Windows Launch Parties: Even Geeks Think They're Lame

Computers and beer collide in West Palm.EXPAND
Computers and beer collide in West Palm.
Photo courtesy of Aaron Wormus

On a recent Friday night at Lost Weekend on Clematis Street, Aaron Wormus got his geek on in a big way.

Amid the beer glasses, darts, and pinball machines, Wormus dragged out his laptop and proceeded to give a small group of friends a tour of a operating system.

"It was pretty low-key," Wormus admits."I think it was kind of intended to be like that."

Wormus was a willing guinea pig in the latest

marketing attempt to make the quintessentially nerdy Microsoft seem cool. Taking a cue from Tupperware moms (the height of hipster cool, no?), the company has been encouraging fans to host parties to launch its new Windows 7 operating system.

In exchange for the humiliation of inviting their friends to attend a computer party, hosts receive a free goody bag that includes the operating system, plus balloons, party streamers, tote bags, a deck of cards, even a 50-piece puzzle.

(Wormus isn't sure of the puzzle's purpose. It came with instructions "which were all fairly lame," he says).

There's some debate about whether the parties are supposed to socially awkward, in a geek-chic kind of way, or if they're just a big flop. Wormus said seven people attended his, but a similar party planned at the Hollywood Ale House last night listed only two attendees on its website.

An instructional video explaining how to host a launch party is especially cringe-inducing, featuring a politically-correct selection of actors with fake laughs and cheese plates, trying mightily to make computer software sound fascinating.

Ah, well. Wormus says his party was mainly an excuse for friends from his Web Monday Meetup group to get together and drink, anyway.

At one point during the gathering, as if on cue, the older Windows XP laptop playing music for the crowd crashed. An Apple commerical exec couldn't have scripted it better.

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