I have a Windows 7 laptop and I am pretty far down on the waiting list for hardware.
This is what I've done so far to get an emulated Raspberry Pi up and running - for free
I downloaded the free VMWare player from www.vmware.com
I downloaded the Fedora 16 Desktop VMWare image
Started Fedora, and installed the vmware-tools
ran "yum install qemu"
downloaded the zImage_3.1.9 kernel
downloaded the debian6-17-02-2012.img
put them in the same directory
on the command-line:
qemu-system-arm -M versatilepb -cpu arm1136-r2 -hda debian6-17-02-2012.img -kernel zImage_3.1.9 -m 192 -append "root=/dev/sda2"
QEMU window popped up
raspberry pi started booting
I followed the recommended 1st step (for people with non UK keyboards)
sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales
chose my locale, and let it run for about a minute or so - updating all the locale information
and I believe a this point, I have an emulated Raspberry Pi running on my Windows 7 laptop
Thanks to everyone who contributed their pieces I was able to gather off the forums
I can play with this until my number comes up for hardware