shell accounts (and even those are rare). Way back when, my friends would come over and we'd share my kit or I'd go visit them and share theirs. Now everyone's got a laptop and a personal tracking device in their pocket.>>709
The media certainly caused a lot of trouble for hackers but not even hackers could agree that they were hackers. You had the OGs from MIT calling themselves hackers, the 2600 types calling themselves hackers, the Open Source folks calling themselves hackers, skiddiots doing the same. Then there was the war of cracker vs. hacker and so forth. Various colours of hats.
I enjoy lainchan quite a lot but it only goes so far. I'm not willing to participate in some of the social spinoffs from it where I might be required to use a name. Maybe there's more depth there. lainchan does scratch a certain itch for me, though.
Finding local people is very difficult and that's why I resort to the wired. I work in technology and not even my peers are thinking about things the same way I am. If they're not doing it for a paycheck (the consumer becomes the producer), they're doing it to slip into some mainstream idea of what they should be.
I don't mean to knock "normal" or "mainstream" because who's to say what that really is? It's just that they tend to not think beyond their next iPhone purchase or the next great webthing that they will build and sell to people for their data.
Keep poking around the wired and you'll find friends. You may have to settle for less exciting interactions in meatspace. Maybe try the local libraries or check with technology groups to see if something is happening in your area. 2600 meetups, ACM SIGs, the local university, or hell, even a Maker Faire. Maybe in a surface level event, you'll find people to connect with on other levels.
You could also try building local compute resources to share and posting cryptic stickers/flyers around the area you live in. I have had limited success with this. I've also installed a pirate box and made a few anonymous contacts this way with interesting people.