Unix time1 is an important concept in contemporary computing:
Unix time, or POSIX time, is a system for describing instants in time, defined as the number of seconds that have elapsed since 00:00:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), Thursday, 1 January 1970 not counting leap seconds. It is used widely in Unix-like and many other operating systems and file formats. Due to its handling of leap seconds, it is neither a linear representation of time nor a true representation of UTC.
If you read this post around the time I published it the unix time should be somewhere around 1.376.173.661
Publishing date and time of this post in Unix time
The year 2038 problem may cause some computer software to fail at some point near the year 2038. The problem affects all software and systems that both store system time as a signed 32-bit integer, and interpret this number as the number of seconds since 00:00:00 UTC on Thursday, 1 January 1970. The furthest time that can be represented this way is 03:14:07 UTC on Tuesday, 19 January 2038. Times beyond this moment will “wrap around” and be stored internally as a negative number, which these systems will interpret as a date in December 13, 1901 […] Because most 32-bit Unix-like systems store and manipulate time in this format, it is usually called Unix time, and so the year 2038 problem is often referred to as the Unix Millennium Bug.
Wikipedia has a good gif explaining the concept:
The whole Wiki article and related links are a good read. But my favorite part has got to be this:
Current Players of the game Candy Crush, and other games or Apps which are programmed to impose waiting-periods, are running into this problem when they attempt to work-around the waiting-period on devices which harbor the coding by manually setting their device’s, (such-as the Nexus 7®), date past 19 January 2038.
It doesn’t cite sources, so maybe it’s just bs. But I just love the thought of someone cheating so much in Candy Crush that the clock on his or hers device is set to the year 2038! Cough up some dollars, ask your friends for a few lives, or better yet go easy on the Candy Crush mate!
Anyway doomsday prophesizers could probably do worse than picking Tuesday, 19 January 2038 for their next upcoming apocalypse3. If you are programming you could go with 64 bit dates, that should sort you out until december 4th in the year 292,277,026,596. But it would probably be best to go with 128 bits, future-proofing, better safe than sorry and all that…