Yesterday was Win 98 launch day all over the world, and Australia was no exception. If you watched the news last night you probably saw the fuss, but did you know that many IT journalists were unwitting extras in the extravaganza?
Early yesterday morning a half dozen sports convertibles were dispatched to various locations to collect journalists who thought they were being taken to the launch event (albeit an hour early). Instead, we were taken to a spot below the Art Gallery where three huge low-loader mounted Win 98 billboards, two NSW motorcycle police and a ute containing a four-metre tall Win 95 box, a 240v generator and a sound system, were waiting for them.
Suspecting what was about to happen, we asked: "Why weren't we told about this?" To which they replied: "And would you have let us pick you up if you'd known?"
So grinning and bearing it we headed off -- the police in the lead, followed by the big Windows box blaring Windows music and the journalists in the sports cars, with the perambulating billboards bringing up the rear. Up past the domain, behind Sydney Hospital, around St Mary's Cathedral and suddenly, there we were -- A PARADE, with police lights flashing, going down Elizabeth Street. No red lights were going to stop Microsoft, so the police simply blocked off each road as we came to it.
Naturally we waved royally to the stunned bystanders. "Windows is not just for the rich," we yelled. Or, "Bill Gates would vote for Pauline Hanson if he could."
Of course, everything was an anticlimax once we reached the launch venue. Or it would have been except for the Jellied Vodka in souvenir Win 98 shot glasses, and the bite-sized hamburgers and deep-fried oysters. Boy it's a hard life being a journalist.
Oh, and if you're wondering, even when asked why they hadn't mentioned Internet Explorer in the launch presentation, they managed to avoid using its name in their replies. Are they sensitive or what?
This week ARN is host to two high school work experience students, Joel and John. Microsoft was good enough to let them attend the launch, and they got their free copies of Win 98 and 98 Plus Pack. They had the time of their lives. Thanks Microsoft.