I picked up my parents at the airport, since it seemed unfair to make the Middle East keep them. Along the way it's convenient to stop at my alma mater and exchange library books, and then the Apple Store in the Menlo Park Mall. I've been dragging my feet in buying the new OS Leopard for no really good reason other than big upgrades always break things in Terminal I like such as guessing what I meant when I mistype a command. Also I'm deciding whether to use as my ``Time Machine'' hard drive my current external hard drive, from Singapore, which works fine but is about half-full and requires multiple cables, or to buy a new hard drive, one that sucks power through the USB or Firewire cable. Plus the Apple Store near me always seems to have only Family Packs on the shelf. Maybe they have single user packages inside, but I have this whole ``reflexively jump away from sales people'' problem.
But I gave in to buying Leopard. It turns out Apple Stores have been moving away from this whole ``cash register'' concept to Concierges, who ask if you're ready to buy that and ring you up on a little wireless unit. This feels dangerously informal. Not only did I not need to sign for my credit card purchase, but the Concierge asked if I really wanted a paper receipt since they could e-mail me. I preferred a paper receipt, and he offered to e-mail me a duplicate anyway. That's fine, but I would like the paper receipt, and he said he'd be right back and ... he didn't get far before he was roped in for help from a slightly elderly couple with elaborate questions.
Now ... when were my parents getting in? Were they arriving on time? Ahead of time? How long might they be uselessly waiting after Customs? Ah, but Macs have Airline Flight Tracker, and I could see on the display computers ... by their estimate, my parents' plane was ahead of schedule and probably already landed. I was an hour from the airport. No sign the Concierge was able to get away. He said it was e-mailed. I couldn't just walk out the store with the box in my hand and not be challenged? Could I? But I do have to get going ...
I broke down, and left the store without the receipt, and was in just enough time that I was very near the airport when my mother called to ask where I was, and I got to the passenger waiting area just as they did. When I got home, the Apple Store's e-mail was waiting for me, where the Apple Mail program had it flagged as possible spam.
Trivia: Ranger 6 was launched on Atlas number 199D and Agena B number 6008. Source: Lunar Impact: A History of Project Ranger, R Cargill Hall, NASA SP-4210.
Currently Reading: Maxwell's Demon: Why Warmth Disperses and Time Passes, Hans Christian von Baeyer.