Who'll be on the Vista at midnight?

The first copy of Windows Vista will be sold as the clock ticks over to midnight on Monday. So who's rocking up to the late-night launch?

Alright, hands up all who are going to the midnight launch of Windows Vista.

For those unaware, 44 Harvey Norman stores in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne will be flinging open their doors at 11pm on Monday night to usher in the hordes of Microsoft devotees who can't wait another second for the latest operating system.

Various deals have been thrown in to entice punters to make the pilgrimage, including 10 percent discounts on computer hardware and a bonus Web cam for the first 100 customers.

But the main drawcard is at the Alexandria, Sydney store, where, at one minute to midnight, the first official copy of Vista Ultimate -- autographed, rock star-style, by Bill Gates -- will be sold by Harvey Norman Chairman Gerry Harvey and new Microsoft Australia Managing Director Tracey Fellows.

As a concept, the midnight launch is pretty neat. You get to share in the fervent anticipation of a product with like-minded souls, swapping embellished tales and forging a sort of techie simpatico as you wait in an ever-growing queue outside a shutter-bound store.

I went to the midnight launch of the original Xbox some years ago. (Not due to any fanaticism over gaming consoles, but in deference to my gamer compadres.) Though I didn't share the barely contained passion of the attendees, I can see how the combination of doof-doof tunes, promotional giveaways and teenage testosterone would make for a memorable night.

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At the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas this month, Bill Gates introduced Vista with the words "The wow starts now". It seems that the target audience for the new OS is not so much enterprise-focused folk (who already have access to Vista, anyway), but young and funky consumers. I hope this is reflected in the attendees at Monday night's launch. I would love to see a queue sprinkled with people dressed as the paperclip from Microsoft Word, maybe a couple carrying giant windows, and a cowboy with a permanent Clint Eastwood expression as he surveys the limitless "vista". It'd be swell if someone walked along the line handing out Aero chocolate bars, in homage to the new dynamic graphics engine. After all the angst of delayed releases, criticism and cries of Vista being a second-rate OS X, surely the launch of the system is a time for a bit of light-hearted fun?

Are you planning to go to the midnight launch of Vista? Taking a camera along to capture the magic? We'd love to hear your plans and see those photos -- talkback below or e-mail ella.morton@zdnet.com.au

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