Across the world since the dawn of humankind, keeping track of the time was one of the most important things that could be done. Ever since the creation of calendars and clocks, timekeeping has become more and more accurate, and since January 1st 1970, there’s been another clock in use counting off the seconds since, known as Unix time.
Used in Unix-like operating systems, like the Mac OS, and in various file formats, Unix time is yet another method to keep track of time, and like celebrating the eve of a New Year, enthusiasts also celebrate milestones in Unix time.
With ten digits to represent time, the first great milestone was the Unix billennium, 1,000,000,000 seconds, reached at 01:46:40 UTC on September 9th 2001. On February 13th 2009, Unix time ticked over to 1,234,567,890 and in the year 2033, on May 18th, we’ll have reached the second billennium, 2,000,000,000 seconds.
And then we’ll hit a snag akin to the Y2K problem. Just like ticking over from 1999 to 1900, older systems using 32bit Unix time will tick over from 2038 to 1901. This will no doubt cause some problems should you still be using old systems by then, but, as we already head into the 64bit era, Unix time will be able to eliminate the Y2.038K problem entirely, ticking over for longer than the Universe has thought to have existed, reaching the year 292,277,0256,596 before encountering a problem on December 4th at precisely 15:30:08.
Hopefully by then we’ll be using yet another time keeping device…
Image: UNIX Time ticking over to the billennium, Chlor/Antaya