Are You on Unix Time?

clockNot only is this Friday the 13th, but our own Dr. Schmidt pointed out to us that today will be 1234567890 in Unix Time.  Specifically, February 13, 2009, at 23:31:30 UTC, is UNIX time 1234567890.  That is, February 13, 2009 at 17:31:30 Norman, OK Time.

The countdown is here.

Most every computer which runs some version of unix (so most servers on the internet, Linux and Mac OS X) keeps track of time using Unix Time.  What is Unix Time?  It’s the number of seconds since 00:00:00 UTC on January 1, 1970 (not counting leap seconds).  If you’re disappointed that your Y2K bunker didn’t get any use, then you can hold out hope for Unix Time and the Y2K38 bug.  Or if you want to show that you’re both a Unix Geek and a End-of-the-Worlder, you can get this T-shirt here.

You're not parinoid, you're prepared.

You're not paranoid, you're prepared.

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4 thoughts on “Are You on Unix Time?

  1. This is the first time I heard about this. I wonder why they choose Jan 1 1970 as the starting date. Is there a story behind that as well?

  2. Feng,

    That’s a good question. It’s not clear why that was the chosen start date. In fact, according to the history of Unix Time on Wikipedia it originally started on Jan. 1 of 1971. It seems to be something which has evolved over time as computers became more common and more precise. For example, they didn’t even worry about leap seconds at first.

    It just goes to show that a simple thing like a computer keeping track of time can be a lot more complicated than you might think.

  3. In an almost scary way, I already knew about this article. I had been thinking about getting one of these shirts, but I just feel that no one else would get it. I wonder if this will be as “intense” as the Y2K crisis.

  4. Very interesting. I think that macs are beast we wont Y2K incident that PCs were worried. Also, what if Y2K was just a scare in order for computer companies to make more money?

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