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badice.com ~ travel musings for the masses

Some people don’t know how time is stored on computers (namely servers) so let me shed a little light on how it’s done and what problems we may run into in the near future.

Time is stored using something called the Unix Epoch. It is basically a representation of points in time from 00:00:00 on January 1, 1970. Computers today store that number usually as a 32-bit integer, meaning, that the Unix epoch will theoretically end at 3:14:07 on January 19, 2038. Now do you see the problem? Come January 19, 2038 we may see a problem bigger than the Y2K rollover. So what’s being done about the problem? Well so far I haven’t heard about anything major being done. The solution however is fairly easy… Programmers just need to edit all of the code so that the number stored is bigger (ie 64 bits instead of 32). The hard part about that is that there is a lot of code to edit.

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