Deep down, Unix based computers, such as those running Mac OS X, count time (and date) by the number of seconds that have elapsed since midnight, 1 January 1970 — trickier and more complex than it sounds.
There are 86,400 seconds in a normal day, so at the end of the first day the Unix Epoch ‘clock’ would read
0000086400. Think of it like your car’s mileage counter, except it’s counting seconds, not miles or kilometres travelled.
Today, as I write, it reads:
1234467728. [Though, of course, numerous seconds have ticked by since I checked that time, and I’m still writing.]
Tomorrow, though …. As at Saturday 14 February 2009 12:31:30 +1300 [Kiwi time] the ‘clock’ will turn over to read
1234567890. The UTC time when it rolls over will be 11:31:30 PM on Friday 13 February 2009.
Use the Unix Timestamp Generator to figure out what time it is in your locale when this random numerical quirk occurs.
So what will you be doing when it’s 1234567890? Me? I’ll be celebrating the completion of 54 glorious years of life on Earth. Here’s to another 54!