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Old 02-13-2009, 06:31 PM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default Happy 1234567890!

Unix-based operating systems may allow users to check for the system time in a human-readable format, but deep-down, its clock is relatively simple. The Unix internal clock officially began at midnight on January 1, 1970. Since that date, it's been on a quest to reach 1234567890, and yes, that number literally represents 1,234,567,890 seconds. In other words, ~14,288.9 days or ~39.148 years.

If you took the starting date of Unix time (January 1, 1970) and added 1,234,567,890 seconds to it, your result would be February 13, 2009, 23h:31m:30s UTC. For those curious, here's how it looked at that exact moment, when checking for it in a Unix command line:
rwilliams@techgage ~ $ date ; date +%s
Fri Feb 13 19:31:30 AST 2009
1234567890
Although it's hidden in the background, our forum software also stores threads and posts based on Unix time, and for fun, I made sure that this particular post was published at exactly 1234567890, server time (CST).

Happy 1234567890!
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:26 PM   #2
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Yee Haaaw, Break out the Beer
( I now know Rob has Beer )
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:00 PM   #3
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Haha. Strangely enough, I don't have any liquor at the house right now. That might change before the day is through, though!
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:07 PM   #4
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Hmm..is that why I've seen some files on a computer that were created on Jan 1st 1970 (when the computer is under a decade old?)
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Old 02-14-2009, 07:54 PM   #5
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To be honest, the date you see shouldn't be January 1, 1970, because that's Unix-derived. I think Windows can base a preset date like that depending on when the OS was first installed, but I'm not really sure of the full story. Whereas Unix time began on January 1, 1970, Windows' epoch begins on January 1, 1601, so if you saw any "default" dates, it might be that.

There are two cool points to mention though. As I mentioned above, Unix's time is based on a "second" scale, whereas Windows' is based on a "millisecond" scale, which is much more detailed. Also, due to its implementation, Windows has a date-range of 01/01/1601 - AD 30,828, which I'm assuming is going to be plenty. Unix on the other hand, has a big issue to worry about in 2038, which will be similar to Y2K.

Because Unix's clock is based on a signed 32-bit integer, it will roll-over in the year 2038, January 19. Rather than simply reset to a common value, it will instead result in back-tracking to December 13, 1901.

Here's to hoping that most people have upgraded their machines and software by then ;-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem
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