My Birthday and UNIX

My birthday is January 19th, 1970. The UNIX operating system uses a clock that started counting off seconds starting at midnight, January 1st, 1970. In 32-digit binary numbers it would look like this:


and so on.

Now, that start date is pretty close to my birthday. And you'd say that's a bit of a coincidence, me being a lover of UNIX. But only a bit of a coincidence.

My birth-time was approximately 1:30 AM. I'll have to consult the source to get a more accuate figure. But, using my estimate, I figure the UNIX clock read something close to ( 18 * 24 * 60 * 60 + 90 * 60 ) = 1560600 seconds when I was born. That's 0x0017d018 in hexadecimal, or in binary,


Well, consider this coincidence: when my 68th birthday rolls around, and it's a mere 15 minutes, 53 seconds before my birth-time that year, the binary representation of the UNIX clock will read:


And then, after one second,


Which is usually interpreted by computers as -2147483648. Then all UNIX machines will think it's December of 1931, and our flying atomic cars will be falling out of the sky because they won't be able to fathom how they got invented during the Great Depression.

And I'll be brought out of retirement, with my aged but significant UNIX skills, to fix the Y2.038K crisis, and I'll make bucketloads of cash.

What a great birthday present!

© 2003-2011 by Takashi Toyooka