Sunday, January 01, 2006

Rolling into 2006

Lounging at Nieuwpoort, a sleepy town on the Belgian shore, the crossing from 2005 to 2006 is more a matter of fact than a big celebration. There are fireworks for half an hour, and then the town goes to sleep again, while the national television channel will carry on with the New Year’s show.

25 Years ago the Dutch television had a primer with the cross-over. I must say that it had not stuck in my memory, but I was recently reminded of it by a commemorative DVD from the Paralax company. This company started in 1980. It existed of a group creative people, led by moviemaker, inventor and artist Samuel Meyering. As moviemaker he belonged to the rebellious group of the 1,2,3, film group, which included the later Holywood director Jan de Bont. Samuel Meyering invented the Rolykit for storage. And he produced very early on computer-generated art prints.

For the crossing from 1980 to 1981 Paralax had developed a balls clock. It was a clock showing the time in digital character, built up by balls. When you would see it today you would probably laugh, but at that time it was impressive. The clock had been built on an Apple IIe. The routine was part of a multimedia software program, which was later on called Book1. Linking up the PC to the television camera for showing proved to be a problem. So the computer was eventually put into a dark room in front of a camera. In this way the countdown could be followed on television.

I wish you all a Happy New Year!

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