For all of you that have been long awaiting HL2, it seems it might be here now.
"Half-Life 2 Pre-Loading Begins
August 26, 2004, 6:55 pm · cliffe
Half-Life 2 pre-loading begins to Steam account holders today. Over the coming days, those who have selected the pre-loading option will have encrypted Half-Life 2 files delivered to their PC. No purchase is required to pre-load HL2, but is required to activate the game. Purchase options will be released soon. Then, the moment the game is made available, those who have pre-loaded and purchased Half-Life 2 via Steam will be authenticated and ready to start playing. For more information, please visit www.steampowered.com
For all of you have have Steam, just restart and you should download a short patch to enable preload. Then you just preload it from there. Otherwise you can go to "Play Games" and download Half Life 2 preload from there. Currently Steam servers are at maximum capacity and you are unable to preload at this time.
The Steam Popup: