Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Clock Digest

I see the Uniqlock everywhere now, so I felt a little clock (note: NOT wrist-watch) digest was in order.

Yugo Nakamura, who designed/programmed the original clock-language for Uniqlock, has the most awesome website ever. I don't want to sound hipper-than-thou, but I actually downloaded one of his first screensaver clocks (the very first one is no longer available) about 8 years ago when a computer engineer told me all about him.

Computer engineers, or engineers in general, are possibly the most interesting people you will meet. I know, I're thinking, "uh, my dad who does civil engineering for the latest airport upgrade is not interesting at all. Neither are my Indian friends at Cal Poly." But I'm telling you, go to a party of engineers, and it's guaranteeing you all the things we in the media only pretend to have: 1. diversity 2. intelligent women who may or may not be hot but no one cares 3. answers to EVERYthing.

At the most recent engineers function I attended, I met this woman. She created a robotic etch-a-sketch clock!
Of course, digital clocks are a cultural phenomenon in and of themselves. Both Yugo-p and Angela's clocks are based on chronometrics, and numerology has long signified the future. The history of Zero is interesting in that respect. We have no idea how old we are. When calendar years were based on monarchs and dynastes (e.g. Meiji 10, 1980 A.D.), speculating the future becomes inevitable, because you really are guessing the mortality of an era.

Remember millenialism? Y2K?
Wanna assume the year 5000 anyone?
I'm guessing our existing digital count-up calendar is going to expire before the human race.

But it's all chronometric numberology until you get a manual clock. A manual clock implies no future. One might argue it even suggests the past. Look, there's me now, there's me 45 degrees ago, or about 7 minutes.

And of course there's the hour glass. Arguably my favorite kind of clock. It's long been a symbol of "time running out," but to me, it's about precision engineering, a beautiful figure, and controlling your countdown. Just turn it upside down when it's done oppressing you!

1 comment:

Ed Sizemore said...

The etch-a-sketch clock video was amazing. It's also scary to think of the brain power it took to put it all together.

I'm also a fan of manual clocks. My perferred watch is a wind-up pocket watch. I like the sense of history it gives when I check the time.