Still reluctant to throw a sponsored “house party” for Windows 7 later this month?

As I discussed in an earlier posting, such reluctance would be perfectly natural on your part. After all, even if hosting such an event earns you a Signature Edition of Windows 7 Ultimate and “your very own Windows 7 Party Pack,” and puts you in the running to win a PC worth $750, there’s still a risk that your friends could start giving you slightly odd looks–especially since the parties are being wrangled by houseparty.com, which tries to convince ordinarily sane citizens to throw blowouts for corporate brands such as Ford.

Oh, but wait till you hear that the Signature Edition of Ultimate has been signed by Steve Ballmer. Yes, I know that’s enormously exciting. Just hearing that bit of news made me want to break out the official party theme decorations right here at my desk. (According to houseparty.com, I have a choice of “PhotoPalooza,” “MediaMania,” “Setting Up with Ease” or even “Family-Friendly Fun.”)

What new features await you with the Steve Ballmer edition of Windows 7? For starters, when you open the box, it yells, “Developers! Developers! Developers!” at 200 decibels. And then it tries to smash any iPhones in the vicinity.

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(Yes, folks, I’m here all week. Try the steak, and don’t forget to get your parking validated on your way out.)

Actually, the Steve Ballmer version features the CEO’s signature on the front along with a gold band (similar to the numbered, limited-edition version of Windows Ultimate signed by Bill Gates, which is still being offered on Amazon.com for $109 in “used” condition). Touted as the version of Microsoft’s new operating system for “people who want it all,” Ultimate includes features such as Windows XP Mode, BitLocker To Go and nifty tweaks that let the system take advantage of 64-bit hardware.

Ars Technica published some photos of the Ballmer edition, and the accompanying party pack, here. Apparently a Windows enthusiast in the Cayman Islands, irritated that his out-of-country status rendered him ineligible to host a launch party, wrote a lengthy e-mail to Ballmer.

Three weeks later, the enthusiast received his Party Pack in the mail, along with the Signature Edition signed by the Big Dude himself.

Doesn’t that perk your enthusiasm? Casting around on the Microsoft site, I’m not seeing a place to preorder the Signature Edition, so if you want it, you may actually have to bite the bullet and sign up to string those “Family-Friendly Fun” streamers around your humble abode.


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