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Today is special
· 2009-02-13 10:19 by Thijs Kroesbergen for Brokenwire.NET

Why? Because today is Friday 13th? Yes, and did you know there is a larger chance that the 13th of the month is a Friday? Now that's creepy.

But today is special in another way:

Today is the day on which Unix time will hit 1234567890, this will happen tonight at precisely 23:31:30h UTC.

Unix time (POSIX time) represents the number of seconds since the "epoch" which is defined as on 00:00h, January 1st 1970. The 1000000000 mark already passed by on 01:46:40h 2001-09-09 UTC.

Many people take advantage of this well-balanced number to throw 1234567890 parties. (And why not, any reason is a terrific reason to party!)

Working in an Microsoft SQL Server world you may wonder why 1-1-1753 is the smallest date in the regular datetime datatype. Some very good reading about that can be found in The ultimate guide to the datetime datatypes.

Although watching these numbers rise is great fun, there is a new Y2k problem looming ahead. on January 19th 2038 at 03:14:08h UTC the world as we know it will end. Because at that exact moment the number of seconds will exceed the value a 32-bit signed integer can hold (2^31). If that doesn't end the world there is another chance on February 7th, 2106 at 06:28:16h UTC, when the POSIX time will reach 2^32. But using a positive-only integer to store the timestamp would be stupid because then we would loose the possibility to store date before 1970, so we're doomed anyway. The only chance of survival we have is to start storing the timestamp in signed 64-bit integers, because that will extend the problem for... uh... some 300 million years. (Don't worry too much, most modern operating systems store the timestamp in an 64-bits unsigned integer already)

So, what will you do to celebrate this great moment in history? I'll probably be watching TV, and not playing any games.

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  1. A bit late but funny nonetheless:
    ascii art

    thijs    2009-02-27 16:21    #
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