Los Altos, California

After a very enjoyable Christmas part 2 morning with Mark, Christine, Jared, Joe, Helen, Bernard and Liz, Erin and I visited this Smiths this evening, and, at long last, met Jennie’s beau, the elusive Jon Morton. Jon’s an IT Help Desk guy for National Geographic in DC and a Mac guy. So you know he’s all right.

We had a great time chatting with Jennie, Jon, Tom, Marge, and Jennie’s brother Mark. The last three are certified ham radio operators, and I learned quite a bit, in a broad sense, about ham radio, “hammies,” and various technological possibilities and achievements. We also talked genealogy, since Tom and Marge have done a lot of work there as well. I wasn’t surprised to learn that I’m not the only one who finds the Mormon’s electronic cataloging of the 1880 US Census to be an absolute godsend. Marge even ordered the entire 56 CD set. Mark, a UNIX wizard, had some very interesting things to say about Internet security. He’s got me a little worried about my wireless network at home since apparently the closed network setting I’m using isn’t nearly as closed as one is lead to believe. (I already knew the wireless WEP encryption used by 802.11b networks like Apple’s Airport was a joke. I didn’t realize it was a “we can decrypt your puny 40-bit algorithm in real time” joke. I need to look into IPSec.)

Many thanks to everyone for the wonderful evening!