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Thursday, 30 December, 1999, 17:33 GMT
New dawn for webcams

ben Countdown: Big Ben - live via webcam

The internet is like having a window on the world for the new millennium.

For as the sun breaks around the globe, from Fiji to San Francisco, webcams will be there to record and send it out live.

Into 2000
That is, assuming the relevant computers don't go into Y2K meltdown.

Earthcam and Perpetual Robotics offer sites that feature images from webcams around the globe.

Click on the Earthcam site and you will see a map of the world, divided into time zones, with dots for each of the site's 100 cameras.

There are nine webcams trained on Times Square in New York, where you'll be able to view one of the world's largest millennium celebrations.

New York Times Square, New York
Gisborne, New Zealand, which claims to be the first city that will see the new millennium, has a webcam on the beach and in the town centre, with snapshots at five second intervals and audio of the crowds partying below.

Just like being there, virtually.

You can zoom in, change camera direction and even e-mail your friends with pictures.

The Financial Times has a webcam at the site of London's new Millennium Bridge, which gives great views across the River Thames.

sun Greenpeace can e-mail you the millennium sunrise
You can toast 2000 by going to the pub via the internet, thanks to The Crown in Belfast which has its own webcam.

Or, maybe, party at the Gatecrasher nightclub in Sheffield, which promises to go live on the night.

If you're looking forward to a more eco-conscious millennium, Greenpeace has an enterprising way to view the new dawn.

On New Year's Eve, a solar-panelled Greenpeace boat sailing towards the Antipodes Islands, where the first sunrise of 2000 takes place, will send out e-mails, accompanied by a picture of the sunrise.

But for some people, watching the webcams will be part of their job.

The RAC's Peter Brill said his IT security officers would be scanning the internet, CNN, BBC News 24, local radio and the World Service for signs of the Y2K bug causing traffic chaos.

"We will be looking at webcams on streets around the world. For instance, if traffic lights were to fail at major junctions we would be able to see what kind of failures there were and it would help is to warn our members."

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